U.S. Steps Up Rhetoric against Hizbullah

W460

The United States has stepped up its rhetoric against Hizbullah, slapping rewards on two commanders and urging allies to blacklist the group.

U.S. President Donald Trump is due to unveil a new strategy to counter Iran later this week, but in the meantime senior officials singled out Tehran's ally in Syria and Lebanon.

Washington and the Lebanese movement have been foes since 1983, when the group was blamed by for deadly suicide bombings against its embassy and a U.S. barracks in Beirut.

Since then Hizbullah has become a powerful military force in the region and been implicated in several international attacks -- but also a fixture in Lebanese politics.

Some U.S. allies impose sanctions on Hizbullah's "military wing" while tolerating the group's role as a political party representing many Lebanese Shiites in government.

But U.S. counterterrorism chief Nicholas Rasmussen and ambassador-at-large for counterterrorism Nathan Sales said that Washington would never accept this distinction.

"Countering Hizbullah is a top priority for the Trump administration," Sales told reporters, announcing the rewards for two alleged top-level Hizbullah operatives.

Sales said the State Department would pay $7 million for information that leads to Talal Hamiyah, alleged head of Hizbullah's "External Security Organization."

A further $5 million is on offer for leads on Fuad Shukr, "a senior military commander" of Hizbullah in Lebanon.

U.S. officials believe Shukr was born in 1962, either in Beirut or the Bekaa Valley.

Talal Hamiyah's U.S. Treasury terror blacklist designation lists four possible dates of birth between November 1952 and March 1960, and three potential Lebanese birthplaces.

It describes his unit as the ESO as "the Hizbullah element responsible for the planning, coordination, and execution of terrorist attacks outside of Lebanon."

"These are the first Hizbullah-related rewards under the Rewards for Justice Program in a decade," Sales said.

"The United States and our allies will aggressively target its terrorism infrastructure and financial support networks," he vowed, hailing support from U.S. friends.

But he warned that "more work needs to be done."

"Some countries have chosen to designate only Hizbullah’s military wing, leaving its so-called 'political wing' untouched. But that is a false distinction," he said.

"Make no mistake: Hizbullah has no political wing. It is a single organization, a terrorist organization, and it is rotten to its core," he argued.

The officials' comments will be seen as setting the tone ahead of Trump's announcement of his new Iran strategy, which will be aimed at rolling back Tehran's influence.

Hizbullah -- an influential force in Lebanon and key ally to Bashar al-Assad's Syrian regime -- will be a target.

U.S. Arab friends such as Saudi Arabia are pushing for a tougher line on Tehran, and close ally Israel is always alert to Hizbullah's presence across its northern border.

Comments 10
Thumb justice 11 October 2017, 10:27

"Make no mistake: Hizbullah has no political wing. It is a single organization, a terrorist organization, and it is rotten to its core," he argued.

yes!

Thumb s.o.s 11 October 2017, 13:59

you're banned Comedian Mowaten and 666 aliases for threatening the Naharnet staff and its community.

Thumb s.o.s 11 October 2017, 15:32

M&C and Forget not, isseh isseh !

Thumb Mystic 11 October 2017, 11:04

The 1983 barracks bombing was a historical moment against the U.S occupiers.
That's the date that marks the U.S defeat in Lebanon when they had to cut their losses and pull out.

The American bastards are like the commentators on Naharnet, supportive of America against Lebanon on every occassion.

Missing hajjradwan 11 October 2017, 15:08

How about the 1983 suicide bombing of the US embassy that murdered around 50 innocent Lebanese citizens, terrorist, was that a glorious historical moment as well? Or the kidnapping of western citizen so the Sahyooni Islamic Republic of Iran could exchange them for US weapons from Israel? Also glorious moments?

Thumb whyaskwhy 11 October 2017, 17:09

And look how successful that suicide bombing was for the future of Lebanon we still dont have Electricity and Water not to mention basic garbage collection. Yes Kizb should be proud of what they did murdering lebanon.

Thumb Elemental 11 October 2017, 16:29

Yet Iranians occupy plenty, soooooo just a little hypocritical.

Thumb whyaskwhy 11 October 2017, 17:08

What did you expect Mystic? most Lebanese do not share the same war vision Kizballah has for the future of Lebanon nor do we believe religion should rule the state we have seen over ten years of Kizballah rule over Lebanon and what has it bought us? An Iranian president a nation that has no basic means of supporting itself and involvement in every war in the region. No thanks keep your flip flops and mopeds to yourself we want a progressive nation where we can be equated to advanced societies and not that of the 12th century. Yes were all Zionists and "imberialist" you can continue to call us that just dont call us evil and decrepit as Kizballah wants the nation to be.

Thumb s.o.s 11 October 2017, 13:57

in the 80s, Hizbalot had a different name, I think it was the Islamic Jihad or some BS lke that. It reminds me of Al Qaeda which changed its name to Al Nusra.

It's nothing more than rebranding, but as the American said it remains rotten to its core.

Thumb shab 12 October 2017, 02:27

Thank you USA