On designations

So everyone is talking about the latest EU designation of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization and I just got a call from UK-based channel Arise News for a comment. “How will this affect Lebanon,” they eagerly asked me.

I told them this is the latest in a series of designations Lebanon has faced over the years. Last year, a Lebanese bank was designated as a “primary money laundering concern” by the US government, a designation that led to pressure on the entire Lebanese banking system.

Numerous other designations have affected Lebanese tourism, most recently by Gulf countries, designating Lebanon as too dangerous to visit.

The US government had banned travel to Lebanon for over a decade, and has also listed Lebanon’s Al Manar channel as a specially-desiganted terrorist television entity in 2006. Of course all this designating never stopped the US from doing businesses in Lebanon, where it maintains a massive embassy, a wide-array of development programs and frequent commentary from the US ambassador in Beirut who is often seen on Lebanese TV–including Al Manar– meeting and exchanging smiles with Lebanese officials.

It’s a funny term, this word designation. Who designates and who gets designated?

Considering the US military’s rich history of orchestrating coups, arming miltias and leading invasions that have killed or maimed tens, if not hundreds of thousands of innocents (in South America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East) it’s a wonder how few states have designated the USA as a very dangerous entity capable of far more than designations.