It is a measure of the EU foreign policy establishment’s timidity that Lebanese terror group and Iranian proxy, Hizbollah, has for so long evaded designation as a terrorist organisation.
And it is a similar measure of the mental capacity of that foreign policy establishment that their best excuse for not following the US in making such a designation is that Hizbollah has both military and political wings. So did the Nazis.
Fascist organisations always aim to engage in social and political issues, partly as a matter of ideological belief and partly because that is how they widen their appeal.
If we reward terror groups that make inroads into politics by turning a blind eye to the vile activities that got them there in the first place, we then become part of the problem, not the solution.
Yet, depressingly, it was no surprise that EU foreign policy supremo Catherine Ashton’s first response to Bulgaria’s Burgas investigation was to tiptoe around the blindingly obvious and call for more time. “We have to reflect on the consequences, we have to consult and come back,” she said.
The British Foreign Office, as ever, is in two minds. Foreign Secretary William Hague is calling for a tough response. But his institutionally anti-Zionist department will be fighting him all the way.
For its part, France, the former colonial power over Lebanon, has hardly covered itself in glory. Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said last year that a ban on Hizbollah was unwarranted unless a successful legal case presented itself as the basis for such a move. It seems unlikely that Hizbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah is minded to jump on a plane to Sofia to clear his name.
Five Israeli tourists were slaughtered in cold blood in Bulgaria. If they had been French, German or British, there would be nothing to discuss. But because they came from Israel, it’s all an embarrassment and the powers that be want to sweep it under the carpet.
There were well-founded rumours that Bulgaria, fearful of causing “problems” for Ashton et al was going to buckle and fail even to mention Hizbollah. Sofia deserves congratulations for having had the courage to tell the truth.
That is not how it will be seen in Brussels. For them, this is just another Israel-related headache.