It appears that there is a limit to Germany’s willingness to turn a blind eye to Hezbollah’s activity within its borders and in Europe in general. For years Germany has refused to declare Hezbollah’s political branch a terrorist organization because of the economic interests it has with Iran. Showing a change of heart, the German government banned the military wing of Hezbollah last month. However, it did so without legally defining the group as terrorists because it doesn’t operate an official branch in the country.
Interestingly, other European countries, such as the UK this past January, declared the entirety of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. Immediately following Germany’s declaration, the police set out on a widespread operation throughout the country targeting mosques and community centers that have an affiliation with the Iranian proxy.
Hezbollah a proxy of Iran
Although Hezbollah is a Lebanese organization, it operates almost exclusively for the interests of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The top commanders of the terrorist group express this fact loud and clear in their speeches. Hassan Nasrallah, the Secretary General of Hezbollah, has acknowledged to the public numerous times that the organization receives aid in the form of money, weapons and military training from Iran.
Germany’s Federal Minister of Interior, Horst Seehofer, explained the decision to outlaw Hezbollah activity in the country by stating that the group is responsible for terrorist attacks that killed hundreds of people around the world and because one of its central objectives is the annihilation of the State of Israel.
Therefore, the Lebanese group operates in stark opposition to Germany’s national interests, one of them being its commitment to Israel’s security. German intelligence indicates that there are an estimated 1000 Hezbollah members currently residing in the country.
The nascent law allows the German authorities to confiscate property belonging to Hezbollah and to prevent demonstrations from taking place and official members from gathering. Thus, the annual march against Israel that Hezbollah has organized for years, including the dissemination of their written material and flags, has come to an end.
Iran quickly reacted to the decision threatening that Germany will “bear the consequences” for banning Hezbollah’s activity. According to Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Germany has “acquiesced to Israeli and American pressure.” Iran further added that the decision “ignores reality in west Asia.”
Israel and the United States praised Germany’s decision to outlaw Hezbollah activity. The foreign ministries of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain followed suit stating that the decision significantly contributes to the war on terror. The United States is currently pursuing a campaign to convince other countries to make similar decisions, hoping that the terrorist group’s activity will be outlawed in all EU countries. It is clear that Hezbollah is slowly but surely losing its ground in Europe.
Israel’s Mossad and the German decision
Israel’s Mossad has been tracking and monitoring Hezbollah’s activity in Europe for many years. Specifically, they follow the Shi’ite based networks that are intricately connected with the terrorist organization. The individuals that are part of this network mostly include Shi’ite businessmen that ideologically identify with Hezbollah and aid them with money laundering.
Hezbollah has a number of umbrella organizations that are disguised as charity foundations as well as schools that it operates in Germany. The purpose of these organizations is, among others, to assist Iran in spying on Iranian opposition leaders that live throughout Europe and Israelis.
According to Israel’s Channel 12 news network, the Mossad has been conducting an investigation for many years on Hezbollah’s various networks operating in Germany. Israel’s national intelligence agency provided the German authorities with evidence of Hezbollah’s activity in Germany territory.
Currently, all eyes are on France’s Emmanuel Macron. Will he join his European neighbors in outlawing the terrorist organization once and for all?