Hezbollah Fundraiser IRSO Branded Terrorist Financier by Treasury 

Steven C. Welsh

Aug. 30, 2006


Introduction ~ IRSO and Hezbollah ~ EO 13224 background ~ Research links

Introduction

The U.S. Treasury Department on Aug. 29, 2006, designated Beirut-based Islamic Resistance Support Organization (IRSO) under Executive Order 13224 for its alleged fundraising activities on behalf of the armed Lebanese faction, special designated global terrorist group, reputed Iranian/Syrian proxy, so-called “Hezbollah” (an Arabic-derived slogan asserting that the group is the self-anointed “Party of God”).

The designation bars any U.S. persons from engaging in transactions with IRSO and freezes any IRSO assets under U.S. jurisdiction.  The action, aimed at disrupting terrorist financial activities, exemplifies an important nonmilitary tactic in global counterterrorist operations.  Cracking down on terrorist fundraising and financial networks represents a significant, nonmilitary means of combating the asymmetric threat posed by terrorists, analyzing and attempting to cut off resources necessary to terrorist operations.

IRSO and Hezbollah

While terrorist fundraising carried out in secret would also be subject to EO 13224’s reach, in this case Treasury asserts that IRSO's promotional materials openly invite donors to send funds to help support and equip Hezbollah combatants, including moneys to help purchase rockets Hezbollah has used for indiscriminate attacks on civilian populations.  IRSO reportedly offers donors the choice to specify where they want their money to go, presenting such options as rockets, ammunition, and supporting and equipping fighters.

Click here to view an IRSO donation forms translated into English (PDF) ~ Click here to view the original IRSO donation forms in Arabic (also PDF)

Treasury indicates that IRSO advertisements on Hezbollah’s al-Manar television station conduct outreach to prospective donors, with IRSO claiming to be one and the same as Hezbollah.  (Al-Manar television itself is a Specially Designated Global Terrorist Entity. In an unrelated action, federal prosecutors in Manhattan on Aug. 24, 2006, indicted Pakistani-American businessman Javed Iqba of Staten Island, under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, for providing television customers in the New York City area access to al-Manar television using Brooklyn-based HDTV, Ltd.).

ISRO aliases include “Hayat al-Dam Lil-Muqawama al-Islamiya” and “Islamic Resistance Support Association.”

On Jan. 25, 1995, the Annex to Executive Order 12947 listed Hezbollah as a Specially Designated Terrorist (SDT), in 1997 the Department of State designated Hezbollah as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), and on Oct. 31, 2001, Hezbollah was designated as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under Executive Order 13224 relevant to Treasury’s Aug. 29, 2006.

Hezbollah involvement is known or suspected in numerous terrorist attacks throughout the world and, the United States blames Hezbollah for precipitating the recent conflict in Lebanon and Israel, featuring 4,000 Hezbollah rockets fired into Israel.

Prior to Sept 11, 2001, Hezbollah was responsible for more American deaths than any other terrorist organization, including an Oct. 23, 1983, attack on U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, when Hezbollah set off what a U.S. federal judge would describe in court documents as “the largest non-nuclear explosion that had ever been detonated on the face of the Earth.”  The Marine barracks attack killed 241 American servicemen, and a separate attack the same day on a French military post killed 58 French soldiers. 

The judge’s statement came in litigation holding Iran legally responsible for the Marine barracks attack due to Iranian support of Hezbollah.  The court held:

The resulting explosion was the largest non-nuclear explosion that had ever been detonated on the face of the Earth. The force of its impact ripped locked doors from their doorjambs at the nearest building, which was 256 feet away. Trees located 370 feet away were shredded and completely exfoliated. At the traffic control tower of the Beirut International Airport, over half a mile away, all of the windows shattered. The support columns of the Marine barracks, which were made of reinforced concrete, were stretched, as an expert witness described, “like rubber bands.” The explosion created a crater in the earth over eight feet deep. The four-story Marine barracks was reduced to fifteen feet of rubble.

 

Peterson v. Islamic Republic of Iran, Civil Action No. 01-2094, Memorandum and Order (D.D.C., Lamberth, J., May 30, 2004) at 16, http://www.dcd.uscourts.gov/01-2094.pdf.

 

EO 13224 background

 

Parties subject to EO 13224 designation

 

EO 13224, effective Sept. 24, 2001, centers on the maintenance of a list of suspect entities and individuals set out in an annex of the order itself, supplemented by later designations made by either the secretary of state or the treasury secretary, with either acting only after consulting the other as well as the attorney general.

 

Secretary of state designations focus on entities and individuals who have committed, or pose a significant risk of committing, terrorist acts threatening U.S. nationals, U.S. national security, the U.S. economy, or U.S. foreign policy.

Treasury secretary designations, generally speaking, focus on persons providing financial material or technological support, or “financial or other services” to parties previously designated or otherwise subject to EO 13224, as well as their affiliates.  As such, they probe the tentacles of direct and indirect involvement with terrorist operations and planning, including services in support of basic logistics.

Impact of Designations

EO 13324, with respect to designated persons or entities:

 

Links and further reading:

“A Country Study: Lebanon,” Library of Congress,

http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/lbtoc.html

 

Jessica Ashooh and Michael Donovan, Ph.D, “In the Spotlight: Hezbollah (Party of God),” Center for Defense Information, Aug. 26, 2006, http://www.cdi.org/program/document.cfm?DocumentID=
1156&from_page=../index.cfm

 

“Executive Order 13224,” State Department Fact Sheet, Dec. 20, 2002, http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/fs/2002/16181.htm

 

“Executive Order on Terrorist Financing: Blocking Property and Prohibiting Transactions With Persons Who Commit, Threaten to Commit, or Support Terrorism,” text of Executive Order 13224, effective Sept. 24, 2001, http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/09/print/20010924-1.html

 

Lebanon,” CIA World Factbook, July 11, 2006, https://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/le.html

 

Lebanon,” State Department Background Note, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, August 2005, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/35833.htm

 

“Terrorism: What You Need to Know About U.S. Sanctions,” Treasury Department Office of Foreign Assets Control, http://www.treasury.gov/offices/enforcement/ofac/programs/terror/terror.pdf

 

“Terrorism and Financial Intelligence: Designation Lists And Financial Advisories,” Treasury Department,

http://treas.gov/offices/enforcement/lists/

 

“Terrorism and Financial Intelligence: Designations,” Treasury Department, http://treas.gov/offices/enforcement/designations.shtml

 

“Terrorism and Financial Intelligence: Publications and Legislation,” Treasury Department, http://treas.gov/offices/enforcement/publications/

 

“Treasury Designates Key Hezbollah Fundraising Organization,” Treasury Department news release HP-73, Aug. 29, 2006, http://www.treas.gov/press/releases/hp73.htm

 

“Terrorist Group Profiles: Hezbollah,” U.S. Navy, Naval Postgraduate School, 2005, http://library.nps.navy.mil/home/tgp/hizbalah.htm

 

UN Security Council Resolution 1559 (2004), Sept. 2, 2004, http://daccessdds.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N04/
498/92/PDF/N0449892.pdf?OpenElement

 

UN Security Council Resolution 1680 (2006), May 17, 2006, http://daccessdds.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N04/
498/92/PDF/N0449892.pdf?OpenElement

 

UN Security Council Resolution 1559 (2004), Sept. 2, 2004, http://daccessdds.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N04/
498/92/PDF/N0449892.pdf?OpenElement

 

UN Security Council Resolution 1680 (2006), May 17, 2006, http://daccessdds.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N04/
498/92/PDF/N0449892.pdf?OpenElement

 

UN Security Council Resolution 1701 (2006), Aug. 11, http://daccessdds.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N06/
465/03/PDF/N0646503.pdf?OpenElement

“U.S. Arrests Provider of Hezbollah TV in New York Area,” Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of New York, news release, Aug. 24, 2006, http://newyork.fbi.gov/dojpressrel/pressrel06/
terroristsupport082406.htm

 

U.S. Department of the Treasury, Terrorism and Financial Intelligence home page,

http://treas.gov/offices/enforcement/


“U.S. Treasury cites group as Hizbollah fund raiser,” Reuters, Aug. 29, 2006, http://today.reuters.com/news/articlenews.aspx?type=
domesticNews&storyID=2006-08-29T173903Z_01_N29395068
_RTRUKOC_0_US-SECURITY-TREASURY-HIZBOLLAH.
xml&archived=False

 

first appeared on the www.cdi.org web server