In coincidence with the anti-terror offensive, the US Congress discussed a bill to impose additional sanctions against Hezbollah.
Lebanon’s Hezbollah, backed by the Syrian army, launched an operation in northern Lebanese-Syrian borders against the takfiri terrorists on Friday.
The operation, underway in Syria’s Qalamoun and Lebanon’s Arsal, is a significant push against the terrorist groups in the two mountainous regions. With their caves and other kinds of natural shelters, Qalamoun and Arsal have been safe havens of such terrorist groups as AL-Nusra Front and ISIS for the past three years.
Al-Nusra militants have been taking shelter in Arsal heights and the areas around and have been using the region as a launching pad for attacks against the Syrian government’s positions as well as threats against Hezbollah inside Lebanon. ISIS terrorists have also been hiding in the region, and have been supporting their fellows’ operations inside Syria logistically by smuggling arms and fighters to the front lines.
The joint offensive is launched to cut the supply lines for the terrorist fighters on the battlegrounds inside a number of Syrian cities, and full control of the regions will mean stripping the terrorists of a major part of their strength.
Especially for Hezbollah, Arsal operation is critical because Arsal is part of Baalbek District, one of the main Hezbollah’s strongholds in Lebanon, and is of strategic importance for the Lebanese group.
Upon beginning of the operation, Sheikh Naim Qassem, the deputy secretary general of Hezbollah, said “we are going to the war in Arsal and Qalamoun heights to eliminate remnants of the takfiris on the Lebanese borders and some towns and villages around”, adding “they are being fully obliterated.”
In coincidence with the anti-terror offensive, the US Congress discussed a bill to impose additional sanctions against Hezbollah. The move was described as a pressure against the Lebanese group and a support to the terrorists groups that are widely believed to be supported by the West and its regional allies. The Congress several times sanctioned Hezbollah under such excuses as drugs and weapons smuggling, money laundering, and terrorism. The charges have frequently provided the American officials with pretexts to put stains on the Lebanese group, despite the fact that the US has so far declined to present persuasive evidences for its claims.
Many argue that this Congress motion is part of the US logic in a dealing with its opponents that has always been a logic of force, the same one used by the American leaders during their 2003 invasion of Iraq, where the US failed to prove its anti-Baghdad allegations of having nuclear weapons.
The new bipartisan legislation, introduced on Thursday and working as an amendment to existing sanctions on Hezbollah, is meant to severely limit Hezbollah’s finances, recruitment processes, and the allied countries’ banks financing it. The bill will ban figures with links to Hezbollah from entry to the US.
“These sanctions will severely limit Hezbollah’s financial network and transnational criminal activities, as well as crack down its backers, most importantly Iran,” the Reuters news agency quoted Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Ed Royce as saying.
The fresh round of American strains is coming while the Lebanese group in past years played a key role in fighting the radical groups like ISIS and Al-Qaeda in the terror-hit Syria and Iraq. The legislation very clearly reveals the American foreign policy paradoxes. Washington imposes sanctions on the groups that seek their rights and defend their and other countries’ people by standing firm in the face of the fundamentalist groups that so far killed thousands of civilians and displaced many more while coming to such hot spots as Syria and Iraq from other countries and are called peace makers by their foreign backers. In the eyes of the presenters of the legislation, another crime of Hezbollah is a legitimate defense of its country against the Israeli regime, a key ally of the US that several times invaded Lebanon and is widely recognized as a culprit party in many crises hitting the West Asia region.
Now that in such a sensitive situation Hezbollah, backed by the Syrian military, is pushing against the terrorists in the Lebanese and Syrian border areas, the American lawmakers are eyeing cutting the Lebanese group’s serial anti-terror victories. Analysts believe that the sanctions also serve the Israeli security through weakening Hezbollah. They at the same time laud the operation as a significant step forward to secure not only the two neighbors but also the whole region.