Palestinian militants demonstrate behind a poster of Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah (Insight)
Who has been telling you ad nauseum that it isn’t all about Al-Qaeda? That’s right: Jihad Watch. Now hear it from the great Ralph de Toledano in Insight, with thanks to EPG:
To read the public prints – or the blasts that come from the Defense Department – the leaders of international Islamic terrorism are al-Qaeda and its leader, Osama bin Laden. But is this factually correct, or have we been gulled by astute propaganda? True, the disaster at the World Trade Center on 9/11 and other depredations were the work of al-Qaeda. But why has Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage stated that Hezbollah, not al-Qaeda, “may well be the A-team of international terrorism”?
The evidence is incontrovertible that this is an understatement. Rachel Ehrenfeld’s Funding Evil: How Terrorism Is Financed And How to Stop It brings together chapter and verse from the public record to make an overwhelming case. What is significant is that this record has been so signally ignored. Consider that in March 2003 Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah could threaten: “When the Marines were in Beirut, we screamed, ‘Death to America!’ Today, when the region is being filled with hundreds of thousands of American soldiers, ‘Death to America!’ is still, and will always be,our slogan.”
Yet the Arabist wing of the State Department insists that Hezbollah’s target is only Israel and that its threat to America is “insignificant.” Intelligence assessments, firsthand reportage and think-tank studies are all at hand. Hezbollah operates worldwide, with an annual budget estimated at $500 million. The intifida, launched in collaboration with Yasser Arafat, and its terrorist attacks on Israel from Lebanon, are but one of Hezbollah’s activities.
Founded in 1982, Hezbollah pulled together smaller terrorist groups and operates under a variety of names. Its program calls for the destruction of the United States, Israel and any government standing in its way; worldwide resumption of the Holocaust; and the liberation of “occupied Arab lands” such as Jordan and Morocco. Its camps in Lebanon’s Beka valley have trained al-Qaeda terrorists, Chechen rebels, the Medellin drug cartel, Hamas, the Japanese Red Army, Muslim “insurgents” in the Balkans, and the Irish Republican Army. It has organized “cultural” and “religious” groups worldwide – actually for recruitment and fund raising – in the United States.
Hezbollah has more than 5,000 trained terrorists in Lebanon and Syria alone, armed with some 10,000 missiles, tanks and antiaircraft artillery, according to European Union intelligence sources. In addition, Hezbollah has another 15,000 to 20,000 members in the United States, Latin America, Europe and East Asia. Its TV station broadcasts its death-to-America message to an estimated 10 million Muslims. And its leaders have the affection of U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
Hezbollah’s operational budget is $500 million. Its reserves reportedly are greater than bin Laden’s fortune or what he collected from the Saudi royal family. Since 9/11, less and less comes from Arab governments. Ditto from Islamic “charitable” organizations – a result of U.S. restrictions on financial transfers and the USA PATRIOT Act.
One example of how Hezbollah works: Its operatives bought with cash thousands of cartons of cigarettes from tobacco companies in North Carolina. The tax in that state is 5 cents. The cigarettes were smuggled to Michigan, where the tax is 70 cents per pack, and sold illegally at less than the regular price. Until Hezbollah operatives, led by Muhammed Yussef Hammoud, were apprehended and convicted, they had made many millions for Hezbollah. This money buys radar, mine-detection devices, laser range finders, naval equipment and other supplies hardly needed for Hezbollah’s terrorist war against Israel.
Hezbollah also has been involved in merchandise counterfeiting, forging driver’s licenses and green cards, and looting Social Security funds. The loss so far to financial institutions in credit-card fraud alone has been more than $17 million. The U.S. Treasury Department in 2002 seized some $16 million in currency and cashier’s checks that were being sent illegally to Lebanon. Hezbollah coordinates the traffic of drug-smuggling networks, facilitating operations for cash on the barrelhead.
Under Imad Mugniyah, Hezbollah’s external security head, the group has been involved in the Balkan fighting, an area that serves as the route for 40 percent of the heroin trade in the United States and 80 percent to Europe. With al-Qaeda, it is a dominant factor in the Latin American drug trade. And it has set up terrorist-training and teen-age indoctrination camps in the Latin American jungles – as well as “making fortunes” in the forgery of passports, counterfeiting, trafficking in human beings, smuggling stolen vehicles, and running export/import businesses with Indian and Hong Kong traders.
While al-Qaeda licks its wounds, with many of its leaders captured or killed, Hezbollah is actively taking over the business of destroying America and the West. But who would have known this from listening to the TV news?