Estonia imposes sanctions on Hezbollah members

The Estonian government on 22 October decided to impose sanctions in response to terrorist acts of Hezbollah, a Shia Islamist political party and militant group based in Lebanon. 

“Hezbollah poses a considerable threat to international – and thereby Estonian – security. With this step Estonia stands by the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany and Lithuania as well as other countries who have concluded that Hezbollah uses terrorist means and constitutes a threat to the security of many states,” the Estonian foreign minister, Urmas Reinsalu, said in a statement.

The prohibition of entry applies to Hezbollah affiliates about whom there is information or there are reasonable grounds to believe that their activity supports terrorism and who therefore pose a threat to the Estonian as well as international security, the foreign ministry said.

The detailed list of persons subject to Estonia’s sanctions will be determined by the foreign ministry.

A terrorist organisation

Hezbollah is a Shiite Muslim political party and militant group based in Lebanon, where its extensive security apparatus, political organisation and social services network fostered its reputation as “a state within a state”, according to the Council on Foreign Relations, a New York-based think tank. “Founded in the chaos of the fifteen-year Lebanese Civil War, the Iran-backed group is driven by its opposition to Israel and its resistance to Western influence in the Middle East.”

With its history of carrying out global terrorist attacks, parts of Hezbollah – and in some cases the entire organisation – have been designated as a terrorist group by the United States, United Kingdom, France, Canada, Japan and many other countries. In recent years, long-standing alliances with Iran and Syria have embroiled the group in the civil war in Syria, where its support for Bashar al-Assad’s regime has transformed Hezbollah into an increasingly effective military force.

Cover: Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah, the current secretary general of Hezbollah. Photo by Wikipedia, shared under the Creative Commons 4.0 licence.

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