NATIONAL NEWS

US sanctions Lebanese environmental group accused of being an arm of Hezbollah

Aug 16, 2023, 10:19 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States imposed sanctions Wednesday on a Lebanese environmental organization accused of being an arm of the militant group Hezbollah.

The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control designated Green Without Borders and its leader, Zouher Nahli, for allegedly providing support and cover to Hezbollah in southern Lebanon along the “Blue Line” between Lebanon and Israel “while operating under the guise of environmental activism.”

The Treasury says Green Without Border’s outposts are manned by Hezbollah operatives, serving as cover for the militant group’s warehouses and munitions tunnels. Workers at the outposts have allegedly prevent U.N. peacekeepers in Lebanon from accessing areas which the United Nations has authority to access.

Green Without Border is a nongovernmental organization established in 2013. It says it aims to protect Lebanon’s green areas and plant trees.

“We are not an arm for anyone,” Nahli told The Associated Press in January. “We as an environmental association work for all the people and we are not politicized.”

Matthew Miller, a spokesman for the State Department, said the U.S. took action “as part of our efforts to prevent and disrupt financial and other support for terrorist attacks in Lebanon, Israel, and around the world.”

Brian E. Nelson, the Treasury’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said the U.S. rejects Hezbollah’s “cynical efforts to cloak its destabilizing terrorist activities with false environmentalism.”

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US sanctions Lebanese environmental group accused of being an arm of Hezbollah