The World Confronts Terror of Iran-Backed Hezbollah
By ShareAmerica February 06, 2020
Countries around the world are taking on Hezbollah, designating the Iranian regime’s top proxy as a terrorist group, imposing sanctions and arresting operatives.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the Third Western Hemisphere Counterterrorism Ministerial in Bogotá, Colombia, January 20 that these new designations, many by Central and South American nations, would strengthen global counterterrorism efforts.
“I hope that other nations will take similar steps to crack down on this group and other terrorist organizations by levying designations, cutting off terrorist financing, and bringing charges against suspected operatives,” Pompeo told the conference. “We call on all of our neighbors to adopt legal frameworks that enable them to sanction terrorists.”
The U.S. is seeking to end the Iranian regime’s support for Hezbollah through economic sanctions that strip the regime of cash it would funnel to terrorists. The U.S. designated Hezbollah a terrorist group in 1997 and many other Western nations are now following suit.
The United Kingdom recently expanded its terrorist designation of Hezbollah to cover the group’s political as well as military branches. Kosovo designated Hezbollah as a terrorist organization in June 2019.
Honduras and Colombia designated Hezbollah a terrorist group in January, and Guatemala has pledged to take similar action. This comes after Paraguay, in August, formally designated Hezbollah and other terrorist groups, including al-Qaida, ISIS, and Hamas.
Argentina formally designated Hezbollah in July, on the 25th anniversary of the largest terrorist attack in Latin America’s history. On July 18, 1994, an Iranian-backed suicide bomber drove a van filled with explosives into the Argentine Jewish Mutual Aid Society (AMIA) building in Buenos Aires, killing 85 people and injuring 300.
The U.S. State Department’s Rewards for Justice Program last year offered up to $10 million for information that helps disrupt Hezbollah’s financing of terrorist activities. The program also has offered up to $7 million for information leading to the capture of the senior Hezbollah operative who coordinated the AMIA bombing, Salman Raouf Salman.
The Iranian regime’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps funded and provided logistic support for the attack.
Hezbollah remains a continuing threat with global reach. In Chile and Peru, security forces disrupted a recent terrorist plot orchestrated by Salman. Salman also served as handler for Mohammed Hamdar, a U.S.-designated Hezbollah operative arrested in October 2014 for plotting an attack in Peru.
“Hezbollah is first and foremost a terrorist organization, despite its attempts to falsely portray itself as a legitimate political entity,” the U.S. Treasury Department said when sanctioning Salman in July. The action “highlights Hezbollah’s ongoing operational presence in the Western Hemisphere and that Hezbollah continues to pose a threat to the region by actively plotting attacks against civilian targets.”