The Australian government on Wednesday classified all of Hezbollah as a “terrorist organization”, extending to the entire group that controls a large part of Lebanon this classification which until then related only to its armed units.
Powerful Iran-backed Shiite movement “continues to threaten terrorist attacks and support terrorist organizations” and poses a “real” and “credible” threat to Australia, Home Secretary Karen says Andrews.
For the United States and Israel, Hezbollah already classified as terrorist
The United States and Israel have long inscribed Hezbollah on their respective lists of terrorist groups, but other countries refuse to sanction the political wing of the group, fearing it will hamper their relations with the Lebanese authorities or destabilize the country.
The Shiite movement, represented in the Lebanese Parliament, is also the only faction not to have abandoned its military arsenal at the end of the civil war (1975-1990).
It has a powerful militia backed and armed by Iran, which has employed it in its proxy wars in the region.
Membership of the organization or its funding will now be banned in Australia, where a large Lebanese community lives.
Matthew Levitt, former head of the US Treasury, now a Middle East specialist at the Washington Institute, said the decision was “long overdue”. In June, in front of the Australian Parliament, he had considered “insufficient” the way in which the organization had been classified until then, considering that “Hezbollah is structured and functions like a singular organization”.
“In recent years, a list of Hezbollah terrorist plots and illicit financial schemes have involved Australian citizens and / or activity on Australian soil,” he said.
No reason has been given to explain this announcement, which comes at a time when Lebanon is plunged into a deep economic and political crisis.