Commentary

Choke Them Out: GOP Senator Moves to End Financing of 'Global Terrorist Threat'

Hezbollah is arguably the most terrifying of the Islamist terror organizations.

While it has never captured the imagination in the way of al-Qaida, ISIS or al-Shabab, no other terrorist group has achieved as much political power as Hezbollah.

Hezbollah is formally involved in the government of Lebanon, and it has close diplomatic ties to Iran. In a 1985 manifesto, the group proclaimed that its mission is to fight “coordination between the Phalangists [a Christian political party in Lebanon] and Israel.” The manifesto also declared the destruction of Israel to be a “necessity,” and Hezbollah has spent the decades following fighting Israel and Judaism in general every step of the way.

The group has been responsible for devastating terror attacks, including the 1994 car bombing of a Jewish community center in Argentina and an attack against the Israeli Embassy in London. The Marine Corps Times also assigned Hezbollah blame for the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing.

Hezbollah also has a working relationship with Hamas. Simply put, members of Hezbollah are brutal terrorists who have been thorns in the sides of both the U.S. and Israel for decades — and they also might have played a role in inciting the current violence in Jerusalem. According to Fox News, the U.S. State Department classifies Hezbollah as a “global terrorist threat.”

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Fortunately, one GOP senator, Tennessee’s Marsha Blackburn, is introducing legislation that would deny Hezbollah one of its most important sources of revenue — U.S. banks.

Fox reported that “The Hezbollah Money Laundering Prevention Act of 2021” would, according to Blackburn, “clamp down on their ability to have access to the U.S. banking system.”

“We’re just trying to make it more difficult for them to have access to those funds. We’re making it more difficult for them to launder those dollars,” Blackburn added.

The mechanism for doing so is within the PATRIOT Act, Fox reported.

Will Blackburn's legislation pass?

The bill would block bank accounts tied to others that support Hezbollah, investigate Lebanese leaders who are involved with the terror group and grant President Joe Biden more power to impose sanctions on allied banks, corporations and entities that provide some sort of support to the group.

The bill, according to Blackburn, would be “the toughest sanctions on Hezbollah ever proposed by Congress, which could result in a lack of resources needed to continue their terrorist agenda in the region and abroad.”

“I hope [Hezbollah is] paying attention, and that they do see this as a message that the United States of America, we are going to stand with Israel and we are not going to take actions or allow actions to continue that are going to embolden our enemies,” Blackburn said.

Blackburn also hopes the bill would send a signal to U.S. allies like Israel that we still have their back. “It is vitally important for our allies to know that they are our friends, and we stand with them,” she said.

“And equally important, that our enemies understand that we know they are our adversary and we are not going to take actions that are going to make it easier for them to attack us.”

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While I understand the necessity of other legislative matters at the time, I wish that Blackburn’s legislation could have been proposed during the Trump years. Biden’s Europe-focused foreign policy is outdated, and Trump had a much better grasp on affairs in the Middle East.

Furthermore, I worry that such a vital bill could be buried under the Democrats’ fiscally irresponsible wish list. This could easily pass with bipartisan support, but why pass this when you can push unconstitutional election bills that will inevitably be blocked by the filibuster?

Even so, this is a laudable effort by Blackburn. She’s doing the most she possibly can with the resources available to her.

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Garion Frankel is the senior policy advisor for the Texas Federation of College Republicans. He enjoys and has published articles and academic works on public policy, philosophy and political theory.
Garion Frankel is the senior policy advisor for the Texas Federation of College Republicans. He enjoys and has published articles and academic works on public policy, philosophy and political theory.
Languages Spoken
English, some Spanish




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