BEIRUT: Two US congressmen presented last week a bill targeting the Iranian-backed group Hezbollah after introducing to Congress the 'Disarm Hezbollah Act' (HR 5540) which instructs the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to further investigate the group in terms of its "capabilities, arsenal, and the illicit supply routes it uses to procure weapons."
The bipartisan bill calls for an investigation by the DNI to produce an official National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) and help assess the work of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and "also detail the ways Hezbollah raises and distributes funds in the region under UNIFIL’s mandate."
The bill was presented by Tom Suozzi (Democrat-New York) and Adam Kinzinger (Republican-Illinois), with both members labeling Hezbollah a "threat to our allies."
"Hezbollah continues to build up its military capabilities, with tens of thousands of advanced missiles that threaten our Middle East interests and allies," said Suozzi.
Under the U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701, which brought to an end the devastating 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel, the militant group was ordered to abandon its weapons and other military capabilities. The group rejected this provision and has continued shoring up its arsenal.
The bill follows a series amendments to previous legislation aimed at the group after Congress introduced last year a bill targeting Hezbollah’s finances. It directed the Trump administration to sanction the people and businesses engaged in fundraising and recruitment activities for Hezbollah.
The US designated Hezbollah as a terrorist organization in 1997 while the European Union added its military wing to the terrorism list in 2013.
In January 2018, the US also put forth a bill that urges the EU to classify Hezbollah in its entirety as a terrorist cell, after the EU initially ignored pressure from the US and its ally Israel to ban the organization outright, allowing contacts with its political representatives.
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