From his perches on the Senate Foreign Relations and Intelligence Committees, Marco Rubio continued his efforts against Hezbollah this week.
Rubio teamed up with New Hampshire Democrat Jeanne Shaheen to bring out a resolution urging the European Union (EU) classify all of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. Currently the EU just recognized Hezbollah’s military branch as terrorists.
“Hezbollah is a terrorist organization and tool of Iran that threatens America’s security and that of our allies in the Middle East, especially Israel,” Rubio said on Monday. “The sanctions against Hezbollah that Senator Shaheen and I passed last year are starting to take effect, but we need the entire international community to speak with one voice and recognize Hezbollah for what they are: terrorists. I encourage the European Union to make its position clear that Hezbollah is a terrorist organization that won’t be tolerated and that will actively work with the U.S. to choke off its financing.”
“Hezbollah has blood on its hands and remains an ever-present threat to the security of our nation and our allies,” said Shaheen. “Hezbollah has demonstrated through indiscriminate violence that it is a terrorist organization and should be broadly recognized as such by the international community. Our resolution urges our friends in the European Union to join us in applying this additional pressure on Hezbollah’s entire network.”
The bill also has the support of Republicans Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Mark Kirk of Illinois and Democrats Chris Coons of Delaware and Ed Markey of Massachusetts.
This is not a new focus for Rubio. Back in November, the Senate passed the “Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act of 2015” from Rubio and Shaheen. President Barack Obama signed the measure into law in December. This legislation imposed sanctions on businesses and banks that knowingly work with Hezbollah and its affiliates including the al-Manar Hezbollah television station. The legislation also directed the president to report to Congress on Hezbollah’s efforts and what the U.S. government is doing to fight that terrorist group. The bill was sponsored in the House by California Republican Edward Royce with Ted Deutch of Florida, the ranking Democrat on the House Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, as a key co-sponsor.
Back in April, Rubio and Shaheen wrote Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew urging them to fully implement the law and continue to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist group.