U.S. threatens to cut aid for Lebanese ministries allocated to Hezbollah

A parade by the Iranian backed Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah militia.
A parade by the Iranian backed Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah militia.

The U.S. embassy in Beirut has reportedly “intensified threats to cut any US or international assistance for Lebanese ministries that allocated to Hezbollah” in a bid to pressure officials tasked with forming the government, al-Akhbar daily reported on Friday.

Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri affimed in a televised interview on Thursday that he “does not mind” allocating the health portfolio in the new government for Hezbollah, noting that the international assistance approved earlier for that ministry “could stop.”

“We don’t mind that Hezbollah gets the Ministry of Health. But let’s be frank. If Hezbollah gets any ministry pledged with loans from the World or any international community, there is a great possibility that these loans come to a halt. We have to be realistic here.”

The U.S treasury department sanctioned Lebanese national Muhammad Abdallah al-Amin and seven of his companies for providing material support for Hezbollah, the latest in a series of penalties aimed at curtailing the militant group’s finances.

The Office of Foreign Assets Control said it took action “to disrupt Hezbollah’s financial supportnetworks by designating Muhammad ‘Abdallah al-Amin (al-Amin) as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist” as well as seven companies owned or controlled by him.

Sierra Gas SAL Offshore, Lama Foods SARL, LamaFoods International Offshore SAL, Impulse SARL, Impulse International SAL Offshore, M. Marine SAL Offshore, and Thaingui SAL Offshore are all now subject to US asset freezes.

Hezbollah Rebuffs US Aid Threats

Hezbollah has reportedly stressed consensus among Lebanese leaders to allocate the health ministry for the party, brushing off all US threats.

Hezbollah sources told al-Joumhouria daily that an agreement was reached between the party, Speaker Nabih Berri, PM-designate Saad Hariri and the President to assign a Hezbollah minister for the health ministry.