- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 10, 2005

Their rally was bigger than our rally. In Lebanon, I mean. Hezbollah’s pro-Syria rally this week was bigger than the opposition parties’ anti-Syria rallies.

I use the terms “their” and “our” loosely, because, after all, where do “we” come in? The United States is opposed to Axis of Evil could-have-been Syria, and is also opposed to the terror army Hezbollah. Fine. But when I read that Lebanon’s anti-Syria opposition parties — our guys? — are trying to ally themselves with Hezbollah in their struggle against Syria, I think maybe I’d like to watch things thaw some more before diving in. “In recent remarks,” the Globe and Mail reported last week, Druze politico Walid Jumblatt, “one of the main leaders of the anti-Syrian opposition, has gone out of his way to praise Hezbollah’s head, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, as a ‘great leader,’ and has repeatedly called on him to join the opposition.”

That was last week. This week, with Hezbollah’s big showing for Syria in Martyrs’ Square, it looks as if Mr. Jumblatt’s gambit didn’t work. Or didn’t work yet. Such maneuverings in Middle Eastern politics (where Mr. Nasrallah, incidentally, is the democraticallyelected leader of Hezbollah, which controls 13 seats in the Lebanese parliament) show how the enemy of your enemy can really turn out to be your enemy — certainly not someone to wave large flags over. But I can think of more clear-cut and effective uses of people power. For instance: filling Europe’s much more picturesque city squares with flag-of-their-choice demonstrators calling for the EU to designate Hezbollah a terrorist organization.

Incredibly enough, the EU does not consider Hezbollah to be a terrorist organization. But it was the terrorists of Hezbollah, aka the Party of Allah, that killed 241 Marines and 24 U.S. embassy personnel in Beirut in 1983; they also kidnapped and murdered U.S. Army Col. William Higgins and the CIA’s William Buckley. In 1994, the group killed 95 Argentinian Jews at a a community center; in 1996, it was 19 U.S. servicemen at the Khobar Towers.

From its terror-training camps in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, Hezbollah operates a mini-United Nations of terror, with trainees coming from al Qaeda, Chechnya, Colombia’s Medellin drug cartel, Hamas, Japan, the Balkans and Northern Ireland. Elsewhere in the world, the group’s activities are reported to include the drug trade, counterfeiting and human trafficking, not to mention your basic blood-curdling cries of jihad against the United States and Israel. Last year, the AP reported that Hezbollah had become a “key sponsor” of terrorism against the Jewish state, funding Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and taking over “some cells of Al Aqsa Martyr’s Brigades … and turning them into a proxy army.”

But the EU says no, Hezbollah is not a terrorist group. Or, rather, the EU says Hezbollah is not a terrorist group, because, of course, it is La France that is most vigorously warding off Hezbollah’s scarlet “T.” Which makes Paris a good-and-plenty picturesque place for demonstrations to begin. So what if French President Jacques Chirac said the timing is not right for the terror-tag, even after the disco bombing in Tel Aviv last month, which Israel attributes to Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and Syria. Where France is concerned, it never is the right time.

Meanwhile, Hezbollah’s Mr. Nasrallah himself — Walid Jumblatt’s idea of a great leader and, not incidentally, Mr. Chirac’s idea of a great guest (he honored the terror kingpin with an invitation to a Francophone summit in 2002) — has given the EU the best possible reason to declare his terrorist organization … well, a terrorist organization. As reported by WorldNetDaily, Nasrallah told Al Manar, which is Hezbollah TV, that being designated a terrorist organization by the EU would “destroy” Hezbollah. “The sources of [our] funding will dry up,” he said, “and the sources of moral, political and material support will be destroyed.”

This is a stunning statement. First, Mr. Nasrallah is saying that it is Europe and its blessing — and its political and material support — that is keeping his hellish organization in business in the first place. He is also saying that a little diplomatic name-calling (“terrorist”), plus the diplomatic measures that follow from it, are all it takes to rid the planet of Hezbollah. Logical question: Why doesn’t the EU get the paperwork going toute de suite? Horrifying answer: It doesn’t want to.

In fact, all that’s happening with the EU’s list of terror organizations right now is a French and Spanish effort to remove Hamas, Hezbollah’s terrorists-in-arms, from the list. Which just goes to show that democracy in action is not always a cause for celebration.

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