House Committee Votes Unanimously to Extend Hezbollah Sanctions

On Wednesday the the House Foreign Affairs Committee unanimously passed the Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act of 2014.

The Jerusalem Post reports:

The Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act of 2014, introduced by US Representatives Mark Meadows (R-NC) and Brad Schneider (D-Ill.), includes a provision to sanction foreign financial institutions that knowingly facilitate the activities of the Lebanese militia and party.

Hezbollah already is subject to sanctions as a designated terrorist group. The bill extends such sanctions to third parties — an expansion that has proven effective in isolating Iran, a key sponsor of Hezbollah.

The Foundation for Defense of Democracies praised the bipartisan effort to disrupt Hezbollah’s operations.

The legislation limits the group’s access to logistical support and expands financial sanctions by going after those financial institutions that enable Hezbollah to commit deadly terrorist activities. The Committee also approved an important amendment authored by Reps. DeSantis (R-FL), Deutch (D-FL), and Meng (D-NY) directing the administration to provide greater detail on the activities of foreign governments to disrupt global logistics and fundraising networks, financing, and money laundering activities of Hezbollah. The legislation, which has 313 cosponsors, now awaits floor action.

“Congress has been at the forefront of efforts to disrupt ‘Hezbollah Inc.’ and the terrorist organization’s efforts to finance and commit attacks, spread its extremist message, and recruit new members,” said FDD Executive Director Mark Dubowitz. “This important bipartisan legislation is a critical new tool for the Obama administration to combat one of the most dangerous global terrorist organizations and a central player in the slaughter of innocents in Syria. Hezbollah is the long arm of Iranian terror and a tool of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and his shadowy and powerful commander of the IRGC Quds Force, Gen. Qassem Suleimani.”

A related bill in the Senate is still in committee. The bills are based on similar legislation developed to target Hezbollah’s sponsor, Iran.

Hezbollah’s role as a terrorist proxy of Iran is increasingly appreciated. Hezbollah is responsible for the political deadlock in Lebanon and its involvement in sectarian wars in the Middle East have magnified fears that it “may end up dragging Lebanon into those conflicts.” There are also fears that Hezbollah may be preparing for a new war with Israel.

In Don’t Be Fooled. Hezbollah Is Bigger and Badder Than Ever, which appeared in the March 2014 issue of The Tower Magazine, Shai Oseran and Stéphane Cohen argue that because Hezbollah is “becoming more radical, more violent, and more dangerous,” it is necessary for the West to make Iran’s support of Hezbollah part of its nuclear negotiations because Hezbollah “cannot be stopped without depriving them of Iranian backing.”

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