by Daniel Siryoti, News Agencies and Israel Hayom Staff
"This economic war that Hezbollah is fighting is not aimed solely against us, but [also] against Iran and Syria. What America and Israel and their allies didn't achieve in battle, they are trying to achieve through economic war," Hezbollah leader says.
Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah
Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah on Friday accused Israel and the United states of waging economic war against the terrorist organization, and called on its supporters to donate money as the organization comes under increasing Western sanctions intended to isolate it financially.
The United States deems all parts of Hezbollah a terrorist organization and has been steadily increasing financial sanctions against the Iranian proxy.
"I announce today that the resistance is in need of its [popular base]," Nasrallah said, adding that donations were needed to support the group's activities.
"This economic war that Hezbollah is fighting is not aimed solely against us, but [also] against Iran and Syria. What America and Israel and their allies didn't achieve in battle, they are trying to achieve through economic war," Nasrallah said in a televised speech.
Hezbollah was founded in 1982 by Iran's Revolutionary Guards. Its influence has expanded at home in Lebanon and in the region. It is represented in the Lebanese government and controls three out of 30 government ministries in the government of Prime Minister Saad Hariri.
The group is also heavily armed and has sent militants to fight in neighboring Syria and beyond.
Last month, Britain said it was joining the U.S. in listing all branches of Hezbollah as terrorist organizations, due to the role Hezbollah plays in destabilizing the Middle East. The move broke ranks with the rest of the European Union, which proscribes only Hezbollah's military wing as a terrorist entity.
Hezbollah itself does not acknowledge having separate political and military wings.
Nasrallah added that other nations could follow Britain's example.
"The sanctions and the terror lists are a form of war ... we should deal with them as if they are a war," he said.
Nasrallah called on Hezbollah supporters to remain steadfast in the face of these pressures and said the group's enemies would be "disappointed."
"Their actions will not be able to make us poor, hungry or isolated. Those that support us will continue in their support – be they countries, people or our people and the people of resistance in Lebanon," Nasrallah said.
Meanwhile, German Minister of State Niels Annen said on Friday that his country would not follow Britain's lead, a decision that might fuel tensions with Saudi Arabia and the United States.
Annen, speaking to weekly news magazine Der Spiegel after a visit to Lebanon, said Hezbollah remained a relevant factor in Lebanese society.
Britain's decision would have no direct impact on the position of Germany or the European Union, Annen said.
Annen rejected U.S. criticism his nation was doing too little to combat Iran's influence in the region and said Berlin's foreign policy remained focused on finding political solutions, even in tough situations.
Germany's refusal to ban Hezbollah as a whole could add to tensions with Riyadh over Saudi Arabia's leadership of a coalition fighting the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen, and because of the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
France, Britain and European arms makers are pressing Germany to end a unilateral freeze in arms shipments to Saudi Arabia imposed by Berlin after Khashoggi's death that is holding up billions of euros of weapons deliveries.
Hezbollah was founded in 1982 by Iran's Revolutionary Guards. Its influence has expanded at home in Lebanon and in the region.
The group controls three of 30 ministries in the Lebanese government led by Western-backed Prime Minister Saad Hariri, the largest number ever.
Daniel Siryoti, News Agencies and Israel Hayom Staff
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