Britain to ban Hezbollah under anti-terror laws

Britain moves to outlaw Hezbollah in its entirety

Britain moves to outlaw Hezbollah in its entirety

Britain said on Monday it would ban Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed group that plays a pivotal role in Lebanese politics, adding the Shi'ite organization in its entirety to its list of banned terrorist organizations.

"We are staunch supporters of a stable and prosperous Lebanon".

The European Union blacklisted the group's military wing in 2013, but has resisted pressure to outlaw its political arm.

Subject to Parliament's approval, the order will go into effect on Friday and being a member, or inviting support for Hizbullah will be a criminal offense, carrying a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.

Hezbollah is an illegal, anti-Semitic group, designated as a terror organization in its entirety by the Arab League, Bahrain, Canada, France, Israel, Australia, the Netherlands, and the United States.

"It is clear the distinction between Hezbollah's military and political wings does not exist, and by proscribing Hezbollah in all its forms, the government is sending a clear signal that its destabilising activities in the region are totally unacceptable and detrimental to the UK's national security", he said.

There was no immediate reaction from Hezbollah to the British move.

The British government is also banning Ansarul Islam, a jihadist group which emerged near the border between Mali and Burkina Faso in 2016, and the Group to Support Islam and Muslims (JNIM), which has sworn allegiance to Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb.

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Chris Doyle, director of the Council for Advancing Arab-British Relations, told MEE the move was risky in terms of engaging with United Kingdom attempts to engage with Lebanese political and civil society.

The British government also accused the organisation of amassing weapons in contravention of UN Security Council resolutions and of prolonging "the conflict and the regime's brutal and violent repression of the Syrian people".

U.S. officials have expressed concern Hezbollah would exploit the Lebanese ministries it runs to funnel money to fund the group's operations after it won three seats in the government past year.

In Britain, Hezbollah has been a topic of internal political controversy, with opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn criticised by opponents for once calling the group friends.

He has defended his comments arguing that he used it in the collective sense and that the group were important for the Middle East peace process.

The march regularly features the flag of Hezbollah and has been heavily criticised by London mayor Sadiq Khan.

According to the article, an MP well-versed with the plan to ban Hezbollah said: "It has been worked on for some time and is now imminent - and long overdue".

He said: "I have been clear that anti-Semitism and hate crime has no place whatsoever in our city or in our society. I've raised my deep concerns about the support shown for Hezbollah at the annual Al Quds march in London on a number of occasions - and the fact the Home Secretary has finally listened and is taking action is welcome", he wrote.

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