Friday, May 19, 2017

State Department Terrorist Designations of Hashem Safieddine and Muhammad al-Isawi

State Department Terrorist Designations of Hashem Safieddine and Muhammad al-Isawi

Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
May 19, 2017

The Department of State has designated Hashem Safieddine and Muhammad al-Isawi as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGT) under Section 1(b) of Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, which imposes sanctions on foreign persons who have committed, or pose a serious risk of committing, acts of terrorism that threaten the security of U.S. nationals or the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States. As a consequence of these designations, U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with Safieddine and al-Isawi, and all of Safieddine's and al-Isawi's property and interests in property subject to United States jurisdiction are blocked.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia joined the United States in designating Hashem Safieddine. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia designated Safieddine under its Law of Terrorism Crimes and Financing and Royal Decree A/44. As a result, any of his assets held in Saudi Arabia are frozen, and transfers through the Kingdom's financial sector, are prohibited.

Hashem Safieddine is a senior leader in Hizballah, a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) and SDGT entity supported by Iran. Safieddine is a key member of Hizballah's executive council, which oversees Hizballah's political, organizational, social, and educational activities. Hizballah is responsible for such terrorist attacks as the suicide truck bombings of the U.S. Embassy and U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983, the U.S. Embassy annex in Beirut in 1984, and the 1985 hijacking of TWA flight 847.

Muhammad al-Isawi, more commonly known as Abu Usama al-Masri, has been ISIS' affiliate in the Sinai's leader since the death of Abu Du'a al-Ansari in August 2016. Prior to being selected as leader of ISIS' affiliate in the Sinai, he was the group's media spokesman. He also spent time in an Egyptian prison before escaping during the 2011 Egyptian revolution. ISIS' affiliate in the Sinai originally operated under the name Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, which was designated as an FTO in September 2014. The State Department amended the group's FTO designation to include ISIS' affiliate in the Sinai on September 30, 2015.

Today's actions notify the U.S. public and the international community that Safieddine and al-Isawi pose a serious risk of committing acts of terrorism that threaten the national security and foreign policy of the United States. The action against Safieddine is the latest example of the strong partnership between the United States and Saudi Arabia in combatting the financing of terrorism. The Safieddine designation is also consistent with the U.S. government's ongoing effort to expose and apply pressure against the actions of Hizballah, which is supported by the foremost State Sponsor of Terrorism, Iran. Designations of terrorist individuals and groups expose and isolate organizations and individuals and result in denial of access to the U.S. financial system. Moreover, designations can assist or complement the law enforcement actions of other U.S. agencies and other governments.

A list of State Department-designated FTOs and SDGTs is available here.


Name: Hashem Safieddine
AKA: Hashem Safi al-Din
AKA: Hashem Safi a-Din
AKA: Hashim Safi al Din
AKA: Hashim Safi Al-Din
AKA: Hashim Safieddine
POB: Lebanon
DOB Circa 1964
Location: Lebanon
Name: Muhammad Ahmad 'Ali al-Isawi
AKA: Abu Osama al-Masri
AKA: Abu Usamah al-Masri
DOB: Circa 1973
POB: Sinai Province, Egypt
Location: Egypt

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Treasury Hosts Meeting of the Law Enforcement Coordination Group Focused on Countering Hizballah’s Terrorist Activities

5/8/2017 ​
Washington – On May 4-5, 2017, the U.S. Department of the Treasury hosted the fourth meeting of the Law Enforcement Coordination Group (LECG) focused on countering Hizballah's terrorist and illicit activities.
Counterterrorism policymakers and practitioners from more than 20 governments – from across the Middle East, South America, Europe, Africa, Southeast Asia, and North America – along with Europol and Interpol, participated in this LECG meeting.  The LECG session focused on Hizballah's terrorist financing-related and criminal activities, and discussed how law enforcement and financial tools, including sanctions, could be most effectively utilized to counter these threats.   
"The Law Enforcement Coordination Group is a unique platform that harnesses the expertise and capacity of critical partners across the globe to counter the threat posed by Hizballah," said Jennifer Fowler, Acting Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing.  "We are going to continue to work within the LECG to share information, collaborate, and develop strategies to disrupt Hizballah's financial activities and support."
Participating governments discussed how international cooperation against Hizballah's terrorist and illicit activities could be improved going forward.  In addition to Treasury, officials from the U.S. State Department, Justice Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Counterterrorism Center, and Department of Homeland Security all participated in this meeting. 
The LECG, which was originally established in 2014, will convene for its 5th meeting in late 2017.  

Friday, May 05, 2017

United States Provides Border Security Equipment to Lebanese Armed Forces

By U.S. Embassy Beirut | 5 May, 2017

On behalf of the United States, Ambassador Elizabeth Richard today presented over 1000 machine guns to the Lebanese Armed Forces as part of the LAF's ongoing efforts to improve border security.  The equipment includes 800 heavy machine guns and another 320 crew-served weapons, adding to battle-tested equipment already in the hands of the LAF.  The machine guns will be used to increase firepower along Lebanon's borders and will allow Land Border Regiments in the LAF to occupy and defend their border positions on schedule.

In a ceremony at the Logistics Brigade Headquarters at Kfarshima, attended by LAF Brigadier General Farah and Brigadier General Abi Nasif, Ambassador Richard highlighted the important role the LAF plays in addressing the serious challenges Lebanon faces, many of which arise from the conflict in Syria.  She noted that the handover of this new shipment of weapons is another example of the ongoing U.S. government program to improve the LAF's capabilities to carry out its mission as the sole defender of Lebanon.  Ambassador Richard said, "Today, I am happy to be with you to receive the latest delivery of equipment – equipment which we are confident will be directly employed to protect and defend Lebanon's borders, and by the very nature of that act, Lebanon's most valuable asset, its people."

Following are Ambassador Richard's full remarks at the ceremony:

"Good Morning, every one, and thank you for the opportunity, once again, to demonstrate our commitment to supporting the Lebanese Armed Forces.  Brigadier General Farah, Brigadier General Abi Nasif, it is my pleasure to be with you here today to participate in this delivery of important equipment, a critical symbol of our support to the Lebanese Army and the protection of Lebanon's borders.

In the past, delivery ceremonies have focused on more sophisticated and technologically advanced military hardware.  In August, in one of my first interactions with the LAF, we marked the delivery of 50 Armored HUMVEES with automatic grenade launchers, 40 howitzer artillery pieces, and advanced HELLFIRE Missiles along with many other types of munitions.  In December, we again gathered to celebrate the delivery of the LAF's latest armed Cessna aircraft.

The Lebanese Army has quickly utilized this increase in combat power to aggressively target terrorist threats, protect the nation's borders, and demonstrate its resolve to defend the Lebanese way of life, and we have seen how border communities' trust in the LAF is impressively high and is growing.

Today, I am happy to be with you to receive the latest delivery of equipment – equipment which we are confident will be directly employed to protect and defend Lebanon's borders, and by the very nature of that act, Lebanon's most valuable asset, its people.  The weapons which you see displayed here today represent a much larger shipment of 800 .50 Caliber Machine Guns, 171 M240B Machine Guns and 148 M249 Machine Guns, valued at over fourteen million dollars.

The equipment we see here today does not represent a new capability for the Lebanese Army.  Rather, it will strengthen your ongoing efforts to increase your border protection.  Recipients will include the Border Regiments that are now being stood up as part of the joint US-Lebanon-UK program to secure the whole of the Lebanese – Syrian border for the Lebanese state by early next year.

These weapons displayed before you, much like the Lebanese soldiers, are proven, reliable, trustworthy, and deadly to those who would impinge on Lebanon's sovereignty and freedom.

We recognize that the challenges facing Lebanon are serious.  Many of them emanate from outside your borders.  But the Lebanese are strong, as you have proven over and over through history.  Rest assured that the United States stands beside the Lebanese Government and the Lebanese Army as we work together for a more peaceful future for all of us.

Thank you again everyone for being with us today.