Lebanon's Hezbollah faces huge financial, political challenges

Hezbollah, a Lebanon-based political party, is facing huge political and financial challenges because of the increased U.S. sanctions against Iran and the party’s military involvement in different parts of the Arab world, analysts told Xinhua.

“To start with, salaries of Hezbollah’s fighters who are at the forefront of any military confrontation have dropped by around 30 percent,” Youssef Diab, political analyst, told Xinhua.

Since U.S. President Donald Trump introduced new restrictions on trade with Iran last year, Iran’s ability to finance allies such as Hezbollah has been reduced.

As a result, Hezbollah has witnessed a sharp fall in its revenue and is being forced to adopt austerity measures.

Moreover, Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah called upon his supporters on March 8 to donate funds to help the party face tighter sanctions from Western countries after Britain joined the United States to list Hezbollah as a terrorist group.

To make things worse, the U.S. Treasury slapped sanctions last month on three key Hezbollah figures, including two members of Lebanese parliament.

According to Diab, these sanctions against the political wing of Hezbollah pose a great political challenge for the party.

Meanwhile, Makram Rabah, a lecturer at AUB’s Department of History, believes that Hezbollah is receiving the same financial support from Iran but its responsibilities have increased following the party’s involvement in Yemen and other countries.

“The party’s responsibilities have increased which drove them to cut lots of their expenses and delay the payment of their employees’ salaries,” he said.

Rabah said that Hezbollah will try to find ways of generating revenues from the Arab world and other places in an illegal way.

“This has always been the case for Hezbollah but they will get involved in such practices in a more visible and apparent way,” he added.

The U.S. Treasury Department has, on many occasions, accused Hezbollah of raising funds by engaging in illegal activities while Hezbollah has categorically denied all allegations of drug trafficking, illegal banking and money laundering.

Diab believes that Hezbollah cannot back down and it has to continue with its resistance even if this will be at the expense of what is left from its popularity.

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