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U.S. Treasury Sanctions Hizballah Leadership

13 September 2012
Close-up of David Cohen (AP Images)

Cohen said Hizballah’s ongoing activity in Syria and the region undermines regional stability.

Washington — The U.S. Department of the Treasury imposed sanctions against Hizballah’s leadership in Lebanon, further exposing Hizballah’s active support to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, as well as its role in terrorist activities.

Hasan Nasrallah, Hizballah’s secretary-general, was designated under Executive Order (E.O.) 13582 for providing support to the Syrian government. Mustafa Badr Al-Din and Talal Hamiyah, two senior terrorist leaders of Hizballah, were designated under E.O. 13224 for providing support to Hizballah’s terrorist activities in the Middle East and around the world.

“By aiding Assad’s violent campaign against the Syrian people and working to support a regime that will inevitably fall, Hizballah’s ongoing activity undermines regional stability and poses a direct threat to Lebanon’s security,” said David S. Cohen, the Treasury’s under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence. “Hizballah’s actions, overseen by Hasan Nasrallah and executed by Mustafa Badr Al-Din and Talal Hamiyah, clearly reveal its true nature as a terrorist and criminal organization.”

Hizballah and its leader, Nasrallah, have sought to depict their organization as a social and political party, as well as a resistance movement. These efforts are belied by the facts, the Treasury Department said: Hizballah consistently uses terrorism against civilian targets to achieve its goals, and this trend has only increased recently. The last year has witnessed Hizballah’s most aggressive terrorist plotting outside the Middle East since the 1990s. In recent months Hizballah has also played an increasingly active role in providing support to the government of Syria, further enabling the regime to carry out its bloody campaign against the Syrian people, Treasury said.

Under the Assad regime, Syria has been a longstanding supporter of Hizballah — providing safe haven to Hizballah and routing weapons, in many cases from Iran, to Hizballah in Lebanon, Treasury said. Hizballah, under the direction of Nasrallah, is now returning the favor by providing training, advice, and extensive logistical support to the government of Syria as the Assad regime continues to wreak havoc on the Syrian people through the use of terror and violence — Hizballah’s area of expertise, Treasury said.

The new designations build upon actions that the U.S. government has taken against Hizballah over the years. Hizballah was designated for its support to the government of Syria under E.O. 13582 in August 2012. It was named a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under E.O. 13224 in October 2001, and listed in the Annex to E.O. 12947 as a Specially Designated Terrorist in January 1995. Hasan Nasrallah was designated under E.O. 12947 in January 1995.

Hasan Nasrallah

Since the beginning of the Syrian protests, Nasrallah has overseen Hizballah’s efforts to help the Syrian regime’s violent crackdown on the Syrian civilian population by providing training, advice, and extensive logistical support to the Syrian government. Hizballah has directly trained Syrian government personnel inside Syria and has facilitated the training of Syrian forces by Iran’s terrorist arm, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps–Qods Force. Hizballah has played a substantial role in efforts to expel Syrian opposition forces from areas within Syria and coordinated its support to the Syrian government with Qods Force and senior Syrian government officials. Since mid-2012 Hizballah has escalated its support to the Syrian government.

Mustafa Badr Al-Din

Mustafa Badr Al-Din is a senior Hizballah official who is believed to have replaced his cousin, Imad Mughniyah, as Hizballah’s top militant commander after Mughniyah’s 2008 death. In June 2011, the prosecutor of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon charged Al-Din with the attack on February 14, 2005, that killed former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and 21 others.

Talal Hamiyah

Talal Hamiyah is the head of Hizballah’s External Security Organization (ESO), which maintains organized cells worldwide. The ESO is the Hizballah element responsible for the planning, coordination and execution of terrorist attacks outside of Lebanon.