by Hesham Shehab
American citizens who praise the Iranian regime and glorify a terrorist organization that killed and kidnapped Americans abroad are doing something that comes to the brink of treason. These people should be considered a national security threat.
Hezb'allah has an unusually sordid history of crime and terrorism.
Don't think they aren't around. A group that calls itself the Al-Quds Committee organized the International Quds Day Rally held in Dearborn, Michigan on May 31, 2019, in front of the Henry Ford Centennial Library. An unidentified speaker said that “Hamas, Hezb'allah, [the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps] IRGC [now blacklisted as a terrorist organization], and anybody else fighting against Israel have a God-given right to resist.”
The speaker added that “only economic sanctions and ‘political arrogance’ are maintaining America's standing in the world. He cursed America and the world powers for "wishing for the masses to remain silent" and abandon Palestine (…)."
The speaker also said, "‘our beloved Leader’ Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei [the Supreme leader of Iran] said that Israel will crumble in less than 25 years,” describing the Jewish state as a "cancer."
It is difficult to know where to begin, when writing about Hezb'allah. The best description of that organization was made by former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, who branded Hezb'allah as “the 'A-Team of Terrorists.'”
Indeed, many Americans were killed and kidnapped by Hezb'allah, a terrorist organization second only to al-Qaida.
In 1987, I myself was kidnapped by Hezb'allah at gunpoint, as a Sunni Muslim then, hogtied for a few hours, to be tortured and executed, but I was able to talk my way out.
Terrorists attacks against U.S. citizens in Lebanon began in 1983, when four founding members of Hezb'allah -- Hassan Nasrallah, Imad Mughniyeh, Mustafa Badreddine, and Husayn al-Musawi -- planned and perpetrated a suicide bombing that killed 241 U.S. service personnel stationed at a Marine compound in Beirut, Lebanon. According to a document disclosed by U.S. intelligence, on Oct. 25, 1983, two days after the bombing, the four terrorists planned the attack at the office of the Iranian ambassador in Damascus, Ali Akbar Mohtashimi.
The U.S. forces were part of a three-nation Multinational Force (MNF) commissioned to stabilize Lebanon, following the devastating Israeli invasion in 1982.
Matthew Levitt explains in his book: “Hezb'allah has a notorious history of taking Western hostages during Beirut’s civil war, the FBI summarized in a 1994 report. ‘Between 1982 and 1991, Hezb'allah abducted and held at least 44 Western hostages, including 17 U.S. persons, three of whom died while in captivity.”
The most notorious founding Hezb'allah member was Mughniyeh, whose name comes up any time the discussion turns to terrorism. In addition to his involvement in the U.S. Marines bombing, below are some of the major attacks against Americans that Mughniyah was allegedly involved in:
Bombing of U.S. Embassy in Beirut, 1983: The suicide bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut killed 63 people, including eight CIA officers.Iran founded Hezb'allah during the civil war in Lebanon in order to polarize its Shiite population and use it as a proxy fighter against Western interests in the region. With both, Iranian petrodollars and the Syrian regime’s political support, Hezb'allah was able to build a state within a state in that war-torn country, and physically eliminate most Lebanese politicians and journalists who rejected the Iranian-Syrian bid for power in Lebanon. Hezb'allah boasts of organizing a small army of well-trained Shiite soldiers, some of whom are U.S. citizens, which intimidates, coerces, and subjugates other Lebanese confessional communities.
Torture and killing of CIA's Lebanon station chief, 1984: Mughniyah was allegedly involved in the kidnapping and killing of William F. Buckley, the CIA station chief. Officials said Mughniyah sent videotapes of brutal interrogation sessions to the CIA before Buckley was killed.
Hijacking of TWA Flight 847, 1985, killing in cold blood U.S. Navy diver Robert Stethem who was on board, and holding dozens of passengers as hostages for about two weeks.
Even though Iranian petrodollars support that army, Hezb'allah also uses an international criminal network of lucrative illegal businesses. Last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo disclosed that Hezb'allah is using drug trafficking operations in Venezuela to fund operations in the Middle East.
Furthermore, some wealthy Lebanese Shiites in the West and South America provide Hezb'allah with financial support. A point in case is the American fugitive and former resident and businessman of Dearborn, Michigan, Talal Chahine. Chahine had allegedly funneled $20 million to Hezb'allah before federal authorities started investigating him in 2005. Chahine managed a chain of the gourmet Michigan restaurant La Shish that financially supported organizations affiliated with the terrorist group.
Another scheme for supporting Hezb'allah involved purchasing used cars in the United States and reselling them in Africa, where many Shiite immigrants live, as part of a global money-laundering network. In addition, a cigarette-smuggling ring that supported Hezb'allah and based in Charlotte, North Carolina, was discovered. Also. federal agents uncovered what was described as “the largest credit card fraud scheme in U.S. history.” It was run out of Toledo, Ohio, by a Dearborn resident named Ali Nasrallah.
Noteworthy is that the Shiite population in Dearbon, MI, has spilled over into northern Ohio, Toledo township, in particular, just 60 miles away from Detroit. A Shiite Lebanese family was accused of providing finanicial support to Hezb'allah was discovered there, in 2010.
Hence, twenty-six individuals, nationwide, were accused of contraband cigarette-trafficking, money-laundering, racketeering, wire fraud, conspiracy, visa and marriage fraud, and material support to a terrorist group.
As the Chicago Tribune wrote: “On the streets of Dearborn, [Hezb'allah] is not seen as a terrorist group but as a heroic resistance force,” even though Israel withdraw its forces from Lebanon in 2000. Hence, the large Lebanese Shiite population in Michigan [where I lived for two years], not to mention some radical Shiite Iraqi immigrants, are providing Hezb'allah with a solid social base in North America.
America is still waging a war on terror, and those U.S. citizens or residents who glamorize terrorists who brutally murdered American service men and citizens abroad, and call an enemy of the U.S. their “beloved leader,” should be investigated as a national security threat.
Hesham Shehab is an Illinois Counter Grid Islamist Associate
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