US passes two bills sanctioning Hizballah and Hamas

  • The US Senate has passed two bills which, once signed by Donald Trump, will impose new sanctions on the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah (Hizballah in the Bills).

    The first Bill, the Hizballah International Financing Prevention Amendments Act of 2017 is an amendment of the 2015 Hizballah International Financing Prevention Act. It aims at preventing Hizballah’s access to funding by sanctioning foreign persons/entities who provide significant financial, material or technological support. The Bill also imposes sanctions on affiliated networks of Hizballah engaged in transnational organised crime.

    The second Bill, the 2018 Sanctioning the Use of Civilians as Defenceless Shields Act sanctions members of Hizballah or Hamas or people acting on behalf of Hizballah or Hamas who have ordered, controlled or directed the use of civilians to shield military objectives from attack. The bill also sanctions foreign persons/entities or instrumentalities of a foreign state that have been found to have materially supported, ordered, controlled, directed or otherwise engaged in such acts.

    There are conflicting opinions on the potential impact of these sanctions. The majority of Hizballah’s funding comes from Iran, and to a lesser extent Syria, who are already subject to US sanctions and are unlikely to be deterred by these additional measures.