In April 2017, rumors circulated about new sanctions to be imposed on Hizballah and its allies by the U.S. Congress and Treasury Department, following the leaking of a draft sanctions bill. This was following their repeated violations of UN Resolution 1701 in South Lebanon as well as involvement in the Syrian civil war. The initial leaked documents revealed that the sanctions were intended for Hizballah’s allied political parties as well–primarily the Amal Movement and the Free Patriotic Movement. In an updated draft leaked in early August 2017, however, there was no mention of Amal Movement nor of Hizballah’s other allies. Despite repeated denials from senior Amal Movement figures–most prominently the head of the movement and Lebanese Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri–there are clear indications of some form of involvement in the Syrian civil war by Amal activists, whether as combatants inside Syria or merely as defenders of the Syrian-Lebanese border, apparently to safeguard the Shi’i presence in this area. There are also signs of military organization by the movement in southern Lebanon.
Amal (which means “hope” and as an acronym stands for Afwaj al-Muqawama al-Lubnaniyya or the Lebanese Resistance Regiments) was originally named The Movement of the Deprived in response to Amal founder Shi’i Imam Sayyid Musa al-Sadr’s speech delivered on January 20, 1974, to mark the Ashura memorial holiday. The imam called on the Lebanese people to establish a Lebanese resistance to halt “Israeli acts of aggression.” Al-Sadr was succeeded by Hussein al-Husseini, speaker of the Lebanese Parliament at the time. Speaker of the Lebanese Parliament Nabih Berri was the subsequent, and current, head of Amal. The movement, which belongs to the pro-Hizballah “March 8 Alliance” in Lebanon’s political system, embodies Shi’i elements and is represented in the parliament (first and foremost by the speaker) and in the Lebanese government (currently by the ministers of finance, agriculture, and the minister of state for administrative reform).
Since assuming leadership of the movement, Nabih Berri has succeeded in placing Amal members in key positions within the Lebanese public and business sectors. This strategic achievement has become one of the movement’s major sources of funding. Amal has used this opportunity to benefit from government institutions (i.e., corruption) and to exert almost complete control over high-level positions that are assigned to the Shi’a, including the appointment of senior CEOs and even of private school principals. Moreover, Amal wields its political clout to exploit illegal business transactions and investment in Lebanon. One such example is its encouragement of real-estate investments from the Gulf states opposite the coasts of Southern Lebanon in key areas for prospective gas and oil. Amal also owns radio and television stations, magazines, and print shops, as well as charitable organizations, educational, and health institutions in the country.
In addition to these funding sources, the Amal Movement is bolstered by Iranian financial support (both official contributions and funds channeled through Shi’i religious institutions), backing from Lebanese expatriates, and by receiving a portion of Islamic levies collected in Shi’i religious institutions.
Regarding the issue of sanctions, it is important to note UN Security Council Resolution 1559, which stipulated–among other things–that all armed militias in Lebanon are to be disbanded as well the subsequent UN Resolution 1701, prohibiting any illegal armed presence south of the Litani River.
Amal Activity in Southern Lebanon and the Syria-Iraq Border Area
Almost immediately after the end of the 2006 war between Israel and Hizballah, the latter as well as other groups such as Amal blatantly violated Resolution 1701. For example, in February 2009, photos of Amal activity in the town of Dayr Qanoun al-Nahr were published. Some of the pictures were taken during military exercises, depicting three or four uniformed figures alongside an Amal Movement flag carrying personal weapons and an anti-tank rocket launcher.
In March 2014, at the end of a Ministry of Youth and Sports activity with the Amal Movement in the town of Meiss al-Jabal, a group of some 15 fighters from the Movement held a meeting while dressed in uniform. The fighters made a show of strength, armed with personal weapons, sniper rifles, and anti-tank rockets.
In addition to the activities of the Amal Movement’s military wing in Lebanon, the movement’s activists seem to be involved in fighting inside Syria and in military activity along the Syrian-Lebanese border. In 2014–2015, for example, a number of videos were made public showing Amal Movement members actively participating in combat inside Syria. There were also numerous indications of the Amal Movement’s participation in military activity on the Syrian–Lebanese border from 2014 to 2017. The latest and most prominent case took place as Hizballah fought the HTC (previously called al-Nusra Front) on the outskirts of the Arsal mountains in late July 2017. At that time, photos were uploaded to Facebook featuring Amal Movement symbols and depicting various types of military hardware, including tanks and rocket launchers. In addition, one Hizballah shahid (martyr), who was killed during the fighting, Muhammad Taleb Shueib, identified himself as an Amal member on his Facebook profile.
In the text and commentary accompanying the photos, the following message stands out: “Quietly fighting, and quietly dying as martyrs,” “Wherever we are needed, there we will be. That is the way of Mussa and the policy of Amal, and the people sleep…”. This is a reference to Musa al-Sadr, founder of the Amal Movement.
The armed presence of the Amal Movement in South Lebanon and the fighting by Amal alongside Hizballah on the Syrian–Lebanese border are blatant violations of UN Security Council resolutions 1559 and 1701. At the same time, popular support for the Amal Movement appears to be growing.
 https://www.eremnews.com/news/arab-world/291550, http://www.orient-news.net/ar/news_show/87393/quot%D8%B4%D8%A8%D8%A7%D9%86-%D9%85%D8%AA%D8%AD%D9%85%D8%B3%D9%88%D9%86quot-%D9%85%D9%86-%D8%AD%D8%B1%D9%83%D8%A9-%D8%A3%D9%85%D9%84-%D9%84%D9%84%D9%82%D8%AA%D8%A7%D9%84-%D9%81%D9%8A-%D8%B3%D9%88%D8%B1%D9%8A%D8%A7-%D8%AA%D8%AD%D8%AA-%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%8A%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%A3%D8%AE%D8%B1%D9%89.
 https://www.facebook.com/pg/%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B4%D9%87%D9%8A%D8%AF-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%AC%D8%A7%D9%87%D8%AF-%D9%85%D8%AD%D9%85%D8%AF-%D8%B7%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A8-%D8%B4%D8%B9%D9%8A%D8%A8-1580305805334121/photos/?ref=page_internal, https://www.facebook.com/mohammad.shaeib, https://www.facebook.com/pg/SirajToul/photos/?ref=page_internal