Report: U.S. Preparing New Batch of Hizbullah Sanctions
U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration is planning to “strike new sanctions on Hizbullah,” and to feature the party’s “growing powers” in the Lebanese government, the Saudi Asharq al-Awsat newspaper reported on Saturday.
A U.S. official told the daily: “Trump’s administration is preparing new sanctions against Hizbullah,” and will discuss its concerns “from its growing control on the government and Lebanese officials,” he said.
However he assured that there would be no measures targeting the Lebanese army.
Matthew Levitt, director of the Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said in remarks to the daily: “The measure taken by Switzerland is completely separate from the British decision.”
He was referring to Switzerland’s decision in February to halt arms exports to Lebanon due to “inability to account for a Swiss shipment of weapons to Lebanon.”
Switzerland raised concerns the weapons end up in “undesirable hands” or might have been sold to an unauthorised third party.
Ex-Minister Ghazi Zoaiter has clarified later that he bought the Swiss weapons for his own protection.
Moreover, Britain on Monday said it will ban the political wing of Hizbullah, making membership of the movement or inviting support for it a crime.
The decision follows outrage over the display of the Hizbullah flag, which features a Kalashnikov assault rifle, at pro-Palestinian demonstrations in London.
"Hizbullah is continuing in its attempts to destabilize the fragile situation in the Middle East," Home Secretary Sajid Javid said in a statement.
Hizbullah made electoral gains in Lebanon last year and now has three ministers in the government. The U.S. and others accuse the group of destabilizing the region through its military intervention in Syria on the side of President Bashar Assad's government.