Having an internationally accepted definition of terrorism is not an easy task and has not been achieved to this date. However, many experts would agree that – although this definition is difficult to achieve – terrorism will be comprised of the following elements: the threat of or the use of violence; attacking civilian targets; aiming to achieve political goals. Based on these three elements, Hezbollah can be categorized, without any doubt, as a terrorist organization and should therefore be designated as such.
Hezbollah is a hierarchical hybrid terrorist organization comprising three branches: the political wing, the social wing, and terrorist / military (Jihad) wing. The three branches of the organization are all managed and controlled directly by the organizations Supreme Leader - Hassan Nasrallah via the Shura Council.
The designation of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization is based on the following arguments and facts:• The organizations goals and vision –
• The use of violence against civilians –
• Terrorism against civilian targets abroad –
• The use of terrorism in the political arena in Lebanon –
At this point it must be asked why Hezbollah is not listed as a terrorist organization by the United Nations as well as by most countries in the world? And why is the organization as a whole only designated by four countries as a terrorist organization (Israel, United States, Netherlands, and Canada)? Furthermore, why do a limited number of countries only designate the terrorist wing of the organization (United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand)?
While there are many arguments for not fully designating Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, this is not the place to detail them. These opinions usually lie between two extreme points along the scale. The first one: the lack of international consensus on the definition of terrorism, national political interests,3 lack of knowledge about the organization, lack of desire to be involved, and the second is an acceptance of Hezbollah's campaign of be considered a legitimate Lebanese political party.
However, Hezbollah does not view itself as a divided organization, with no connections between its Jihadi and political wings. Therefore international declarations that only parts of Hezbollah are a terrorist organization is problematic and is considered a "fig leaf”. On several occasions throughout its historical development, Hezbollah itself has stated clear and precise language that it is a hierarchical organization, operating as a single unit, under the control of a single leadership headed by Hassan Nasrallah via the Shura Council which represents all wings of the organization.4 The entrance of Hezbollah into politics did not restrain the organizations violence approach as it did with Hamas or other Islamic actors like Iran after the revolution. Its power has been used to implement Sharia law and Islamic ideology.
In summary, the Burgas attack and the findings of the Bulgarian government investigation, indicate that the terrorist organization Hezbollah is behind the attack. This is not a one-time phenomenon or event; rather, it is Hezbollah’s continuous policy and strategy, supported by Iran, aimed at the use of violence to target civilians to achieve the organizations goals. Whether it be by firing rockets at civilian population centers in Israel or terrorist attacks against Israeli and Jewish targets abroad, or whether it is an attack against the Lebanese opponents of the organization, or foreigners in Lebanon or abroad.In order to effectively cope with Hezbollah's activities, the international community must come to a broader understanding that Hezbollah is a terrorist organization and it must be branded as such and outlawed in as many countries as possible.
1. Azani, Eitan, Hezbollah's Strategy of “Walking on the Edge“: Between Political Game and Political Violence, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, pp. 741-759(19), November 2012. 2. In 2011 the International appointed Special Tribunal to Lebanon, which resides in the Hauge, issued four arrest warrants against Hezbollah operatives, including senior commander Mustafa Badr Al Din, brother in law of Imad Mughniyeh, on charges of planning and executing the assignation of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. 3. Europe’s political considerations stem from the concern for the stability of Lebanon, as well as to the safety of UNIFIL as many European countries are contributing members.4.Dr. Col. (Res.) Eitan Azani , Hezbollah – a global terrorist organization – situational report as of September 2006."House Committee on International Relations – Subcommittee on International Terrorism and Nonproliferation", http://www.investigativeproject.org/documents/testimony/260.pdf