Australia on Wednesday listed Hezbollah as a “terrorist organization”, extending the current blockade of armed forces across the organization, with a strong presence over Lebanon.
Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews said the Iranian-backed Shiite group “continues to threaten terrorist attacks and supports terrorist organizations” and poses a “real” and “credible” threat to Australia.
Hezbollah despises a simple definition – working as part of a political party, part of an armed group and part of a range of basic service providers in the Shiite Lebanese community.
It claims to be responsible for a series of rocket attacks on Israel and is the only party that has refused to disarm since the catastrophic civil war ended in 1990.
Some countries have sought to separate the Hezbollah political party from militants, fearing that a full-blown embargo could disrupt Lebanon and disrupt communications with the authorities.
Australia since 2003 shut down Hezbollah called the External Security Organization.
From now on membership in the whole organization or funding will now be banned in Australia, which has a large Lebanese population.
Matthew Levitt, a former U.S. finance minister who now has a Washington Institue for Near East policy, said the move was “out of date.”
In June, he testified in the Australian parliament that previous appointments were “not enough” adding that “Hezbollah is organized and operates as a single party.”
“In recent years a list of Hezbollah terrorist uniforms and illegal financial systems have put Australian citizens and / or jobs on Australian soil,” he said.
No reason has been given for the Canberra decision, which helps as Lebanon rebels against ongoing political and economic problems.
About 80 percent of Lebanon’s population is estimated to live below the poverty line.
Elections are expected in March 2022 and public outcry over racism and corruption within the Lebanese ruling party is growing.
The move could play well at home for the Australian government, ahead of its expected election next year.
Ahead of the 2018 vote, Prime Minister Scott Morrison performed a miracle recognizing western Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, helping secure votes in the Sydney war zone with a large Jewish community.
The Israeli ambassador to Canberra welcomed the decision, saying “there is no division between the political and military group of the Hezbollah terrorist group, and this acknowledgment is crucial in combating the ongoing threat of terrorism.”
Andrews also announced on Wednesday that Australia would be listing the far right side of “The Base.”
“They are a violent new, racist Nazi party known to the security forces for organizing and preparing for terrorist attacks,” Andrews said.
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