Intel: What’s behind latest US sanctions and bounties on Hezbollah and Hamas


The Donald Trump administration placed terrorist designations and bounties on several Hezbollah and Hamas officials today as part of Washington’s efforts to target Iran and its regional proxies.

The State Department slapped terrorist designations on Jawad Nasrallah, the son of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, and the al-Mujahidin Brigades, a military organization operating in the West Bank and Gaza. Shortly afterward, the State Department announced $5 million bounties for information about Hezbollah leaders Khalil Yusif Mahmoud Harb and Haytham Ali Tabatabai as well as Hamas leader Salih al-Aruri.

Meanwhile, the Treasury Department placed sanctions on four Hezbollah members: Shibl Mushin Ubayd al-Zaydi, Yusuf Hashim, Adnan Hussein Kawtharani and Muhammad Abd al-Hadi Farhat.

Why it matters: While the sanctions target specific individuals, the Trump administration is framing them as part of its broader sanctions campaign against Iran.

“They are designed to deprive the regime of vital revenue it uses to conduct terrorism and support terrorist groups around the world, to include Lebanese Hezbollah, Hamas, Kataib Hezbollah and the Taliban,” the State Department said in a press release.

The US reinstated more than 700 sanctions on Iranian individuals and entities earlier this month as part of its withdrawal from the nuclear deal.

Congressional pressure: Treasury’s sanctions against the four Hezbollah members are the result of recent legislation cracking down on the group’s supporters and funders. Trump signed the Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Amendments Act into law last month.

“Good to see @USTreasury squeezing Hezbollah in Iraq following recent enactment of legislation I co-authored … to increase sanctions on these deadly terrorists,” House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, R-Calif., tweeted after the announcement.

Congress has also been leading the charge against Aruri for several years amid rumors that he lives in Turkey. Aruri founded Hamas’ Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades.

What’s next? The Trump administration has vowed that the new sanctions regime will be even more expansive than Barack Obama-era sanctions, so expect a deluge of more actions targeting Iran and its proxy forces.

Know more: Some of the people designated today have long been in policymakers’ cross-hairs. Washington editor Julian Pecquet first wrote about Congress’ call for action against Aruri four years ago. For the latest, read congressional correspondent Bryant Harris on how the Trump administration is cracking the whip on Hezbollah’s illicit financing activities. 

- Bryant Harris

Continue reading this article by registering at no cost and get unlimited access to:

  • The award-winning Middle East Lobbying - The Influence Game
  • Archived articles
  • Exclusive events
  • The Week in Review
  • Lobbying newsletter delivered weekly
Found in: Sanctions

Al-Monitor Staff

Next for you

The website uses cookies and similar technologies to track browsing behavior for adapting the website to the user, for delivering our services, for market research, and for advertising. Detailed information, including the right to withdraw consent, can be found in our Privacy Policy. To view our Privacy Policy in full, click here. By using our site, you agree to these terms.