The United States Treasury Department has imposed sanctions on three Hezbollah military leaders and a businessman with close ties to Hezbollah leadership. The sanctions were levied against the men because they are key figures in Hezbollah’s support for the regime of Bashar al Assad in Syria or because of support for Hezbollah’s global terrorist activity.
Hezbollah, widely recognized as a proxy for Iran and designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the United States, has openly supported Assad since the beginning of the conflict in Syria. The crisis began in March 2011 when Assad responded with brutal force to peaceful anti-government demonstrators. The conflict has now escalated into a civil war, with Assad employing chemical weapons, barrel bombs, and starvation against the Syrian people. More than 230,000 Syrians have been killed and millions have been displaced over the past four years.
The State Department’s latest report on terrorism noted that “the Assad regime’s relationship with Hezbollah and Iran continued to grow stronger…as the conflict in Syria continued.”
The three Hezbollah military leaders sanctioned by the Treasury Department for their crucial roles in coordinating and aiding Hezbollah’s military campaign in Syria are Mustafa Badr al Din, Ibrahim Aqil, and Fu’ad Shukr. Businessman Abd al Nur Shalan, who has close ties with Hezbollah and has been the point person for the procurement and transshipment of weapons and materiel for the group and its Syrian partners, was also sanctioned.
As a result, any assets these four men have in the United States, or which are in the possession or control of U.S. persons, are frozen, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.
In a statement, the Treasury Department noted that the sanctions “are the latest in a series of actions the U.S. government is taking against Hezbollah for its violent terrorist activities and its support to the Assad regime’s attacks against the Syrian people.”
Acting Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Adam Szubin said the designations “make clear the United States will continue to aggressively target Hezbollah for its terrorist activities worldwide, as well as its ongoing support to Assad’s ruthless military campaign in Syria. We will pursue all of Hezbollah’s revenue sources, whether charitable fundraising, criminal proceeds, or state sponsorship.”