Australia ends the distinction between the military wing and the political wing of Hezbollah. The government classified, Wednesday, November 24, the entire Lebanese movement as “Terrorist organization”.

The powerful Shiite movement “Continues to threaten terrorist attacks and support terrorist organizations” and poses a threat “Real” and “Credible” for Australia, justified the Australian Minister of the Interior, Karen Andrews. Membership of the organization or its funding will now be banned in Australia, where a large Lebanese community lives.

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The Shiite movement, represented in the Lebanese Parliament, is 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.

Some countries, such as the United States, Israel, but also Germany, have already included Hezbollah on their respective lists of terrorist groups. Other countries, including France, however, refuse to sanction the political wing of the group, fearing that this could hamper their relations with the Lebanese authorities or does not further destabilize the country, largely controlled by movement.

Decision hailed by Israel

Naftali Bennett, Prime Minister of Israel, hailed Canberra’s decision, calling his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison a«Ami». “Hezbollah is an Iranian-backed Lebanese terrorist organization responsible for countless attacks in Israel and around the world”, he tweeted.

In December 2018, Scott Morrison decided to recognize West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. He had raised this possibility a little earlier, a few days before a by-election, but crucial for his narrow majority, thus hoping to seduce the Jewish electorate.

On Wednesday, the Israeli embassy in Canberra welcomed the announcement by the interior minister, saying that“There is no division between the political and military branch of the terrorist organization Hezbollah”. “This recognition is essential to combat the enduring threat of terrorism”, she added.

No reason was given to explain this decision, taken at a time when Lebanon was plunged into a deep economic crisis and politics. The Lebanese, nearly 80% of whom live below the poverty line, are struggling to survive on limited income, endless power cuts, various shortages, including fuel, and very high inflation.

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The World with AFP

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