The U.S. Ambassador to Berlin, Richard Grenell, has urged Germany to ban the Islamist terror organization Hezbollah from the country. Writing in the German newspaper Die Welt, the envoy called on Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government to outlaw the Iran-backed terrorist group that has been “murdering innocent people from Lebanon to Syria, Thailand, Bulgaria, Spain and Argentina” for 37 years.

“According to the German government’s own domestic intelligence service report, Hezbollah sympathizers are meeting, organizing and raising funds in mosques and cultural associations in Germany,” Ambassador Grenell wrote in the column on Friday. “Recently released videos seem to confirm that terrorist propaganda in support of Hezbollah and the Iranian regime is being tolerated in certain German mosques,” he added.

The European Union banned the “military wing” of Hezbollah in 2013. However, Germany and some EU member states, continue to allow the “political” arm of the Islamic terrorist outfit to operate on their soil. This policy of toleration has made Germany a safe haven for the terrorist group. The country is home to around 1,050 Hezbollah operatives, the German domestic intelligence agency estimated this year. Mosques in Germany have been accused of recruiting for the jihadi group.

“The German government has argued that recognizing Hezbollah as a legitimate part of Lebanon’s government is necessary for political engagement with the Middle Eastern country,” German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle wrote, echoing Berlin’s long-held stance. To be clear: the fiction of separate “military and political arms” of Hezbollah exists only in the minds of the European policy makers. Hezbollah, created and sustained by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard (IRGC), itself a U.S.-designated terrorist organization, recognizes no such distinctions.

Apart from recruiting and finding safe haven, Lebanon-based terrorist group uses Germany as base for terrorism financing and money laundering operation. “Germany is incredibly important for Hezbollah, because Germany is an Eldorado for money laundering,” Ambassador Grenell told Deutsche Welle.

Here is an excerpt from the article penned by the U.S. Ambassador that appeared in Die Welt:

The legal basis for a complete ban on Hezbollah is already there. In November 2015, the German Federal Administrative Court had extended its established ruling regrading Hamas over to Hezbollah. According to this judgement, the Hezbollah in its entirety supports aims and activities that “are contrary to the notion of international understanding.” Among other things the Federal Administrative Court cited that Hezbollah is oriented towards destroying the State of Israel.

Germany’s law on Associations says that German Interior Ministry can ban such such organizations, including those that are domiciled abroad. The Interior Ministry has used this as the basis to ban the political and social activities of the Islamic State and al Qaeda. The activities of Hezbollah can banned in Germany by applying the same legal basis.

There are international precedence for such a ban. The Netherlands, Great Britain, Japan, Canada and the United States have imposed a ban already. Which countries haven’t designated Hezbollah as a terrorist organization? Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, Syria, Iraq, Venezuela and Cuba.  [Translated by the author]

As expected, Chancellor Merkel’s government rejected Washington’s request to bar the terrorist group from operating in the country. Berlin will “continue to ensure the possibility of dialog with all the relevant political forces” in the region, including Iran-backed Hezbollah, the German government said in written response paraphrased by Deutsche Welle. The German Foreign Office also turned down the U.S. envoy’s appeal, local media reports say.

The German state broadcaster Deutsche Welle, which often echoes the stance taken by the political class in Berlin and Brussels, came to the defense of Chancellor Merkel’s government, asking “What good would a German ban do?”

Deutsche Welle columnist Peter Hille highlighted the charity work done by Hezbollah, saying: “The party runs nursery schools and hospitals, teaches in schools.” He conveniently failed to mention that Hezbollah-run Islamic Madrasas were not places of learning, but recruitment and indoctrination centers for the terrorist jihad.

The German state-run Deutsche Welle characterized Berlin’s dealings with Hezbollah terrorist group as legitimate. “German government has argued that recognizing Hezbollah as a legitimate part of Lebanon’s government is necessary for political engagement with the Middle Eastern country,” the broadcaster added.

While Germany pursues the policy of toleration and appeasement towards the Lebanese terrorist group, Hezbollah’s recruitment  numbers in the country continue to rise every passing year. Berlin allows “Hezbollah operatives to raise funds, recruit new members and spread jihadi and antisemitic ideologies in the federal republic,” commented Benjamin Weinthal, Jerusalem Post’s Europe correspondent and fellow for the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD). Ambassador Grenell’s “blistering commentary” in Die Welt “debunked” Chancellor Merkel’s excuses “for not outlawing the Lebanese terrorist organization Hezbollah,” Weinthal added.

Besides hosting Hezbollah’s ‘political wing’, Chancellor Merkel’s government remains the biggest Western backer of the Tehran regime since the U.S. withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal.

Iran, Hezbollah, and Lebanon: Explained

[Cover image via YouTube]

 
 
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