Report: U.S. Sanctions against Hizbullah 'Neutralize Army, Banks'
Concerns linger that Lebanon might be harmed by the US sanctions that will be “officially approved against Hizbullah in three weeks,” but the visits of parliamentary and banking delegations to Washington last spring succeeded at “neutralizing key and important” sectors from the sanctions, al-Mustaqbal daily reported on Tuesday.
Informed diplomatic sources on Lebanon-US relations do not deny the sanctions' effect on the country.
They told the daily that contacts with Washington have succeeded at “neutralizing important sectors primarily the banks, aid to the Lebanese army, and the Shiite community in general as a major community involved in Lebanese society. Even some names that were leaked as being subject to sanctions are no longer targeted,” they said.
According to the sources, “the law in principle will have repercussions on Lebanon, but the most important goal of the delegations that visited Washington was, which actually happened, neutralizing the relations of the banking sector with correspondent banks, because all the deliberations in Lebanon are in the US dollar.”
The U.S. Congress is seeking new ways to tighten sanctions against Hizbullah.
The Foreign Affairs Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, chaired by Republican Representative Ed Royce, passed a bill late in September to further sanction the party.
Royce had argued that “Hizbullah and Iran are reportedly introducing game-changing facilities into the region – independent factories that can produce rockets to be used against Israel and our allies. We also have reports of missile factories opening up in Lebanon near mosques, homes, hospitals, and schools,” said Royce.
He said the Committee is “taking action against Hizbullah and its sponsor Iran, by passing legislation that tightens the screws on Hizbullah’s financial operations globally,.”
Lebanese media reports said that the bill authorizes US President Donald Trump to freeze the assets of “high-ranking Lebanese political figures who deal with Hizbullah.”
One bill will reportedly target Hizbullah's ability to raise funds and deprives it of access to the international financial system and the financial institutions.
It also increases pressure on Lebanese and foreign banks that deal with Hizbullah and its leadership.
A second bill slaps sanctions on Hizbullah for “violating human rights in the July 2006 war through using civilians as human shields,” reports said.