Why is Hezbollah on the Terrorism List?
By FRANKLIN LAMB
It was a sign of the times last week (March 27) when House Armed Services Committee Staff Director Erin Conaton declared in a memo to committee staffers that the powerful committee was scrapping the Bush Administration shop worn phrase, Global War of Terrorism. Conaton’s boss, Rep. Ike Skelton,( D-Mo) the new Chairman of the Committee commented that “the overused label had become an embarrassment and had lost its meaning”.
Recent research in Lebanon has turned up information previously unavailable which sheds light of the misapplication of the Terrorism label by the Bush administration.
The” T word” is often misapplied as former National Security Advisor Brzezinski reminds us as he tours the country promoting his new book, Second Chance and focusing on the “catastrophic leadership” crisis caused by the Bush administration’s foreign policy.
Another area that would benefit from discarding the “terrorist label” is the Bush administration’s ongoing campaign against Hezbollah. There is considerable doubt among international lawyers whether Hezbollah should ever have been classified as a terrorist organization.
At the urging of U.S. and Israel, Canada classifies Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, which limits the group’s ability to raise funds and travel internationally. . A Canadian peace coalition called Tadamon Montreal is working to remove Hezbollah from the Terrorism list in Canada.
Australia and the UK distinguish between Hezbollah’s security and political wings, and other countries like China, Russia, and member states of the European Union and the United Nations have refused US/Israel demands to label Hezbollah a terrorist organization at all.
The process for putting an organization on the “Terrorism list” is as follows: The Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism in the U.S. State Department (S/CT) monitors the activities of groups active around the world considered potentially terrorist to identify potential targets for designation. When reviewing potential targets, S/CT looks not only at the actual terrorist attacks that a group has carried out, but also at “whether the group may be inclined toward future acts of terrorism or retains the capability to carry out such acts”.
As of April 2007, a plurality (39%) of the organizations on the US Terrorism list represent Muslim groups recommended for inclusion by, among others, AIPAC and their friends in Congress. According to former AIPAC Director of Congressional Relations, Steve Rosen, soon to start his trial for passing classified information to Israel, “AIPAC owns the ‘T’ list!”
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