Hezbollah Chief Designated for U.S. Sanctions for Syria

The U.S. imposed financial sanctions against the head of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, for providing support to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Two other Hezbollah figures, Mustafa Badr Al-Din and Talal Hamiyah, also were designated for sanctions for leading the Lebanon-based group’s “terrorist activities in the Middle East and around the world,” according to a statement today by the Treasury Department.

The Shiite Muslim group, which draws much of its financial and military support from Iran through Syria, is a major militia force and political party in Lebanon. It is considered a terrorist organization by the U.S. and Israel.

“By aiding Assad’s violent campaign against the Syrian people and working to support a regime that will inevitably fall, Hezbollah’s ongoing activity undermines regional stability and poses a direct threat to Lebanon’s security,” Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen said in the statement. “Hezbollah’s actions, overseen by Hassan Nasrallah and executed by Mustafa Badr Al-Din and Talal Hamiyah, clearly reveal its true nature as a terrorist and criminal organization.”

Al-Din is a senior Hezbollah official who is believed to have replaced his cousin, Imad Mughniyeh, as Hezbollah’s top militant commander after Mughniyah’s 2008 car-bomb assassination, according to the Treasury statement. In June 2011, the prosecutor of an international tribunal charged four Hezbollah members, including Al-Din, in the 2005 attack that killed former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and 21 others.

Terrorist Plotting

Hamiyah is the head of Hezbollah’s External Security Organization, which is responsible for planning and execution of terrorist attacks outside of Lebanon, according to the Treasury.

The past year has witnessed Hezbollah’s most aggressive terrorist plotting outside the Middle East since the 1990s, according to the statement.

Additionally, in recent months Hezbollah has played an “increasingly active role” in providing support to the Government of Syria, “further enabling the regime to carry out its bloody campaign against the Syrian people,” the Treasury said in its statement.

“Under the Assad regime, Syria has been a longstanding supporter of Hezbollah -- providing safe haven to Hezbollah and routing weapons, in many cases from Iran, to Hezbollah in Lebanon,” according to the statement. “Hezbollah, under the direction of Nasrallah, is now returning the favor by providing training, advice, and extensive logistical support to the government of Syria as the Assad regime continues to wreak havoc on the Syrian people through the use of terror and violence -- Hezbollah’s area of expertise.” 

Executive Order

The Treasury action was taken under an August 2011 presidential executive order prohibiting transactions with Syria. Hezbollah was designated under that order in August. It has been designated by the U.S. as terrorist organization since 1995.

Nasrallah previously was designated for sanctions in January 1995 by President Bill Clinton under an executive order aimed at “foreign terrorists that disrupt the Middle East peace process.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Terry Atlas in Washington at tatlas@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Walcott at jwalcott9@bloomberg.net

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