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U.S bill seeks to prohibit all banking operations in areas under Hezbollah's control

Source: Annahar
Georgi Azar
 Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., center, speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo)
Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., center, speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo)
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BEIRUT: A U.S congressman introduced Thursday a bill to prohibit banking operations in areas that fall “under the terrorist organization’s control.”

“This bill represents the toughest sanctions on Hezbollah ever proposed by Congress,” Congressman Joe Wilson said in a statement.
 
The areas would be designated under the discretion of the U.S President, but would most likely include “South Lebanon and Latin America.”
 
To become law, the bill should pass the Senate and House before making its way to President Donald Trump's office for his signature.
 
Wilson, Ranking Member of the Middle East, North Africa, and International Terrorism Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee introduced ‘H.R. 8445 The Hezbollah Money Laundering Prevention Act of 2020.’

“By cutting off banks in areas under the terror group’s control from the international financial system, this bill will go a long way towards drying up the Iranian terror proxy’s resources to conduct murderous attacks against the U.S. and our allies,” he said.

Sanctions against Hezbollah are “moving swiftly towards targeting communities; not just individuals,” Risk Strategist Mohammad Fheili told Annahar. 

“The legislation would designate key territories in Lebanon as sources of terror financing, a designation that will freeze Hezbollah-friendly banks out of the international financial system,” he added. 

This bill, Wilson argued, “will make it much harder for Hezbollah to do Iran’s bidding in propping up the criminal Assad regime, the Houthis in Yemen, and continue to destabilize the Middle East,”.

Hezbollah was first designated by the U.S as a terrorist organization in 1995 and the western power has been adamant that no differentiation should be made between its political and military wing.

The European Union put the armed wing of Hezbollah on its terrorism blacklist in 2013, due to Hezbollah’s alleged role in blowing up an Israeli tour bus in Bulgaria. But unlike the United States, European countries had until now differentiated between the group’s military and political wings.

Germany, the U.K and Holland have all broken rank in recent years, designating the entire group as a terrorist group and banning all its activities.

“The legislation comes as U.S. aid to Lebanon has reemerged as a flashpoint after a massive explosion decimated the capital city of Beirut. While the U.S and other western nations have committed aid dollars to help Lebanon rebuild, critics have warned that Hezbollah will likely find ways to get much of the money,” Fheili told Annahar.
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