Key Points

Alternately, Netanyahu might well opt to kick the can down the road one more time. But he is running out of road.

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Washington needs to step up to the challenge and ensure that its regional partners are fully on board. Cutting off Hezbollah’s financial lifeline has been a U.S. national security priority for decades, but action has been intermittent at best. Yet now, an unexpected alignment of priorities has put Washington on the same page as the Argentine, Brazilian, and Paraguayan governments. Now is the moment for them to launch an all-out offensive.

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It is time for Europe to cease minimizing the threat from Hezbollah and to hold the group legally responsible for its actions. Europe should designate all of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. The French justice system should ensure that as the Operation Cedar trial unfolds, Hezbollah’s illicit activities, which continue unabated in Europe, are exposed, punished, and constrained.

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Congress and the administration maintain a somewhat rare bipartisan consensus on punishing Iran and its proxies directly. The overwhelming support in the House and Senate for the Hizballah International Financing Prevention Amendments Act, which the president signed in October, illustrates that both parties unanimously approved more pressure on Hezbollah. This legislation requires the administration to sanction Hezbollah’s fundraising and recruitment networks, as well as the instrumentalities of foreign states moving funds to the group. Entities and individuals in Iraq and Lebanon can be expected to attract increased attention.

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Current U.S. policy is based on the notion that strengthening Lebanese “state institutions” is the way to counter Hezbollah. But when Hezbollah controls these institutions, Washington should not look the other way.

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Projects