The UK just voted to ban Hezbollah’s political wing after the British Home Secretary announced his country’s intent to do so. News about this initiative generated a flurry of responses across social media, ranging from those on the pro-Israeli side of the spectrum lauding it while those who align with the “Resistance” strongly condemned it. Many people also voiced concerns that the group’s terrorist designation will be abused to crack down on activists who celebrate Hezbollah’s pivotal contribution to defeating Daesh and saving Christian communities in Syria, equating the UK government’s move to a dystopian development that will herald further censorship.
Those concerns are legitimate and grounded in reality given the so-called “national security state” that the UK has transformed into over the past two decades, but it should also be said that the banning of Hezbollah’s political wing will bring an end to the massive misconception that there exist different factions within the organization and that its political activities are somehow separate from its military ones. To be clear, this isn’t to argue in favor of Hezbollah’s banning, but just to point out that the organization operates as a unitary actor without any serious internal divisions, let alone between its political and military wings, but this false notion was used by the group and its supporters to previously prevent its total banning.
This artificial differentiation provided a temporary workaround to avoid having the whole organization designated as a “terrorist group” and therefore allowed its supporters in the UK to retain their right to celebrate its anti-terrorist peacemaking accomplishments in Syria for example, but Hezbollah is first and foremost the vanguard of the “Resistance” and is completely dedicated to the eventual liberation of Palestine. It’s also the most effective fighting force that the Israeli military has confronted in recent years after it expelled its neighbor’s forces from Southern Lebanon during the 2006 conflict there, which is one of the reasons why pro-Israeli lobbies the world over hate it so much and were therefore overjoyed at the UK’s intent to ban it entirely.
In view of all the aforementioned, the larger issues at play aren’t whether a difference exists between Hezbollah’s political and military wings, but whether the organization should be banned in the first place and the consequences that this could have for British citizens’ freedom to express their gratitude for the group’s sacrifices protecting Christian communities in Syria. The organization is obviously polarizing and has its fair share of supporters and detractors across the world, but the timing of the UK’s announcement suggests that the country might be trying to get on Israel’s good side before Brexit in a bid to prevent its so-called “self-imposed isolation” that critics are fearmongering about, which in that case would make this more about pleasing a foreign government than anything else.
By Andrew Korybko
Source: Oriental Review