Hezbollah slams Britain for labeling it a terrorist group

A parade by the Iranian backed Lebanese  Shiite  Hezbollah militia.
A parade by the Iranian backed Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah militia.

Hezbollah condemned on Friday the British government’s decision to list it as a terrorist organisation, saying the move showed “servile obedience” to the United States.

The heavily armed Shi’ite group, which is backed by Iran, said in a statement it was a “resistance movement against Israeli occupation” and described the British move as an “insult to the feelings, sympathies and will of the Lebanese people that consider Hezbollah a major political and popular force”.

“Hezbollah sees in this decision servile obedience to the U.S. administration, revealing that the British government is but a mere a follower in service of its American master,” the statement added.

Britain said on Monday it planned to ban all wings of Hezbollah due to its destabilising influence in the Middle East, having previously proscribed its external security unit and its military wing. Hezbollah is already deemed a terrorist organisation by Washington.

Long the most powerful group in Lebanon, Hezbollah’s clout has expanded at home and in the region. The group controls three of 30 ministries in the government led by Western-backed Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, the largest number ever. It does not acknowledge having separate political and military wings.

Hezbollah and political allies that view its arsenal as an asset to Lebanon won more than 70 of parliament’s 128 seats in an election last year, a major blow to Lebanese parties that oppose its possession of weapons like the Christian Lebanese Forces which enjoys close ties to U.S.-allied Gulf states.

Hezbollah, founded in 1982 by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, has also seen its regional influence expand with fighters in various Middle East conflicts including neighbouring Syria.

MILITARY AID

The British ban means anyone who is a member of Hezbollah or invites support will be committing a criminal offence with a potential jail sentence of up to 10 years.

The move may raise questions for London’s relationship with Lebanon, which includes military and security aid.

Following the decision, Hariri said he hoped the decision should not harm bilateral ties, telling reporters: “We consider that this matter pertains to Britain, not Lebanon.”

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt reiterated Britain’s support for “a stable and prosperous Lebanon” and said the listing would “not change our ongoing commitment to Lebanon…”

Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, a political ally of Hezbollah, said the British move would not have a negative impact on Lebanon and that Britain had informed Lebanon of its commitment to bilateral ties.

But he also defended the group, whose arsenal has been a focal point of political division for years in Lebanon.

Inside Britain, Hezbollah has been a topic of internal political controversy, with opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn criticised by opponents for once calling the group friends.

IRAN

Similarly  Hezbollah’s  backer Iran  criticized Britain for its decision to list Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, saying on Saturday it ignored both the will of a large portion of the Lebanese people and the  group’s role in fighting Islamic State.

REUTERS

 

  • Arzna

    The silent majority of the Lebanese , like the British see Hezbollah exactly the same way , but they are silent because they know what happened in 2005 and the years that followed to those that spoke up against the group and its arms. To the Lebanese silent majority Hezbollah is an occupier , because even though its members are predominantly Lebanese the party was formed by the Iranians , it is funded and trained by the Iranians , gets all its orders from Iran and Its boss , a strong advocate of Wilayat al Faqih, acts as if he is the supreme leader of Lebanon and reports to an Iranian General.