Germany designates Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation, order could impact geopolitical dynamics

german police officers stands on public event

On Thursday, German government banned Hezbollah from undertaking any activities in the country and designated the Lebanese militant political group as a terrorist organization. The authorities ordered police raids on multiple sites including mosques, cultural centres, buildings and homes linked to the Islamist political group. The radical group operates through a political and a militant wing, though initially the European nation treated different wings differently, but on Thursday the entire organisation got blacklisted.

The spokesperson of the German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, took to Twitter to confirm the new and wrote that “police measures are underway in several federal states concurrently,” and added that even in times of crisis, the “rule of law is able to act.”

The Interior Ministry issued a statement, which read, “As the authority responsible for issuing the ban, the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community is of the opinion that Hezbollah openly calls for the violent elimination of the State of Israel and questions the right of the State of Israel to exist.”The organization is therefore fundamentally against the concept of international understanding, regardless of whether it presents itself as a political, social or military structure,” it added.

Germany has been contemplating over the decision for some months but the persistent effort of several lawmakers, pushing for ban on Hezbollah, finally brought them success on April 30.

American Jewish Committee (AJC) :

It seemed like Germany joined camp US and Israel as the country received immense applause from the two for its bold move. The American Jewish Committee (AJC) praised the decision as a”welcome, much-anticipated and significant German decision” in a statement. “We now hope other European nations will take a close look at Germany’s decision and reach the same conclusion about the true nature of Hezbollah,” wrote AJC CEO David Harris. “Permitting its [Hezbollah’s] ‘political’ wing to operate on European soil allows for active recruitment, fundraising, and the poisonous spread of anti-Semitism,” the statement added. 

Many political analysts and diplomats also approved of the decision, as they felt that  Hezbollah had made their country a focal point for money laundering, and trafficking. Ralph Ghadban, a political scholar told DW, “Germany is incredibly important for Hezbollah, because Germany is an Eldorado for money laundering.”

According to Nathan Sales, the coordinator for counter terrorism within the US Department of State, Hezbollah is liberally funded by Iran and for its operations in Lebanon, it receives over $700 million (€643 million) per year, while the group’s annual budget is estimated to be around $1 billion.  The decision would definitely put Germany at odds with Iran and Lebanon. Hezbollah, which follows Shiite Islamist principles, is seen as an extension of the Iranian regime.Also the group holds a firm ground in Lebanon’s political scene with over 10% members of the parliament belonging to the extremist group. Also, the move did not receive support from some European nations, as their believed that it was imperative to continue communication with the organisation’s political arm from the standpoint of foreign policy. Besides Germany, UK also banned the group last year in February.

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