EU nekter å gjøre som USA og kalle Hizbollah terrorister. Det gjør at Hizbollah kan fortsette sin aktivitet på europeisk jord med stråselskaper som samler inn penger og knytter viktige kontakter.
Amerikanske tjenstemenn er rystet over EUs standhaftighet og blindhet.
Spørsmålet om Hizbollahs nærvær på europeisk jord er blitt aktualisert av bussbomberen i Burgos i Bulgaria. Hvis det var Hizbollah kan EU bli tvunget til å revurdere sin politikk. Det bil dessuten sette unionen i stor forlegenhet.
Artikkelen i New York Times feller en knusende dom over EUs sikkerhetspolitikk:
As American officials sound the alarm over what they call a resurgent threat from the Shiite militant group Hezbollah, thousands of its members and supporters operate with few restrictions in Europe, raising money that is funneled to the group’s leadership in Lebanon.
EU og USA anlegger helt ulikt syn på Hizbollah. Begge kan ikke ha rett.
Washington and Jerusalem insist that Hezbollah is an Iranian-backed terrorist organization with bloody hands, and that it is working closely with Tehran to train, arm and finance the Syrian military’s lethal repression of the uprising there. Yet, the European Union continues to treat it foremost as a Lebanese political and social movement.
Hizbollah har ligget lavt siden 9/11. Men det er ingen tvil om at de er til stede i Europa.
While the group is believed to operate all over the Continent, Germany is a center of activity, with 950 members and supporters last year, up from 900 in 2010, Germany’s domestic intelligence agency said in its annual threat report. On Saturday, Hezbollah supporters and others will march here for the annual Jerusalem Day event, a protest against Israeli control of that city. Organizers told the Berlin police that the event would attract 1,000 marchers, and that two counterdemonstrations were also likely.
Hizbollah driver sosialt arbeid, liksom Brorskapet i Egypt, og EU velger å se på den sosiale profilen, ikke sikkerhetstrusselen, ikke samarbeidet med Iran.
Hezbollah has maintained a low profile in Europe since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, quietly holding meetings and raising money that goes to Lebanon, where officials use it for an array of activities — building schools and clinics, delivering social services and, Western intelligence agencies say, carrying out terrorist attacks.
For Hizbollah betyr nærværet i Europa mye.
From all indications to date, it is an arrangement that Hezbollah is anxious to preserve. The group’s secretary general, Hassan Nasrallah, has said that a European blacklist would “destroy Hezbollah. The sources of our funding will dry up and the sources of moral political and material support will be destroyed.” And Hezbollah’s defenders note that no hard evidence has been produced tying the group to the Bulgarian bus bombing.
Hizbollah har bygget seg opp til å bli en stat i staten i Libanon. Dvs. at de også har påtatt seg de sosiale forpliktelsene som myndighet medfører. Men å bli tatt under deres paraply innebærer også politiske forpliktelser.
“They are quite professional in this, and this is something some Western donors are admitting that has a positive impression on some Western politicians,” said Stephan Rosiny, a research fellow at the Institute of Middle East Studies at the German Institute of Global and Area Studies in Hamburg.
That in turn provides a rationale for the group’s charitable networks among Lebanese immigrants in Europe. “They may collect money for their institutions, but they aren’t operating publicly,” Mr. Rosiny said. “As long as they aren’t involved in politics and aren’t operating openly, they are tolerated.”
Nå blåser en annen vind, og Hizbollah er ved å miste en viktig alliert i Syria. Det gjør Hizbollah mer sårbar. Hvis det kan påvises noen sammenheng med Burgos-bomben, vil det bli politisk umulig ikke å liste Hizbollah som terrororganisasjon.
Hizbollah kan også operere som Irans forlengede arm, feks. når det gjelder å skaffe seg vitale deler til atomvåpenprogrammet.
Europa har tradisjonelt vært trege eller motvillige til å slå ned på Irans aktivitet.
Experts question how effectively European police officials are keeping track of the kind of serious, well-trained operatives capable of staging attacks versus counting up donors to funds for orphans of suicide bombers. “I don’t believe that they are able to monitor Hezbollah activities because Hezbollah is such a professional player,” said Guido Steinberg, an expert on terrorism with the German Institute for International and Security Affairs.
“The supporters that march the streets with a Hezbollah flag are not a threat to national security,” Mr. Ritzmann said. “We’re more concerned with small groups — a car dealer, a grocer, or whatever, who operate in a traditional way like a sleeper cell would operate.”
Europe has long been more tolerant of militant Islamic groups than the United States. Before the 9/11 attacks, Al Qaeda maintained a media information office in London. Much of the planning and organization for the attacks took place in Hamburg, Germany, where the plot’s leader, Mohamed Atta, lived.
American officials privately complained for years about Germany’s reluctance to crack down on businesses that circumvent sanctions against Iran. The pressure appears to have paid off, with Germany last year agreeing to include the European-Iranian Trade Bank, based in Hamburg, on a European Union blacklist. On Wednesday, German police officials arrested four men suspected of sending special valves to Iran for use in the building of a heavy-water reactor.
Europeerne skyver konfliktene unna, og føler at det er USA og Israel mot Iran, Syria og Hizbollah, og noe de ikke vil bli en del av. De føler at amerikanere og israelere gråter for sin syke mor når de bekymrer seg for europeisk sikkerhet. Obamas egne terroreksperter mener europeerne er farlig naive.
Some analysts say that Shiite groups like Hezbollah pose less of a risk than Sunni militant organizations like Al Qaeda. “The greatest danger from Islamist militants comes from the Salafists, not the Shiites but the Sunnis,” said Berndt Georg Thamm, a terrorism expert in Berlin, referring to a hard-line branch of Sunni Islam. He cited as examples the man who confessed to killing seven people in southwest France this year and the gunman who killed two United States airmen at the Frankfurt airport last year. “As far as Europe is concerned, Hezbollah is not what is moving it at the moment.”
The perception gap across the Atlantic is so great that American officials sound more concerned about the threat posed by Hezbollah to Europe than the Europeans themselves. “We assess that Hezbollah could attack in Europe or elsewhere at any time with little or no warning,” said Daniel Benjamin, the State Department’s counterterrorism coordinator, last week as officials from the Treasury and State Departments accused Hezbollah of working with operatives of Iran’s Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guards to train and advise Syrian government forces.
Denne passivitet eller blindhet overfor Hizbollah og Irans aktivitet i Europa, nærmer seg en stilltiende aksept av deres nærvær, så lenge de ikke utfordrer eller foretar seg noe som krenker europeiske staters sikkerhet.
Den samme type stilltiende avtale hadde flere europeiske stater med terrororganisasjoner på 70-80-tallet.
Some experts say that security officials on the Continent are resistant to blacklisting the group because they seem to see a tacit détente, where Hezbollah does not stage attacks and European law enforcement officials do not interfere with its fund-raising and organizational work.
“There’s a fear of attracting Hezbollah’s ire and eventually inviting Hezbollah operations in their own countries,” said Bruce Hoffman, a professor of security studies at Georgetown and a terrorism expert.
“Why pick up a rock and see what’s under it?” he asked.