State Department Amendments to the Terrorist Designations of Hizballah and al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula
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: http://www.state.gov/j/ct/list/index.htm.