Assistant to the U.S. President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, Thomas Bossert, called for a global response to combat Hezbollah in an op-ed published in the French newspaper Le Monde, and posted again on the White House website, noting that the group has tried to disguise its activities as a terrorist organization under the guise of political legitimacy.
Sunday, October 8 marked the 20 year anniversary of the State Department designating Hezbollah as a foreign terrorist organization.
"Hezbollah, originally formed as a violent union of Iranian-backed extremists in Lebanon, has terrorized the Middle East and the world since its inception thirty-five years ago," wrote Bossert. "Hezbollah remains a threat to the United States and to the security of nations across the Middle East and beyond."
"It is time for more nations around the world to join the United States in exposing this murderous organization for what it is, in confronting its networks and its sponsors, and in mobilizing a global response to counter the threat it poses to the civilized world," he stressed.
"For decades, this terrorist organization has tried to disguise its murderous intentions under the guise of political legitimacy. Hezbollah first competed in Lebanese national elections in 1992. Today, Hezbollah and its political allies hold half of the seats in Lebanon’s Cabinet and nearly half of the seats in its National Assembly," the op-ed explained, adding that the group’s political cover cannot mask its true intentions as the same officials responsible for its political apparatus oversee its terrorist planning.
"The Lebanese people can never be truly free to express their political will under the constant threat of Hezbollah’s violence and coercion," the U.S. official wrote.
There is no difference between Hezbollah’s terrorist wing and its supposed political wing," he pointed out. "Hezbollah is one organization—a global terrorist organization."
Bossert assured that the United States will continue to recognize the entire group as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, and the Trump Administration will aggressively target its terrorism infrastructure and financial support networks.
"None of this, of course, will affect our ongoing support for Lebanon’s legitimate state institutions," he affirmed. "Together, we can prevent this malicious terrorist organization from threatening the peace and security of the world."
On Tuesday, the State Department's Counterterrorism Coordinator, Ambassador Nathan Sales and the Director of the National Counterterrorism Center, Nick Rasmussen, announced that the U.S. government is offering up to seven million dollars for information that brings to justice Talal Hamiyah, the head of Hezbollah's IJO/ESO, and up to five million dollars that brings to justice Fouad Shukr, a senior Hezbollah operative involved in the 1983 attack on the U.S. Marine Barracks in Beirut that killed 231 U.S. service personnel.