US Intensifies Soft War against Hizbullah
As-Safir, Translated by al-Ahed news
According to certain sources, America's "soft" war against Hizbullah is fully underway. The same sources added that the US Assistant Secretary for the Department of the Treasury, Daniel Glaser, told Lebanese officials during a meeting in Washington that it was "forbidden for Hizbullah to enter into our banking system, and if Lebanon wishes to enter our banking system, it must respect the laws of the United States, including the recent financial law directed against Hizbullah."
The sources added that, "Glaser, who arrived in Beirut yesterday and met with the [Lebanese] Minister of Finance, Ali Hassan Khalil, delivered a flexible address but stern in content." They also noted that this time the Lebanese government was ready for the visit and adopted a position that Glaser noticed during a meeting with the Minister of Finance, and which he will note today during his meeting with the Governor of the Central Bank, Dr. Riad Salameh, and then with the Lebanese Banks Association.
It was quoted from highly informed sources that the meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Tammam Salam in the Grand Serail, and attended by Ali Hassan Khalil and Riad Salameh, was characterized by a realistic approach to this matter. This approach was based on the position of the political establishment, which delegated the ‘trio' to formulate a united stance. This newly adopted stance differs from the initial discretionary position, which was assumed when dealing with the national file, involving a portion of the Lebanese in both the public and private sectors, inside and outside the country.
The Serail meeting follows another meeting Salemeh held in his office at the central bank, involving a delegation from Hizbullah, which included the Minister of Agriculture Hussein Hajj Hassan, MP Ali Fayyad, and former Deputy Secretary Amin Sherri. During the meeting, Hizbullah turned a new page on the matter concerning the central bank's prior oversight of the ability of local banks to close any account, which the resistance group previously regarded as excessive.
These sources noted that the talks during the first day of Glazer's visit highlighted that the US' war against Hizbullah is continuing and escalating, but this time it is in the form of economy and finance.
There is a great deal of anticipation that the coming weeks will produce an occasion to test how private banks will deal with the announcement by the Special Investigation Commission in the Central Bank of Lebanon [which stipulates a halt on the banks' ability to forcefully close their clients' accounts].
And this is the practical translation of the stance the Central Bank of Lebanon announced last week, which led to the turning of the page of tension and mistrust between Hizbullah and the governorship of the Central Bank.
Minister Khalil stressed to the US delegation the importance of preserving the Lebanese banking sector as one of the pillars of stability. Sources noted that the Minister of Finance called for the need to be alert to any form of discretionary application of the law, especially as it deals with a large segment of the Lebanese people.