Congress calls on EU to designate Hezbollah in its entirety as a terrorist group
The US House Foreign Affairs Committee also passed a measure calling for the US government to dismantle narcotics networks of the Assad regime, specifically Captagon.
The US House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) passed a measure calling on the European Union to designate Hezbollah as a terror group in its entirety.
Lawmakers on the committee also passed a separate resolution calling for the US government to dismantle narcotics networks of the Assad regime, specifically Captagon, an amphetamine-type stimulant.
The resolution, which now will be voted on by the House, applauds and expresses support for the continued, increased cooperation between the US and EU in thwarting Hezbollah’s criminal and terrorist activities.
It also calls on the EU to sanction Hezbollah-affiliated terrorists in tandem with the US. The resolution “urges the European Union to designate Hezbollah in its entirety as a terrorist organization and increase pressure on the group.”
Pressure on the group would include better cross-border cooperation between European Union members in combatting Hezbollah, issuing arrest warrants against members and active supporters of the group, freezing Hezbollah’s assets in Europe and banning fundraising activities in support of it.
Washington has worked to isolate and pressure Iran-backed Hezbollah for years, but Europe, specifically France, has held up unified opposition.
The Elysee continues to differentiate between Hezbollah’s so-called military and political wings.
And in recent years, several countries in the Gulf, South and Central America, and Europe have designated Hezbollah in its entirety.
The group, formed in 1982 by Iran to fight Israelis in Lebanon, continues to expand its power across the region and its arsenal of ballistic missiles and weapons.
The US designated Hezbollah as a terrorist group in 1997. Hezbollah’s Islamic Jihad Organization (IJO) is responsible for one of the deadliest attacks on US troops on foreign soil and carried out multiple bombings against US marines, the US Embassy and the US Embassy in Lebanon.
Captagon and Bashar al-Assad
Narcotics trafficking, particularly with links to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, was also targeted in a separate measure this week.
Most of Captagon is produced in Syria and Lebanon and smuggled to its primary consumer market in the Gulf.
The HFAC voted on a measure to require a strategy by the US government “to disrupt and dismantle the Captagon trade and narcotics networks of Bashar al-Assad in Syria.”
The ‘‘Countering Assad’s Proliferation Trafficking And Garnering Of Narcotics Act’’ or the ‘‘CAPTAGON Act’’ would require the US secretaries of Defense, State, Treasury, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Director of National Intelligence to develop a way to dismantle the production and trafficking of the narcotic.
Congressman French Hill praised the passing of the Captagon Act. “These drugs not only cripple local populations, they also serve to fuel hostilities and finance the Assad regime and Iran-backed groups in the region,” Hill said in a statement. “The US government must do all it can to disrupt the industrial-level drug production currently taking place in Syria.”
Glad to see my bill to disrupt & dismantle Assad's narcotics production & trafficking in Syria pass the House Foreign Affairs Cmte. Captagon cripples local populations & serves to fuel hostilities/finance the Assad regime @HouseForeignGOP @HouseForeign https://t.co/8vuu2VPfIr— French Hill (@RepFrenchHill) July 29, 2022
The top Republican on the HFAC said the Captagon trade directly undermines US and international sanctions on the Assad regime. “The Administration needs to develop and implement a plan to stop production and trafficking of these drugs,” McCaul said.
Methods could include diplomatic and intelligence support by assisting and training law enforcement services in countries other than Syria, where Captagon is being transited.
If passed, the US government would be required to develop a manner where it could leverage cooperation with international partners to disrupt the narcotics infrastructure of the Assad regime.
The resolution also calls for a strategy to mobilize a “public communications campaign to increase awareness of the extent of the connection of the Assad regime to illicit narcotics trade.”
Both measures were passed as part of a larger “en bloc” voice vote that was unopposed by HFAC lawmakers.
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