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Friday, June 29, 2007

South Africa's Alrosa, De Beers, Defy European Union Regulation on Diamond Sales in Moscow

Alrosa, the world's second-largest diamond producer, plans to sell 80% of its output in Moscow. De Beers can purchase diamonds there, because the Moscow floor is not subject to European legislation.

Diamond giant De Beers based in South Africa has been Alrosa's main buyer for 50 years, although the European Commission has made two attempts to interfere.First it instructed Alrosa to reduce supplies to De Beers by $75 million annually (from $800 million in 2003 to $275 million by 2010).

In 2005, the European Commission decided that Alrosa should cut deliveries to De Beers from $600 million to $400 million in 2006-2008 reducing them to zero by 2009.At this point the Russian diamond producer decided to revise its sales policy.Alrosa's president, Sergei Vorobyov, did not elaborate when the new floor would start working, but pointed out that a substantial part of diamonds would be sold under long-term contracts.Alrosa will reduce the number of its clients, "keeping only the big ones, whose policy is understandable and who will really support the market," Vybornov said.

He refused to name the potential buyers or their number.Alrosa's constant Russian clients, which annually buy more than $13 million worth of uncut diamonds, are the Smolensk-based Kristall factory, Ruiz Diamonds (which represents the interests of Israeli businessman Lev Leviev), Mosalmaz, and Alpro.

Vybornov said up to 80% of the company's diamonds could be sold in Moscow, with the rest distributed among its foreign offices to monitor the market of one-off sales.The company's top manager said the decision to sell the bulk of its raw materials on one trading floor was logical. De Beers, which has trading sites in Britain and South Africa, is doing the same. Vybornov said Alrosa could do without De Beers, unless it makes gross mistakes in its new sales policy.There are legal ways to give De Beers an opportunity to continue buying Alrosa's diamonds, if it wants to, he said. Russia is not a member of the European Union and the diamond trading floor in Moscow will not be regulated by European legislation, Vybornov said.

These are not neccessarily blood Diamonds. This article serves to illustrate th

The Source @ Sochi2014

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Blood Diamonds: an Ivory Coast Connection?

Prior to 2005, the ROC was removed form the Kimberly process for a massive discrepancy between it's diamond mining and its exports. All this was done through Lebanon.

Historically, diamonds from captured mines have been used to fund armed conflict in Africa, often by child and/or slave labor. The Kimberly process has created a process for tagging legitimate diamonds, and this process that is beginning to take effect.

This success, however, creates a need to launder blood Diamonds. Thus the Lebanon ROC blood diamond laundering process.

Around the first of June, 2007, Someone in the Ivory Coast tried to find email addresses in the Republic of Congo of several Diamond mines, and suspected diamond mine contacts.


The search appears to not come from Abidjan or any large city. They were specifically looking for Congolese diamond contacts, and they were searching in French.

Mohammed Taher Yousef

Mohammed was recently released from Oilinvest....

I am not yet sure why....

-Shimron

LIBYA - Profile - Mohammed Taher Yousef.
Publication: APS Review Downstream Trends Date: Monday, July 28 2003Subject: Natural gas, Gas industry, Petroleum industry, PetroleumCompany: Oilinvest, Tamoil Italia S.p.A., Shell International Trading Co.Product: Crude Petroleum & Natural GasLocation: Libya, Italy, United States

The man in charge of the Oilinvest group's day-to-day business, Yousef is executive vice president of Oilinvest International N.V. and vice chairman and CEO of Tamoil Italia SpA, positions he has held since 1988. Bold and dynamic, he has been a leading expert in oil marketing with a background

The rest @ Allbusiness

Monday, June 25, 2007

Gazprom & Odex Compete for Libyan Oil Development

Originally Posted in October of 05, but of note today

-Shimron

The successful Mitsubishi-Teikoku bid for two concessions in Ghadamès basin Area 82, offering production shares of 7.5 per cent and $6 million signature bonuses, frustrated another relatively aggressive bidder.

Russia's state-owned gas giant Gazprom narrowly missed all three of the Ghadamès basin licences it bid for, in what was overall a bad result for the Russians, Tatneft excepted. It had been hoping to use EPSA-IV as a means of substantially increasing the reach of its overseas E&P.

Gazprom had been very keen on acquiring Libyan acreage, and is likely to pursue other options as a result of its failure in this round, such as an asset swap with Libya's Oilinvest. Gazprom's banking arm is a shareholder in Odex, a subsidiary of Oilinvest established three years ago with UK-based Soco International, and negotiations for Libyan-Russian asset swaps between the three parties are reportedly underway.

Soco's interest in Libya arose through the relationships between some of its non-executive directors and larger shareholders such as Pontoil Intertrade, owned by the family of Mario Contini, which has an Italian refinery among its other interests. Pontoil has a 20.55 per cent interest in Soco and Ettore Contini is a non-executive director. Mario Contini, chairman Patrick Maugein and another non-executive director, Rui de Sousa, all have a background in the downstream sector and were instrumental in bringing Soco into Libya. Gazprombank now has 20 per cent of Odex, alongside Oilinvest (46 per cent) and Soco (34 per cent).

So far, Odex has not found either upstream or downstream opportunity, partly because the government has been focused on open bidding rounds. According to Soco's Roger Cagle, "We can't compete at the levels bid in the last bid round." Rather, "our intention is to partner with Libyan companies and look for some sort of exploitation/development project. [But] with the government focusing on open bid rounds this concept takes a back seat."

Menas Associates 27-Oct-05

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Islamic Banks are Growing

From Jakarta to Jeddah, 265 Islamic banks and other financial institutions are now operating in some 40 countries, with total assets that top $262 billion, according to organizers of the International Islamic Finance Forum, a semi-annual industry conference. That pot of money, the investment of which adheres to the Koran's prohibition against receiving or paying interest, has been steadily building since 1994, when Malaysia created the world's first Islamic interbank money market. Now Islamic banking has broadened its appeal well beyond the confines of faithful Muslims. Indeed, nearly one-quarter of all Islamic banking business in Malaysia is being transacted by non-Muslims.Islamic finance was long the preserve of specialty banks that handled shariah-compliant products exclusively, such as Malaysia's top-ranked Bank Islam and Saudi Arabia's Al Rajhi Banking & Investment Corp. But Western banks, no longer content to leave the market to Islamic lenders, are competing for a slice of the business. Two years ago, Citigroup (C ) began providing Islamic mortgages in Malaysia and has begun training staffers in Indonesia and Pakistan to offer them there. It also provides Islamic mortgages in Middle Eastern countries such as the United Arab Emirates. HSBC operates Islamic banking services all over the Arab world, and they now make up about 10% of its business in Malaysia. UBS, the world's top player in wealth management, set up a stand-alone Islamic private bank last year in Dubai to cater to its wealthiest Middle Eastern clients. And no wonder. Assets held by Muslims, led by Gulf Arabs, in all banks -- Islamic and otherwise -- are estimated at $1.5 trillion and are growing 15% a year, in large part because of high oil prices.

The Rest @ Businessweek


Sanctioned Islamic Banks

AKIDA BANK PRIVATE LIMITED,
(formerly known as – f.k.a. AKIDA ISLAMIC BANK INTERNATIONAL LIMITED);
(f.k.a. IKSIR INTERNATIONAL BANK LIMITED);

Arthur D. Hanna & Company;
10 Deveaux Street, Nassau, Bahamas;
P.O. Box N-4877, Nassau, Bahamas.

AKIDA INVESTMENT CO. LTD.,
(a.k.a. AKIDA INVESTMENT COMPANY LIMITED);
(f.k.a. AKIDA BANK PRIVATE LIMITED);
BA TAQWA FOR COMMERCE AND REAL ESTATE COMPANY LIMITED,
Vaduz Lichtenstein;
(formerly c/o Asat Trust reg.)

Sanctioned Nasreddin Companies

NASREDDIN GROUP INTERNATIONAL HOLDING LIMITED,
(a.k.a. NASREDDIN GKOUP INTERNATIONAL HOLDINGS LIMITED);
C/o Arthur D. Hanna & Company; 10 Deveaux Street, Nassau, Bahamas;
P.O. Box N-4877, Nassau, Bahamas.

15. NASCO NASREDDIN HOLDING A.S.,
Zemin Kat, 219 Demirhane Caddesi, Zeytinburnu, Istanbul ,Turkey.

16. NASCOTEX S.A.,
(a.k.a. INDUSTRIE GENERALE DE FILATURE ET TISSAGE);
(a.k.a. INDUSTRIE GENERALE DE TEXTILE);
KM 7 Route de Rabat, BP 285, Tangiers, Morocco;
KM 7 Route de Rabat, Tangiers, Morocco.

17. NASREDDIN FOUNDATION,
(a.k.a. NASREDDIN STIFTUNG);
C/o Rechta Treuhand-Anstalt, Vaduz, Liechtenstein.

NASCOSERVICE S.R.L.,
Corso Sempione 69, 20149 Milan, Italy;
Fiscal Code: 08557650150;
V.A.T. Number: IT 08557650150.

NASCO BUSINESS RESIDENCE CENTER SAS DI NASREDDIN AHMED IDRIS EC,
Corso Sempione 69, 20149 Milan, Italy;
Fiscal Code: 01406430155;
V.A.T. Number: IT 01406430155.

NASREDDIN COMPANY NASCO SAS DI AHMED IDRIS NASREDDIN EC,
Corso Sempione 69, 20149 Milan, Italy;
Fiscal Code: 03464040157;
V.A.T. Number: IT 03464040157.

NASREDDIN INTERNATIONAL GROUP LIMITED HOLDING,
(a.k.a. NASREDDIN INTERNATIONAL GROUP LTD. HOLDING);
C/o Rechta Treuhand-Anstalt, Vaduz, Liechtenstein;
Corso Sempione 69, 20149, Milan. Italy.


(Waht follows is from from 2002 UN Report. These assets have been frozen or restructured,or are still operating somewhere)

II. Nada/Nasreddin Network
Based on information available to Italy and the United States, Youssef Nada ("Nada") and Ahmed Idris Nasreddin ("Nasreddin"), through commercial holdings, operate an extensive financial network providing support for terrorist related activities. In the case of Nada and Nasreddin, this involves an extensive conglomeration of businesses from which they derive their income or through which they conduct transactions. Based on evidence of their support of terrorism, Nada and Nasreddin were previously designated by the international community as financiers of terror. Nada was designated by the United States on November 7, 2001, and by the United Nations on November 9, 2001. Nasreddin was designated by the G7 on April 19, 2002, and by the United Nations on April 24, 2002. Nasreddin's corporate holdings and financial network provide direct support for Nada and Bank Al Taqwa, which was also previously designated by the United States on November 7, 2001, and the United Nations on November 9, 2001. This designation of fourteen additional entities owned or controlled by either Nada or Nasreddin will further restrict their assets and their network by precluding these companies from being used to provide funding or support for terrorism.
Nasreddin and Nada, who have worked closely together for many years, are both directors of Bank Al Taqwa and Akida Bank. Nada holds a controlling interest in Bank Al Taqwa and Nasreddin holds a controlling interest in Akida Bank. Bank Al Taqwa and Akida Bank are not functional banking institutions in the conventional sense. They are shell companies lacking a physical presence and sharing the same address in the Bahamas where they were licensed. For this reason the licenses of Bank Al Taqwa and Akida Bank have been revoked by the Bahamian government.
Bank Al Taqwa, for which Nasreddin is a director, was established in 1988 with significant backing from the Muslim Brotherhood. They have been involved in financing radical groups such as the Palestinian Hamas, Algeria's Islamic Salvation Front and Armed Islamic Group, Tunisia's An-Nahda, and Usama bin Laden and his al-Qaida organization. Bank Al Taqwa was established in the Bahamas and is a close affiliate of the Al Taqwa Management Organization, which changed its name in the spring of 2000 to the Nada Management Organization. In 1997, it was reported that the $60 million collected annually for Hamas was moved to Bank Al Taqwa accounts. As of October 2000, Bank Al Taqwa appeared to be providing a clandestine line of credit to a close associate of Usama bin Laden and as of late September 2001, Usama bin Laden and his al-Qaida organization received financial assistance from Youssef M. Nada.
Nada and Nasreddin own or control a number of business entities through direct ownership, control, or in cooperation with each other. Fourteen of these entities are being designated in furtherance of the prior designations of these two individuals to disrupt their use of assets under their ownership or control that could be used to finance terrorist activities.




  • NASREDDIN GROUP INTERNATIONAL HOLDING LTD.
  • NASCO NASREDDIN HOLDING A.S.; NASCOTEX S.A.; NASREDDIN FOUNDATION;
  • BA TAQWA FOR COMMERCE AND REAL ESTATE COMPANY LTD.
  • NASCOSERVICE S.R.L.;
  • NASCO BUSINESS RESIDENCE CENTER SAS DI NASREDDIN AHMED IDRIS EC; NASREDDIN COMPANY
  • NASCO SAS DI
  • AHMED IDRIS NASSNEDDIN EC;
  • NADA INTERNATIONAL ANSTALT;
    NASREDDIN INTERNATIONAL GROUP LIMITED HOLDING
  • THE AID ORGANIZATION OF THE ULEMA
  • AHMED IDRIS NASREDDIN
  • YOUSSEF NADA
  • ABDELKADIR MAHMOUD ES SAYED;

How Corporate SponsorshIp Finances Terrorists

Though the most open funders were shut down in 2002, and there is a succesful on-going process to shut down more. However, there is a system of financing which is still very active.
Al Qaeda and other terrorst groups have developed a constant supply of funds with which to pay recruiter and marketing expenses, guns, bombs, food, fuel and bullets. It is a system of corporate and privite indiviudal support encouraged by the Islamic principles of Sharia, Zakat, Sukuk, and Taqiyya. These practices makes this funding not jusrt acceptable, but a moral obligation to Salafist Muslims .

According to Wikipedia,

"Salafism is a movement within Sunni Islam. It includes many groups and shades of belief. It is strongest in the Middle East, but it is also found in most other Muslim-majority countries (see Islam by country and Demographics of Islam). It is increasingly important to diasporic Muslims in Europe, Canada, and the United States."

The net result is that there are businesses all around the western world, in Majority Christiain countries that can finance Terrorism.

Here is one way it works. It creates plausible deiniability of responsiblity by using multiple zakat facilitaors. I'm sure Money Laundering specialists have another term for it. Here is how it works:

A devout Salafist Muslim, often a member of powerful business and political network like the Muslim Brotherhood has a business or family of businesses, (like NASCO) that is required to pay Zakat, in accordance with Sharia law. So see how pervasive is this practice, do the following google search "Zakat AND Bank" . Read what those pages have to say...Tihis search recently generated over 408,000 hits.

Back to the islamic businss: One of their bank realtionships is with an Islamic Bank, whith has a Sharia Advisory Council. The bank's Council collects all the Zakat payments and determines how they will be distributed. Now the Business owner is removed from direct knowledge of the next steps, as they do not generally participate in the Advisory Council.

  1. The council will come up with a distribution plan, which is reviewed by an Islamic Law specialist, a Mufti, who issues a Fatwa, or Islamic ruling, that declares the plan meets Sharia requirements. The plan may never again be available for public scruitiny.
  2. Before 9/11/01, There were some Saudi funds specifically dedicated to support Jihad, informally called Account 98 .
  3. The eintire system will be audited, and passed by someone certified in Islamic Accounting, who also knows Zakat funds may be used for Jihad, according to Sharia.
  4. Among those receiving the Zakat funds will be one or more Islamic Charities and NGOs. These organizations have their own councils for distribution of funds, and in addition to direct aid, may give funds to other groups.
  5. Some of theses recipients of Zakat Funds support groups which have sworn support for al Qaeda.
  6. These groups then use existing criminal and arms dealing networks to bringing in or buy recruits, arms, bullits, explosives, food, fuel, computers, telecom support. What ever they need. Thats another story for another day.
  7. The original Islamic businesses that funded Jihad are 4 or 5 levels removed from having any idea about where their money goes. Their money and profits are being used, Nonetheless, to fund terrorism.

It is my belief that many Islamic businesses know full well which banks and which funds to use if they are inclined to support Jihad, but want to remain distant.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

NASCO's Family Connection to al Taqwa Bank

Al Taqwa , the funding Bank, Financed terrorist supporting businesses all over the world. The Bank's Director Ahmed Idris Nasreddin, had assets frozen all over the world after 911. NASCO Group in Nigeria, a thriving and profitable food processing and real estate company, was owned by Nasreddin's son Attia A. Nasreddin.

To avoid Being Shut down, NASCO suddenly turned up being owned by a Amana Holdings, based in Panama. And though the Commonwealth of Massachusetts lists the entire NASCO group as a suspected terrorist organization, the NASCO group is still operating today.

A Check of Amana Holdings in Panama by NBC Showed that Ahmed Idris Nasreddin was President.

To date nothing has happened the NASCO, who appears to have expanded operations since then. The Still Sponsor Sporting tournaments and events., etc.

Nasco Group Nigeria Ltd Yakubu Gowon Way
Old Airport Road Junction P.M.B. 2722,
Jos, Nigeria Tel: 234 - 73 - 463175/463347 234 - 73 - 463553Fax: 234
(1) 2616873E-mail: nasco@alpha.linkserve.com

In 2005, the likely reason there was no pressure was Charles Taylor. N0w the He is safely on trial in the Hague, there is a new reason. A New Nigerian President.


We will keep chronicling these Companies until action is taken


-Shimron Issacahr

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Hezbollah's Terrorist Threat to the European Union

Deliv­ered June 20, 2007



Hezbollah's Terrorist Threat to the European Union
by James Phillips
Heritage Lecture #1038


Deliv­ered June 20, 2007


Hezbollah ("Party of God"), the radical Lebanon-based Shiite revolutionary movement, poses a clear terrorist threat to international security. Hezbollah ter­rorists have murdered Americans, Israelis, Lebanese, Europeans, and the citizens of many other nations.



Originally founded in 1982, this group has evolved from a local menace into a global terrorist network strongly backed by radical regimes in Iran and Syria, and funded by a web of charitable organizations, crim­inal activities, and front companies.
Hezbollah regards terrorism not only as a useful tool for advancing its revolutionary agenda but as a religious duty as part of a "global jihad." It helped to introduce and popularize the horrific tactic of suicide bombings in Lebanon in the 1980s, developed a strong guerrilla force and a political apparatus in the 1990s, and became a major destabilizing influence in the Arab–Israeli conflict in the last decade.
Prior to September 11, 2001, Hezbollah murdered more Americans than any other terrorist group. Despite al-Qaeda's increased visibility since then, Hezbollah remains a bigger, better equipped, better organized, and potentially more dangerous terrorist organization, in part because it enjoys the unstinting support of the two chief state sponsors of terrorism in the world today—Iran and Syria. Hezbollah's threat potential led former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage to dub it "the A-Team of terrorism."
Hezbollah is a cancer that has metastasized, ex­panding its operations from Lebanon, first to strike regional targets in the Middle East, then far beyond. It now is truly a global terrorist threat that draws fi­nancial and logistical support from the Lebanese Shiite diaspora in the Middle East, Europe, Africa, Southeast Asia, North America, and South America. Hezbollah fundraising and equipment procurement cells have been detected and broken up in the Unit­ed States and Canada. Europe is believed to contain many more of these cells.
Hezbollah has been implicated in numerous ter­rorist attacks against Americans, including:
The April 18, 1983, bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut Lebanon, which killed 63 people, including 17 Americans;
The October 23, 1983, suicide truck bombing of the Marine barracks at Beirut Airport, which killed 241 Marines deployed as part of the mul­tinational peacekeeping force in Lebanon;
The September 20, 1984, bombing of the U.S. Embassy annex in Lebanon; and
The 1996 Khobar Towers bombing, which killed 19 American servicemen stationed in Saudi Arabia.
Hezbollah also was involved in the kidnapping of several dozen Westerners, including 14 Americans, who were held as hostages in Lebanon in the 1980s. The American hostages eventually became pawns that Iran used as leverage in the secret negotiations that led to the Iran-Contra affair in the mid-1980s.
Hezbollah has launched numerous attacks at far-flung targets outside the Middle East. Hezbollah per­petrated the two deadliest terrorist attacks in the his­tory of South America—the March 1992 bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which killed 29 people; and the July 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires that killed 96 people. The trial of those implicated in the 1994 bombing revealed an extensive Hezbollah presence in Argentina and other countries in South America. Hezbollah also was involved in aborted attempts to bomb the Israeli Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand, in 1994, and in a failed plot in Singapore.
Hezbollah's Terrorist Threat in Europe
Hezbollah poses a direct threat to EU citizens at home and those traveling abroad, especially in the Middle East. Hezbollah established a presence inside European countries in the 1980s amid the influx of Lebanese citizens seeking to escape Leba­non's brutal civil war and the recurring clashes between Israel and Palestinian terrorists based in Lebanese refugee camps. Hezbollah took root among Lebanese Shiite immigrant communities throughout Europe. German intelligence officials estimate that roughly 900 Hezbollah members live in Germany alone. Hezbollah also has developed an extensive web of fundraising and logistical support cells spread throughout Europe.
France and Britain have been the principal Euro­pean targets of Hezbollah terrorism, in part because both countries opposed Hezbollah's agenda in Leb­anon and were perceived to be enemies of Iran, Hezbollah's chief patron. Hezbollah has been involved in many terrorist attacks against Europe­ans, including:
The October 1983 bombing of the French contingent of the multinational peacekeeping force in Lebanon (on the same day as the U.S. Marine barracks bombing), which killed 58 French soldiers;
The December 1983 bombing of the French Embassy in Kuwait;
The April 1985 bombing of a restaurant near a U.S. base in Madrid, Spain, which killed 18 Spanish citizens;
A campaign of 13 bombings in France in 1986 that targeted shopping centers and railroad facilities, killing 13 people and wounding more than 250; and
A March 1989 attempt to assassinate British novelist Salman Rushdie, which failed when a bomb exploded prematurely, killing a terrorist in London.
Hezbollah attacks in Europe trailed off in the 1990s after Hezbollah's Iranian sponsors accepted a truce in their bloody 1980–1988 war with Iraq and no longer needed a surrogate to punish states that Tehran perceived to be supporting Iraq. But this lull could quickly come to an end if the situation chang­es in Lebanon or Iran is embroiled in another con­flict. Significantly, the participation of European troops in Lebanese peacekeeping operations, which became a lightning rod for Hezbollah terrorist attacks in the 1980s, could become an issue again today, as Hezbollah attempts to revive its aggressive operations in southern Lebanon. Belgium, Den­mark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden have contributed troops to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon. Troops from EU member states may find themselves attacked by Hezbollah with weapons financed by Hezbollah's supporters in their home countries.
According to intelligence officials, Hezbollah operatives are deployed throughout Europe, includ­ing Belgium, Bosnia, Britain, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Norway, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and Ukraine.
Radicalizing European Muslims
Europe's vacation from Hezbollah terrorist attacks could come to a swift end if Hezbollah suc­ceeds in its attempts to convert European Muslims to its harsh ideology. Young Muslim militants in Ber­lin, asked in a television interview to explain their hatred of the United States and Jews, cited Hezbol­lah's al-Manar TV as one of their main sources of information. Ideas have consequences. In July 2006, four months after Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, in an interview broadcast on al-Manar TV, called for Muslims to take a decisive stand against the Danish cartoons featuring the prophet Mohammed, two Lebanese students sought to bomb two trains in Germany as a reprisal for the cartoons, but the bombs failed to detonate.
Clearly, Europeans are exposing themselves to increased risks of terrorism as long as they allow Hezbollah's political and propaganda apparatus to spew a witch's brew of hatred, incitement, and calls for vengeance.
Hezbollah's Role as a Proxy for Iran
Hezbollah is a close ally, frequent surrogate, and terrorist subcontractor for Iran's revolutionary Islamic regime. Iran played a crucial role in creating Hezbol­lah in 1982 as a vehicle for exporting its revolution, mobilizing Lebanese Shiites, and developing a terror­ist surrogate for attacks on Iran's enemies. Tehran pro­vides the bulk of Hezbollah's foreign support: arms, training, logistical support, and money. Iran provides at least $100 million (and probably closer to $200 million) of annual support for Hezbollah and has lav­ishly stocked Hezbollah's expensive and extensive arsenal of Katyusha rockets, sophisticated mines, small arms, ammunition, explosives, anti-ship mis­siles, anti-aircraft missiles, and even unmanned aerial vehicles that Hezbollah can use for aerial surveillance or remotely piloted terrorist attacks. Iranian Revolu­tionary Guards have trained Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley and in Iran.
Iran has used Hezbollah as a club to hit not only Israel and its Western enemies, but also many Arab countries. Iran's revolutionary ideology has fed its hostility to other Muslim governments, which it seeks to overthrow and replace with radical allies. During the Iran–Iraq war, Tehran used Hezbollah to launch terrorist attacks against Iraqi targets and against Arab states that sided with Iraq. Hezbollah launched numerous terrorist attacks against Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, which extended strong financial support to Iraq's war effort, and participated in sev­eral other terrorist operations in Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. Iranian officials conspired with the Saudi branch of Hezbollah to conduct the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia. Today, Hezbollah continues to cooperate with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards to destabilize Iraq, where both groups help train and equip the Mahdi Army, the radical anti-Western Shiite militia led by the militant cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.
By refusing to use its economic leverage over Iran to dissuade Tehran from continuing its troubling nuclear weapons program, the EU is making a mil­itary clash between the United States and Iran much more likely. In that event, Hezbollah cells through­out Europe are likely to be activated to strike at American, and perhaps NATO, targets. Even if Hezbollah elects to restrict its focus to American embassies, businesses, and tourists, many Europe­ans are likely to perish in such attacks.
Hezbollah's Ties with Other Terrorist Groups
In addition to the direct threat Hezbollah poses to Europeans, it also poses an indirect threat by vir­tue of its collaboration with other terrorist groups that have targeted Europeans. Many of these groups already have been placed on the EU terrorism list.
Hezbollah has developed a cooperative relation­ship on an ad hoc basis with the al-Qaeda terrorist network and several radical Palestinian groups. In June 2002, U.S. and European intelligence officials noted that Hezbollah was "increasingly teaming up with al-Qaeda on logistics and training for terrorist operations." Both al-Qaeda and Hezbollah established training bases in Sudan after the 1989 coup that brought the radical National Islamic Front to power. Iran's Revolutionary Guards, which also established a strong presence in Sudan to support the Sudanese regime, ran several training camps for Arab radical Islamic groups there and may have facilitated cooper­ative efforts between the two terrorist groups.
Another worrisome web of cooperation between Hezbollah, al-Qaeda, and Hamas support networks is flourishing in the tri-border region at the juncture of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. This lawless and corrupt region has provided lucrative opportunities for Hezbollah supporters to raise funds, launder money, obtain fraudulent documents, pass counter­feit currency, and smuggle drugs, arms, and people.
Modern terrorist networks often are composed of loosely organized transnational webs of autono­mous cells, which help them to defeat the efforts of various law enforcement, intelligence, and internal security agencies to dismantle them. This decentral­ized structure also helps to conceal the hand of state sponsors that seek to use terrorist groups for their own ends while minimizing the risk of retaliation from states targeted by the terrorists.
The amorphous, non-hierarchical nature of the networks, and their linkages with cooperative crim­inal networks, leads to a situation in which some nodes of the web function as part of more than one terrorist group. This cross-pollination of terrorist networks makes it difficult to determine where one terrorist group ends and another one begins. There­fore, giving Hezbollah a free pass to operate inside the European Union also aids other groups who are plugged into the same web of criminal gangs, family enterprises, or clan networks.
In 2002, Germany closed down a charitable fundraising organization, the al-Aqsa Fund, which reportedly was a Hamas front that also raised money for Hezbollah. Hezbollah also has colluded with al-Qaeda affiliates in Asia. Abdul Nasser Nooh assisted both Hezbollah and al-Qaeda activities, and Muhammad Amed al-Khalifa, a Hezbollah member, was involved in sending a shipment of explosives to the Philippines through an al-Qaeda front company.
According to U.S. intelligence officials, Hezbol­lah has cooperated with the terrorist network for­merly led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who was killed in Iraq in 2006. This network officially became part of al-Qaeda in 2004. Despite Zarqawi's militantly anti-Shia views, the two groups have reportedly coordinated terrorist efforts against Israel on an ad hoc basis. Zarqawi's network, composed of Sunni extremists from Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, the Pales­tinian territories, Iraq and other countries, has a strong fundraising and support infrastructure in Europe that poses a significant threat to Europeans as well as citizens of a wide range of other countries.
In the Middle East, Hezbollah has cooperated with Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and Fatah's Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades to launch terrorist attacks against Israelis. After the outbreak of the second Palestinian intifada in 2000, Hezbollah's notorious terrorism coordinator, Imad Mugniyah, was selected by Iran to assist Palestinian terrorist operations against Israel. Mugniyah reportedly played a role in facilitating the shipment of 50 tons of Iranian arms and military supplies to Pal­estinian militants on board the freighter Karine A, which was intercepted by Israeli naval forces in the Red Sea in January 2002 before its cargo could be delivered. Hezbollah has also provided Hamas and other Palestinian extremist groups with tech­nical expertise for suicide bombing.
Hezbollah's Destabilizing Influence in the Middle East
Hezbollah threatens the security and stability of the Middle East, and European interests in the Mid­dle East, on a number of fronts. In addition to its murderous campaign against Israel, Hezbollah seeks to violently impose its totalitarian agenda and subvert democracy in Lebanon. Although some experts believed that Hezbollah's participation in the 1992 Lebanese elections and subsequent inclu­sion in Lebanon's parliament and coalition govern­ments would moderate its behavior, its political inclusion brought only cosmetic changes.
After Israel's May 2000 withdrawal from south­ern Lebanon and the September 2000 outbreak of fighting between Israelis and Palestinians, Hezbol­lah stepped up its support for Palestinian extremist groups such as Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. It also expand­ed its own operations in the West Bank and Gaza and provided funding for specific attacks launched by other groups.
In July 2006, Hezbollah forces crossed the inter­nationally recognized border to kidnap Israeli sol­diers inside Israel, igniting a military clash that claimed hundreds of lives and severely damaged the economies on both sides of the border. Hezbollah is rebuilding its depleted arsenal with financial sup­port from its European fundraising networks. This poses a threat to European soldiers in the U.N. peacekeeping force in Lebanon. To be consistent, the EU should ban such fundraising.
Hezbollah uses Europe as a staging area and recruiting ground for infiltrating terrorists into Isra­el. Hezbollah has dispatched operatives to Israel from Europe to gather intelligence and execute ter­rorist attacks. Examples of Hezbollah operatives who have traveled to Israel from Europe include Hussein Makdad, a Lebanese national who used a forged British passport to enter Israel from Switzer­land in 1996 and injured himself in a premature bomb explosion in his Jerusalem hotel room; Stefan Smirnak, a German convert to Islam who was trained by Hezbollah in Lebanon, and was arrested at Ben Gurion airport after flying to Israel in 1997; Fawzi Ayoub, a Canadian citizen of Lebanese descent, who was arrested in 2000 after traveling to Israel on a boat from Europe; and Gerard Shuman, a dual Lebanese–British citizen, who was arrested in Israel in 2001.
Additionally, long before al-Qaeda and the Tali­ban began to finance their operations using profits from drug smuggling from Afghanistan, Hezbollah was a major supplier of illicit drugs to Europe and other regions. The organization tapped into long­standing smuggling networks operated by Shiite clans in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley, a Hezbollah strong­hold. Hezbollah raises money from smuggling Leb­anese opium, hashish, and heroin. It also traffics in illicit drugs in the tri-border region of South Amer­ica. Hezbollah cells also engage in other forms of criminal activity, such as credit card fraud and traf­ficking in "conflict diamonds" in Sierra Leone, Con­go, and Liberia to finance their activities.
The EU's Ostrich-Like Policy Regarding Hezbollah
The United States long has designated Hezbollah as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. Australia, Can­ada, and the Netherlands have followed suit. The United Kingdom has placed the "Hezbollah Exter­nal Security Organization" on its terrorist list. But the European Union has dragged its feet on taking serious action against Hezbollah.
In May 2002, the EU added 11 organizations and seven individuals to its financial sanctions list for ter­rorism. This was the first time that the EU froze the assets of non-European terrorist groups. But it did not sanction Hezbollah as an organization—only several individual leaders, such as Imad Mugniyah.
By taking these half-measures, the EU mistaken­ly has embraced the fallacy that terrorist operations can be separated from the other activities of a radical organization. Attempts to compartmentalize the perceived threat by accepting the fiction that a "political wing" is qualitatively different from a "mil­itary wing" are self-defeating. This is a distinction without a difference.
Hezbollah's raison d'être is to violently impose its totalitarian ideology on Muslims and forge a radical Islamic state determined to destroy Israel and drive out Western and other non-Islamic influences from the Muslim world. No genuine "political party" would finance suicide bombings and accumulate an arsenal of over 10,000 rockets to be indiscriminate­ly launched at civilians in a neighboring country.
Agreeing to accept a false distinction between political and terrorist wings is also dangerous. It allows Hezbollah to continue raising money for vio­lent purposes. Money is fungible. Funds raised in Europe, ostensibly to finance charitable and politi­cal causes, can free up money to finance terrorist attacks or can be diverted to criminal activities. The recent violent convulsion in Gaza and last summer's war in Lebanon underscore the great dangers inher­ent in treating radical Islamic movements as normal political parties.
Hezbollah leaders themselves see little distinction between political and terrorist activity (which they consider to be "military" or "resistance" actions). Mohammed Raad, one of Hezbollah's representatives in the Lebanese parliament, proclaimed in 2001, "Hezbollah is a military resistance party, and it is our task to fight the occupation of our land…There is no separation between politics and resistance." In 2002, Mohammed Fannish, a Hezbollah political leader and former Lebanese Minister of Energy, declared: "I can state that there is no separating between Hezbol­lah military and political aims."
The EU also excluded the fundraising network of Hamas from the terrorism list in 2002. But in August 2003, the EU reversed itself and classified all of Hamas as a terrorist organization. It is high time to do the same with Hezbollah.
Some Europeans may hope that by passively accepting Hezbollah's fundraising activities, the EU can escape its terrorism. But this ostrich-like policy ignores the fact that fundraising cells easily can transform themselves into operational terrorist cells if called on to do so. Hezbollah cells are like stem cells that can morph into other forms and take on new duties. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has warned that Hezbollah support cells inside the United States could also undertake terrorist attacks. The same is true in Europe.
Individual EU member states, such as France and Germany, have previously taken legal action against Hezbollah. Germany has deported Hezbol­lah operatives and France banned Hezbollah's al-Manar television network in 2004. But such actions were undertaken in an ad hoc manner on a country-by-country basis, not in a systematic manner by the EU as a whole. Given that protecting citizens is the highest duty of the state, such half-hearted piece­meal policies are irresponsible.
Putting Hezbollah on the EU terrorism list would require the consent of all 27 EU member states. Such action would oblige each member to prohibit the channeling of money from European entities and individuals to Hezbollah, and to seize Hezbol­lah assets in the EU. On March 10, 2005, the EU Parliament voted overwhelmingly to adopt a resolu­tion that affirmed Hezbollah's involvement in terror­ist activities and ordered the EU Council to "take all necessary steps to curtail" Hezbollah.
But France, Spain, and Belgium have blocked action in recent years. French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier in February 2005 justified French opposition to declaring Hezbollah to be a terrorist group by saying: "Hezbollah has a parliamentary and political dimension in Lebanon. They have members of parliament who are participating in parliamentary life. As you know, political life in Lebanon is difficult and fragile." But one major rea­son that life is so "difficult and fragile" in Lebanon is that Hezbollah, backed by Iran and Syria, seeks to intimidate democratic forces in Lebanon through the use of terrorism. Taking a stand against Hezbollah not only would undermine its ability to finance terrorism against its Lebanese opponents, but would also make life much less difficult in Leb­anon in the long run.
Classifying Hezbollah as a terrorist organization would significantly constrain its ability to operate in Europe and severely erode its ability to raise funds there and use European banks to transfer funds around the globe. All EU member states would be required to freeze Hezbollah assets and prohibit Hezbollah-related financial transactions. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah recognized the damage that this would do to his organization in a March 2005 interview aired on Hezbollah's al-Manar television network: "The sources of [our] funding will dry up and the sources of moral, political, and material support will be destroyed."
But France in particular has blocked action on tak­ing the logical next step with Hezbollah. The recent election of Nicolas Sarkozy as France's new president offers hope for a major shift in the French position. Sarkozy hopefully will replace Jacques Chirac's "See No Evil" wishful thinking with a principled stand against permitting a lethal killing machine to infect alienated European Muslims with its violent ideology, milk them of money to finance mass murder, and brainwash them to become suicide bombers against a wide array of targets.
What EU Leaders Should Do
European Union leaders must be persuaded to take concerted and systematic action against Hezbollah. First and foremost, they must under­stand that in the long run, this is the best way to protect their own people, the highest duty of gov­ernment. Wishful thinking about the possibility of inducing Hezbollah to stray from the fundamental tenets of its own ideology will compromise the security of EU citizens. Turning a blind eye to Hezbollah's activities will only allow it to metasta­size into a more deadly threat. Cracking down on Hezbollah activities would not only reduce the potential terrorist threat, but would reduce the threat of its ancillary activities, such as drug smug­gling, criminal enterprises, and efforts to radicalize European Muslim communities.
Second, EU leaders can be criticized for the strained logic behind their current position. It makes little sense to designate individual Hezbollah leaders as terrorists, but continue to permit the organization to raise money for their deadly work. It is a mistake to exempt Hezbollah's "political wing" from responsibility for the crimes perpetrated by the "military wing" that executes its orders. Running a hospital or an orphanage does not absolve an organization for the murder of innocents. The EU must be proactive and uproot Hezbollah's support infrastructure in Europe in order to curtail the activ­ities of its terrorist thugs around the world.
Third, EU leaders should be asked to join the multilateral efforts of their democratic allies to pro­tect all of their citizens from the attacks of totalitarian Islamic extremists. There is an ideological dimension to this conflict, as well as a terrorist dimension. It would be irresponsible for the EU to stay neutral in this global ideological struggle, given the presence of a growing Muslim population inside Europe that could fall prey to radical Islamic ideologies.
Banning Hezbollah also would be a step that would help stabilize the volatile Middle East and support Arab–Israeli peace efforts. Even the Pales­tinian Authority requested that the EU ban Hezbol­lah in 2005, complaining that Hezbollah was recruiting Palestinian suicide bombers to sabotage the tenuous truce with Israel.
Putting Hezbollah on the EU terrorism list also would help stabilize Lebanon. U.N. Security Council Resolution 1559, jointly sponsored by France and the United States, calls for the disarming of all militias in Lebanon. Yet EU toleration of Hezbollah fundraising operations inside its own borders enables efforts to finance the purchase of arms and ammunition for the biggest and most dangerous militia in Lebanon. Add­ing Hezbollah to the EU terrorism list would be an important step toward disarming its militia and restoring the rule of law in Lebanon.
Banning Hezbollah also would contribute to the containment of Iran's rising power. Tehran has used its Lebanese surrogate to advance its own radical foreign policy agenda in the past and is sure to do so again.
The U.S. Congress has played a role in appealing for greater cooperation from the EU in curtailing Hezbollah's activities. The House of Representa­tives, in March 2005, passed H. Res. 101, which urged the EU to add Hezbollah to its terrorist list. The Senate followed suit the next month. Congress should continue to press the EU to do the right thing regarding Hezbollah by passing further reso­lutions and holding hearings such as this one to educate EU leaders and their constituencies about the potential challenges posed by Hezbollah.
The EU can no longer afford to ignore Hezbollah's festering threat or hope to deflect its attacks onto other countries. The longer the EU balks at effective action, the stronger the potential threat grows, fund­ed by the free flow of donations, diverted charitable funds, and criminal booty out of the EU and the pay­ments for drugs smuggled into the EU.
As Winston Churchill observed, "An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last." The Hezbollah crocodile has eaten half of Leb­anon and has laid dangerous eggs around the world. The EU must take proactive action, not wait for these eggs to hatch.
James Phillips is Research Fellow for Middle East­ern Affairs in the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies, a division of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies, at The Heritage Foundation. These remarks were deliv­ered June 20, 2007, as testimony before the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Europe.

Hezbollah, a Danger to the EU, Funder of African Terrorism

Deliv­ered June 20, 2007

Hezbollah's Terrorist Threat to the European Union
by James Phillips
Heritage Lecture #1038

Deliv­ered June 20, 2007

Hezbollah ("Party of God"), the radical Lebanon-based Shiite revolutionary movement, poses a clear terrorist threat to international security. Hezbollah ter­rorists have murdered Americans, Israelis, Lebanese, Europeans, and the citizens of many other nations.

Originally founded in 1982, this group has evolved from a local menace into a global terrorist network strongly backed by radical regimes in Iran and Syria, and funded by a web of charitable organizations, crim­inal activities, and front companies.

Hezbollah regards terrorism not only as a useful tool for advancing its revolutionary agenda but as a religious duty as part of a "global jihad." It helped to introduce and popularize the horrific tactic of suicide bombings in Lebanon in the 1980s, developed a strong guerrilla force and a political apparatus in the 1990s, and became a major destabilizing influence in the Arab–Israeli conflict in the last decade.

Prior to September 11, 2001, Hezbollah murdered more Americans than any other terrorist group. Despite al-Qaeda's increased visibility since then, Hezbollah remains a bigger, better equipped, better organized, and potentially more dangerous terrorist organization, in part because it enjoys the unstinting support of the two chief state sponsors of terrorism in the world today—Iran and Syria. Hezbollah's threat potential led former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage to dub it "the A-Team of terrorism."

Hezbollah is a cancer that has metastasized, ex­panding its operations from Lebanon, first to strike regional targets in the Middle East, then far beyond. It now is truly a global terrorist threat that draws fi­nancial and logistical support from the Lebanese Shiite diaspora in the Middle East, Europe, Africa, Southeast Asia, North America, and South America.

Hezbollah fundraising and equipment procurement cells have been detected and broken up in the Unit­ed States and Canada. Europe is believed to contain many more of these cells.

Hezbollah has been implicated in numerous ter­rorist attacks against Americans, including:

  • The April 18, 1983, bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut Lebanon, which killed 63 people, including 17 Americans;
  • The October 23, 1983, suicide truck bombing of the Marine barracks at Beirut Airport, which killed 241 Marines deployed as part of the mul­tinational peacekeeping force in Lebanon;
  • The September 20, 1984, bombing of the U.S. Embassy annex in Lebanon; and
  • The 1996 Khobar Towers bombing, which killed 19 American servicemen stationed in Saudi Arabia.
  • Hezbollah also was involved in the kidnapping of several dozen Westerners, including 14 Americans, who were held as hostages in Lebanon in the 1980s. The American hostages eventually became pawns that Iran used as leverage in the secret negotiations that led to the Iran-Contra affair in the mid-1980s.

Hezbollah has launched numerous attacks at far-flung targets outside the Middle East. Hezbollah per­petrated the two deadliest terrorist attacks in the his­tory of South America—the March 1992 bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which killed 29 people; and the July 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires that killed 96 people.

The trial of those implicated in the 1994 bombing revealed an extensive Hezbollah presence in Argentina and other countries in South America. Hezbollah also was involved in aborted attempts to bomb the Israeli Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand, in 1994, and in a failed plot in Singapore.

Hezbollah's Terrorist Threat in Europe

Hezbollah poses a direct threat to EU citizens at home and those traveling abroad, especially in the Middle East.

Hezbollah established a presence inside European countries in the 1980s amid the influx of Lebanese citizens seeking to escape Leba­non's brutal civil war and the recurring clashes between Israel and Palestinian terrorists based in Lebanese refugee camps. Hezbollah took root among Lebanese Shiite immigrant communities throughout Europe.

German intelligence officials estimate that roughly 900 Hezbollah members live in Germany alone. Hezbollah also has developed an extensive web of fundraising and logistical support cells spread throughout Europe.

France and Britain have been the principal Euro­pean targets of Hezbollah terrorism, in part because both countries opposed Hezbollah's agenda in Leb­anon and were perceived to be enemies of Iran, Hezbollah's chief patron.

Hezbollah has been involved in many terrorist attacks against Europe­ans, including:

  • The October 1983 bombing of the French contingent of the multinational peacekeeping force in Lebanon (on the same day as the U.S. Marine barracks bombing), which killed 58 French soldiers;
  • The December 1983 bombing of the French Embassy in Kuwait;
  • The April 1985 bombing of a restaurant near a U.S. base in Madrid, Spain, which killed 18 Spanish citizens;
  • A campaign of 13 bombings in France in 1986 that targeted shopping centers and railroad facilities, killing 13 people and wounding more than 250; and
  • A March 1989 attempt to assassinate British novelist Salman Rushdie, which failed when a bomb exploded prematurely, killing a terrorist in London.

Hezbollah attacks in Europe trailed off in the 1990s after Hezbollah's Iranian sponsors accepted a truce in their bloody 1980–1988 war with Iraq and no longer needed a surrogate to punish states that Tehran perceived to be supporting Iraq. But this lull could quickly come to an end if the situation chang­es in Lebanon or Iran is embroiled in another con­flict.

Significantly, the participation of European troops in Lebanese peacekeeping operations, which became a lightning rod for Hezbollah terrorist attacks in the 1980s, could become an issue again today, as Hezbollah attempts to revive its aggressive operations in southern Lebanon.

Belgium, Den­mark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden have contributed troops to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon.

Troops from EU member states may find themselves attacked by Hezbollah with weapons financed by Hezbollah's supporters in their home countries.

According to intelligence officials, Hezbollah operatives are deployed throughout Europe, includ­ing

  • Belgium
  • Bosnia
  • Britain
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Denmark
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Italy
  • Lithuania
  • Norway
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Turkey
  • Ukraine.

Radicalizing European Muslims

Europe's vacation from Hezbollah terrorist attacks could come to a swift end if Hezbollah suc­ceeds in its attempts to convert European Muslims to its harsh ideology.

  • Young Muslim militants in Ber­lin, asked in a television interview to explain their hatred of the United States and Jews, cited Hezbol­lah's al-Manar TV as one of their main sources of information.

Ideas have consequences.

  • In July 2006, four months after Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, in an interview broadcast on al-Manar TV, called for Muslims to take a decisive stand against the Danish cartoons featuring the prophet Mohammed, two Lebanese students sought to bomb two trains in Germany as a reprisal for the cartoons, but the bombs failed to detonate.

Clearly, Europeans are exposing themselves to increased risks of terrorism as long as they allow Hezbollah's political and propaganda apparatus to spew a witch's brew of hatred, incitement, and calls for vengeance.

Hezbollah's Role as a Proxy for Iran

Hezbollah is a close ally, frequent surrogate, and terrorist subcontractor for Iran's revolutionary Islamic regime.

Iran played a crucial role in creating Hezbol­lah in 1982 as a vehicle for exporting its revolution, mobilizing Lebanese Shiites, and developing a terror­ist surrogate for attacks on Iran's enemies.

Tehran pro­vides the bulk of Hezbollah's foreign support: arms, training, logistical support, and money.

Iran provides at least $100 million (and probably closer to $200 million) of annual support for Hezbollah and has lav­ishly stocked Hezbollah's expensive and extensive arsenal of Katyusha rockets, sophisticated mines, small arms, ammunition, explosives, anti-ship mis­siles, anti-aircraft missiles, and even unmanned aerial vehicles that Hezbollah can use for aerial surveillance or remotely piloted terrorist attacks.

Iranian Revolu­tionary Guards have trained Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley and in Iran.

Iran has used Hezbollah as a club to hit not only Israel and its Western enemies, but also many Arab countries.

Iran's revolutionary ideology has fed its hostility to other Muslim governments, which it seeks to overthrow and replace with radical allies.

During the Iran–Iraq war, Tehran used Hezbollah to launch terrorist attacks against Iraqi targets and against Arab states that sided with Iraq. Hezbollah launched numerous terrorist attacks against Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, which extended strong financial support to Iraq's war effort, and participated in sev­eral other terrorist operations in Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.

Iranian officials conspired with the Saudi branch of Hezbollah to conduct the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia. Today, Hezbollah continues to cooperate with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards to destabilize Iraq, where both groups help train and equip the Mahdi Army, the radical anti-Western Shiite militia led by the militant cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

By refusing to use its economic leverage over Iran to dissuade Tehran from continuing its troubling nuclear weapons program, the EU is making a mil­itary clash between the United States and Iran much more likely.

In that event, Hezbollah cells through­out Europe are likely to be activated to strike at American, and perhaps NATO, targets.

Even if Hezbollah elects to restrict its focus to American embassies, businesses, and tourists, many Europe­ans are likely to perish in such attacks.

Hezbollah's Ties with Other Terrorist Groups

In addition to the direct threat Hezbollah poses to Europeans, it also poses an indirect threat by vir­tue of its collaboration with other terrorist groups that have targeted Europeans. Many of these groups already have been placed on the EU terrorism list.

Hezbollah has developed a cooperative relation­ship on an ad hoc basis with the al-Qaeda terrorist network and several radical Palestinian groups.

  • In June 2002, U.S. and European intelligence officials noted that Hezbollah was "increasingly teaming up with al-Qaeda on logistics and training for terrorist operations."
  • Both al-Qaeda and Hezbollah established training bases in Sudan after the 1989 coup that brought the radical National Islamic Front to power.
  • Iran's Revolutionary Guards, which also established a strong presence in Sudan to support the Sudanese regime, ran several training camps for Arab radical Islamic groups there and may have facilitated cooper­ative efforts between the two terrorist groups.

Another worrisome web of cooperation between Hezbollah, al-Qaeda, and Hamas support networks is flourishing in the tri-border region at the juncture of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay.

  • This lawless and corrupt region has provided lucrative opportunities for Hezbollah supporters to raise funds, launder money, obtain fraudulent documents, pass counter­feit currency, and smuggle drugs, arms, and people.
  • Modern terrorist networks often are composed of loosely organized transnational webs of autono­mous cells, which help them to defeat the efforts of various law enforcement, intelligence, and internal security agencies to dismantle them. This decentral­ized structure also helps to conceal the hand of state sponsors that seek to use terrorist groups for their own ends while minimizing the risk of retaliation from states targeted by the terrorists.

The amorphous, non-hierarchical nature of the networks, and their linkages with cooperative crim­inal networks, leads to a situation in which some nodes of the web function as part of more than one terrorist group.

This cross-pollination of terrorist networks makes it difficult to determine where one terrorist group ends and another one begins.

There­fore, giving Hezbollah a free pass to operate inside the European Union also aids other groups who are plugged into the same web of criminal gangs, family enterprises, or clan networks.

In 2002, Germany closed down a charitable fundraising organization, the al-Aqsa Fund, which reportedly was a Hamas front that also raised money for Hezbollah.

Hezbollah also has colluded with al-Qaeda affiliates in Asia.

  • Abdul Nasser Nooh assisted both Hezbollah and al-Qaeda activities, and Muhammad Amed al-Khalifa, a Hezbollah member, was involved in sending a shipment of explosives to the Philippines through an al-Qaeda front company.
  • According to U.S. intelligence officials, Hezbol­lah has cooperated with the terrorist network for­merly led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who was killed in Iraq in 2006.
  • This network officially became part of al-Qaeda in 2004. Despite Zarqawi's militantly anti-Shia views, the two groups have reportedly coordinated terrorist efforts against Israel on an ad hoc basis.
  • Zarqawi's network, composed of Sunni extremists from Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, the Pales­tinian territories, Iraq and other countries, has a strong fundraising and support infrastructure in Europe that poses a significant threat to Europeans as well as citizens of a wide range of other countries.

In the Middle East, Hezbollah has cooperated with Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and Fatah's Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades to launch terrorist attacks against Israelis.

After the outbreak of the second Palestinian intifada in 2000, Hezbollah's notorious terrorism coordinator, Imad Mugniyah, was selected by Iran to assist Palestinian terrorist operations against Israel.

  • Mugniyah reportedly played a role in facilitating the shipment of 50 tons of Iranian arms and military supplies to Pal­estinian militants on board the freighter Karine A, which was intercepted by Israeli naval forces in the Red Sea in January 2002 before its cargo could be delivered.
  • Hezbollah has also provided Hamas and other Palestinian extremist groups with tech­nical expertise for suicide bombing.

Hezbollah's Destabilizing Influence in the Middle East

Hezbollah threatens the security and stability of the Middle East, and European interests in the Mid­dle East, on a number of fronts. In addition to its murderous campaign against Israel, Hezbollah seeks to violently impose its totalitarian agenda and subvert democracy in Lebanon. Although some experts believed that Hezbollah's participation in the 1992 Lebanese elections and subsequent inclu­sion in Lebanon's parliament and coalition govern­ments would moderate its behavior, its political inclusion brought only cosmetic changes.


After Israel's May 2000 withdrawal from south­ern Lebanon and the September 2000 outbreak of fighting between Israelis and Palestinians, Hezbol­lah stepped up its support for Palestinian extremist groups such as Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

It also expand­ed its own operations in the West Bank and Gaza and provided funding for specific attacks launched by other groups.

In July 2006, Hezbollah forces crossed the inter­nationally recognized border to kidnap Israeli sol­diers inside Israel, igniting a military clash that claimed hundreds of lives and severely damaged the economies on both sides of the border.

Hezbollah is rebuilding its depleted arsenal with financial sup­port from its European fundraising networks. This poses a threat to European soldiers in the U.N. peacekeeping force in Lebanon. To be consistent, the EU should ban such fundraising.

Hezbollah uses Europe as a staging area and recruiting ground for infiltrating terrorists into Isra­el. Hezbollah has dispatched operatives to Israel from Europe to gather intelligence and execute ter­rorist attacks. Examples of Hezbollah operatives who have traveled to Israel from Europe include Hussein Makdad, a Lebanese national who used a forged British passport to enter Israel from Switzer­land in 1996 and injured himself in a premature bomb explosion in his Jerusalem hotel room; Stefan Smirnak, a German convert to Islam who was trained by Hezbollah in Lebanon, and was arrested at Ben Gurion airport after flying to Israel in 1997; Fawzi Ayoub, a Canadian citizen of Lebanese descent, who was arrested in 2000 after traveling to Israel on a boat from Europe; and Gerard Shuman, a dual Lebanese–British citizen, who was arrested in Israel in 2001.
Additionally, long before al-Qaeda and the Tali­ban began to finance their operations using profits from drug smuggling from Afghanistan, Hezbollah was a major supplier of illicit drugs to Europe and other regions.

The organization tapped into long­standing smuggling networks operated by Shiite clans in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley, a Hezbollah strong­hold.

  • Hezbollah raises money from smuggling Leb­anese opium, hashish, and heroin.
  • It also traffics in illicit drugs in the tri-border region of South Amer­ica.
  • Hezbollah cells also engage in other forms of criminal activity, such as credit card fraud and traf­ficking in "conflict diamonds" in Sierra Leone, Con­go, and Liberia to finance their activities.

The EU's Ostrich-Like Policy Regarding Hezbollah


The United States long has designated Hezbollah as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. Australia, Can­ada, and the Netherlands have followed suit. The United Kingdom has placed the "Hezbollah Exter­nal Security Organization" on its terrorist list.

-But the European Union has dragged its feet on taking serious action against Hezbollah-


In May 2002, the EU added 11 organizations and seven individuals to its financial sanctions list for ter­rorism. This was the first time that the EU froze the assets of non-European terrorist groups. But it did not sanction Hezbollah as an organization—only several individual leaders, such as Imad Mugniyah.


By taking these half-measures, the EU mistaken­ly has embraced the fallacy that terrorist operations can be separated from the other activities of a radical organization. Attempts to compartmentalize the perceived threat by accepting the fiction that a "political wing" is qualitatively different from a "mil­itary wing" are self-defeating. This is a distinction without a difference.

Hezbollah's raison d'être is to violently impose its totalitarian ideology on Muslims and forge a radical Islamic state determined to destroy Israel and drive out Western and other non-Islamic influences from the Muslim world.

No genuine "political party" would finance suicide bombings and accumulate an arsenal of over 10,000 rockets to be indiscriminate­ly launched at civilians in a neighboring country.

Agreeing to accept a false distinction between political and terrorist wings is also dangerous. It allows Hezbollah to continue raising money for vio­lent purposes. Money is fungible. Funds raised in Europe, ostensibly to finance charitable and politi­cal causes, can free up money to finance terrorist attacks or can be diverted to criminal activities.

The recent violent convulsion in Gaza and last summer's war in Lebanon underscore the great dangers inher­ent in treating radical Islamic movements as normal political parties.

Hezbollah leaders themselves see little distinction between political and terrorist activity (which they consider to be "military" or "resistance" actions).

  • Mohammed Raad, one of Hezbollah's representatives in the Lebanese parliament, proclaimed in 2001, "Hezbollah is a military resistance party, and it is our task to fight the occupation of our land. There is no separation between politics and resistance."
  • In 2002, Mohammed Fannish, a Hezbollah political leader and former Lebanese Minister of Energy, declared: "I can state that there is no separating between Hezbol­lah military and political aims."

The EU also excluded the fundraising network of Hamas from the terrorism list in 2002. But in August 2003, the EU reversed itself and classified all of Hamas as a terrorist organization.

It is high time to do the same with Hezbollah.

Some Europeans may hope that by passively accepting Hezbollah's fundraising activities, the EU can escape its terrorism. But this ostrich-like policy ignores the fact that fundraising cells easily can transform themselves into operational terrorist cells if called on to do so. Hezbollah cells are like stem cells that can morph into other forms and take on new duties. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has warned that Hezbollah support cells inside the United States could also undertake terrorist attacks. The same is true in Europe.

Individual EU member states, such as France and Germany, have previously taken legal action against Hezbollah. Germany has deported Hezbol­lah operatives and France banned Hezbollah's al-Manar television network in 2004. But such actions were undertaken in an ad hoc manner on a country-by-country basis, not in a systematic manner by the EU as a whole. Given that protecting citizens is the highest duty of the state, such half-hearted piece­meal policies are irresponsible.

Putting Hezbollah on the EU terrorism list would require the consent of all 27 EU member states. Such action would oblige each member to prohibit the channeling of money from European entities and individuals to Hezbollah, and to seize Hezbol­lah assets in the EU. On March 10, 2005, the EU Parliament voted overwhelmingly to adopt a resolu­tion that affirmed Hezbollah's involvement in terror­ist activities and ordered the EU Council to "take all necessary steps to curtail" Hezbollah.

But France, Spain, and Belgium have blocked action in recent years. French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier in February 2005 justified French opposition to declaring Hezbollah to be a terrorist group by saying: "Hezbollah has a parliamentary and political dimension in Lebanon. They have members of parliament who are participating in parliamentary life. As you know, political life in Lebanon is difficult and fragile."

But one major rea­son that life is so "difficult and fragile" in Lebanon is that Hezbollah, backed by Iran and Syria, seeks to intimidate democratic forces in Lebanon through the use of terrorism. Taking a stand against Hezbollah not only would undermine its ability to finance terrorism against its Lebanese opponents, but would also make life much less difficult in Leb­anon in the long run.

Classifying Hezbollah as a terrorist organization would significantly constrain its ability to operate in Europe and severely erode its ability to raise funds there and use European banks to transfer funds around the globe.

  • All EU member states would be required to freeze Hezbollah assets and prohibit Hezbollah-related financial transactions.
  • Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah recognized the damage that this would do to his organization in a March 2005 interview aired on Hezbollah's al-Manar television network: "The sources of [our] funding will dry up and the sources of moral, political, and material support will be destroyed."

But France in particular has blocked action on tak­ing the logical next step with Hezbollah. The recent election of Nicolas Sarkozy as France's new president offers hope for a major shift in the French position. Sarkozy hopefully will replace Jacques Chirac's "See No Evil" wishful thinking with a principled stand against permitting a lethal killing machine to infect alienated European Muslims with its violent ideology, milk them of money to finance mass murder, and brainwash them to become suicide bombers against a wide array of targets.

What EU Leaders Should Do


European Union leaders must be persuaded to take concerted and systematic action against Hezbollah.

  • First and foremost, they must under­stand that in the long run, this is the best way to protect their own people, the highest duty of gov­ernment. Wishful thinking about the possibility of inducing Hezbollah to stray from the fundamental tenets of its own ideology will compromise the security of EU citizens. Turning a blind eye to Hezbollah's activities will only allow it to metasta­size into a more deadly threat. Cracking down on Hezbollah activities would not only reduce the potential terrorist threat, but would reduce the threat of its ancillary activities, such as drug smug­gling, criminal enterprises, and efforts to radicalize European Muslim communities.
  • Second, EU leaders can be criticized for the strained logic behind their current position. It makes little sense to designate individual Hezbollah leaders as terrorists, but continue to permit the organization to raise money for their deadly work. It is a mistake to exempt Hezbollah's "political wing" from responsibility for the crimes perpetrated by the "military wing" that executes its orders. Running a hospital or an orphanage does not absolve an organization for the murder of innocents. The EU must be proactive and uproot Hezbollah's support infrastructure in Europe in order to curtail the activ­ities of its terrorist thugs around the world.
  • Third, EU leaders should be asked to join the multilateral efforts of their democratic allies to pro­tect all of their citizens from the attacks of totalitarian Islamic extremists. There is an ideological dimension to this conflict, as well as a terrorist dimension. It would be irresponsible for the EU to stay neutral in this global ideological struggle, given the presence of a growing Muslim population inside Europe that could fall prey to radical Islamic ideologies.

Banning Hezbollah also would be a step that would help stabilize the volatile Middle East and support Arab–Israeli peace efforts. Even the Pales­tinian Authority requested that the EU ban Hezbol­lah in 2005, complaining that Hezbollah was recruiting Palestinian suicide bombers to sabotage the tenuous truce with Israel.

Putting Hezbollah on the EU terrorism list also would help stabilize Lebanon. U.N. Security Council Resolution 1559, jointly sponsored by France and the United States, calls for the disarming of all militias in Lebanon. Yet EU toleration of Hezbollah fundraising operations inside its own borders enables efforts to finance the purchase of arms and ammunition for the biggest and most dangerous militia in Lebanon. Add­ing Hezbollah to the EU terrorism list would be an important step toward disarming its militia and restoring the rule of law in Lebanon.

Banning Hezbollah also would contribute to the containment of Iran's rising power. Tehran has used its Lebanese surrogate to advance its own radical foreign policy agenda in the past and is sure to do so again.

The U.S. Congress has played a role in appealing for greater cooperation from the EU in curtailing Hezbollah's activities. The House of Representa­tives, in March 2005, passed H. Res. 101, which urged the EU to add Hezbollah to its terrorist list. The Senate followed suit the next month. Congress should continue to press the EU to do the right thing regarding Hezbollah by passing further reso­lutions and holding hearings such as this one to educate EU leaders and their constituencies about the potential challenges posed by Hezbollah.

The EU can no longer afford to ignore Hezbollah's festering threat or hope to deflect its attacks onto other countries. The longer the EU balks at effective action, the stronger the potential threat grows, fund­ed by the free flow of donations, diverted charitable funds, and criminal booty out of the EU and the pay­ments for drugs smuggled into the EU.

As Winston Churchill observed, "An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last." The Hezbollah crocodile has eaten half of Leb­anon and has laid dangerous eggs around the world. The EU must take proactive action, not wait for these eggs to hatch.

James Phillips is Research Fellow for Middle East­ern Affairs in the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies, a division of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies, at The Heritage Foundation. These remarks were deliv­ered June 20, 2007, as testimony before the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Europe.

The Heritage Foundtion

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Role of Hawala in Terrorism Financing and Money Laundering

Hawala (also known as hundi) is an informal value transfer system based on performance and honor of a huge network of money brokers which are primarily located in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

In the most basic variant of the hawala system, money is transferred via a network of hawala brokers, or hawaladars.
  • A customer approaches a hawala broker in one city and gives a sum of money to be transferred to a recipient in another, usually foreign, city.
  • The hawala broker calls another hawala broker in the recipient's city, gives disposition instructions of the funds (usually minus a small commission), and promises to settle the debt at a later date.
  • The unique feature of the system is that no promissory instruments are exchanged between the hawala brokers; the transaction takes place entirely on the honor system.
  • As the system does not depend on the legal enforceability of claims, it can operate even in the absence of a legal and juridical environment.
  • No records are produced of individual transactions;
  • Only a running tally of the amount owed one broker by the other is kept.
  • Settlements of debts between hawala brokers can take a variety of forms, and need not take the form of direct cash transactions.
The practice of Hawala has been a way of funding Islamic business for at least 1200 years.

-Wikipedia

Some Halawadars (Halawa Operators) were shut down after 911, like the Al-Barakat company. Opened in Somalia, and operating in 40 countries worldwide. It was formed byAhmad Ali Jimale, from his office in Dubai .

It was estimated in 2001 that in an average year, US $200 million to $500 million was being transferred into Somalia through the Hawalad system.

New Hawala companies filled the gap, after al Barakat shut down, and some Halawadars though most seem to operate legitimately , some are involved in corrupt and illeagel activities.

The Halawa system's lack of individual transaction and record keeping makes a legitimate system vulnerable to terrorist use. The system is so frequently used by terrorists that the US Council on Foreign relations made the following recommendation in this 2002 report:

Encourage Hawaladar Registration: A comprehensive plan to
enforce the registration of hawaladars in the United States should
be adopted and a system of incentives (tax breaks, etc.) should
be developed to encourage registration of hawaladars. Incentives
are likely to diminish the reluctance of standard hawaladars to adhere to the new law and, in the process, those hawaladars who traffic funds for terrorist groups will be more isolated and easier for law enforcement officials to identify.


-Council on Foreign Relations 2002 Report on Terrorism Financing

Since then, registration has happened in various places, though I do not believe this has made any difference.
  • The Halawadar simply accepts the funds and transfers the value to another broker-there is no crime or hint of wrongdoing. The Halawadar in the target country simply provides the cash, and commits no crime. He will be none the wiser if the receiver uses the funds to arm or equip terrorits, but they have by passed the banking system.
  • Requiring registered Halawadars to correctly ID users and monitor the various terrorist watch lists, would be a start.
  • The Bush administration now seems to be moving toward a money laundering approach

Victor Comras wrote recently in an article in the Counterterrorism Blog that the emphaisis seems to be shifting toward Anti-money Laundering (AML) strategies. He suggests that Terrorism finacing stratgies which are in place, need to be maintained as well. He said:

"The new AML strategy places increased emphasis on the international aspects of money laundering. It is now clear that foreign banks are being used regularly to introduce illegally obtained proceeds into US banks and other depository institutions. This includes using “correspondent,” “payable through,” and “nested” accounts to conceal the customer’s true identity.

The Rest

The point is, we must not forget Halawa when we try new AML strategies, or it will continue to be a shell game, with funds slipping out of banks and into Halawa transactions.

Friday, June 15, 2007

East African Community Responding to Terrorist Attack in Keny

  • On Monday, 11 June, a bomb killed one and wounded 31, including loss of site and hearing.
  • At the current state of the investigation, it appears that a group of men and women assembled the bomb in a hotel room in Mombasa. There are 5 under arrest, and police are seeking 4 more.
  • It appears they were aiming at a bus going to the aiport, or t0 the airport Nairobi Airport

this story will go on for sometime, but it is interesting to see responses from the emerging East After Community

Money Laundering Conference in the Gambia

Ministers of the Interior of Fifteen West African Countries met on June 11th for their fifth annual meeting to discuss Money Laundering.

There is real irony in where they chose to meet:
the Kairaba Beach Hotel, in Kololi, The Gambia.
Irony, becasue the Gambia has been a hotbed of Money Laundering.
  • The Gambia is a base of Operations for Victor Bout on Africa (and the World)'s busiest Arms dealers, among other things
  • Baba Jobe , the New Millennium Air Company, were named as transiting companies for the weapons.
  • This page is a listing of how to transfer funds in and out of the Gambia
Though It appears that some modest steps have been taken to stop money laundering, The Gambia has historicaly been a transshipment point for everything from Slaves to Blood diamonds.

-Shimron


The Secretary of State for Interior, Mr Ousman Sonko, in a plennary session on Tuesday 12 Junehas stated that money laundering is one of the most notorious economic crimes in any state. He said that money laundering is negative for economic growth and could affect a nation both domestically and internationally.

Speaking at the inter-government Action Group Against Money Laundering and terrorist finance in West Africa (GIABA) plenary session and 7th technical commission held at the Kairaba Beach Hotel on Monday, June 11, Secy Sonko said that money laundering is luxurious to criminals but very negative to the economy of any nation.

The negativity of money laundering in national economies cannot be overemphasised and therefore all the ten member states of GIABA should come together to fight money laundering and terrorist financing in our sub-region,”


...SoS Sanyang also said in October 2006, the government gave the Central Bank of The Gambia the mandate to establish a Financial Intelligence Unit which will be responsible for receiving, analyzing and scrutinizing of data on suspicious transactions relating to money laundering and terrorism financing.

"The staff of the Unit is currently undergoing relevant training to capacitize the unit to have it operationalised by September 2007, Mr. Sanyang revealed.

Reat the Rest @ All Africa.com from the Foroyaa Newspaper

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Monzer al-Kassar Stung and arrested in Spain

International arms dealer Monzer al-Kassar was arrested by Spanish police June 7 after a federal indictment was issued against him in New York for conspiring to support terrorists and kill US soldiers. US officials said undercover agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) had convinced al-Kassar that they represented the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a guerilla army classified by the US State Department as a terrorist group.

In a series of recorded phone calls, e-mails and meetings, al-Kassar and the DEA agents struck a fictitious $8 million deal for him to supply surface-to-air missile systems, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, thousands of machine guns and tons of explosives obtained in Romania and Bulgaria, officials said. About $400,000 was reportedly wired to Spain from New York as a down payment.

Al-Kassar and his cohorts were told the missile systems were "intended to take down US helicopters," said US Attorney Michael Garcia. Though no weapons exchanged hands, the defendants believed "the arms deal was absolutely real. They demonstrated their willingness to support a terrorist organization and their capacity to do so."

A longtime resident of Spain, the Syrian-born al-Kassar was apprehended at Madrid's Barajas airport after he arrived on a flight from the resort city of Malaga. Police have also searched his palatial home in Marbella, near Malaga. "Someone who considered himself untouchable is now sitting in a jail in Spain," said DEA administrator Karen Tandy.

Two others indicted on the same charges in Manhattan's federal District Court, Tareq Mousa al Ghazi and Luis Filipe Moreno Godoy, were arrested in Romania.

The indictment says al-Kassar has provided weapons to violent factions in Nicaragua, Brazil, Cyprus, Bosnia, Croatia, Somalia, Iran and Iraq.

His customers included known terrorist organizations determined to stage "attacks on United States interests and United States nationals." Al-Kassar also is reportedly on the Iraqi government's most-wanted list for arming insurgents.

Al-Kassar stood trial in Spain in 1995 on charges that he supplied assault rifles used by Palestinian militants in the hijacking of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro in 1985, but he was acquitted for lack of evidence.

There have been no immediate details on extradition proceedings, though Spain and the United States do have an extradition treaty that applies in such cases. A court in Bucharest has ordered al Ghazi and Godoy held without bail pending extradition. Ghazi is identified as a Polish citizen of Palestinian origin, and Godoy as a Spanish citizen of Chilean origin.

If convicted, the three could face life sentences. (AP, June 8)

the Rest @ World War 4 Report