Category Archives: Hezbollah

Prosecutors not tackling terror-funding channels

Analyst says crackdown can happen if authorities have the will
An analyst says if the United States wants to stop the flow of funding to the Middle East terror group Hezbollah , there is a way.

Clare Lopez, senior fellow at the Center for Security Policy, said the issue is that U.S. officials haven’t pushed for that action.

“The Treasury Department has been at the forefront of some of this effort to track terror funding and so forth. Unfortunately the Department of Justice has basically thrown in the towel with its refusal to prosecute the remaining defendants on the unindicted co-conspirators list in the Holy Land Foundation Terrorism funding trial,” Lopez said.

 

Zia Atabay of NITV United interviews Clare Lopez

 

Lopez said it’s already in the law that it is illegal to transfer cash to terror-sponsoring states.

“It seems to me that there has to be some measure in the law that gets to intent or gets to knowing the end user of the funds. Absolutely we have laws that prevent transfers of funds to states that are known to support terrorism,” Lopez said.

“I would say that this is an area that they (the federal authorities) haven’t focused on or that they may not have enough information,” she said.

 
Listen to Clare Lopez’s interview with WND:

 

WND reported last week on anti-terrorism analyst Sam Bazzi‘s research that asserts American Muslims are wiring money to their bank accounts in Lebanese banks and then giving “donations” to Hezbollah-supporting mosques in Lebanon.

SaM BaZzI

The counterterrorism analyst Sam Bazzi

A Hezbollah specialist and intelligence analyst who asked not to be named agrees that wire transfers are the method of choice. He says the U. S. should be able to track the cash transfers but believes there may be an intermediate stop.

“There probably are some direct personal transfers which easily could be monitored closely by U.S. authorities to accounts in Lebanon, although I would think that due to monitoring of such accounts any funds sent out would go through an intermediary bank, perhaps in a major European country, and then be picked up by Hezbollah cells there,” the specialist explained.

“Otherwise, U.S. authorities would be able to trace back funding to people resident in the U.S,” he said.

The specialist said other illegal activities also are linked.

“There is the issue of the diamond trade out of Africa and drug money used to raise funds in which Hezbollah is known to have linked up with drug cartels especially in the Tri-Border region in South America to raise and then send out that money from regions where it is easier to do so, other than the United States,” the analyst said.

 



 
“In fact, I’m aware of a case right now in which members of a Lebanese clan with sympathies to Hezbollah allegedly were involved in preparing to set up a drug ring to raise money for Hezbollah coffers. Due to very aggressive action by DEA and FBI, however, that avenue was shut down,” he said.

Drug trafficking as a means of raising money is one of the issues raised by a CBN news report in May in which American Enterprise Institute analyst Roger Noriega affirmed that Hezbollah is involved in a network that includes West Africa, Venezuela and the United States.

The analyst also cites the break-up of a Hezbollah-connected cigarette smuggling ring in 2000 and another one in 2004 as evidence of the terrorist group’s extensive effort at penetrating the U. S.

“You may recall that a few years ago there was a cigarette smuggling effort in the U.S. to raise money for Hezbollah but all of it was being monitored by U.S. law enforcement at the federal level. At some point, they decided to shut it down and arrest and jail perpetrators,” the specialist said.

“I believe that while there may be some effort, the monitoring from the U.S. makes it very precarious in sending cash,” the analyst said.

Neither the FBI or the DEA has responded to WND’s request for comment.

“The extent to which such funding comes from personal contributions of sympathizers in the U.S. may also be known by the Bureau but, in some cases, may not take action in an effort to monitor the path of that funding, to see how significant it is. Certainly, the cigarette smuggling case in Charlotte, N.C., was significant,” the specialist said.

“Money was raised by reaping significant profits by exploiting the difference in cigarette tax rates between North Carolina and Michigan. Hezbollah has many sympathizers in the U.S. and, frankly, I believe U.S. law enforcement is somewhat challenged to know who they are,” the specialist said.

“Law enforcement may have suspicions but once they’re in Lebanon, unless there is evidence, may have a difficult time knowing what they do and with whom they meet,” the specialist said.

Even though there are questions on the route the money may take, a common point in the analyses by both Bazzi and the specialist is the “summer trip abroad.”

“Many are professionals such as doctors, lawyers or everyday Lebanese-Americans, and they are not always Shia. Often, they will travel to Lebanon on their own dime and meet with Hezbollah officials to whom they may give cash,” the analyst continued.

The intelligence analyst added another factor in support for Hezbollah. He said that all of the donors may not be Shiite Muslims.

“They also may be Sunnis and even Christians, more out of support for Hezbollah in its avowed goal of protecting Lebanon from any possible Israeli invasion rather than adhering to any vow to destroy Israel or set up a caliphate, although both of these goals have changed in recent years,” the specialist said.

“Hezbollah will say that opposition to Israel does not equate to its destruction although they talk of destroying Israel if Lebanon is attacked,” he added.

Source: WND.

Investigators warn terror support comes from inside U.S.

By MICHAEL CARL

Mosques in the United States that follow the Shiite Islam of Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini are lending more than moral support to radical Islam; they are sending financial support, according to reports from investigators.

After all, it was the 2007 Holy Land Foundation trial that was called the largest terrorism financing prosecution in American history that set all sorts of precedents, including the naming of such prominent Muslim advocates as the Council on American-Islamic Relations as unindicted co-conspirators.

Dozens of convictions resulted after the government alleged the charity, the largest Islamic charity in the U.S. at the time, was raising money for Hamas.

Allegations that mosques now are raising funds for Hezbollah come from Sam Bazzi, director of the Islamic Counterterrorism Institute and others.

SaM BaZzI
The counterterrorism analyst Sam Bazzi

He reports he's been in mosques and has seen how the fundraising works.

"They are contributing to Hezbollah indirectly because every Shi'a Muslim has to pay a 20 percent yearly tax on their savings. This goes basically to the clerics as a donation," he said.

"Hezbollah supporters in the U. S. mosques send money to their bank accounts in Lebanon. When they go to Lebanon for vacation in the summer, they go to the clerics in the mosques in Lebanon and pay the Khums (offering) to the mosque in Lebanon. When they do that, they're giving it to Hezbollah," he said.

But the State Department in 1997 designated Hezbollah as a terrorist group.

Hezbollah, founded in Iran, has a stated goal of destroying the state of Israel. It has attacked American, French and Israeli forces, has kidnapped and held hostages, killed 241 in an attack on U.S. Marine barracks in Lebanon and reportedly exercises virtual control in Lebanon.

Read more.

Party of Odd

New Arab Islamic Resistance raises a question: Who?

Flag of the Arab Islamic Resistance

The symbol of the new Arab Islamic Resistance (AIR) is very close to that of Hezbollah, despite the group’s opposition to the Party of God.

As missiles rained on Gaza’s residents on the 12th day of Israel’s offensive, Sayyed Mohamed Ali al-Husseini granted Saudi Arabia’s Al-Arabiya news channel an exclusive interview.

He declared himself the leader of a new, 3,000-man strong militia in Lebanon – the Arab Islamic Resistance – dedicated to fighting Israel. The next day a volley of rockets from Lebanon slammed into the Jewish State.

“I have no comment,” Husseini told NOW Lebanon when asked if his militia fired the rockets. He spoke with a calm confidence during an hour-long interview in his sparsely decorated office in Mrejeh, a southern suburb of Beirut, deep in the power center of the country’s other Islamic Resistance, Hezbollah.

He announced the existence of his armed group on January 7, but he told NOW he’d been amassing and training men for over seven months. Furthermore, some 1,500 Gulf residents expressed interest in joining the militia, he said. When they’ll arrive to train and fight in Lebanon is yet to be determined.

Central to the group’s identity is Arabism. (So central, in fact, they named a homemade rocket they created by improving on a Katyusha after the “Arabism” rocket.) Husseini and his troops reject Hezbollah’s Iranian ties and plan to run candidates from the Arab Islamic Resistance against the party in the 2009 elections.

Despite the Arab Islamic Resistance’s open and vocal opposition to Hezbollah, the Party of God has remained silent. They have not threatened Husseini as they are accused of doing to other anti-Hezbollah Shia politicians and religious figures. A Hezbollah press spokeswoman told NOW the party had no comment on Husseini or his new Resistance.

Husseini said he trained his thousands of fighters – firing guns and test-firing rockets – north of Lebanon’s Litani River. He would not specify where exactly, and surprisingly said the fighters never encountered any opposition from the Lebanese army or anyone else for that matter.

“It’s Lebanon,” he offered, briefly speaking in English. He displayed pictures of armed men in a forest with himself pouring over a map that was clearly not one of the military maps armed fighters usually use when training.

Resistance watchers – analysts, authors and journalists – contacted by NOW said they’d never heard of Husseini and found it strange it took a television interview to bring a 3,000-strong actively-training force to come to light. Wouldn’t someone have noticed them earlier, was the resounding refrain.

In fact, it was quite a challenge finding people who knew much about Husseini.

“I doubt his wife supports him,” one religious leader said, after making yet another phone call on the ancient Panasonic fax machine at his side to a colleague in search of information on Husseini. In fact, interview after interview ended with the same conclusion: This is mostly talk.

Husseini elusively said his funding comes from Arabs locally and abroad. From other sources, the usual conspiracy theories that the US and Saudi Arabia were funneling him cash flowed freely. One person contacted for this article, Sam Bazzi, a Lebanese living in America who runs a website that monitors terrorist activities, claimed Husseini’s money comes from Iran and that he is, in fact, an undercover Hezbollah agent.

SaM BaZzI
The counterterrorism analyst Sam Bazzi

Hezbollah’s spokeswoman did not stay on the phone long enough to respond to that specific accusation.Husseini himself was elusive about his past. He refused to say where in Lebanon he was born, preferring to merely be known as Lebanese.

News reports about him mention time he spent in an Iranian prison. He merely confirmed this and attributed it to his opposition to the Wilayat al-Faqih (the Guardianship of the Jurist), the religious doctrine adopted by Iran that gives the country’s top cleric absolute authority on every issue.

He also confirmed but would not elaborate on the time in October 2007 when his car fell apart as he drove toward the city of Sur. At the time, he told Iraq’s Yaqen news agency that members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard poured acid on the vehicle’s frame in an attempt on his life.

What is known is that Husseini studied Islam in Qom, Iran, where he learned and apparently accepted the doctrine of Wilayat al-Faqih (a book he wrote in 2004 offered praise for Ayatollah Khomeini). By late 2004 he clearly rejected the doctrine, but refused to discuss these moments from his past.

While in Qom, he also befriended Hassan Nasrallah and for some time was a member of Hezbollah. Husseini says he and Nasrallah are still close friends. He even said his name was once floated as a possible successor to Nasrallah as Hezbollah’s secretary general, a claim analysts find difficult to swallow.

“This I know for a fact, he was never high- or mid-ranking even,” said Amal Saad-Ghorayeb, the author of 2001’s Hezbollah: Politics and Religion.

Husseini described the only difference between his party and Hezbollah as Iran.

“Hezbollah has an organization, we have an organization,” he said. “Hezbollah has a resistance, we have a resistance. Hezbollah has a political platform; we have a political platform… Hezbollah is in Dahiyeh and the South; we are in Dahiyeh and the South.”

Iran, he said, was the only wedge between them. He even wrote off secular Shia parties, saying only a cleric has real authority to lead a political party from the Shia community.

“Hezbollah and me,” he said.

Source: NOWLebanon.com