(New York, NY) – Decades of sectarian fighting in Lebanon have undermined Lebanese sovereignty and allowed global extremist groups like Iranian proxy Hezbollah to flourish in the country.
The competing interests of Lebanon’s Shiite, Sunni, and Christian populations allowed Iran to cultivate the development of Hezbollah in the 1980s. The terrorist group is now a significant military and political power in the country and beyond, playing a key role in propping up Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, which has led to mass casualties and the destruction of Lebanese infrastructure.
Lawmakers in both the U.K. and in the European Parliament have called for sanctioning Hezbollah as a single entity, as does the United States and the Netherlands, rather than treating its military and political wings separately, which has allowed Hezbollah supporters to freely campaign on behalf of the group throughout Europe. The Counter Extremism Projecthas called for a “new realism” about the nature of Hezbollah as “one pernicious terrorist organization founded and bankrolled by Iran.”