2019-06-17 Home Front: WoT||Hezbollah Isn’t Just in Beirut. It’s in New York, Too.
[ForeignPolicy] In recent years, Hezbollah has stepped up its activities beyond Leb’s borders. This uptick has been clearest in the Middle East‐in Iraq, Yemen
|Hattip Instapundit. Here’s the beginning — go read the entire, very long thing.|
...an area of the Arabian Peninsula sometimes mistaken for a country. It is populated by more antagonistic tribes and factions than you can keep track of...
, and especially Syria‐but plots have also been thwarted in South America, Asia, Europe
...the land mass occupying the space between the English Channel and the Urals, also known as Moslem Lebensraum...
, and now, possibly, the United States.
Reports of Hezbollah activity in North America are not new, though such reporting tends to focus on the group’s fundraising, money laundering, procurement, or other logistical activities from Vancouver to Miami. But last month, the criminal prosecution and conviction in New York of the Hezbollah operative Ali Kourani revealed disturbing new information about the extent of Hezbollah’s operations and activities in the United States and Canada.
Taken together, the arrests in 2017 of Kourani and another Hezbollah operative, Samer el-Debek, led the U.S. intelligence community to revisit its longstanding assessment that Hezbollah would be unlikely to attack the U.S. homeland unless the group perceived Washington to be taking action threatening its existence or that of its patron‐Iran. Following Kourani and Debek’s arrests, the director of the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center said in October 2017, "It’s our assessment that Hezbollah is determined to give itself a potential homeland option as a critical component of its terrorism playbook."
At the time, little of the underlying information leading to this new assessment had been made public, but on May 16, a New York jury returned guilty verdicts on all counts in the indictment against Kourani, including terrorist charges related to his surveillance of FBI and U.S. Secret Service offices, as well as a U.S. Army armory, all in New York City. (Debek has yet to stand trial.)
Kourani carried out other operational activities as a long-term sleeper agent, acting on behalf of Hezbollah’s external attack-planning component, the Islamic Jihad
...created after many members of the Egyptian Moslem Brotherhood decided the organization was becoming too moderate. Operations were conducted out of Egypt until 1981 when the group was exiled after the assassination of President Anwar Sadat. They worked out of Gaza until they were exiled to Lebanon in 1987, where they clove tightly to Hezbollah. In 1989 they moved to Damascus, where they remain a subsidiary of Hezbollah...
Organization (IJO), such as identifying Israelis in New York who could be targeted by Hezbollah and finding people from whom he could procure arms that Hezbollah could stockpile in the area.
Most of his activities occurred in the United States, but Hezbollah also sent Kourani to China, where the group had previously procured chemicals used to make bombs of the kind the group built in Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Thailand. The 2012 bombing in Burgas, Bulgaria, left seven people dead including the bomber and 32 maimed, and bomb-making chemicals of the same type were found in Thailand in 2012 and in Cyprus in 2012 and 2015, when plots were thwarted there. Hezbollah also sent Kourani on operational assignments to Canada. Kourani described himself in interviews with FBI agents as being part of a "sleeper cell."
"While living in the United States, Kourani served as an operative of Hezbollah in order to help the foreign terrorist organization prepare for potential future attacks against the United States," said U.S. Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers. These included buildings housing the FBI and U.S. Secret Service in Manhattan, as well as New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and a U.S. Army armory.
|Posted by trailing wife 2019-06-17 00:00||
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