This article was published in the North Wales Weekly News on Wednesday 31 January.
Events in the Middle East may appear of little relevance to the residents of the North Wales coast.
However, such is our interconnected world that they have more importance than we might think.
Last Thursday, the Commons debated a motion calling for the proscription, in its entirety, of the Lebanese terrorist group, Hezbollah. At present, only Hezbollah’s military wing is banned, under the provisions of the Terrorism Act 2000.
Hezbollah is a militant Islamist organisation established in the early 1980s under the tutelage of the Iranian revolutionary regime. It pledges loyalty to the Iranian supreme leader and its aim, set out in its 1985 manifesto, is resistance to Israel and the United States. “Resistance” is Hezbollah code for terrorist activity, and since it was founded it has been responsible for the deaths of countless numbers of people around the world. Indeed, until the 9/11 attacks on New York City, Hezbollah was responsible for the deaths of more Americans than any other terrorist group.
I spoke in the debate, pointing out that the distinction that Governments of all colours had drawn between Hezbollah’s military and political wings was entirely illusory. As long ago as 2000, Hezbollah’s own deputy secretary-general, Naim Qassem, had declared:
“Hezbollah’s secretary-general is the head of the Shura Council and also the head of the Jihad Council, and this means that we have one leadership with one administration.”
Every single speaker in the debate urged that Hezbollah should be entirely proscribed. Except, that is, for the Government minister who replied to the debate, and his Labour opposite number, who were concerned that banning the organisation might destabilise the political situation in Lebanon. This despite that fact that four Hezbollah operatives are currently standing trial for the murder of the late Lebanese Prime Minister, Rafik Hariri.
All this matters to us because Hezbollah is on our streets here in Britain, brandishing its militaristic symbols in Islamist demonstrations and engaging in activities such as drug trafficking and money laundering.
I believe it is a danger to British citizens; and that is why I will continue to press for it to be banned.