A major U.S. official recently revealed that the U.S. is seeking to impose new sanctions that target Hezbollah and the corruption that “it lives on” in Lebanon.
“Yes, there will be sanctions,” confirmed U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Schenker, in a recent interview with Al-Hadeel.
In the talk, Schenker described Hezbollah’s activities in Lebanon as “a complete threat to Lebanon at a time when Lebanon cannot tolerate any crisis in addition to its financial crisis,” calling the organization’s actions “irresponsible.”
He indicated that Hezbollah is actively seeking to “acquire the Lebanese financial system” and “destroy the reputation of banks at a time when banks are in severe crisis.”
It’s partly doing this, the U.S. official explained, through “its activities related to money laundering and involvement in the drug trade.”
Schenker added that Hezbollah’s “actions and measures that provoke Israel” add to the instability of the Lebanese financial system.
Answering a question of whether Hezbollah and its allies in Lebanon would be subject to a new batch of sanctions in the near future, Schenker said:
“Yes, there will be sanctions implemented in Lebanon related to combating Hezbollah activities, as well as sanctions under the framework of the Magnitsky Act to combat corruption in Lebanon.”
For context, the Magnitsky Act is a bill passed by U.S. Congress and signed into law in 2012.
It authorizes the U.S. government to sanction those whom it deems corrupt or offenders of human rights, freeze their assets, and ban them from entering the U.S.
As for the Lebanese Army, which was named as a target for sanctions by a recent Congress policy proposal, David Schenker asserted that the U.S. remains “committed with the Lebanese Armed Forces,” which have proven to be “an excellent partner in combating terrorism and extremism.”
The official assured, “we will continue to cooperate with the Lebanese Army and provide the necessary assistance to it.”
On a side note, Sayyed Ali El-Amine, an anti-Hezbollah political activist and religious leader, is now facing several charges in Lebanon, including meeting up with Israeli officials and “attacking the resistance and its martyrs.”