June 2, 2015 | Quote
Ya’alon: Hezbollah Arrest in Cyprus is Part of Iran-Backed European Terror Network
Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon stated that last Friday’s arrest of a Hezbollah terrorist in Cyprus pointed to a large-scale terror campaign by the Iranian-backed terror group against Israeli targets in Europe, Reuters reported today.
Hezbollah’s involvement in this plot could force Europe to reconsider its decision to classify only Hezbollah’s “political” wing as a terrorist organization, Benjamin Weinthal, a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, wrote in an analysis published Saturday in the Post.
Yacoub, Weinthal reported, also admitted to “staking out locations Israelis would frequent and acting as a courier for [Hezbollah] inside the European Union.”
“Australia, like the EU, has outlawed Hezbollah’s “military wing.” In sharp contrast to the half-designation, the US, Canada, Israel and the Netherlands have proscribed Hezbollah’s entire organization as a terrorist group. Should Europe sanction fully Hezbollah, there are concerns about a terrorist backlash in EU capitals. Put simply, an enormous level of fear plays a role in their calculus to maintain diplomatic relations with the Shi’ite organization. The current arrest in Larnaca can be viewed as an Act 2 of the case of the Swedish-Lebanese citizen Hossam Taleb Yaacoub who was convicted in Cyprus in 2013 for participating in a criminal organization to murder Israelis on the island. It was the first European court conviction of a self-admitted Hezbollah member. The conviction contributed to the EU’s decision in July 2013 to ban Hezbollah’s military wing.”
While Weinthal wrote that fear of Hezbollah may spook the EU from taking any further action against the terror organization, he speculated that the latest terror case, combined with Hezbollah’s continued support of the bloody regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, could lead to “a change in Europe’s posture toward Hezbollah.”
In contrast to Europe’s reticence thus far to target Hezbollah legally, the United States Congress last month passed the Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act of 2015. According to Tony Badran, a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, the bill is important on a number of levels, not the least of which because it targets Hezbollah’s patron, Iran.
“While there are numerous designations that may be prompted by this new legislation, its principal purpose is to target Hezbollah’s state patron, Iran. The bill coincided with the passage of the Iran nuclear agreement review bill, which did not include any amendments addressing Iran’s sponsorship of terrorist groups like Hezbollah. H.R. 2297 therefore offers another means to target Tehran and its proxies, and to require the administration to report on Hezbollah’s primary backer – Iran.”
Read the full article here.