Published:  10:13 PM, 13 September 2019

US sanctions may hit Hezbollah allies in Lebanon: US envoy

US sanctions may hit Hezbollah allies in Lebanon: US envoy
Allies of the Iran-backed Hezbollah
movement in Lebanon could be hit by US sanctions, US envoy David Schenker
said Thursday, nearly two weeks after Washington targeted a Lebanese bank.

“In the future, we will designate, because we have to, individuals in
Lebanon who are aiding and assisting Hezbollah, regardless of what their sect
or religion is,” the Assistant Secretary of Near Eastern Affairs told
Lebanon’s LBCI network.

Hezbollah, a major political player in Lebanon that took 13 seats in the
country’s May 2018 parliamentary elections and secured three cabinet posts,
is an ally of Christian President Michel Aoun and his Free Patriotic Movement
(FPM).

It is also allied with the Shiite Amal movement, lead by Speaker Nabih
Berri.

The Iran-backed movement has been a US designated terrorist group since
1997 and fights alongside the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in
the country’s civil war.

US sanctions against Hezbollah have increased since US President Donald
Trump assumed office.

On August 29, powerful financial sanctions were imposed on the Jammal Trust
Bank in Lebanon, which was accused of acting as a key financial institution
for Hezbollah.

The US Treasury Department “is targeting Jammal Trust Bank and its
subsidiaries for brazenly enabling Hezbollah’s financial activities,”
including sending payments to families of suicide bombers, Sigal Mandelker,
under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in a
statement.

On Thursday, Schenker said that the move did not “target a particular
community.”

“Hezbollah is exploiting your financial system and by law we have to
designate these banks,” he said in an interview.

In July, the US imposed sanctions on three senior Hezbollah officials in
Lebanon, including two lawmakers, in the first such move against members of
parliament.


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