“Hezbollah, with all its formations has become a banned terrorist organization in Germany,” the spokesperson of the German Ministry of Interior tweeted, revealing a decision of the Angela Merkel’s government made against the Iranian-backed Lebanese group.
That decision announces the start of a new phase in the war against the Shiite extremism, especially with Hezbollah being considered as the most expanding militia in the world, already having revealed its violent, criminal and inhuman activities in Europe, Latin America, and Africa, apart from the Middle East.
No Difference between Hezbollah’s Military and Political Wing
Classifying Hezbollah as a terrorist organization by the EU member states is one of long standing, as it started in 2013, when the EU included the military wing of Hezbollah on its terror list, not including its political wing, despite the statements of Hezbollah’s Deputy Secretary General, Naim Qassem, neglecting the separation of the two wings, underlining that both parts belong to the same authority.
According to a study published by the Berlin-based AJC Ramer Institute, Hezbollah’s presence in Europe dates back at least twenty years, where it sought to create financial, banking and commercial networks through a number of its Lebanese supporters residing in EU.
The study stresses the impossibility of having a political dialogue with Hezbollah and dividing the group into political and military wings is not realistic, thus it is important to include the whole organization to EU’s terror list.
The Washington Institute for Near East Policy reaffirmed in a study issued in 2013 that the pro-Iranian organization is led by a unified administration, citing other statements of Naim Qassem, in which he confirmed that all political social and jihadist activities are linked to the decisions of that administration that , being responsible for parliamentary and governmental action as well as the jihadi actions in its war against Israel.
The Game of Drugs and Fatwa
The German government’s reaction against Hezbollah’s activities was not based on the organization’s terrorism, politics and faith, it was in fact based on the activities of Hezbollah’s networks that commit organized crimes in Germany. A statement by the German Prosecutor General in 2018 revealed that 36 investigations were carried out that year on crimes committed in Germany, where persons belonging to Hezbollah were involved.
The group relies on a large group of families from South Lebanon, who migrated to Germany in the 1980s during the Lebanese civil war. Most of those families settled in Berlin, where about 250 pro-Hezbollah persons live, carrying out commercial, financial and social activities in the name of their terror organization.
The drug trade is one major part of Hezbollah’s activities in Germany through some loyal families, based on the fatwa issued by the organization’s religious references in 1980, justifying drug trafficking by saying that narcotics would only be sold to the devil – America and the Israel – and if the organization could not kill them with weapons, it could kill them with drugs.
In this context, an article issued by the German newspaper Tagesspiegel at the end of 2019 is referring to the organization’s role in the global drug trafficking through Germany, revealing the path of drug shipments coming from South America to Germany, the money earned of that trade being invested by the organization in buying weapons and financing its military operations.
The newspaper also indicated that drug trade activity in Germany increased during the past few years together with money-laundering activities, as the organization felt the looming financial crisis caused by the economic pressures imposed on Iran by the West.
Recruitment and Terrorism
Some reports of the AJC Ramer Institute showed that Hezbollah was taking advantage of the recent refugees’ influx into Germany, where the organization attempted to recruit minor refugees who were unaccompanied by family members, luring them into Hezbollah communities. In 2016, German authorities monitored activities of two pro-Hezbollah members participating in refugees’ support works.
A report issued by the German intelligence indicates that the organization owns around 1050 active members in Germany, spread over several provinces, most notably in the capital Berlin and in North-Rhine-Westphalia, particularly in the cities of Essen, Gelsenkirchen and Duisburg, where the Lebanese mafias is heavily present, in addition to Hamburg and Bremen. The organization operates 30 mosques and religious associations, in which regular meetings of Hezbollah agents are held.
The Federal State Minister of Culture, Monika Gruetters has cancelled the candidacy of the Refugee Club Association – in which Hezbollah members work – for a special prize for cultural projects with refugees, after some photos showed members of the association participating in pro-Hezbollah demonstrations. Official information confirm that the Refugee Club Association had applied for a 100 million euro grant from the fund of a cultural education project in Berlin. The request was rejected by the German administration because members of the association have connections with Hezbollah.