US: Lebanon must ensure Hezbollah ‘not part of the financial system’

Marshall Billingslea with President Aoun
Marshall Billingslea with President Aoun

Marshall Billingslea, the assistant Treasury secretary for terrorist financing, called on Tuesday for Lebanon to cut Hezbollah off from the country’s financial system.

Billingslea’s remarks during a two-day trip to Lebanon came as the Trump administration looks to ramp up pressure on the Iran-backed political party and militant group, which is designated as a terrorist organization by Washington.

During the trip, “Billingslea engaged with Lebanese authorities and financial institutions on combating all forms of illicit finance,” and “urged Lebanon to take every possible measure to ensure [Hezbollah] is not part of the financial sector,” according to a statement released by the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon.

In Lebanon, Billingslea met with senior government officials, including President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister Saad Hariri, about “combating illicit finance,” in particular “financing of [Hezbollah’s] terrorist and trafficking activities.”

Earlier this month, the Justice Department said it would establish a “financing and narcoterrorism” team to look into Hezbollah’s role in drug trafficking operations, as well as individuals and organizations that provide financial support to Hezbollah.

That move came after Politico reported in December that the Obama administration sought to hamper a Drug Enforcement Administration operation targeting Hezbollah in order to facilitate negotiations related to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

Hezbollah has denied any role in drug trafficking operations, arguing that its religious affiliation did not permit it to be involved in such activities.



  • vs

    Prime Minister Saad Hariri gave an interview to Israeli journalists on
    the sidelines of the international economic forum in Davos. This was reported by the news service of the Kan Corporation.

    Hariri said that there is no danger of a war between Hezbollah and Israel. “I did everything possible to prevent this from happening, and I hope that it will be so,” he said.

    few hours after this publication, Lebanese state television reported
    that Hariri made no statements to Israeli journalists in Davos

    • Niemals

      If Saad Hariri gave or didn’t gave an interview to Israeli journalists on
      the sidelines of the international economic forum in Davos is not important, it is the Lebanese state television reaction that says it all.

      Its becomes more and more clear that Lebanon don’t need anymore Hezbollah to be the danger for any war between Hezbollah and Israel.
      Now is Lebanon (Hariri?) itself that turns Lebanon into the enemy instead the Hezbollah to be the sole danger for Israel.

      The ridicules reaction of Lebanon regarding forbidding movies (Palestinian film festival booted a new motion picture by Lebanese director Ziad Doueiri because of his activity in Israel.) or fashion accessories (“Gal Gadot dress trouble for Lebanese designer”) just because the ‘enemy’ is involved in it like “Miss Iraq and Miss Israel selfie strikes a nerve”.
      “Lebanese General Security warns over Mossad’s attempt to recruiting citizens online”….
      Did they learn it from the theocratic Iran?

      I never expected Lebanon could be defeated by fanatic Hezbollah who eventually takes power in the country – what will happen to the Druze, who do not consider themselves to be Muslims, Christians (Maronite, Greek Orthodox, Melkite and Protestant as well as Sunni)?

      Remember “Bassil Tells saudi Arabia: Lebanon is not Hezbollah”, “Lebanese TV host kicks out Hezbollah supporter during live episode” or this…?

  • Hind Abyad

    ‘Hariri denies rumors that he gave an interview to the Israeli media’

    ‘BEIRUT, LEBANON (9:30 P.M.) – Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri issued a statement on Wednesday denying that he had given any interview with the Israeli media’.

    • Y K

      Hariri fils has made spinelessness, uselessness, and cowardice his guiding political principles. He’s quite consistent about them.