It’s not just Israel that Hezbollah is targeting, and the EU has yet to designate Hezbollah a terrorist organization.
The arrest of Hossam Yaakoub, a Lebanese-born Swedish citizen, on July 7 was all but forgotten 11 days later when a bus containing another group of vacationing Israelis was blown up in the Bulgarian resort city of Burgas . The attack, which killed five Israelis and a Bulgarian bus driver, was quickly blamed on Hezbollah.
Now, seven months after that attack, new details emerging in Yaakoub’s case are providing chilling insights into what investigators describe as a far broader effort by the Lebanon-based militant group to lay the groundwork for killing Israeli citizens and perhaps others in multiple countries.
[...] The evidence echoes discoveries by investigators in Bulgaria and prosecutors in Thailand, India, Azerbaijan, Kenya and other countries hit by a wave of attempted assassinations and bombings linked to Hezbollah or its chief sponsor, Iran. U.S. officials characterize the plots as part of a shadow war directed by Iran in part to retaliate for Western efforts to derail Iran’s nuclear program. Evidence uncovered by investigators portrays a professional, well-funded effort by Hezbollah to recruit, train and position European-based operatives for what U.S. analysts describe as preparations for future terrorist operations.
What would naming Hezbollah a terrorist organization do? Shut down their fundraising in Europe, for one. The fundraising that sponsors terrorism. Hezbollah is the extended arm of Iran and the Revolutionary Guards, and Iran has been waging war against the U.S. since 1979, albeit an undeclared war.
Daniel Benjamin, who recently resigned as the State Department’s top counterterrorism official, said Hezbollah’s activity outside the Middle East has reached a level unmatched since the 1990s. Benjamin said the militant group is “not just doing one-off attacks but is right now involved in a campaign of terrorism,” in part to warn Western countries against allowing military intervention against Iran.
“Hezbollah already believes we’re in a conflict,” Benjamin told the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, “but they want to intimate to us how much more will be coming if the conflict sharpens.”
Sending messages via bombings. Where have we seen that before? Oh, that’s right. It was Yasser Arafat’s preferred method of welcoming visiting dignitaries to Israel.
For the Americans, time is important. Current and former U.S. counterterrorism officials said Hezbollah’s ambitions and reach have expanded in the past two years, coinciding with tougher sanctions on Iran. At least a dozen plots linked to the group or Iran have been foiled, including botched bombing attempts in India, Thailand, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Kenya.
In the most notorious plot — the failed attempt in late 2011 to murder the Saudi ambassador to Washington — Iranians financed a scheme to blow up a popular Georgetown restaurant using hit men from a Mexican drug gang.
Other targets have ranged from Jewish schoolteachers to U.S. diplomats.
Jewish schoolteachers. Let me repeat: Hezbollah terrorists are targeting Jewish schoolteachers. These are the words of the current leader of Hezbollah’s “military wing”:
If they (Jews) all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide. (Daily Star, Oct. 23, 2002)
If the EU does not designate Hezbollah a terrorist organization, these operations will continue, and civilians will be murdered. Not just Jewish civilians. Islamists have a record of not caring how many others they kill while focusing on their targets. I’d say this will be to the EU’s shame, but their treatment of Israel is already shameful. This would just be par for the course, along with funding as many anti-Israel NGO’s as they possibly can.
More people will die. You can count on that. Whether or not the EU will help stop it from happening? I wouldn’t put a dime on that bet.