In a resolution that the US House Foreign Affairs Committee passed on Friday, the US government called on the EU to designate Hezbollah in its entirety as a terrorist organization, to sanction Hezbollah-affiliated terrorists, and to increase pressure on the group.”
Issuing arrest warrants against Hezbollah members and active supporters, freezing the group’s assets in Europe, and banning its fundraising activities are just part of the measures that EU members should implement as part of the pressure plan along with the improved cross-border cooperation in combatting Hezbollah.
The resolution, which now will be voted on by the House, also notes the committee’s support for the continued, increased cooperation between the US and EU in thwarting the criminal and terrorist activities of Hezbollah.
Hezbollah was designated a terrorist group by the US in 1997 and Washington has worked for years to isolate and pressure the Iran-backed group in its entirety.
Although several countries in the Gulf, South and Central America, and Europe have designated Hezbollah in its entirety in recent years, the EU – specifically France – has held up unified opposition and continues to differentiate between the so-called military and political wings of the group.
Formed in 1982 by Iran to fight Israelis in Lebanon, Hezbollah continues to expand its power and its arsenal of ballistic missiles and weapons across the region and the US Embassy in Lebanon claims that the Islamic Jihad Organization (IJO), which is part of Hezbollah, has carried out multiple bombings against US marines and is responsible for one of the deadliest attacks on US troops on foreign soil.
On the 35th anniversary of Hezbollah’s 1983 truck bombing of the barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, which killed 241 U.S. service members and 58 French peacekeepers, in October 2018, Former President Trump signed the Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Amendments Act (HIPAA) into law.
A few months before, his administration restored sanctions against Tehran that had been suspended under former President Barack Obama’s 2015 nuclear deal.