A senior U.S. official urged Lebanon to restrict its relations with the terrorist group Hezbollah in a Sept. 23 meeting with Lebanese officials in Beirut, Lebanon.
Treasury Department Assistant Secretary Marshall Billingslea met with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri and other senior government and banking officials, to whom he explained the objectives of recent sanctions against the terrorist group, according to ABCNews.
The U.S. Embassy said Billingslea “will encourage Lebanon to take the necessary steps to maintain distance from Hezbollah and other malign actors attempting to destabilize Lebanon and its institutions,” according to ABCNews.
In another measure aimed at limiting Hezbollah’s financing, the Treasury Department sanctioned the Lebanese bank Jammal Trust Bank on Aug. 29.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo argued that, in fact, “corrupt financial institutions like Jammal Trust are a direct threat to the integrity of the Lebanese financial system.”
“Today’s designation reflects our determination to counter Hizballah’s [Hezbollah’s] terrorist and illicit activities in Lebanon,” Pompeo said in a press release.
The same bank was later forced to apply for self-liquidation, which was accepted by the governor of the central bank.
In October 1997, the U.S. State Department described Hezbollah as a foreign terrorist group, arguing that the organization is supported by Iran and threatens peace and stability in the Middle East.
Hezbollah is an Islamic Shiite organization based in Lebanon with political, social, and terrorist components created in the 1980s with Iran’s support after the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, and its mission includes establishing a fundamentalist Islamic state in the country.
It is also responsible for numerous terrorist attacks with hundreds of fatalities, including U.S. citizens and military personnel.