The European Union agreed Monday to place the military wing of Hezbollah on its list of banned terrorist organizations, a move Canadian diplomats had lobbied for to contain the violent Lebanese group and its Iranian backers.
Although Canada outlawed Hezbollah as long ago as 2002, the EU had resisted. But the radical Shi'ite group's involvement in Syria and evidence it had bombed a tourist bus in Bulgaria last summer appear to have prompted it to act.
The decision, which the British and Dutch governments had advocated, means Hezbollah's assets will be frozen in 28 European nations, depriving the group of the ability to raise funds on the continent.
But it applies only to the so-called "military wing" of Hezbollah. Canadian anti-terrorism law does not recognize the existence of distinct military and political branches of Hezbollah, since both report to the same leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah.
"The decision is a good start but it ignores the reality that Hezbollah is not a two-winged organization neatly divided between political and military arms," said Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.