US imposes new sanctions on Hezbollah chief
Published Thursday, September 13, 2012
The United States on Thursday imposed new sanctions on Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah and two other figures in the Lebanese Shiite militia over their support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The US Treasury move adds to measures already levied on Hezbollah, which was first designated by Washington as a terrorist group in 2001.
Hezbollah has provided training, advice and logistical support to Assad's forces, and has facilitated training for them by Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards, it said.
The group has denied those allegations, saying it is a proponent of dialogue between rebels and the Syrian regime.
In a rare appearance on Al Mayadeen TV station two weeks ago, the Hezbollah chief said he had chosen to support the Syrian regime on the basis of its opposition to Israel and its openness to reform and dialogue, which, he says, was flatly rejected by the opposition.
He added that the only solution to the crisis in Syria, which has so far claimed the lives of nearly 20,000, would be to impose a ceasefire on both the regime and the armed opposition.
Hezbollah has also "played a substantial role" in efforts to push rebel forces from areas inside Syria, the Treasury added.
"By aiding Assad's violent campaign against the Syrian people and working to support a regime that will eventually fall, Hezbollah's ongoing activity undermines regional stability and poses a direct threat to Lebanon's security," said David Cohen, Treasury under-secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.
"Hezbollah's actions, overseen by Hassan Nasrallah and executed by Mustafa Badr al-Din and Talal Hamayah, clearly reveal its true nature as a terrorist and criminal organization."
Hezbollah is considered to be a terrorist organization in the US, Canada, Israel, and Australia. The UK lists the group's military wing as 'terrorist', leaving open the possibility of talks with Hezbollah lawmakers. The EU has refused to follow suit in spite of repeated pleas by Israel, who have waged several military campaigns against the group.
In Israel's most recent bid to put the group on the EU blacklist this July, Cypriot Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis responded by saying there was no tangible evidence that Hezbollah engaged in acts of terror.
Between 1980 and 2000, Hezbollah mounted a formidable resistance campaign against Israeli occupation of Lebanese territory, forcing the Israeli army to withdraw without receiving any concessions from Lebanon. The Israeli withdrawal was considered unprecedented in the Jewish state's expansionist history.
The US sanctions forbid Americans from having or supporting any business or financial dealings with those named.