If there’s one thing a former savvy real-estate billionaire mogul turned President knows best, is how to follow the money trail, and on Thursday President Trump turned off the cash spigot by issuing a new round of stinging sanctions stopping the flow of money to the terrorist organization Hezbollah a surrogate of Iran.
According to information provided by the State and Treasury Departments, the aim of the Administration is to disrupt the Iranian-backed organization’s illicit funding and weapons networks.
Moreover while the Iranian regime continues creating mischief within the strategic Straits of Hormuz, just recently seizing an Iraqi oil tanker in the Persian Gulf, including seven crew members, the President is focusing on hitting the regime in their respective pocketbooks, identifying those lending institutions covertly doing business with the terrorist state, either directly, indirectly or through a third-party entities.
The latest financial institution to be hit with punitive sanctions is Jammal Trust Bank SAL, which the administration has identified as providing “illicit financial and banking activities” for Hezbollah.
A U.S. official warned the new sanction “Sends the message loud and clear that the United States is very serious about disrupting terrorist activity and will continue to take action where we believe it’s warranted.”
Since 1997, the United States has identified Hezbollah as a terrorist group supported and funded by Iran, whose sole purpose is to destabilize the Middle East with coordinated acts of terror, including sustained rocket attacks on Israeli villages, cities and towns, suicide bombings and kidnappings.
Jammal Trust is a 50-year-old commercial bank with branches throughout Lebanon, according to its website.
“Today’s designation reflects our determination to counter Hezbollah’s terrorist and illicit activities in Lebanon,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement accompanying the sanctions. “We will continue to target individuals and entities involved in financing and providing support to Hezbollah while working closely with the Central Bank of Lebanon and other Lebanese institutions which work to preserve the integrity and stability of Lebanon’s banking system.”
Adding, the Jammal Trust Bank “has a longstanding relationship with a key Hezbollah financial entity and provides financial services to the Martyrs Foundation and companies controlled by Hezbollah’s Executive Council.”
Moreover, according to the Treasury Department, the President’s action will cut off a key source of the group’s funding, adding, “Hezbollah has used accounts at Jammal Trust to pay its operatives and their families, and Jammal Trust has actively attempted to conceal its banking relationship with numerous wholly-owned Martyrs Foundation subsidiaries.”
Sigal Mandelker, the undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said the new sanctions are part of a strategic plan to disrupt Hezbollah’s financial networks, which has a growing reach outside Lebanon’s borders.
“Treasury is targeting Jammal Trust Bank and its subsidiaries for brazenly enabling Hezbollah’s financial activities,” Mandelker said. “Corrupt financial institutions like Jammal Trust are a direct threat to the integrity of the Lebanese financial system.”
“The U.S. will continue to work with the Central Bank of Lebanon to deny Hezbollah access to the international financial system,” Mandelker said. “This action is a warning to all who provide services to this terrorist group.”
For those not familiar with Hezbollah’s terrorist reign, here’s an abridged version regarding a few of their terrorist acts.
In 2006 during the height of the Lebanon War Hezbollah fired nearly 4,000 rockets into Israel within a 30-day period, targeting the civilian population.
Just last month Hezbollah’s militant group’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, threatened to use a new generation rocket that can reach Tel Aviv.
Speaking Sunday at a weekly cabinet meeting, the Israeli Prime Minister warned of a “crushing” retaliation should the Iran-backed Lebanese group dare to strike.
“Let me be clear – if Hezbollah dares to make the mistake of attacking Israel, we will lay upon it and on Lebanon a crushing military blow,” Netanyahu said.