Hezbollah is alarmed by the U.S. measures targeting its environment (The Daily Star/Mohammed Zaatari)
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As Hezbollah's battlefield casualties mount in Syria, a U.S. law passed in December that forbids banks from dealing with the group is hitting its vast network of social services in Lebanon like never before.The legislation aims to prevent Hezbollah from reaping any financial benefits following Iran's nuclear accord last year. The U.S. legislation was enforced by the Lebanese Central Bank last month, leading to a rare public spat between Governor Riad Salameh and Hezbollah.Hasan Fadlallah, one of Hezbollah's 13 lawmakers, declined to comment on the law and calls to two other parliamentarians were unanswered.Founded in 1982 to fight Israel's occupation of southern Lebanon, Hezbollah is considered a terrorist organization by the U.S. When a doctor applied for a mortgage at a Beirut bank recently, he was turned down because most of his income came from a hospital linked to Hezbollah.The law reinforces Hezbollah's message that Shiites are under attack, he said.In a May speech eulogizing a top commander killed in Syria, he recognized that Hezbollah could be at a crossroads but said it would eventually prevail.While the latest law won't lead to Hezbollah's demise, it makes it harder for them to operate, said Jonathan Schanzer, a former terrorism finance analyst at the U.S. Treasury Department.
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