Results: Trump’s Pressure Campaign is Suffocating Hezbollah

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Posted: May 20, 2019 2:45 PM
Results: Trump’s Pressure Campaign is Suffocating Hezbollah

Over the weekend, Iranian proxy forces fired a rocket near the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. A week ago, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo ordered all non-essential State Department personnel out of Iraq after Iran was seen loading missiles onto ships and positioning them toward U.S. targets. 

For months, the Trump administration has been increasing economic pressure on Iran. Two weeks ago, the State Department announced it was eliminating waivers to countries still purchasing oil from the terrorist regime, subjecting them to sanctions. 

Now, a new report in the Washington Post shows the pressure campaign is working and is suffocating Iran's largest terror organization Hezbollah. Before 9/11, Hezbollah was responsible for more American murders than any other terrorist organization.

The powerful Lebanese Hezbollah militia has thrived for decades on generous cash handouts from Iran, spending lavishly on benefits for its fighters, funding social services for its constituents and accumulating a formidable arsenal that has helped make the group a significant regional force, with troops in Syria and Iraq.

But since President Trump introduced sweeping new restrictions on trade with Iran last year, raising tensions with Tehran that reached a crescendo in recent days, Iran’s ability to finance allies like Hezbollah has been curtailed. Hezbollah, the best funded and most senior of Tehran’s proxies, has seen a sharp fall in its revenue and is being forced to make draconian cuts to its spending, according to Hezbollah officials, members and supporters.

Fighters are being furloughed or assigned to the reserves, where they receive lower salaries or no pay at all, said a Hezbollah employee with one of the group’s administrative units. Many of them are being withdrawn from Syria, where the militia has played an instrumental role in fighting on behalf of President Bashar al-Assad and ensuring his survival.

Programs on Hezbollah’s television station Al-Manar have been canceled and their staff laid off, according to another Hezbollah insider. The once ample spending programs that underpinned the group’s support among Lebanon’s historically impoverished Shiite community have been slashed, including the supply of free medicines and even groceries to fighters, employees and their families.
 
The sanctions imposed late last year by Trump after he withdrew from the landmark nuclear deal aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear ambitions are far more draconian than those that helped bring Iran to the negotiating table under the Obama administration, and they are having a profound effect on the Iranian economy, analysts say.

Last week marked the one year anniversary of the United States officially pulling out of the fatally flawed Iran nuclear agreement, prompting the Obama-era echo chamber to accuse President Trump of taking America to the brink of war. This of course isn't the case. While Obama chose to appease Iran, sending them billions of dollars that went to terrorism, President Trump is doing the opposite and using the U.S. military as a deterrent. 

Iran's behavior under the nuclear agreement got worse, not better and to say their current aggression is a result of the administration getting out of the deal is nonsense.