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.


UK resumes flights to Egyptian resort of Sharm El-Sheikh 

Updated 35 min 39 sec ago

UK resumes flights to Egyptian resort of Sharm El-Sheikh 

  • TUI flight from London’s Gatwick Airport to Egyptian resort town greeted with celebrations
  • Travel halted in November 2015 following bombing of Russian airliner

LONDON: After almost five years of tourist restrictions to Sharm El-Sheikh, the first flights from Britain have resumed.
Travel to the popular Egyptian holiday destination was halted in November 2015 following the bombing of a Russian airliner immediately after take-off. All 224 passengers and crew on board were killed.
A TUI flight from London’s Gatwick Airport to the Egyptian resort town was greeted with celebrations when it landed on Sunday. 
One passenger told The Guardian newspaper that fire engines sprayed celebratory water jets over the plane as it taxied across the runway.
TUI, Britain’s biggest travel agency, announced in 2019 that flights to Sharm El-Sheikh would resume in February. 
Before the UK’s Foreign Office and Department of Transport imposed restrictions on Britons flying to the resort, the Red Sea destination had enjoyed hundreds of British tourists every year. 
But the ban required tourists to embark on multiple flights or take a ferry from Hurghada. Now-defunct airline Monarch blamed the restrictions on its decline. 
Despite the celebratory arrival of the TUI flight, heavy security measures remain in place in Sharm El-Sheikh.