The United States has offered a reward of up to $10 million dollars in return for information about Hezbollah finances, intensifying its pressure campaign against the Lebanese resistance movement.
The US State Department’s “Rewards for Justice Program” made the announcement on Monday, saying that it is seeking “information leading to the disruption of the financial mechanisms of Lebanese Hezbollah.”
The statement further went on to name what it described as some of Hezbollah’s “malign” activities, listing the group’s support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as an example of the group’s “terrorist operations”.
Washington claims that the Lebanese resistance movement condones terrorism despite the fact that Hezbollah has been involved in a fierce fight against foreign-backed Takfiri terrorist groups, including Daesh and al-Nusra Front, thus preventing the spillover of the militancy gripping neighboring Syria into Lebanon.
In October, the administration of President Donald Trump imposed a new round of sanctions on the movement known as the Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Amendments Act 2018 targeting individuals and international organizations that do business with the group.
In trip to Lebanon last month, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also urged Lebanese authorities to counter the group.
Pompeo’s comments were, however, strongly rejected by leading Lebanese politicians, most importantly Lebanese President Michel Aoun, Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil and long-serving speaker of Lebanon’s parliament, Nabih Berri.
Hezbollah was established following the 1982 Israeli invasion and occupation of southern Lebanon. The movement waged a long resistance campaign against Israeli forces and pushed them out of southern Lebanon in May 2000. Since then, the group has grown into a powerful military force. Israel also suffered a humiliating defeat from Hezbollah during a 33-day war in July 2006.
Washington has for long accused Hezbollah of being behind the 1983 US barrack bombings in the capital city of Beirut in which 241 US soldiers were killed.