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Road to Proscription: The EU and Hezbollah since the Arab Spring. EU Diplomacy Paper 07/2013

O’Sullivan, Domhnall (2013) Road to Proscription: The EU and Hezbollah since the Arab Spring. EU Diplomacy Paper 07/2013. [Policy Paper]

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    The European Union (EU) has traditionally taken a rather nuanced view of the activities of Hezbollah. Despite historic links to violent activity, Europe always remained reluctant to place the Lebanese militant group on its list of terrorist organisations. Internal divergences among member states, as well as the strategic-realist goals of the EU in both Lebanon and the Middle East more generally meant that such a listing never materialised. This remained the case even in the initial turmoil following the Arab uprisings, when Hezbollah’s relatively moderating objectives were viewed as a force for stability. However, the EU shifted policy in July 2013 by listing the military wing of Hezbollah as a terrorist entity. This paper will investigate the reasons behind this decision, as well as the likely implications and effectiveness of the new policy. Two principal catalysts were behind the decision. The first was a Hezbollah-linked bombing in Bulgaria which provided the focal point around which a consensus of the EU member states could emerge in the Council. Secondly, the escalation both of the Syrian conflict and Hezbollah’s role in it provided a more political and strategic impetus for the decision. This paper maintains that although a change in policy was somewhat necessary, it is questionable whether the artificial separation of Hezbollah’s political and military wings and the symbolic proscription of the latter is the most propitious choice to achieve European objectives.

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    Item Type: Policy Paper
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > External relations > EU-Middle East
    EU policies and themes > External relations > EU-Islam
    EU policies and themes > External relations > EU-North Africa/Maghreb
    EU policies and themes > External relations > conflict resolution/crisis management
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Series: Series > College of Europe (Brugge) > EU Diplomacy Paper
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2014 12:26
    Number of Pages: 35
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2014 12:26

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