Hezbollah’s dangerous actions threaten the Lebanese people and jeopardize Lebanon’s potential recovery from its current economic and financial crisis, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday.
“As the Lebanese people suffer through a crushing economic crisis, Hezbollah’s exploitation of Lebanon’s financial system, its degradation of Lebanese institutions, and its provocative and dangerous actions threaten the Lebanese people and jeopardize Lebanon’s financial well-being and potential recovery,” Pompeo said.
In his statement after a Hezbollah member was found guilty by a UN-backed tribunal looking into the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, Pompeo said the Iran-backed group was “more concerned with its own interests and those of its patron, Iran, than what is best for Lebanon and the Lebanese people.”
Salim Ayyash, the convicted lead defendant, was charged by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) on Tuesday with committing a terrorist attack by means of an explosive device, intentional homicide of Hariri and the 21 other victims, and attempted intentional homicide of 226 additional people.
Pompeo said Hezbollah operatives “do not freelance,” in an apparent reference to the group being responsible and not just one individual.