Wednesday, June 21, 2017

State Department Amendments to the Terrorist Designations of Hizballah and al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula

Media Note

Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
June 21, 2017

The Department of State has amended the designation of Hizballah as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) under section 1(b) of Executive Order (E.O.) 13224 and as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) under Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act to add aliases including Lebanese Hizballah, which is frequently used to refer to the group, as well as the Foreign Relations Department (FRD) and the External Security Organization (ESO), key components of the terror organization. The Department of State has also amended the designation of al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) as an SDGT under section 1(b) of E.O. 13224 and as an FTO under Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act to add the aliases Sons of Abyan, Sons of Hadramawt, Sons of Hadramawt Committee, Civil Council of Hadramawt, and National Hadramawt Council.

U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with Hizballah or AQAP, and all property and interests in property of the organizations subject to U.S. jurisdiction are blocked. In addition, knowingly providing, or attempting or conspiring to provide, material support or resources to the organizations is prohibited.

Hizballah, which was originally designated as an FTO in 1997, operates through, among other parts of the group, its branches the FRD and the ESO, also known as the Islamic Jihad Organization. The FRD maintains Hizballah's public presence around the world. The branch is led by senior Hizballah member Ali Damush, designated by the Department of State as an SDGT in January 2017. The FRD is involved in covert operations around the globe, which include recruiting, fundraising and gathering intelligence on behalf of Hizballah.

Hizballah's ESO was established by now-deceased Hizballah leader Imad Mughniyah and was led by Talal Hamiyah as of September 2012. The branch is responsible for planning and carrying out Hizballah attacks outside of Lebanon. The attacks have primarily targeted Israelis and Americans.

Sons of Abyan, Sons of Hadramawt, Sons of Hadramawt Committee, Civil Council of Hadramawt, and National Hadramawt Council all serve as proxies or cover organizations for AQAP, which was designated as an FTO in 2010. AQAP uses these proxies to help govern the territories it controls, and to manage issues such as administration, economics, security, and building relationships with citizens.

Today's actions notify the U.S. public and the international community that the terrorist organizations Hizballah and AQAP operate under and/or are known by a variety of other names. Terrorism designations 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:

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

U.S. Central Command Commander General Joseph L. Votel Statement at Dahr Al Jabl Overlook (Arsal, Lebanon)

By U.S. Embassy Beirut | 7 June, 2017
It is wonderful to be back in Lebanon and here up in Arsal.  We deeply value the relationship with the Lebanese Armed Forces and the work they are doing to keep Lebanon safe, as we're seeing here today.

I had good visits yesterday and this morning with President (Michel) Aoun, and with Prime Minister (Saad) Hariri, and with the Minister of Foreign Affairs (Gebran) Bassil and Speaker of Parliament (Nabih) Berri, and with the military leadership, namely the Minister of Defense (Yakoub) Sarraf and General (Joseph) Aoun, the Chief of Defense.  We had very productive conversations and we've reaffirmed our shared commitment to ensuring stability and security in this important part of the world.  We have many common interests that include the defeat of Da'esh and other violent extremist and terrorist organizations, and we intend to continue to work together to address these and the other challenges that are presented to us.

I appreciate the opportunity to visit the 9th Brigade here at Arsal.  We thank the Commander and his team for their warm and gracious hospitality.  I was proud to meet with some of the soldiers and commanders defending Lebanon's sovereignty and I'm very impressed to see the progress that they've made in securing Lebanon's borders with Syria.  The Lebanese Armed Forces remain among the most capable and valued partners and we are proud to support them as the sole defenders of Lebanon.  We look forward to building upon the strong foundation that exists between our militaries in the coming days.  In these challenging times, I remain confident that there are no difficulties that cannot be overcome, so long as we are willing to work together.

Again, I appreciate the warm welcome and the wonderful hospitality that we've received here in Lebanon.  Thank you all very much.