US says Hezbollah works for the Iranian regime, not the Lebanese people

The European Union should follow the German parliament’s lead and recognize Hezbollah in its entirety as a terrorist organization, said Richard Grenell, the US ambassador to Germany. (File/AP)
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Updated 23 January 2020

US says Hezbollah works for the Iranian regime, not the Lebanese people

  • The EU lists Hezbollah’s military wing as a banned terrorist group
  • Pompeo last week called on ‘all nations’ to classify Hezbollah as

LONDON: Hezbollah works for the Iranian regime and not the Lebanese people, a senior US diplomat said as he urged European countries to impose an outright ban on the group.
Richard Grenell, the ambassador to Germany, made the plea as Lebanon formed a new government made up of ministers nominated by the militant, Iran-backed organization and its allies
The European Union lists Hezbollah’s military wing as a banned terrorist group, but not its political wing, which has been part of Lebanese governments in recent years.
“The EU thus maintains an artificial distinction between Hezbollah’s ‘political wing’ and ‘military wing,’ a division the terror group itself does not recognize,” Grenell said in an opinion article published by Politico.
“The EU’s stated intent for creating this false distinction is to preserve an open channel with Hezbollah and its representatives in the Lebanese government,” he added.
“An EU-wide designation of Hezbollah is necessary to deny it the vast European recruiting and fundraising networks it needs to survive.”

Grenell said the German parliament last month called on the government to ban the activities of Hezbollah and for the group to be put on the EU’s terrorist list.
The entire Hezbollah organization is designated as a terrorist group by the US, the UK, Canada, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia and Gulf states among others.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last week called on “all nations” to classify Hezbollah as 
terrorist after the UK said it had added the entire movement to its terrorism blacklist and frozen all its assets.
“Designating Hezbollah as a terrorist organization does no harm to US-Lebanese relations, but it does empower the US to disrupt the international criminal networks that help fund Hezbollah’s support for the (Syrian President Bashar) Assad regime and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps,” he said.
Hezbollah’s large role in the formation of Lebanon’s new government under Prime Minister Hassan Diab is expected to raise concerns over the scale of the group’s hold over the country. The cabinet formed under Prime Minister Hassan Diab is facing mass protests and a dire economic crisis.
Grenell said EU states struggle to reach a consensus on “Hezbollah’s legitimacy due to its political role in Lebanon.”
Washington is “resolute in its efforts to stop the spread of Hezbollah’s terror, but we cannot contain the threat on our own,” he said.


Turkey’s Erdogan says no agreement yet on four-way Syria summit

Updated 25 February 2020

Turkey’s Erdogan says no agreement yet on four-way Syria summit

  • Turkey has sent thousands of troops and equipment to Idlib to head off the campaign driven by Russian air raid

ISTANBUL: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that there was not yet full agreement on holding a proposed March 5 summit with Russia, France and Germany on the conflict in Syria’s Idlib, but he may meet Russia’s Vladimir Putin on that date.
Syrian government forces are pushing to retake the last large rebel-held region in Syria after nine years of war and nearly a million Syrians, mostly women and children, have been displaced by the fighting since early December.
At a news conference in Ankara before departing on a trip to Azerbaijan, Erdogan said that a Russian delegation was set to come to Turkey on Wednesday to discuss the Idlib situation.
“There is no full agreement yet between (French President Emmanuel) Macron ... (German Chancellor Angela) Merkel, and Putin,” he said. Macron and Merkel have both urged Putin to end the conflict, concerned about the humanitarian situation.
On Saturday, Erdogan said that Turkey had set out a “road map” for Syria after calls with the three leaders, while the Kremlin has said it was discussing the possibility of holding a four-way summit.
Turkey has sent thousands of troops and equipment to Idlib to head off the campaign driven by Russian air raids and 17 members of the Turkish forces have been killed. Turkey already hosts 3.7 million Syrian refugees, says it cannot handle another wave and has closed its borders.