UK plans to ban Hizballah's political wing

UK plans to ban Hizballah's political wing
The UK government has made plans to ban all elements of the Lebanese Islamist Hizballah movement.
2 min read
28 September, 2018
The UK will soon ban the political wing of Hizballah [AFP]

All factions of Iranian-backed Hizballah will soon be banned from in the UK, according to a report by British newspaper the Jewish Chronicle this week.

Currently, only the armed wing of the Lebanese Islamist movement is banned in the country, with the political division able to operate in the UK, through its activists and sympathisers. 

This includes the annual pro-Palestine Al-Quds Day March rally in central London, where the yellow banner of Hizballah is frequently seen - the flag is shared by both the political and military wings of the group.

UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid is set to announce the move to ban all elements of movement, at the Conservative Party Conference next week.

A blanket ban has been a demand of anti-Hizballah campaigners, including Jewish activists, who view the organisation as a terror group.

Another supporter of a ban is Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who has described Hizballah as an "outrageous, disgusting" group.

Hizballah have fought a number battles against Israel, including a bloody war in 2006 for both sides.

The armed group has also been accused of targeting civilians across the world, including rocket attacks on Israeli towns and bombings of Jewish centres.

Recently, drew criticism across the Arab world for its involvement in the Syria war, backing Bashar al-Assad's regime in its brutal suppression of civilians and opposition groups.

Its close ties with Iran and the Syrian regime has seen it branded as a "terrorist organisation" by the Arab League, while countries such as the US and Canada have also banned the movement. 

But supporters claim the political wing represents a large part of the Lebanese population, and is a key component to the balance of power in Lebanon.

The move is viewed as a way for the UK to put pressure on Iran, who have imprisoned a British-Iranian mother, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, on trumped up charges of spying.

It would also provide ammunition for the Conservative Party against Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who in the past called Hizballah activists "friends" - a word he later said he regretted using.

Corbyn has in turn attacked the Conservative government's foreign policy and particular its support for Saudi Arabia – a key rival of Iran and Hizballah in the region.