Women throw petals at the first convoy of Iranian fuel brought into Lebanon by Hezbollah on 16 September, 2021. (Photo credit: Reuters)
On 23 November, the Australian government designated Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, making it illegal to be a member of the group under threat of imprisonment for up to 25 years.
The designation covers the entirety of the movement, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). Hezbollah’s military wing has been on Australia’s terror list since 2003.
Alongside Hezbollah, Canberra also listed a global neo-Nazi group as a terrorist organization.
In response, Hezbollah has condemned the decision, calling it a “humiliating submission to American and Zionist dictates.”
“This decision will not affect Hezbollah’s position and its natural right to resist, defend its country and people, and support resistance movements against the occupation and Zionist aggression,” the statement goes on to add.
Australia’s harsh decision comes just two months after the country signed a security pact with the UK and the US in what has been called an effort to counter China’s growing influence across the globe.
Under the trilateral agreement, Australia will become only the second country after the UK to be given access to the US nuclear technology to build nuclear-powered submarines.
Since May this year, the US has called on the international community to “take action” against Hezbollah. Most recently, Saudi Arabia classified the Lebanon-based Al-Qard Al-Hassan association as a “terrorist” entity, citing links to activities supporting Hezbollah.
There are also widespread accusations that the US embassy in Lebanon has been manipulating an investigation into last year’s blast at the Port of Beirut to persecute members and allies of Hezbollah and other resistance factions.
Late last year, leaked documents from the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) showed that London has been carrying out its own secret war in Lebanon, deploying influence operations that target Lebanese youth and civil society to shape the direction of mass protests that took place in 2019 in service of British interests.