Late Wednesday night, Germany shifted its official policy toward Hezbollah and conducted raids on multiple local headquarters. The nation’s prior stance on the Iran-backed organization was to ban its military wing but allow political activities, which is in keeping with official EU policy. They have become less permissive yet, banning both wings and declaring the group a terrorist organization.
In keeping with the new designation, German agents flooded into known Hezbollah locations in German cities in the early morning hours today. Mosque associations and homes of known Hezbollah leaders were raided in the Berlin, Bremen, Dortmund and Munster regions. Roughly 1050 individuals are reported to be a German list of people associated with the organization’s “hardliners”, and those thousand-plus are being brought in for questioning or permanently detained.
As Al Jazeera reports, Hezbollah rejects any notion of “hardline” or “moderate” wings which would indicate that the entire organization recognizes itself as “hardline” and the German designation may be for political show.
Among the fundamental tenets of the organization are entrenched biases against Jews including a belief that Israel has no right to exist. This mirrors some Nazi policy which has long been illegal throughout Germany.
Deutsche Welle interviewed Omid Nouripour, foreign policy spokesman for the Green Party in Bundestag, on the raid. Their response indicates support for the move even among some opposition political parties.
Nouripour described the action as “absolutely correct” and said Hezbollah had been “trying to find funding in Germany for their work in Lebanon and in Syria, and they are trying to recruit people. This is not something we can accept on our soil.”
Israel and the U.S., which have been pressuring Germany to declare Hezbollah a terrorist organization, both praised the move. It is likely to strain relations with Lebanon, but due to Iran’s current dependency on Germany and the EU is unlikely to trigger a direct response from that nation.
Germany joins the U.S., the Netherlands, U.K., Canada, Israel, Japan, Argentina, Paraguay and many Persian Gulf nations in their Hezbollah designation.