US Envoy Threatens Sanctions Against Hezbollah’s Allies in Lebanon

Sanctions could cover Lebanon's entire coalition government

 

Assistant Secretary of State David Schenker says that the US is “reviewing” its list of sanctions targets in Lebanon, based on a desire to expand sanctions in the country against individuals who are “aiding and assisting Hezbollah.”

While this has often been proposed in the past, in keeping with US hostility toward Hezbollah, it is wildly problematic, given Hezbollah exists within Lebanon as a perfectly legitimate political party operating within a major coalition.

Hezbollah is, after all, part of the March 8 Alliance, which controls the majority of the seats in parliament. If this allies-of-Hezbollah position is applied politically, it would necessarily mean US sanctions on the entire elected coalition government.

That wouldn’t necessarily be out of keeping with US stated positions, as they’ve threatened Lebanon ahead of virtually every election in recent memory not to vote for the Hezbollah bloc. It would, however, derail recent US interest in trying to build up its influence with the Lebanese government, and alienate the country’s Sunnis, Shi’ites, and Christians in equal measures.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.