Is it really so hard for Congress to agree on a bill to cut the legs off Hezbollah and its global funding and recruiting practices? Despite the fact that targeting Iran’s terror proxy in Lebanon enjoys bipartisan support, the House just passed – again — the Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act.
Both the House and Senate approved the bill last year but because the versions of the bill were not exactly the same in the two chambers, the bill kept getting passed back and forth for final approval.
This version, which the House passed unanimously, is no exception. It must now go to the Senate for (one can only hope) final approval.
If the bill is agreed upon, it will give power to the president to block the assets of anyone the president determines “provides significant financial, material or technological support” for Hezbollah and any of its affiliates.
The latest House version specifically calls out Iran (which significantly builds on the existing sanctions against the Islamic Republic) and also requests the president sanction members of the Lebanese parliament and cabinet connected to Hezbollah or its affiliates.
Hezbollah is designated a terror organization by the U.S. (and many others, including the Arab League). With its advanced weaponry and thousands of fighters, Hezbollah is reported to have the second-strongest military force in the Middle East.
Besides receiving massive funding from Iran, Hezbollah raises millions of dollars through narcotics trafficking, both in the U.S. and globally.
In March, experts gathered in Florida for a Congressional field hearing testified that Hezbollah infiltrated large areas of South America, is working with drug cartels and poses a major threat to Florida and the U.S. in general.
Last year Clarion, reported that two terrorists belonging to Hezbollah were arrested for planning attacks in the U.S., with one scouting potential targets in New York including JFK International Airport.
Just last week, one of the most prominent and influential financiers of Hezbollah was arrested in Brazil.
In the Middle East, Hezbollah militants fight alongside fighters from their benefactor Iran, which now controls vast swathes of Iraq and is rapidly increasing its stranglehold on Syria. Hezbollah fighters in Syria picked up new skills from the Russian military, including war strategy and use of the latest technology.
Hezbollah is the by far the largest military player in Lebanon, outgunning the official Lebanese army.
Hezbollah integrated itself into almost every sector of Lebanese society, including members serving as government ministers, legislators and local councilors. It has substantial support from the country’s Shiite community. It even runs a Museum for Jihadi Tourism in southern Lebanon (new exhibits feature drones and missiles used in the last war with Israel).
Our legislators need to stop finessing the bill and get it passed. As much as “swift action” is an anathema to Congress, the amount of damage this terrorist organization is doing in the meantime warrants it.
We urge you to write to your members of Congress (or even better, call them) and strongly request they agree on and pass the final version of the Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act.