vendredi 12 juin 2020

Is Hezbollah a Threat to Europe? par Bruno Tertrais

The evidence is clear: Hezbollah is a terrorist organization in its entirety. It's time for the EU to do the right thing and end Hezbollah's ability to fundraise and recruit in Europe. (AJC)
Analyse de Bruno Tertrais pour American Jewish Committee (AJC):
[...] Presence and Propaganda on the Continent

The organization is reportedly present one way or another in at least a dozen European countries. Such presence includes propaganda and operations inside Europe. Hezbollah also uses the continent as a staging area and recruiting ground for operations outside Europe.

Germany's domestic intelligence agency has reported that Hezbollah at one time had nearly 1,000 active operatives in the country.

In 2004, France banned Al-Manar television. Earlier this year, it closed down one of the largest Shi’a propaganda centers in Europe, the Zahra Centre France, and clamped down on three affiliate organizations (the Anti-Zionist Party, the Shi’a Federation of France, and France Marianne TV), on the grounds that all three sympathized with Hezbollah’s terrorist activities.

Activities of Funding and Procurement in Europe or by European Nationals

In rec years, a number of arrests have testified to the growing extent of Hezbollah criminal activities in Europe, mostly related with money laundering, trafficking, and arms procurement.
  • In 2013, two Lebanese passengers at a Brussels airport were caught with nearly 770,000 Euros in their possession. Europol suspected that some of this cash was intended for Hezbollah.
  • Also, in 2013, Germany raided the offices of the Orphan Children Project Lebanon in Essen, accusing the group of serving as a Hezbollah fundraising front organization.
  • In 2014, the U.S. Treasury blacklisted a network of individuals centered around a Lebanese firm (Stars Group Holding), which allegedly functioned as a key Hezbollah procurement network to acquire drones and was active in Europe.
  • In 2015, Hezbollah weapons procurer Ali Fayyad was detained in the Czech Republic, and later expelled to Lebanon after the disappearance of five Czech citizens.
  • Also in 2015, a French-Lebanese national, Iman Kobeissi, was arrested in Paris and arraigned on money-laundering conspiracy charges, unlicensed firearms dealing, conspiracy for laundering funds believed to be drug money, and for arranging the sale of thousands of firearms, including military assault rifles, machine guns, and sniper rifles.
  • In 2016, a major international operation led to the arrest of several Hezbollah members in France, Italy, Belgium, and Germany, on suspicions of criminal charges involving drugs and money laundering to fund the organization’s weapons procurement. The operation revealed the existence of a massive Hezbollah drug and money laundering scheme operating largely in Europe.
  • In 2016, Colombia-based Hezbollah associate Mohammad Ammar was arrested in the United States for laundering narcotics from or through several countries, including the Netherlands, Spain, and the United Kingdom.
  • In 2016, French-Lebanese national Ali Ahsoor was arrested in Cote d’Ivoire. Authorities caught him trying to smuggle 1.7 million Euros to Hezbollah in Lebanon.
  • In 2018, the U.S. Treasury designated Hezbollah financier Mohammad Ibrahim Bazzi and five companies he owns or controls. Bazzi had provided millions of dollars to Hezbollah from the businesses he operates, inter alia, in Belgium. One of the designated companies was Global Trading Group NV, a Belgian energy services conglomerate.
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