A bipartisan group of congressman is seeking legislation to toughen sanctions against Lebanese terror group Hezbollah, cutting off its financing channels in order to deny funding to its operations.
The Hezbollah International Financial Prevention Act, announced Thursday, would target and sanction banks that do business with Hezbollah or its affiliates and force tougher policies against the organization’s television network Al-Manar. It would also seek to label the group as a narcotics trafficking organization and as a transnational criminal organization – designations which would enable further legal actions against its operations.
The act is being advanced by four members of the House Foreign Affairs panel on the Middle East: Representatives Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), Brad Schneider (D-Ill.) and ranking member Eliot Engel, (D-N.Y.) as well as committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif).
“The United States must deal with Hezbollah firmly and decisively with unyielding resolve by crippling its extensive, illegal financial network,” Meadows said.
Schneider said the bill would give the administration the executive tools it needs “to crack down on Hezbollah’s global terrorist activities.”
Engel noted that Hezbollah had been instrumental in keeping Syrian President Bashar Assad in power during the three-year long civil war there.
“They must be held responsible for their destructive actions in Syria and the threat that they continue to pose to our ally, Israel,” Engel said.
The US designates Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. In July 2013 the European Union also added Hezbollah’s military wing to its terrorist blacklist.