(January 14, 2019 / JNS) The U.S. State Department’s third-highest official slammed Hezbollah on Monday in Lebanon for digging tunnels into Israel, in addition to storing rockets.
“While Lebanon has the right to defend itself, that is the right of the Lebanese state alone,” said U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale after meeting Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri. “It is unacceptable to have a militia outside the control of the state, and unanswerable to all people of Lebanon digging attack tunnels across the blue line to Israel or assembling an arsenal of over 100,000 missiles with which to threaten regional stability.”
This development comes as the United States launched an effort last week to combat illicit Iranian economic activity worldwide, which includes funding terrorist groups such as Hezbollah.
The United States created the Iran Action Group last August, which is “responsible for directing, reviewing and coordinating all aspects of the State Department’s Iran-related activity.” Two months later, the U.S. Department of Justice designated Hezbollah as a transnational crime group, officially making the Lebanese terrorist group the highest priority of law enforcement.
The DOJ also created the Hezbollah Financing and Narcoterrorism Team, which consists of prosecutors who have fought against terrorism, organized crime, money-laundering and international narcotics trafficking.
In 2017, Politico exposed Hezbollah’s drug-trafficking and money-laundering operation, apparently ignored by the Obama administration despite overwhelming evidence in a law-enforcement effort called “Project Cassandra,” in order to strike a nuclear deal with Iran, which supports the terrorist group.
Following the bombshell, then-U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered a DOJ review “to evaluate allegations that certain matters were not properly prosecuted and to ensure all matters are appropriately handled.”
Nonetheless, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blasted Hezbollah in his speech last week in Cairo.
“Our penchant—America’s penchant—for wishful thinking led us to look the other way as Hezbollah, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Iranian regime, accumulated a massive arsenal of approximately 130,000 rockets and missiles,” he said. “They stored and positioned these weapons in Lebanese towns and villages in flagrant violation of international law. That arsenal is aimed squarely at our ally Israel.”