When the European Union voted to add Hezbollah’s name to its list of terrorist organizations, it simultaneously added one more item to the growing list of costs the Lebanese group is incurring for its brazen intervention in Syria’s civil war.
Jumping into the Syrian fray is taking a significant toll on Hezbollah, and it could ultimately take an even greater one on Lebanon. Still, Hezbollah calculates the risk would be even greater if it sat out the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Whether that decision will pay off is yet to be seen.
Europe was careful to name Hezbollah’s “military wing” in its terrorism decision even though the organization is thoroughly unified. In effect, without its military operations Hezbollah would not amount to very much. But some in the EU thought the distinction might help prevent even more instability in fragile Lebanon, where the Shiite militant group is the most powerful political and military player, complete with a private military force that is stronger than the national army.