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Leader of Hezbollah issues call to ‘step up’ fundraising

Feeling the pinch of U.S. sanctions against its sponsor Iran, Hezbollah once again turns to its supporters for financial aid.

Posters of Hezbollah’s flag and the terrorist group’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, in Beirut. Credit: Al Aan Arabic Television via Wikimedia Commons.
Posters of Hezbollah’s flag and the terrorist group’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, in Beirut. Credit: Al Aan Arabic Television via Wikimedia Commons.

“Again we need greater solidarity … the Resistance needs popular assistance. This [fundraising] activity must be stepped up.”

This March 8 appeal by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah to the organization’s supporters to increase their donations is an indication of the financial difficulties Hezbollah has found itself in following the recent tightening of American sanctions on it and on its sponsor Iran.

The UAE-owned, London-based Al-Arab daily reported that American pressure has also impacted the revenues Hezbollah receives from Iraq via the contraband oil trade and allocations by Hashd Al-Sha’bi—the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) umbrella organization of Iran-backed Iraqi Shi’ite militias that are part of the Iraqi armed forces.

According to Arab and Western media reports, after the United States withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA) a year ago, Hezbollah streamlined operations and instituted sweeping cutbacks, even cutting fighters’ salaries.

This is not the first time Hezbollah has appealed to its supporters for aid; in 2015, after serious defeats in Syria, it asked supporters to help equip its fighters. In May 2016, it again turned to supporters for donations, after Bank of Lebanon Governor Riad Salamé ordered Lebanese banks to implement the Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act, passed by the U.S. Congress in December 2015.

It appears that most of the funds Hezbollah raises from its supporters are in cash in order to circumvent sanctions, so it is difficult to ascertain how much it is raising.

In a video released on March 23, Nasrallah stated that in just a few weeks, Hezbollah had raised $2 million. About a week later, the Lebanese press reported that it had raised between $7 million and $10 million.

Yet Hezbollah is not likely to be able to meet its deficits if Iran reduces the estimated $700 million it provides annually to the terror group.

The rest of this article can be found on the MEMRI website.

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