21 May 2018

US lawmakers introduce new sanctions against Hezbollah

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US lawmakers in Congress have introduced legislation seeking to increase sanctions on the Lebanese Resistance Movement, Hezbollah.

The Republican and Democratic lawmakers introduced the bill on Thursday over accusations that the resistance movement is involved in violence in Syria and has transferred rockets along the Syrian border.

The measure, an amendment to an existing sanctions law on the anti-Israeli group, seeks to further restrict Hezbollah’s ability to recruit and fundraise.

The bill also seeks to increase pressure on foreign banks that do business with Hezbollah, and put pressure on countries that support it, including Iran.

Officials in Lebanon say the US efforts to expand sanctions would damage the Arab country’s important banking industry.

Versions of the legislation were introduced in both and the Senate and the House of Representatives.

"These sanctions will severely limit Hezbollah's financial network and transnational activities, as well as crack down its backers, most importantly Iran," Representative Ed Royce, the Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a statement.

The US Congress, as well as President Donald Trump's administration, are eager to curb Iran’s support of anti-Israeli resistance movements in Lebanon and other countries in the Middle East.

This week, the Trump administration added new sanctions on Iran over Tehran’s ballistic missile program.

During the past six years that the foreign-backed crisis has been raging on in Syria, Hezbollah and the Lebanese military have been defending the country, especially along its northeastern frontier, against spillover of foreign-backed terrorist groups from neighboring Syria.

Hezbollah fighters have fended off several Daesh attacks inside Lebanon as well. They have also been providing assistance to Syrian army forces to counter the ongoing foreign-sponsored militancy.

The movement accuses Israel of supporting Takfiri terrorists operating in the Middle East.

Israel, which continues to occupy Lebanon’s Shebaa Farms and Syria’s Golan Heights, is widely reported to be offering medical help to Takfiri terrorists injured in Syria. In December 2015, British newspaper the Daily Mail said Israel had saved the lives of more than 2,000 Takfiri militants since 2013.

2017.07.21 / 15:24
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