Hezbollah MP Nawaf Moussawi announced today that the list of recipients of US funds includes 800 names.
” The list which includes organizations and individuals that are funded by the US will be revealed in the appropriate time ” he said .
He asserted that” there is a campaign which is targeting Hezbollah and that ( US Assistant Secretary of state Jeffrey) Feltman’s recent statement is clear in this regard.”
During an interview with New TV Moussawi said US funds were paid to Internet news and other media operations , various organizations and political parties adding ” the provocation will not affect us one way or the other”
Moussawi attacked the UN calling it biased towards Israel and pointed out that it is incumbent on the UNIFIL forces in the south to take into account local considerations.
According to observers Hezbollah is completely funded by Iran, but has never disclosed the level of funding it receives . The funds are also never channeled through Lebanese banks, making it difficult for the Central Bank to determine the exact amount Hezbollah receives annually from Iran . Estimates range anywhere between $200 million to $1 billion annually.
Ever since the 2006 war and the subsequent events Hezbollah has been heavily criticized by the Lebanese media and the March 14 alliance. The 2006 war which was prompted by the kidnapping of 2 Israeli soldiers resulted in the killing of over 1200 Lebanese ( mostly civilians ) , the displacement of over 1 million Lebanese ( mostly Shiites from the south ) , the destruction of over 120,000 housing units and the devastation of the Lebanese infrastructure. Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah promised at the beginning of the war to pay for the damages with Iranian ( halal) funds as he called it but the funds never came . Instead Lebanon( with borrowed funds ) and with the help of countries like Saudi Arabia , Kuwait and Qatar had to foot the bill .
Again Hezbollah came under attack when it pointed its guns against the Lebanese civilians during the May 7, 2008 uprising . Hundreds of Lebanese people were killed when Hezbollah occupied West Beirut and tried but failed to occupy Mt Lebanon. Between 2006 and 2008 Hezbollah occupied downtown Beirut , tried and failed to overthrow the government of former PM Fouad Siniora , but succeeded in preventing the election of a Lebanese president
Hezbollah which was extremely popular following the Israeli withdrawal from south Lebanon in 2000 has been accused by various political parties and key leaders ( since 2006 ) of serving the interests of Iran and Syria at Lebanon’s expenses.
Baseless allegations says US
The spokesman of US Embassy in Lebanon issued a statement last week calling Moussawi’s recent allegations baseless.
The US is committed to supporting Lebanon, its government and its people through programs and various types of support, the spokesperson added.
The spokesperson added that “we provided this support transparently to the people and media, unlike others. The US is committed to continuing this support, and these baseless accusations will not change that.”
According to observers Hezbollah’s allegation are in response to the sanctions that the US had slapped against two companies linked to the Iranian backed militant group.
In September 2006 , the US Treasury blacklisted Bayt al-Mal and the Yousser Company, along with Bayt al-Mal head Husayn al-Shami, for channeling funds to Hezbollah.
“Bayt al-Mal and the Yousser Company function as Hezbollah’s unofficial treasury, holding and investing its assets and serving as intermediaries between the terrorist group and mainstream banks,” said Stuart Levey, the US Treasury’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence on Sept 8, 2006 .
“Institutions considering dealing with these two entities are now on notice as to their true character,” he said.
The Treasury froze any US assets held by the two companies, and banned Americans from conducting any transactions with them.
Last week it took similar action against the Islamic Resistance Support Organization, which it said was a leading fundraiser for Hezbollah.