Hezbollah Denies Having Funds in Lebanese Banks
The US designation of Hezbollah MPs Amin Sherri and Mohammed Raad, and the party’s security official Wafiq Safa, raised questions about the impact of this move on the party in particular and the Lebanese state in general.
In this regard, Hezbollah MP Walid Sukkarieh told Asharq Al-Awsat that the new measures would not impact the party and its deputies.
“There is no money for Hezbollah’s deputies in the US or even Lebanese banks… and they are not eager to travel to the United States. The party has long been classified as a terrorist group by the US administration, which knows that these sanctions can never affect it. The Lebanese state will not take any action to implement these sanctions,” he asserted.
Sukkarieh went on to say that Raad and Sherri were elected by the Lebanese people and enjoyed popular and political legitimacy.
“The party has ministers in the government. If the Lebanese state takes any action against any deputy or minister, it will collapse. So the Americans are exerting useless pressure,” he underlined.
The US sanctioned on Tuesday three top Hezbollah officials – the first time the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control had designated a member of Lebanon’s parliament under a sanctions list that targets those accused by Washington of providing support to terrorist organizations. Washington has designated Hezbollah as a terrorist group.
Director of the Middle East Institute for Strategic Affairs, Economist Sami Nader, told Asharq Al-Awsat: “To understand the sanctions, we need to expand their scope, not just read them inside Lebanon.”
He explained: “Sanctions were imposed on Mohammad Raad, head of the largest parliamentary bloc because Hezbollah is the most powerful party in the system and leads an alliance of the parliamentary majority. Therefore, crushing it… puts Lebanon in front of the international community.”
Nader warned that Lebanon was in a precarious economic situation and needed help, especially that the CEDRE Conference has set conditions for the country’s access to funds and aid.
He went on to say: “Things will get harder. This is not limited to the issue of bank transfers. When an incident of this kind occurs and according to the sequence of events, a question arises: what would be the next step, if the sanctions reach the head of the parliamentary bloc that controls the Lebanese politics?”