The U.S. Will Soon Impose More Sanctions Against Lebanese Officials

Reuters

The next couple of months could be critical for Lebanon as the United States is due to impose fresh sanctions on Lebanese officials in an effort to combat corruption, sources close to the U.S. State Department said.

The measures will also aim to shift Hezbollah’s long-standing position of protecting corrupt practices across the country.

Among the individuals being potentially targeted is former Minister of Communications Jamal Jarrah, whom the U.S. has accused of corruption and illegally profiting from his previous position.

Activists who met with Assistant U.S. Secretary of State David Schenker through video chat told IranWire that the Office of Foreign Entity Assets Control and other divisions within the Treasury Department are currently studying the cases of several current and former officials.

This comes following U.S. sanctions imposed on the head of the Free Patriotic Movement Gebran Bassil, for alleged corruption and ties with Hezbollah.

President Aoun recently requested all documents from the U.S. related to Bassil’s case as a US official ascertained that the case against the president’s son-in-law is solid.

Washington considers Iran-backed Hezbollah a terrorist group and has imposed sanctions on several officials linked to the Lebanese party.

The US sanctioned former ministers Ali Hasan Khalil and Youssef Fenianos in September, saying they provided material support to Hezbollah and engaged in corruption.

Both Fenianos and Khalil are affiliated with parties that are allied with Hezbollah.

It remains unlikely that U.S. President-elect Joe Biden will withdraw sanctions on Lebanese political figures. Once imposed, they become irreversible, which is most likely why the Trump administration is in a hurry to impose them.