Monday, October 31, 2016

Lebanon's Presidential Election

Press Statement
John Kirby
Assistant Secretary and Department Spokesperson, Bureau of Public Affairs
Washington, DC
October 31, 2016

The United States congratulates the people of Lebanon on the election of President Michel Aoun, in accordance with Lebanon’s constitution. This is a moment of opportunity, as Lebanon emerges from years of political impasse, to restore government functions and build a more stable and prosperous future for all Lebanese citizens.

As Lebanon forms a new government, we look to all parties to uphold Lebanon’s international obligations, including those contained in UN Security Council Resolutions 1559 and 1701, which emphasize that there be no authority other than that of the Government in Lebanon.

The United States will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Lebanese people and support Lebanon’s independence, sovereignty, security, and stability.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Remarks by Ambassador Elizabeth Richard in memory of the bombing of the Marine Corp Barracks in Beirut in 1983

October 21, 2016

Good afternoon and welcome to our guests.

Thank you for joining us today to remember the sacrifice of so many brave men and women. Thirty three years ago, on October 23, 1983, 241 American marines, sailors, and soldiers died and 128 were wounded when a suicide bomber attacked the U.S. Marine Corps barracks here in Beirut. Later in the day, 58 brave French soldiers were killed in a similar attack.

These courageous Marines and paratroopers were members of the Multinational Force --peacekeepers who came to Lebanon to support the Lebanese people, and protect their life and liberty.

All US troops were withdrawn the next year, except for the Marine Amphibious Unit of the Multinational Force, who remained in Lebanon for three more years.

Now, 28 years later, U.S. Marines have returned to Lebanon. The U.S. Embassy’s Marine Security Guard Detachment is composed of 14 dedicated men and women. They bring with them a high degree of professionalism, valor, and commitment.

Working shoulder to shoulder with our Lebanese team, they support and safeguard all of us here today, so that we can do the important work of helping our partners, the Lebanese people, build a strong, stable, democratic and prosperous nation.

I believe the most powerful memorials are often the most simple. In a few moments, we will read the names of all of the Americans who lost their lives on October 23, 1983.

This will remind us, as we are reminded every day as we pass by this memorial, that the names on this list were real people.

They had ambitions, and plans, and dreams. They were someone’s spouse, someone’s parent, someone’s child. And they were our colleagues – whether we personally worked with them or not. Because we are still today, working and fighting for the same values, and the same mission.

Today, we honor the sacrifice and commitment of the fallen, and the courage and humanity of their families and loved ones. The best way to remember these heroes is to keep working together, every day, to defend the ideals they died for.

Thank you.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Treasury Sanctions Hizballah Financiers and Operatives


Action Includes Joint Designations by the United States and Saudi Arabia
WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury took action to disrupt the operations, fundraising, and support networks of Hizballah by designating four individuals and one entity pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, which targets terrorists and those providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism.  Specifically, Treasury imposed sanctions on Muhammad Al-Mukhtar Kallas, Hasan Jamal-al-Din, Yosef Ayad, Muhammad Ghaleb Hamdar, and Global Cleaners S.A.R.L.  In a related action, the Department of State also designated today Hizballah commander Haytham 'Ali Tabataba'i, also known as Abu 'Ali Al-Tabataba'i, pursuant to E.O. 13224.  As a result of today's action, all property and interests in property of those designated today subject to U.S. jurisdiction are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them. 
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia joined the United States by also designating Muhammad Al-Mukhtar Kallas, Hasan Jamal-al-Din, and Global Cleaners S.A.R.L. for being controlled by U.S.- and Saudi Arabian-designated Hizballah member and financier Adham Husayn Tabaja.  The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia designated these persons under its Law of Terrorism Crimes and Financing and Royal Decree A/44.  Any of their assets held in Saudi Arabia are frozen, and transfers through the Kingdom's financial sector, and any commercial licenses associated with Kallas, Jamal-al-Din, and Global Cleaners S.A.R.L., are prohibited. 
"Today's joint action with Saudi Arabia underscores the strength of U.S. and Saudi cooperation in disrupting Hizballah's worldwide commercial and financial infrastructure," said Adam Szubin, Acting Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence at the U.S. Department of the Treasury.  "Hizballah continues to plan, coordinate and execute terrorist attacks around the world, and Treasury will continue to aggressively target Hizballah and those supporting its terrorist activities."
Muhammad Al-Mukhtar Kallas
Muhammad Al-Mukhtar Kallas was designated today for providing financial services to or in support of Treasury-designated Hizballah member and financier Adham Tabaja through his work for Treasury-designated Al-Inmaa Engineering and Contracting LLC. 
Kallas is an accountant for Al-Inmaa Engineering and Contracting LLC.  In this role, he has worked with Tabaja to coordinate funds transfers and bulk cash shipments between Lebanon and Iraq.  In addition, he has worked directly with Treasury-designated money launderers Mohamad Noureddine and Hamdi Zaher El Dine to covertly move money on behalf of Tabaja and his business network in violation of U.S. sanctions.  Noureddine and El Dine were designated by the Department of the Treasury in January 2016 pursuant to E.O. 13224 for providing financial services to or in support of Hizballah.
Hasan Jamal-al-Din
Hasan Jamal-al-Din was also designated today for providing financial services to or in support of Tabaja through his work for Al-Inmaa Engineering and Contracting LLC. 
Jamal-al-Din is also an accountant for Al-Inmaa Engineering and Contracting LLC.  In coordination with Al-Inmaa Engineering and Kallas, Jamal-al-Din has worked with Tabaja, Treasury-designated Hizballah External Security Organization (ESO) member Husayn Ali Faour, and other Hizballah members to move money between Lebanon and Iraq.
Global Cleaners S.A.R.L.
Global Cleaners S.A.R.L. was designated for being owned or controlled by Tabaja. 
Global Cleaners S.A.R.L. is managed by Tabaja and is part of Tabaja's Al-Inmaa Group of companies.  Global Cleaners S.A.R.L. has obtained lucrative contracts to provide sanitation services in Baghdad, Iraq.
Yosef Ayad
Yosef Ayad was designated today for acting on behalf of Hizballah by assisting in the planning of and supporting acts of terrorism. 
Ayad is an operative for Hizballah's External Security Organization (ESO), which is responsible for planning, coordinating, and executing Hizballah's terrorist attacks worldwide.  As a Hizballah ESO operative, he has procured precursor material used to produce Triacetone Triperoxide explosives.  Ayad was arrested in Thailand in April 2014 after collecting information on tourist targets for the ESO, and later admitted to Thai authorities that he had entered the country to carry out a bomb attack against Israeli tourists in Thailand.
Muhammad Ghaleb Hamdar
Muhammad Ghaleb Hamdar was also designated today for acting on behalf of Hizballah by assisting in the planning of and supporting acts of terrorism. 
Hamdar, another member of Hizballah's ESO, was arrested in Lima, Peru in October 2014 on suspicion of planning terrorist attacks in the country for Hizballah.  Upon investigation, Peruvian authorities discovered photographs of popular tourist restaurants and houses as well as traces of military grade explosives in Hamdar's apartment.  Peruvian authorities also found TNT, gunpowder, and detonators in the outdoor trashcan assigned to his unit upon investigation.  Hamdar admitted to being a member of Hizballah ESO and that he undertook all of his activities in Peru at ESO's direction.
Hizballah was designated by the Department of State as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in October 1997 and as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist pursuant to E.O. 13224 in October 2001.  It was also designated in August 2012 pursuant to E.O. 13582, which targets the Government of Syria and its supporters, and listed in January 1995 in the Annex to E.O. 12947, which targets terrorists who threaten to disrupt the Middle East peace process. 
For identifying information on the individuals and entity designated today, click here.