July 15, 2019

Trump Administration Offers $10 Million for Information That Would Disrupt Hezbollah Cash Flow

FILE PHOTO: A supporter of Lebanon's Hezbollah gestures as he holds a Hezbollah flag in Marjayoun, Lebanon May 7, 2018. REUTERS/Aziz Taher/File Photo

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Trump administration is offering up to $10 million for information that would disrupt Hezbollah’s financing.

The State Department posted the reward on Monday, listing some ways to get the money: providing the names of donors to the Lebanese terrorist militia; Hezbollah-owned businesses and front companies; the names of brokers who facilitate Hezbollah transactions; and criminal schemes run by Hezbollah.

The reward notice comes as the Trump administration is ramping up pressure on Hezbollah’s main sponsor, Iran. Also Monday, the administration announced that next month it would end sanctions waivers for five major buyers of Iran’s oil: China, India, Japan, South Korea and Turkey.

That policy, aimed at reducing Iran’s oil exports to zero, is likely to frustrate U.S. allies that counsel a carrot-and-stick approach with Iran, but it earned the praise of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said in a statement that it was “of great importance in increasing the pressure on the Iranian terrorist regime.”

The Trump administration wants Iran to kill entirely its nuclear program, as well as end its backing for terrorism and interventions in neighboring conflicts. Of particular concern is the support that Iran and Hezbollah have lent the Assad regime in Syria, where an 8-year civil war is winding down. Israel wants Iran and Hezbollah removed from Syria.

In announcing the suspension of the oil sanctions waivers, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said squeezing Hezbollah dry was one of the administration’s main aims in its ongoing policy of targeting Iran with economic pressure.

“We have watched Iran have diminished power as a result of our campaign,” he said. “Their capacity to wreak harm around the world is absolutely clearly diminished. I talked about it with respect to Hezbollah not being able to make payroll in a timely fashion.”