Hezbollah designated as a 'terrorist organization' by Australia

Supporters of Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah chant slogans in a southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon (Photo: AP)

Australia designated Hezbollah in its whole as a "terrorist organization" on Wednesday, extending an existing prohibition on armed groups to the entire organization, which has significant influence over Lebanon.

Minister for Home Affairs Karen Andrews said the Iran-backed Shi'ite organization "continues to threaten terrorist attacks and provide support to terrorist organizations," posing a "real" and "credible" threat to Australia.

Hezbollah has been declared a terrorist organization by portions of the West. However, several governments have been hesitant to outlaw the group's political wing, fearful that doing so might destabilize Lebanon and obstruct cooperation with authorities.

Hezbollah defies easy categorization, functioning as a political party, a militant group, and a provider of essential services to Lebanon's Shi'ite community.

It is the only faction that has refused to disarm since its bloody civil war concluded in 1990.

The organization's membership and funding will now be prohibited in Australia, which has a sizable Lebanese minority.

The timing of the decision, which comes as Lebanon struggles with mounting political and economic woes, was not specified.

Nearly 80% of the population is estimated to live in poverty.

Elections are scheduled for March 2022, and public outrage over nepotism and corruption among Lebanon's governing class is growing.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett applauded the move and expressed gratitude to Australian Foreign Minister Scott Morrison.

"I welcome Australia's intent to declare Hezbollah a terrorist organization in its entirety," he wrote on Twitter. "Hezbollah is an Iranian-backed terror organization in Lebanon responsible for countless attacks in Israel & around the world."

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid also expressed gratitude for Australia's decision, noting that Canberra is a "close friend of Israel in the fight against global terrorism."

Publish : 2021-11-24 15:53:00

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