Europe’s Hezbollah Dilemma: What’s Next?
March 1, 2013
1:30 pm -
A conversation with Tony Badran, Matthew Levitt and Benjamin Weinthal
The recent Bulgarian findings that Hezbollah was behind the terrorist attack that killed a Bulgarian bus driver and Israeli tourists, and the confession in a Cyprus court that Hezbollah was behind the plot in Nicosia, are reminders that the Party of God’s campaign of terror transcends borders. Yet, the European Union has so far not designated Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. Will these developments on European soil change their calculus? What would a designation mean, both symbolically and politically, for the E.U. and the future of Hezbollah? Are fears that a designation will relinquish EU influence over Lebanon justified? Will a designation further jeopardize the stability of the region? What threats by Hezbollah may be looming over the European horizon?
Tony Badran is a Research Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies where he focuses on Lebanon, Syria, and Hezbollah. His research includes U.S. policy towards Lebanon and Syria; Syrian foreign policy, with a focus on its regional relations with Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Israel and Lebanon; Syria’s ties to militant non-state actors and terrorist groups; and Syria’s international relations, especially with Russia and the EU. Mr. Badran’s other research has dealt with Syria’s use of information warfare, as well as with the Syrian opposition movement. Mr. Badran’s writings have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, ForeignAffairs.com, The Weekly Standard, Foreign Policy.com and The Jerusalem Post, among others. Mr. Badran also publishes a weekly column on Nowlebanon.com.
Matthew Levitt is a senior fellow and director of The Washington Institute’s Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence. From 2005 to early 2007, he served as deputy assistant secretary for intelligence and analysis at the U.S. Department of the Treasury. In that capacity, he served both as a senior official within the department’s terrorism and financial intelligence branch and as deputy chief of the Office of Intelligence and Analysis, one of sixteen U.S. intelligence agencies coordinated under the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. During his tenure at Treasury, Dr. Levitt played a central role in efforts to protect the U.S. financial system from abuse and to deny terrorists, weapons proliferators, and other rogue actors the ability to finance threats to U.S. national security. In 2008-2009, he served as a State Department counterterrorism advisor to the special envoy for Middle East regional security (SEMERS), General James L. Jones.
Benjamin Weinthal is a Research Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. As an internationally-recognized journalist, he serves as FDD’s eyes and ears on the ground in Central Europe. He is based in Berlin and is an indispensable member of the Iran Energy Project team, with a knack for uncovering the relationships between European energy companies and Iran. Benjamin reports on European-Iranian relations and Europe-based anti-Semitism and neo-Nazism for The Wall Street Journal Europe, Slate, The New Republic, Fox News.com, The Weekly Standard, National Review Online, the Israeli dailies Haaretz and The Jerusalem Post and the German daily Der Tagesspiegel.