This joint hearing of the International Terrorism and
Nonproliferation Subcommittee and the Middle East and Central
Asia Subcommittee will come to order.
The title of the hearing today is ‘‘Hezbollah’s Global Reach.’’ The
Hezbollah threat is grave, indeed. As the secretary general of
Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, has said, ‘‘Death to America is not
a slogan. For us, death to America is a policy, a strategy, and a
vision.’’ As our former Deputy Secretary of State, Richard Armitage
declared in 2002, ‘‘Hezbollah may be the A-Team of terrorists and
maybe al-Qaeda is actually the B-Team.’’ Hezbollah is lethal, and
it is magnified by the support that it receives from state sponsors
of terrorism, particularly Iran. That is what gives it its capability
and makes it so lethal.
Before September 11th, Hezbollah—which means ‘‘Party of
God’’—was responsible for more American deaths than any other
terrorist group. This included the 1983 suicide attack on the
United States Marine barracks in Lebanon that killed 241 Ameri-
cans and ushered in the modern age of suicide attacks, and it in-
cludes the 1985 attacks on TWA Flight 847 and the 1996 attack
on Khobar Towers.
Hezbollah has again managed to seize the world’s attention. I
was in Haifa this summer, as it rained rockets, as Hezbollah struck
Haifa and much of northern Israel with some 4,000 indiscrimi-
nately fired rockets in these terrorist attacks. When I was in Haifa,
they were firing rockets not only at civilian populations; they also
attempted to hit the hospital in Haifa.
I had an opportunity to see one of those rockets, and to pick up
the shrapnel with 50,000 ball bearings in every one of them, these
rockets are intended to maximize civilian casualties. Haifa is a
very cosmopolitan city. In the hospital there, I saw Arab Israelis,
Druz Israelis, Jewish Israelis, all recovering. There were around
500 people in that one hospital due to rocket attacks. Today, the
Administration will testify that Iran and Syria have not stopped
arming Hezbollah, despite U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701.
Hezbollah is not just a menace to Israel, Lebanon and the region.
According to the State Department’s terrorism report, Hezbollah
has ‘‘established cells in Europe, in Africa, in South America, in
North America, and in Asia.’’ One witness will tell us that
Hezbollah’s organizational and logistical network exists today in 40
countries. This includes a significant presence in our own hemi-
sphere, in the tri-border region of Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil.
The network operates in West Africa, where Hezbollah has been ac-
tive trading ‘‘blood diamonds,’’ an issue the Africa Subcommittee
explored when I chaired it.
Many Americans may be surprised to learn that Hezbollah’s
global reach includes significant activities on U.S. soil. A recent
news report asserted that the FBI had more than 200 active cases
involving suspected Hezbollah members at one point last year. The
vast majority of this activity has been linked to fundraising, specifi-
cally to attempts to use Visa cards and MasterCards for fraudulent
funds to support Hezbollah along with other criminal fundraising
activities. We must be concerned that this existing network could
be used, should Hezbollah, perhaps prodded by Iran, decide to
strike inside our country.
A particular focus of this Subcommittee has been Hezbollah’s
ability to enter the United States. Mahmoud Kourani, who was in-
dicted in 2004 for being a ‘‘member, fighter, recruiter, and fund-
raiser for Hezbollah,’’ having trained in Iran, paid $3,000 to be
smuggled into Mexico. He then paid a ‘‘coyote’’ to travel in the
trunk of a car across the border of my state, California, and up to
Dearborn, Michigan, where he began efforts to raise funds to send
Hezbollah back to the organization. Kourani’s brother is a top
Hezbollah militia leader. Further, Salim Boughader Mucharrafille,
a Lebanese-Mexican operating out of Tijuana, smuggled at least
200 individuals, including a large number of Hezbollah sympa-
thizers, into the United States. Even after the 9/11 Commission re-
port on terrorist travel highlighted this link between human smug-
glers and terrorists, border security efforts remain woefully ne-
Border security must be a pressing concern because the Islamist
terrorist threat facing us is so deadly. Hezbollah is sophisticated.
It is well armed. It possesses unmanned aerial vehicles and over
10,000 Katyusha rockets. It possesses cruise missiles, as we know
because one was fired against an Israeli ship. It also has medium-
range, Zelzal missiles and its own television station. Many of
Hezbollah’s weapons and training are courtesy of Iran. There are
reports that Iran will soon transfer sophisticated, shoulder-fired
missiles to Hezbollah. These are the types of missiles that can
knock down a jetliner. A nuclear-armed Iran, should the day come,
would be even more bold in supporting Hezbollah’s activity in the
Middle East and beyond.
Hezbollah may be the ‘‘A-Team,’’ and maybe it is only the ‘‘B-
Team’’ of terrorism, but in today’s era of proliferating WMD, even
a C-Team is a worry, and Hezbollah certainly makes that grade.
I will now turn to Ranking Member Sherman for any opening
statement, and then we will turn to the Chair of the Middle East
and Central Asia Subcommittee, Representative Ileana Ros-
Lehtinen, for her statement. We will now go to Mr. Sherman.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Chairwoman Ros-
Lehtinen, for holding these hearings to look at a terrorist organiza-
tion which is second only to al-Qaeda in the number of deaths of
Americans it has called and, as the Chairman points out, may very
well be the A-Team of terrorism.
In my statement, I am going to be relatively wide ranging. Some
will think, why is Sherman off on some tangent? But the theme of
this statement is that we cannot prevail against Hezbollah in isola-
tion from the global war on terrorism and that we cannot prevail
in the global war on terrorism unless we think globally about every
aspect of our economic and diplomatic policy.
If you think we are strong enough to say, win the global war on
terrorism without concerning ourselves with the annoyance of hav-
ing to say, how does our policy toward Russia or China or Para-
guay relate to that? If you think that we can let most of the desks
at the State Department go on about their business unenlisted on
the global war on terrorism and still prevail, then you have an ex-
cessive view of American diplomatic and economic and military
Turning to Hezbollah, we have seen its ability not only to dis-
place hundreds of thousands of Israelis but to also disrupt the poli-
tics of Lebanon and to shake the world and get the attention of the
world. They did so just at the time when Iran needed a distraction
from its nuclear program, and it is not surprising that Hezbollah,
not only funded by Iran but created by Iran, would step forward
and act in Iran’s interest.
Just days before the July 12 kidnapping of two IDF soldiers,
Iran’s President declared that there would soon be an explosion of
anger against Israel. Indeed, there was, and, of course, the result
was that, at the G–8 meeting, they spent their time focusing on
Lebanon and not on Iran’s nuclear program. The lesson is clear: At
a time and a place of Iran’s choosing, Hezbollah will strike out in
Now, there is the dispute over what is terrorism, and what is an
appropriate or disproportionate response to terrorism? Let me just
say that, as the Chairman pointed out, Hezbollah’s actions were de-
signed, as their purpose, to kill as many civilians as possible. That
is in stark contrast to United States, Israel, and other civilized na-
tions’ military actions in which the effort is to achieve a military
objective, and any civilian casualties are an unfortunate and re-
Nasrallah made a point of apologizing for civilian deaths caused
by Hezbollah, the two Muslim civilian deaths caused by Hezbollah
rockets. In doing so, he made it clear that he had no apologies but
nothing but rejoicing and glee whenever his rockets were able to
kill civilians of any other religion.
Now, turning toward Iran, we have had a failed policy over the
last two Administrations. I want to applaud Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
for her bill, H.R. 282. She fought valiantly for the strongest bill we
could get, but, frankly, the Administration would veto any bill that
was not absolutely consistent with maintaining our current failed
policy. In particular, they have recreated the circumstance where,
when there is investment in the Iranian oil fields, the Administra-
tion will simply ignore it.
The Iran-Libya Sanctions Act has a process for reviewing and im-
posing sanctions against Iran, a country that, as I pointed out, is
the chief sponsor of Hezbollah, and that last Administration and
this one has a policy of simply saying, Oh, well, it is in the Wall
Street Journal, but we do not have any information about any deal
to invest in Iranian oil fields.
This is on top of our imports from Iran, on top of the Administra-
tion allowing American corporations to continue to do business
with Iran through their subsidiaries, our acquiescence to loans
from the World Bank to Iran. The litany goes on and on. Khatami
just completed his five U.S. city, terrorism-promotion tour financed
by U.S. taxpayers. We provided the security.
When the Rolling Stones tour America, they have to pay their
own costs, but when Hatami tours America, we provide the secu-
rity. The State Department does. Now, contrast that to the level of
security provided the last time there were American diplomats in
Tehran, and you get a sharp irony.
The biggest failure we have had in the global war on terrorism
is our failure to get the U.N. Security Council on our side on issues
ranging from Hezbollah to, most importantly, the Iranian nuclear
program. Why have we failed? Because we refuse to engage in link-
age. That is to say, when we send our diplomats to Moscow and
ask for their help, we talk only about the Hezbollah issue, the Iran
issue, and we never link it to anything Russia cares about, like
Abkhaza, Moldova, Chechnya. The result is that the Russians have
no reason to agree with us since we indicate no indication that will
ameliorate our policies toward things the care about.
So due to inertia, and without even consulting the American peo-
ple, the State Department has made the decision that the guy on
the Moldovia desk gets to do whatever he has been doing for the
last 10 or 20 years, and the guy on the Abkhaza desk or the Geor-
gia desk gets to do whatever he is doing. We are not going to incon-
venience them or ruffle their feathers by asking them to change
their policies in order to get Russia on our side in the global war
Likewise, with China. With China, we are confronted with the
issue of how do we respond to their legally questionable currency
manipulation? There have been tens of thousands of pages written
on that issue. This city, our capital city, Washington, is controlled
by the huge, profit-making importers, who have prohibited anybody
from raising the question: Should our response to Chinese currency
actions be an opportunity to get China on our side in the global
war on terrorism?
And so, as a result, China makes its policies toward Iran based
on its energy concerns, based on its joy at our discomfort, based on
the certain knowledge that Iran and Hezbollah are problems for
America more than they are problems for China, and in the abso-
lute knowledge that their access to the United States economy is
not an issue.
We have to think about how to reshape our policy toward every
country in the world and how to make the concessions that we can
afford to make in order to get support on the global war on ter-
rorism, and as long as our policies in other areas of the world fail
to get Russia, China, and others on our side, then we will be hold-
ing hearings here talking about why we failed to stop Iran from de-
veloping nuclear weapons and Hezbollah from having thousands of
missiles. I yield back.
Thank you. I want to recognize Chairwoman Ileana
Ros-Lehtinen, whose Subcommittee has been working hard to ana-
lyze the threat of Iran to the United States, and then we will go
to Ranking Member Ackerman, and, without objection, the other
opening statements will be put in the record, and we will go to the
Thank you, Mr. Royce. I would like to thank
the witnesses for testifying today on this very important hearing,
and I would also like to thank my colleague, my friend, Ed Royce,
the Chair of the Subcommittee on International Terrorism and
Nonproliferation for holding this session as a joint effort with our
Subcommittee on the Middle East and Central Asia.
Today’s hearing builds upon a recent briefing that the Middle
East Subcommittee held with the Office of the Director of National
Intelligence on Iran, Syria, and Lebanon, where the Hezbollah con-
nection to these states was raised.
Hezbollah has been a malicious presence and a threat to societies
throughout the world since its establishment in the 1980s. The
group’s deadly activities have their origins in the Middle East. On
April 18, 1983, an explosive-laden van was driven by a homicide
bomber, rammed into our Embassy in Beirut, killing 63, including
17 Americans, and wounding over 100.
Six months later, on October 23, 1983, a truck bearing the equiv-
alent of six tons of TNT smashed into the barracks that housed the
United States Marines in Beirut. As a result, 241 American serv-
icemen died that day, as did 58 French paratroopers targeted in a
near simultaneous attack nearby. At least six Lebanese civilians
were killed as well. It was the single deadliest day for U.S. Marines
since the Battle of Iwo Jima and remains the deadliest post-World
War II attack on Americans overseas. U.S. agencies have deter-
mined that Hezbollah was behind both attacks.
More recently, Hezbollah has adopted the cruel and cowardly tac-
tic of targeting Israeli civilians in their homes, firing thousands of
rockets indiscriminately toward villages, towns, and cities in north-
ern Israel, as well as using Lebanese civilians as human shields.
But Hezbollah has not been limited to the Middle East for its
murderous activities. On March 17, 1992, a pickup truck driven by
a homicide bomber slammed into the Israeli Embassy in Buenos
Aires. The blast took the lives of 29 and wounded over 200, most
of them citizens of Argentina. A nearby Catholic church and a
school building were destroyed as well.
Two years later, on July 18, 1994, a van containing powerful ex-
plosives was driven into the Amia Jewish Community Center of
Buenos Aires, killing 85 and wounding over 300.
These two were carried out by Hezbollah.
News reports also referred to Hezbollah’s supporters conducting
black market activities in parts of Central and South America. To
address increasing reports of Islamic terrorist activities in the
Western Hemisphere, I introduced a resolution recognizing the
threat that these entities, their supporters, and their financiers
pose to the United States and our allies in our hemisphere while
acknowledging the efforts undertaken thus far by some govern-
ments in the region to deny the use of their territory to Islamic ter-
The resolution also urges the President to direct our representa-
tive of the Organization of American States, the OAS, to seek sup-
port for the creation of a task force to assist governments in the
region in fighting the proliferation of Islamic terrorists. It urges
OAS members to designate Hezbollah has a terrorist entity, and
the resolution was overwhelmingly adopted by the House in June
of this year, and we hope that this and many other efforts under-
taken will refocus our efforts and our strategies to help prevent an
escalation of the threat.
I look forward to hearing Mr. Kavanagh’s assessment of
Hezbollah’s activities in the tri-border area of South America, as
well as the steps being take to confront these operations. Hezbollah
operatives continue to spread their venom in Europe, where the
group’s terrorist infrastructure and fundraising apparatus are alive
It is of grave concern that the EU continues to oppose placing
Hezbollah on its terrorist list after seeing all that the terrorist
group has done. In fact, the EU’s foreign policy chief, Javier
Solana, has stated that there is no sufficient data to determine
whether Hezbollah can be included in the list of terrorist organiza-
In the aftermath of the recent conflicts in the Middle East, where
Hezbollah initiated the attacks against Israel and violated not just
Israeli territory but Lebanese sovereignty, causing much death and
destruction, the EU should immediately reconsider its policy to-
When it comes to Hezbollah, one cannot be on the sidelines and
expect the threat to disappear on its own.
Hezbollah activities have even reached the United States. In
2002, two Lebanese men were convicted of financing Hezbollah
with $2 million in illegal cigarette sales in the United States. We
must never forget who is behind Hezbollah and on whose behalf its
twisted actions are taken.
The recent conflict in Lebanon, triggered by an unprovoked at-
tack against Israel by Hezbollah, proved exactly how intensely in-
volved Iran is in supporting Hezbollah with weapons and ideology.
During the conflict, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard actively par-
ticipated in Hezbollah’s terrorist activities in southern Lebanon,
and all evidence indicates that vast amounts of Hezbollah’s weap-
ons, including long-range missiles, were provided by Iran.
I would be interested to hear from the witnesses about their as-
sessment of the strength, the capabilities, and the image of
Hezbollah in the aftermath of the recent conflict.
Hezbollah draws its bitter hatred, its poisonous ideology, its re-
sources, and its arms from Iran. The Iranian regime has poured
hundreds of millions of dollars into Hezbollah with the express pur-
pose of harming Americans, Israelis, and other Western civilians
and further destabilizing an already troubled Middle East.
On February 12, 2003, the director of the Central Intelligence
Agency, George Tenet, stated this about Hezbollah: ‘‘An organiza-
tion with capability and worldwide presence, it is al-Qaeda’s equal,
if not a far more capable organization.’’ He added: ‘‘They are a
notch above in many respects, in terms of their relationship with
the Iranians and the training they receive, which puts them in a
state-sponsored category with a potential for lethality that is quite
One can only imagine the untold horrors that Hezbollah may
someday perpetrate, should its patron state achieve its coveted goal
of nuclear weaponry.
We just intensify our efforts to effectively eradicate the
Hezbollah threat and the hateful ideology that drives it.
I, once again, thank Chairman Royce for holding this hearing,
and I thank the witnesses for appearing before us. Thank you.
Thank you, Chairwoman.
We will go now to Mr. Ackerman.
I want to thank the Chairs for organizing this
hearing. Hezbollah’s emergence, not only as a Shia militia and a
political party, not only as an international terrorist organization,
but as a strategic proxy for the Iranian theocracy, Hezbollah is
surely worthy of the attention of this Congress, and I am very
pleased that we are having a hearing exclusively on Hezbollah be-
fore this Congress adjourns.
The Hezbollah threat, however, is not new. Hezbollah has been
designated as a terrorist organization by the State Department
since 1995 and has been on the list of specially designated, global
terrorist organizations since 2001.
More Americans have died at the hands of Hezbollah than any
other terrorist group outside of al-Qaeda. The August war, which
resulted in hundreds of innocent lives lost and billions of dollars of
destruction, was just the latest atrocity for which Hezbollah bears
Reciting Hezbollah’s barbaric and bloody history, denouncing its
philosophy of hatred and violence, and detailing its subservience to
Iran and subversion of Lebanon’s sovereignty, though appreciable
for the satisfaction of condemning truly vile behavior, is not what
we are here to do today.
Our problem is not insufficiency of rhetoric or even, atypically,
of understanding. Neither Hezbollah’s capabilities nor its wicked-
ness are in dispute or doubt.
Our problem is, again and again and again, one of strategy, of
developing a plan for applying available means to achieve desired
So we may ask, what resources should the United States have
at its disposal to address the challenge posed by Hezbollah? Ideal-
ly, the United States should have strong alliance relationships
built on a shared vision for achieving international security. We
should have a singular international prestige built upon our posi-
tion as not only the richest and strongest nation but also the lead-
ing advocate for international institutions and norms of behavior.
We should have the public support of the most important Arab
states, built upon a shared appreciation of the Hezbollah threat to
regional peace and stability.
Five years after 9/11, we should have broad, international con-
sensus on how to define and deal with terrorism in general. We
should be militarily unencumbered or, at least, be able to generate
robust and capable forces for any prospective conflict, and, of
course, we should have confidence in the accuracy and complete-
ness of our intelligence.
As anyone who has read a newspaper in the past year knows, we
have none of these, not one of them. Our reputation is in tatters.
Right now, Arab leaders would rather have a photo-op with a child
molester than with the President of the United States. Instead of
building a common front against madmen who demand the entire
Middle East be stuffed back into a straitjacket of religious dog-
matism, we have, by virtue of our own faith-based, foreign policy,
set the entire region against us.
In the American version, we declare our most fervent hopes and
prayers to be facts, and then we wait for them to come true. Thus,
we have the self-executing roadmap and the endorsement of Pales-
tinian elections which included Hamas. Thus, we have our failure
to plan for Iraqi reconstruction or to consider the implications of
dissolving the Iraqi Army or firing all of the members of the Ba’ath
Party or of trying to occupy a country the size of California with
too few troops.
Thus, we have the necessity of subcontracting to the EU–3 the
question of Iran’s nuclear weapons program and to China, North
Korea’s nuclear program.
Thus, too, with Hezbollah, we find our high hopes for the Secu-
rity Council Resolution 1701 already foundering, with UNIFIL
commanders proudly declaring their intention to do nothing that
would frustrate Iran or annoy Syria or discomfort Hezbollah.
Should they encounter weapons in proscribed areas or arms
being smuggled, what will they do? Well, they will consult with the
Government of Lebanon, and who sits in the Government of Leb-
anon? Hezbollah. As prayer is our plan, we had better start pray-
ing a little harder.
No President gets to operate in a perfect world, and as our sec-
retary of defensiveness has declared, ‘‘You go to war with the army
you have, not the army you want.’’ But clearly, by virtue of the
choices that we have made and the priorities that we have chosen,
we are much worse off now than we were 5 years ago. We have less
acceptability, less flexibility, less capacity, less capability, and,
most of all, less credibility.
In light of these unfortunate conditions, none of which was inevi-
table, I am looking forward to hearing from our distinguished wit-
nesses as to what options remain available to us for dealing with
the threat of Hezbollah. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you. We will go first to Mr. Frank Urbancic,
the principal deputy coordinator, Office of the Coordinator for
Counterterrorism, at the State Department. He has served as
Charge´ and Deputy Chief of Mission at the United States Embassy
in Kuwait. He has specialized in East European, Middle Eastern,
and African affairs at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, and
Mr. Urbancic has extensive experience in multilateral diplomacy
Then we will go to Mr. John Kavanagh. He has been a special
agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation since 1989, and is
currently serving as section chief of the International Terrorism
Operations Section II, Counterterrorism Division. Special Agent
Kavanagh was previously with the FBI as assistant special agent
in charge of the FBI Cleveland Division and on-scene commander
in Baghdad, Iraq. Mr. Kavanagh has served as an assistant district
attorney in New York and was a captain in the United States Ma-
We appreciate both of you gentlemen testifying today. Mr.
Urbancic, if you will summarize your comments to 5 minutes, that
would be great. We have your written testimony. We are going to
put that in the record.
I will keep it as short as I possibly can.
STATEMENT OF MR. FRANK C. URBANCIC, JR., PRINCIPAL
DEPUTY COORDINATOR, OFFICE OF THE COORDINATOR
FOR COUNTERTERRORISM, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT
Chairman Royce, Chairwoman Ros-Lehtinen, and
Congressman Sherman, Congressman Ackerman, and distin-
guished Members of the Subcommittees, I thank you very much for
the opportunity to come to speak with you today, and, as you re-
quested, I will speak as quickly as I can and try to have as much
time for you to have interaction as possible.
We do know that Hezbollah is a terrorist organization. It was
formed in 1982 in response to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon. It
is closely allied with Iran and often acts at Iran’s behest. It also
can and does act independently. Hezbollah has been a strong ally
in helping Syria advance its political objectives in the region. It
promotes Shia interests within the Lebanese political system, and
it is an exemplar for Shia communities throughout the region.
Hezbollah focuses a majority of its efforts on ending the Israeli
occupation of Lebanon. It also supports a variety of violent, anti-
Western groups, and, as Chairman Royce noted, prior to 9/11,
Hezbollah was responsible for more American deaths than any
other terrorist group in the world.
It has a wide, increasing global reach, with an ability to harm
U.S. and other Western interests across the continents. As recently
seen, its rhetoric targets the United States for our alleged com-
plicity with Israel. Hezbollah’s recent actions also demonstrate the
destabilizing effect it has on the region.
Hezbollah, Iran, and Syria’s relationship can probably best be de-
scribed and characterized as symbiotic. Iran and Syria cooperate
with each other and with Hezbollah to supply funds, arms, and
training for, and to facilitate travel by, Hezbollah members.
Hezbollah continues actively to advance interests within the Leba-
nese political system that coincide with Syrian and Iranian inter-
ests. Its actions consistently benefit both Tehran and Damascus.
We believe that Iran’s support for Hezbollah continued through-
out the recent Hezbollah-Israeli conflict, and we believe that
Hezbollah’s decision to exacerbate the conflict simply could not
have happened without at least tacit support from Tehran.
We have made progress in impeding Iran’s financial support for
Hezbollah and in undermining its financial network. Treasury and
State Department teams have traveled to Europe, the Middle East,
and Asia to meet with banking officials there to enlist their support
in efforts to combat terrorism and to cut off Iran’s support for ter-
rorist groups like Hezbollah.
On September 8, we and the Treasury Department announced
that we will prevent Bank Saderat from gaining access to the U.S.
financial system. We have also taken active steps to cut off
Hezbollah’s financial support from Iran and others, including by
designating the Islamic Resistance Support Organization, under
U.S. Executive Order 13224, which freezes that organization’s as-
sets under U.S. jurisdiction.
Hezbollah in Lebanon maintains the only significant armed mili-
tia in the country, despite the requirements under UNSCR 1559
that it be disarmed. We believe that UNSCR 1701 will strengthen
1559 and assist the Lebanese Armed Forces and UNIFIL troops in
interdicting weapons shipments coming into Lebanon intended for
Hezbollah. The Government of Lebanon will need to address the
ability of Hezbollah to re-arm, and this is a problem for sure.
For the moment, Hezbollah appears to have lowered its military
profile in the south. However, we are unable to assess whether this
is primarily motivated by domestic political concerns, the UNIFIL
presence, or losses suffered during the recent conflict. We remain
wary that even with the increasing presence of the Lebanese Army
and international troops in the south, Hezbollah will retain a po-
tentially strong military capability in southern Lebanon and its
ability to receive assistance from Syria and Iran.
Looking globally, Hezbollah’s support network extends into the
Middle East, where it performs various fundraising activities. It
has supported terrorist activities in the Palestinian territories since
at least 2000 by providing financial, training, and logistical support
to Palestinian Islamic Jihad and other Palestinian terrorist groups.
Although there is little credible evidence of operational Hezbollah
cells in Latin America currently, Hezbollah does have supporters
and sympathizers throughout the Arab and Muslim communities in
that region, and these are involved primarily in fundraising.
Hezbollah’s supporters and sympathizers are also involved in a
number of illegal activities, as has been mentioned by several
Members of the Subcommittees. Hezbollah receives a significant
amount of financing from the Shiite diaspora of West Africa and
Central Africa. I myself have served in Freetown, and I know of
those connections, and the diamond trade is a very difficult one to
get a handle on.
The diaspora is active in West Africa’s commercial sector beyond
the diamond trade as well. Contributions there are often in the
form of religious donations and paid in cash—they are difficult to
track—and collected by Hezbollah couriers transiting the region.
We are working actively—I can assure you of that—to address
this threat, but countering these terrorist financing networks will
be a challenge, and will require significant resources and time. One
way to do so is via terrorist designations, and we have been active
in that, as several of you have already mentioned.
I will cut my remarks on those just a little short, simply in the
interest of time, but I will confirm that Hezbollah presents a very
serious challenge to us all. Where we can act effectively to stem its
activity is with or through the close cooperation of our allies. We
concur completely with several of the comments that the Members
In doing so, U.S. Ambassadors lead interagency country teams
around the world that recommend strategies using all instruments
of U.S. statecraft to help host nations understand the threat and
to strengthen their political will and capacity to counter it.
I can confirm to you also that this is an entirely new strategy
that we have developed. It did not exist in the last 12 months, and
it is another way that we are looking to increase our effectiveness
in countering the terrorist threat globally.
Another tool is this Regional Strategic Initiative, which is de-
signed to establish flexible regional networks of interconnected
country teams on a regional basis. We work with Ambassadors and
interagency representatives in key terrorist theaters of operation to
assess the threat and to devise collaborative strategies, actional ini-
tiatives, and policy recommendations. This strategy is aimed over
the long term. Over time, our global and regional operations will
reduce the enemy’s capacity to harm us and our partners while
local security and development assistance will build our partners’
This completes the formal part of my remarks, but I welcome
very much the opportunity to discuss with you and take your ques-
Thank you, Mr. Urbancic.
Now, we are going to go to Mr. Kavanagh.
STATEMENT OF MR. JOHN G. KAVANAGH, SECTION CHIEF,
INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM OPERATIONS SECTION II,
COUNTERTERRORISM DIVISION, FEDERAL BUREAU OF IN-
Chairman Royce, Chairwoman Ros-Lehtinen,
Ranking Members Sherman and Ackerman, Members of both Sub-
committees, I want to thank you for this opportunity to speak to
you on the topic of Hezbollah and the concerns you have about
Hezbollah’s capabilities. I will address some of the types of activi-
ties Hezbollah has been involved in while keeping in mind the sen-
sitivities associated with discussing certain operational matters in
an unclassified setting.
Hezbollah is one of the most capable terrorist organizations in
the world. This Lebanon-based, radical Shia organization advocates
the destruction of Israel and the establishment of Islamic rule in
Lebanon and in the Middle East. Hezbollah was created in 1982 in
response to the Israelis invasion and occupation of Lebanon. As
seen in the recent conflict with Israel, Hezbollah has a well-
trained, guerilla force that is proficient in military tactics and
weaponry. Since its inception, Hezbollah has employed suicide
bombers and has committed airline hijackings, kidnappings, and
murders in furtherance of its operations. Prior to September 11,
2001, as stated by this panel, Hezbollah was responsible for 288
American deaths, more than any other terrorist organization at
Hezbollah is known or suspected to have been involved in numer-
ous anti-United States attacks overseas, including the suicide truck
bombing of the United States Embassy in Beirut in April 1983; the
bombing of the United States Marine Corps barracks in Beirut in
October 1983 that killed 241 United States servicemen, and the at-
tack on the United States Embassy annex in Beirut in September
1984. Hezbollah is also responsible for the kidnappings and mur-
ders of U.S. Government officials William Buckley and Lieutenant
Colonel William Higgins.
In June 1996, a Saudi Hezbollah member
also drove the vehicle that destroyed one of the Khobar Towers in
Saudi Arabia, killing 19 United States servicemen. According to the
indictment, a member of the Lebanese Hezbollah assisted Saudi
Hezbollah with the construction of the tanker truck bomb that was
used in this attack.
Hezbollah also has shown the ability to strike outside the Middle
East by attacking the Israeli Embassy in Argentina in 1992 and
the bombing of the Israeli Cultural Center in Buenos Aires in 1994.
Hezbollah has been designated by the secretary of state as a for-
eign terrorist organization, in accordance with Section 219 of the
Immigration and Nationality Act.
Currently, four high-profile Hezbollah members are wanted in
the United States in connection to the June 14, 1985, hijacking of
TWA Flight 847 as it departed Athens International Airport en
route to Rome. The hijackers shuttled the airplane between Beirut
and Algiers, where they brutally beat several United States pas-
sengers and executed U.S. Navy diver Robert Stethem. The four
members who have been indicted for their roles in this dastardly
attack are Imad Mughniya, the current head of Hezbollah’s secu-
rity apparatus; Hassan Izz-Al-Din, Muhammad Ali Hammadi, and
Ali Atwa. There are also 14 outstanding arrest warrants for those
responsible for the Khobar Towers attack.
The FBI, in conjunction with the U.S. intelligence community
and through the FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force, continues to
investigate Hezbollah activities directed at the United States. Al-
though Hezbollah retains the capability to attempt to strike at
United States interests, Hezbollah has not directly targeted the
United States since the attack on Khobar Towers in 1996. Within
the United States, Hezbollah associates and sympathizers have en-
gaged in a wide range of criminal activities, to include money laun-
dering, credit card fraud, immigration fraud, food stamp fraud,
bank fraud, and narcotics trafficking. Recently, the FBI and its law
enforcement partners concluded an investigation in Detroit in
which 107 Federal indictments were obtained, leading to the ar-
rests of 58 Hezbollah subjects and the seizure of approximately $5
million in property. These individuals were involved in a variety of
Federal violations, including providing material support to a ter-
rorist organization and racketeering.
It is common in the United States for associates of terrorist orga-
nizations to use alleged Middle East charitable organizations to
funnel money back home to support the various terrorist oper-
ations. The FBI, with its partners in the Department of the Treas-
ury, Department of State, and the rest of the Department of Jus-
tice, works closely to have these organizations that are providing
material support to terrorists shut down and have those knowingly
engaged in such conduct criminally charged. In March 2006, the
Department of the Treasury designated Al-Manar television a Spe-
cially Designated Global Terrorist entity. Al-Manar is the
Hezbollah television propaganda medium that raises funds for
Hezbollah via advertisements. Al-Manar’s programming includes
features glorifying Hezbollah fighters and suicide bombers. The
FBI and its partners in the New York Joint Terrorism Task Force
recently arrested the Al-Manar satellite television service provider
for knowingly providing support to Hezbollah.
The FBI, with our partners in the United States intelligence and
law enforcement communities, will continue to aggressively inves-
tigate and prosecute the threat posed by Hezbollah and other ter-
rorist organizations in order to protect our citizens and preserve
our national security. Director Mueller recently remarked, ‘‘It has
been nearly 5 years since the last terrorist attack on America. Yet
there is no room for complacency. As we have seen in recent
months, our enemies are adaptive and evasive. They are taking full
advantage of technology. They are combining their resources and
their expertise to great effect. We must do the same.’’
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you, Mr. Kavanagh.
The FBI recently arrested 58 Hezbollah subjects in Detroit, and
looking at the profile of Mr. Mahmoud Kourani, I see he had exten-
sive training in terrorism and weapons in both Iran and in the
Bekaa Valley. Do you know if any of these 58 individuals that were
arrested in Detroit had any military training?
What we are seeing, sir, is that we are not see-
ing the highly military-trained individuals in the United States.
Those who we know are identified as having had Hezbollah train-
ing basically were acted very quickly on, and with our partners in
Homeland Security, we usually have been very successful in having
them charged and deported. In this case, the 58 were not military
We see the Border Patrol attempting to apprehend
these individuals, but, clearly, with Mahmoud Kourani, he was
able, through the use of a ‘‘coyote,’’ to avoid capture until you
caught him in Dearborn.
What have your conversations with the Border Patrol been like
about this strategy of trying to apprehend individuals coming into
the United States, and how extensive do you think it is—maybe we
could look back and compare what is happening this year with 5
years ago, especially 10 years ago—in terms of Hezbollah
operatives coming into the United States? You are making a lot of
apprehensions here now, and I wanted to ask you to follow up on
I would say, generally, we are not seeing
Hezbollah operatives in the United States. What we are seeing is
a lot of supporters and sympathizers who are funneling a lot of
money back to Lebanon for the cause, for the suicide bombers and
the terrorist operations that are occurring in the Middle East.
We work very closely with the Joint Terrorism Task Forces, with
ICE, with Homeland Security, and basically taking all of our exper-
tise and intelligence that we have, and with the international intel-
ligence community overseas, to identify them before they enter the
I noticed in your testimony that you were talking
about the immigration fraud in which Hezbollah is increasingly in-
volved. Could you elaborate on that immigration fraud as a modus
operandi for Hezbollah?
I would probably feel more comfortable having
somebody from the Department of Homeland Security answer that
question, sir, for you, but I would say, sir, we are definitely seeing
a pattern of a lot of people entering the country with visa fraud on
their documentation. We are also seeing a lot of marriage fraud. I
think it is stuff that is well known to these Subcommittees that we
do have issues and problems with the process that is allowing a lot
of these individuals into the country.
We had a hearing in Laredo, Texas, and also one in
San Diego. In Laredo, there was a real concern on the part of the
sheriffs with OTMs and particularly about people from this part of
the world who they were apprehending coming in through the
Texas border. How legitimate of a concern that might be?
I think, sir, Texas is just one of the areas, but
the whole border issue is how the entry points are being made. I
do not think we are seeing as much of the smuggling operations
at this point as the people who are legally gaining access to this
Although we did see that with one operative in Ti-
juana who brought in 200 individuals and was aligned with
Hezbollah, so we have seen some activity on the California——
Correct, sir. We have seen some, but on the
whole scale, though, sir, I think the bigger issue is some of the
problems that are occurring with the immigration policies or the
enforcement, as a nation, to deal with those. Also, we are seeing
more so, as you know, sir, the student visa problems.
The last question I was going to ask of Mr. Urbancic.
Jane’s Defense Weekly reports that Iran plans to supply Hezbollah
with Chinese-designed, shoulder-fired missiles. The reason Iran
wants to do that is they say these can take out the Israeli Air
Force. Of course, they could also take out any jetliner. There are
also reports of longer-range Russian missiles, such as the sophisti-
Part of the strategy with the resolution that the U.N. was taking,
UNSCR 1701, was that Hezbollah was not supposed to be re-armed
by Iran. Clearly, the evidence in your report right now is that re-
armament continues. From these reports, there is wide expectation
of a rather massive ramp up in terms of the type of weaponry. It
is now going to be more than the cruise missiles that we have seen
in the past.
It was the hope that there was going to be a price paid by Iran
for Hezbollah’s aggression. When I was in Israel during those rock-
et attacks, people were saying, ‘‘Well, there will be a price paid by
Iran.’’ That does not seem to be the case, does it?
Well, Congressman, I cannot speak specifically to
Iranian deliveries of MANPADS to Hezbollah. I have seen the re-
ports. But, clearly, the threat of MANPADS and other missiles in
the hands of Hezbollah or in the hands of other terrorist groups is
something that we take very seriously. Already, the Israelis faced
that in East Africa, and we are very, very cognizant of it.
We are doing everything that we can with our allies, as I men-
tioned in my statement, because that is the way we have to do it.
This is an international problem. We are working directly with our
allies to not only register our concerns but to make sure that those
resolutions are implemented in Beirut and in Lebanon.
We just completed our Joint Task Force Working Group on Coun-
terterrorism with the Russians here in Washington a week and a
half ago, and without going into great detail, I can tell you that
some of the most intense discussions were about Iran.
I appreciate that very much, and, again, from the
testimony, Iran ‘‘has not stopped since the cease-fire’’ or the adop-
tion of ‘‘the U.N. resolution its financial, logistic, and military sup-
port,’’ so we are going to have to redouble those efforts.
We are going to go to Mr. Ackerman for his questions.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Al-Manar, which is Hezbollah’s television network, has been
banned in our country, as well as France, and several satellite
services have discontinued broadcasting Al-Manar.
What I would like to know, with it still being broadcasted, both
in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, who are also threatened by Hezbollah,
why is Al-Manar still on the air? What steps have we taken to try
to get them off the air there, and why are those governments reluc-
tant to do it, and do they need some help and cover, and are we
contemplating doing that?
Congressman, Hezbollah is something that we
take very seriously, and we are in intense discussions with the two
governments that you mentioned, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, on the
entire range of CT issues, not just Al-Manar. Al-Manar is a big
one. We are working with those governments.
There are various complications and various political problems
that we have with them, but, as I said before, working with our
partners is the key to shutting Al-Manar down, and we are doing
everything that we can on the diplomatic front as aggressively as
we possibly can, at every encounter that we have, to get those
broadcasting channels shut down.
Nothing specific that you could share with us in
In the discussions, no, sir, not in this forum.
You would be able to do that in a different set-
I will take the question, if you would like, or, yes,
if you want to do a different——
No, no, no. I am saying, if we had a different
venue for this meeting——
Would we be able to discuss that
Hezbollah has been called the ‘‘A-Team of Terrorism’’ by Former
What types of activities do we see from
Hezbollah within the United States? Do they have plans to attack
the United States or our interests overseas, and what have we
done to limit that possibility?
Sir, as I stated earlier, what we have done with
the Joint Terrorism Task Forces and with the intelligence commu-
nity is basically worked together overseas internationally to get the
information and intelligence to the people over here in CONUS
that need that information to effectively combat all terrorist
Like we have said, if we knew someone who had, let us say, a
military background and is possibly a Hezbollah operative, we
would do everything——
The question is, do we know of Hezbollah
operatives in the United States, and do we know if or that they
have plans for an attack in the United States?
I would say, sir, at this time, I would say the
United States is used more as the financial funding operation. We
are a great financial funder for a lot of the terrorist organizations
in the Middle East through the various charities. Hezbollah basi-
cally, to date, even though they are unpredictable, have basically
kept their attacks isolated to the Middle East regarding the United
I am talking about what their plans are.
Sir, I could just say, based on what we know to
date, we do not see any ongoing or attempted operations in the
United States, but, again, as of right now.
So you are telling us that Hezbollah has no
plans within the United States for an attack on the United States.
What I am trying to tell you, sir, is——
We have no information on this.
As of right now, sir, I have no information I can
share with you right now about any ongoing plans or attacks in the
United States by Hezbollah.
You added that you can share with us to that
statement, which, otherwise, I understood.
I would say, sir, right now, there is——
Do you know of any plans?
No, sir. I do not believe there are any plans right
now that we are aware of at this point.
So we know of no plans for Hezbollah to attack
the United States, and they are basically just using us as——
When you say the ‘‘United States,’’ as CONUS,
United States, as of right now, like I said, sir, I would probably feel
more comfortable if we discussed this question, at least, in a classi-
fied Subcommittee meeting.
Maybe, Mr. Chairman, we can arrange for that.
We will arrange for that, Mr. Ackerman, and we will
go now to Mr. Tancredo from Colorado and then to Mr. Berman
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I want to go back a little bit to the discussion we were having
with regard to the border, especially the southern border of the
United States and the various activities on the other side of that
border that are quite perplexing and disconcerting.
In particular, there has been an increase in the number of para-
military activities on the Mexican side of the border: camps, as I
understand it, that have been developed near Matamoris, Mexico,
and in other places run by the Zadas. These camps are primarily
and essentially set up for the purpose of training people to move
drugs into the United States and to avoid contact with American
authorities, but they are paramilitaries, and the Zadas, of course,
are people that we trained at one point in time, went back to Mex-
ico, turned, and became part of the Mexican cartels. They are very
We have had an indication that there have been now thou-
sands—up to 10,000, I think I read just recently—of desertions
from the Mexican military, many of them also entering into the
ranks of the folks who are moving drugs into the United States.
Now, we all know that the activities so far have been centered
around the movement of drugs, as I say, but we also know, or, at
least, at one time we were told by Administration officials, that
there were concerns about the possibility that contact had been
made between these organizations and Hezbollah.
I wonder if you could tell me if you have any more information
about that. To what extent do you know about any contact that has
been made that you can tell us about in this setting, and, I guess,
if you cannot tell us specifically what contact has been made, can
you tell us what your concerns are about that possibility? How real
is the possibility that Hezbollah has made any sort of arrange-
ments with the various radical groups in Mexico that are part of
the drug cartels and also have established enormously successful
routes into the United States where both people and drugs could
Congressman, in a general fashion, what I could
say is that, first of all, Hezbollah portrays itself primarily as a na-
tionalist movement within Lebanon.
Mr. Urbancic, if you or Mr. Kavanagh would pull
those microphones close to you, that would be helpful. There you
If I could say, first of all, that Hezbollah, so far,
has portrayed itself as a nationalist movement within Lebanon. I
think we could think of it perhaps as almost an octopus with the
head in southern Lebanon and tentacles moving around the world.
Mostly those tentacles that we are aware of outside of Lebanon, ex-
cept for the Iran-Syria link, obviously, are for supply and support,
and that is what we see.
What we are very, very concerned about is the potential linkup
between Hezbollah and narcoterrorism, the FARC in South Amer-
ica, which is its own problem, and the potential to use that type
of funding mechanism against us, first, domestically and, secondly,
in the Middle East.
It is a subject of great concern for us. I do not want to speak of
specific contacts that we are aware of, but it is something that we
are very much worried about in the tri-border area, as we have
The tri-border area was going to be my next
question. Certainly, we do know that there is movement through
that area, from the Middle East into South America through the
tri-border area, where they are trained, where they are given docu-
mentation, where they are kept for some period of time, and then
moved on into the United States.
Now, all of these people who are paying these enormous sums in
order to get here are not doing so to work at the 7-Eleven. They
are doing so for other purposes, and we have to assume that those
purposes are nefarious.
I think that is exactly right. All of the docu-
mentation that you talked about is for sale, and it is easily—well
not easily—it certainly can be reproduced, and there are experts
that do it overseas for all types of purposes: for smuggling, for ne-
farious purposes much worse than illicit drugs.
On the domestic side, I defer to DHS and to the FBI.
Hezbollah has assets around the world, and it can mobilize them
on a moment’s notice. I am quite sure of that.
And Hezbollah subjects that are detained today have
been involved in immigration fraud. That has come out in the testi-
mony as well.
We are now going to go to Mr. Berman of California and then
Mr. Rohrabacher of California.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you for hold-
ing this hearing.
This notion of Hezbollah’s global reach being for purposes of sup-
ply and support—I think that is what you said.
Yes. I think that is the characterization we
would—which is not to say that it does not have additional poten-
tial, but I think, primarily, at the moment, that is the status that
Well, let me ask you about one particular activity
that has gotten publicity in the last 12 months, and that is
Hezbollah being a provider of particularly Islamic Jihad, Al-Aksa,
and Hamas, to some extent, in the West Bank and in Gaza, to the
point of actually encouraging specific kinds of terrorist operations
by those organizations and helping to equip and supply them.
Yes, sir. I think I mentioned in my statements
that, since at least 2000, those contacts have existed——
The year 2000.
Those contacts have existed, and we
are very concerned about them. It is a clear indication of their will-
ingness to use their wicked ideology and to spread it and to support
other terrorist groups. These links are links that we want to work
to break. Certainly, we are in close contact with the Israelis about
this and everybody else who could be of——
Can you illustrate how that works, how those links
are made? What kinds of activities are supported or directed? Can
you link specific terrorist operations with Hezbollah?
I will not go into specific operations, but the Pal-
Could you if this were a closed session?
We could certainly say a lot more.
In other words, you do not have such information,
or you do not have such information you want to share.
We have additional information that we could
share in, you know, a more closed forum.
Okay. All right.
But it is not a secret, and we do not try to hide
the fact that Hezbollah clearly is interested in expanding its links
to other terrorist organizations around the world, and it certainly
has in the West Bank and Gaza.
‘‘Links’’ is a funny term.
Support. So, in this case, there are people working
with Hezbollah and not for operations inside Lebanon or at the bor-
der with Israel but in the West Bank in Gaza.
Again, Hezbollah’s primary focus is Lebanon,
which is not to say it does not also want contacts and support from
and to other terrorist organizations, like minded, particularly anti-
All right. Can you give an estimate of the number
of rockets you think Hezbollah now still has, based on what re-
mains and what has been resupplied, in Lebanon?
I will take the question. I cannot give it to you
at this moment because I do not know.
You will take the question and try to answer it?
[The information referred to follows:]
WRITTENRESPONSERECEIVEDFROMMR. FRANKC. URBANCIC, JR. TOQUESTION
We do not have firm information in this regard. Hizballah has claimed 20,000
rockets, but we are not in a position to confirm or deny that number.
Okay. To what extent do we see activity by
Hezbollah to rebuild infrastructure, to reestablish bunkers, to, in
a sense, repair the damage done to their organizational military ca-
pabilities from the recent war?
I think there is no doubt that they are trying to
get resupplied and that the Iranians are happy to do that. At the
moment, their emphasis, though, seems to be on establishing and
consolidating their political base inside Lebanon, and they are
doing that, as you know, through reconstruction efforts and
through the spreading around of a lot of money, which is not to say
that they have neglected their military wing, but the military part,
for the moment, is not their emphasis, which is not to say that they
are not going to do it the week after next.
My final question. I think you may have covered
this, but I was not quite sure what the answer is. Since the conflict
with Israel, since the cease-fire resolution and the direct conflict
ended, do we have evidence of resupply across the Syrian-Lebanon
border of Hezbollah of military equipment?
Let me take that question, and I will answer it
back to you in writing.
[The information referred to follows:]
WRITTENRESPONSERECEIVEDFROMMR. FRANKC. URBANCIC, JR. TOQUESTION
Yes, we believe, based on information received, that resupply is occurring. We do
not yet have sufficient information to make a public case.
Okay. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you, Mr. Berman.
We are going to go to Mr. Rohrabacher and then Ms. Berkley of
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, and
thank you for your leadership, Mr. Chairman, that you have pro-
vided in delving into issues that are so significant for our well-
being as a people and the safety of our families today, and I appre-
ciate the good work that you are doing, as represented by this
I would like to go on record right off the bat saying that I do not
believe that it is appropriate for our Government to approach
Hezbollah infiltrators into our country as potential fundraisers. I
think that as we look at these people, we should be examining
them as probable future terrorists and not just part of a fund-
Mr. Chairman, when I take a look at the way the world works,
Hezbollah does not have to raise $10,000 at a mosque in order to
support its terrorist operations in Lebanon and in the Middle East
or in other parts of the world. They have tens of millions of dollars,
if not hundreds of millions of dollars, available to them from Syria
and Iran and other nation states, and the idea that they are com-
ing over here simply to make contacts with a mosque in order to
get a few thousand dollars, I think, has been counterproductive to
the FBI and intelligence effort because it actually has put us at
odds with some people at these mosques who may well be sup-
porters of ours, if they were approached in a different way.
With that, let me ask you this. Have you been deterred? Has
there been any hesitancy on the part of people like yourselves to
engage in tough questioning of Hezbollah and other terrorist sus-
pects due to the hoopla that we have seen in recent days in Wash-
ington, DC, about how you treat people who are incarcerated who
are involved with terrorist networks?
Sir, I would like to make a couple of things clear.
First of all, we are not saying all Arab mosques are engaged in ter-
rorism, and what we do is basically, as you know, a very thorough
investigation. Under the laws of the Constitution, what we have
here, we are bound by them. If we can only show that these people
are providing material support, then that is what they are going
to be charged with. So you are saying that all fundraisers——
I am trying to tell you, my guess is, unless
you can tell me now—maybe you have statistics—that the amount
of material support coming out of, for example, hitting up mosques,
local mosques, for contributions, is significant as compared to the
hundreds of millions of dollars being shipped into this movement
by Syria and Iran and others.
I would say, sir, if you asked me a question per-
taining to the population that sympathizes or supports Hezbollah
in this country, I would tell you that this is what we are seeing
in the United States. We are seeing the support through the chari-
table organizations to funnel money back to Lebanon.
How much are we talking about?
Are we talking about $1 million, $2 million,
$5 million, $100,000?
I could tell you sir. I do not have the exact figure
in front of me, but with the Middle East charitable organizations
that are funneling money back to terrorist organizations, it is in
Okay, from the United States.
Okay. When you say ‘‘in the millions,’’ I take
it that that is a couple of million dollars, not $100 million. I guess
what I am trying to suggest to you is that approaching these people
as fundraisers, my guess is that the fundraising activity is only
used, frankly, as a cover in order for people to make contact and
find potential people who might be sympathetic with them rather
than as an actual instrument of raising the funds necessary to con-
duct a terrorist operation.
I have to move on to one last question because I see my red light
is on there.
And, again, we have got to get tough with Syria and Iran to the
degree that we, in some way, enrage Muslims that could be our
friends, that is counterproductive. Did the Saudis and the Jor-
danians and the Egyptians, during this recent fighting and the bat-
tle between Israel and Hezbollah and Hamas, did not the Saudis
and the Jordanians and Egyptians, did they actually come out pret-
ty much condemning Hezbollah, as they should have, I might add,
because Hezbollah obviously started, as their Chairman noted,
started shooting rockets into Israel, and Israel’s response, I think,
was totally justified.
But usually we do not see the Saudis or the Jordanians and the
Egyptians come on board in condemning that type of activity, but
did we not see that this time?
Congressman, yes, and what we saw was an evo-
lution over time in the general public reaction, and as the public
reaction changed, then the public posture of those governments
changed as well. But yes, especially when the kidnappings took
place, and the first rockets started hitting Israel, there was great
shock throughout the Arab world and some considerable under-
standing of the Israeli position.
I close just by suggesting that if we are going
to win this war with radical Islam, we have got to try our best to
work with those moderate Muslim elements that also deplore the
killing of innocent men, women, and children by terrorist actions.
So thank you very much.
We absolutely concur.
Thank you. Ms. Berkley, and then we will go to Mr.
Weller of Illinois.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you, gentle-
men, for being here to share your knowledge with us. I have a
number of questions, but perhaps the first one that I would like to
get an answer for is, if Hezbollah was created in 1982 for the pur-
pose of ending the Israeli occupation of Lebanon, and the Israelis
withdrew from Lebanon over 6 years ago, can you enlighten me as
to what the purpose of Hezbollah is at this point in time?
Well, I remember an old saying that there is
nothing as permanent as a temporary quonset hut. They had a
stated goal, but they——
Which they have achieved.
Which they have achieved. They will
tell you, of course, that Shebba Farms justifies their continued
But I thought that was disputed territory with
Well, should be, but, you know, you have to have
a fig leaf, and so they have got their fig leaf.
The fact is they have established themselves. They are a func-
tioning political and other type of party. They are a terrorist orga-
nization as well, but they have very deep pockets, and they provide
a lot of services that the central government has not been able to
provide in the south, and, therefore, they exist, and they function,
and they continue to go forward. They really do not need, from
their point of view, to justify their existence.
Why is it that the Lebanese Government cannot
provide these services to southern Lebanon?
It has been very difficult for them. They went
through a 15-year civil war, and now, of course, the situation, we
hope, is changing, and we are working very strongly with the cen-
tral government to support the Sinora government to allow them
to do development down there and to begin to strengthen them-
selves to a point that they effectively control. This is the first time
the LAF has been deployed in the south, as you know, for years.
This is my concern. Israel endured 6 years of
Katyusha rockets being lobbed at them from Lebanon by
Hezbollah. Now, I understand, or I have been told, that Katyusha
rockets are very inaccurate, but if one lands on you, it is extraor-
Hezbollah kidnapped two soldiers that started a war with Israel
in August that, quite candidly, was tragic, not only for the Israeli
people, and I think it was, but particularly for the people of Leb-
anon. There was a level of sophistication of weaponry and tech-
nology that heretofore had not been fully appreciated. After 32
days of serious bombardment by the Israelis, IDF, which is sup-
posed to be the best military force in the world, on the very last
day, Hezbollah was still able to lob 300 rockets into Israel, not ex-
actly something that gives any of us a sense of security.
I was in Israel the day the cease fire was signed, and it was not
too long after the cease fire was signed, and 1701 was approved by
the United Nations, Hezbollah has already declared, through
Nasrallah, that they are not going to disarm, and he was very bra-
zen in what he said. He bragged, and I know that Mr. Kavanagh
is going to tell us, perhaps behind closed doors, how many rockets
they are supposed to have, but Nasrallah said he had over 20,000
rockets that were ready to go and be launched against Israel. That
is after 32 days of being bombarded.
We know for an absolute certainty that Iran, with the help of
Syria, is re-arming Hezbollah, even though that is against the
United Nations resolution that was passed by the Security Council,
and they have already stated that they have no intentions of ceding
any land in southern Lebanon to the Lebanese military, and they
are not going to adhere to U.N. Resolution 1701.
So, knowing all of these things, and knowing that the European
Union—I do not know what one has to be to be named a terrorist
organization by the European Union and the fact that the Arab
countries and our so-called ‘‘allies’’ in the region, which, in my
opinion, is a joke, to call very many of the Arab nations an ally of
the United States of America. I think perhaps they have the most
vested interest in disarming Hezbollah and eliminating this threat
I do not see them doing anything. I do not see the European
Union doing anything, and I am very concerned that the United
States of America cannot go alone in this. Now, what do you think
it will take to get the rest of the world engaged in this war against
terrorism, which will have profound repercussions and ramifica-
tions to not only the State of Israel but certainly Lebanon, the en-
A number of points. I will try to address as many
as I can, and please remind me of the ones that I miss.
I think the first thing we have to do is implement 1701. That is
the primary thing. We do have good cooperation. The Germans are
What about the Lebanese Government?
And the Lebanese Government as well, abso-
lutely. We have to work with the Lebanese Government to get
them the strength to be able to expand their authority in the south.
There is no doubt that this is a deficient situation. It is not a pleas-
ant situation. It is not one that we want to see continue.
We are going to go to Mr. Weller of Illinois and then
Mr. Cardoza of California.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Urbancic, shifting back to our own hemisphere, we have
been treated, over the last few weeks, by seeing the President of
Venezuela publicly embrace the President of Iran, declaring soli-
darity and support for the Iranian agenda. Last year, President
Chavez likened his own Bolivarian Revolution to the Iranian Revo-
lution in a speech in Tehran.
I would like to get from you a perspective. Since Hezbollah is an
Iranian-sponsored, terrorist group, tell us about what you know,
and you can share with us, about Hezbollah activities inside Ven-
Congressman, I think you may recall, the last
time I was before this Committee, we spoke of Venezuela, and
President Chavez was, at that time, just beginning to launch his
world tour. We are very, very concerned. He has a border with Co-
lombia. Colombia is a center of narcoterrorism.
There is a large Hezbollah nexus to Venezuela. I do not want to
go into names or details, but it is something that we are conscious
of, that we are watching, and that we are very concerned about,
and given the proclivities of the Chavez Government, it is not a re-
assuring situation at all.
Well, you mentioned Colombia, and, of course, the
FARC, the narcoterrorist group—it is internationally recognized as
such—operates in Colombia, but the so-called ‘‘foreign minister of
the FARC’’ was found to be in Caracas with Venezuelan identity
papers giving him Venezuelan citizenship, you know, essentially
suggesting that FARC operatives may have some sort of safe haven
Is Hezbollah operating under the same type of opportunity? Is
there a safe haven for Hezbollah inside Venezuela?
The development of Venezuela as a safe haven for
all kinds of really objectionable activities is something that we are
extremely concerned about, and we certainly would not exclude
Hezbollah activities in Venezuela as an area that we need to watch
and worry about.
We have seen an increase in anti-Semitic activity
in Latin America. Last year, there were armed military sent into
a Jewish grade school in Venezuela on a school day. Children were
present. A pretty intimidating action by the Venezuelan Govern-
ment, and, at the same time, this year we are seeing the Chavez
Government say, after joint appearances with the Iranian Presi-
dent, that it is going to withdraw diplomatic relations with Israel,
something I think we should all be very concerned about as we
watch what is going on in our back yard.
I realize I am running out of time here, but let me go back a few
years. You know, Hezbollah, along with its main patron, Iran, was
involved in this hemisphere in the 1992 bombing of the Israeli Em-
bassy in Buenos Aires, and later, in 1994, they bombed a Jewish
Community Center in Buenos Aires. Can you share with me what
the status of holding those accountable for those actions, what we
are doing to hold the Iranian leadership accountable? But also tell
us what the current Government of Argentina, the Kirchner Gov-
ernment, is doing to hold those terrorists accountable for those ac-
tions against the Jewish community, as well as the Nation of Israel
and their own capital.
The Kirchner Government actually is active. I
think that we would all agree that there were some mistakes made,
particularly with the Interpol red notices, but they are actively pur-
suing this case, and we think, and we hope, that when they get to
the point of issuing new warrants, that Interpol will honor those.
The Iranian connection is clear. It is hard to imagine a country
that has worse relations than us with Iran, and we are doing ev-
erything we can to bring that government, to make it accountable
for a whole host of horrible terrorist associations that it has and
groups that it supports. It is a tough slog. We have not succeeded
in convincing some of our best friends—not our best friends but
some of our critical allies to take a harder stand, but we are work-
ing very hard in the U.N. and elsewhere to bring the Iranians and
to make them accountable and to get them to change their behav-
ior. That has not been an easy row to hoe. Thank you, Mr. Chair-
Thank you, Mr. Chair. I know we may have votes
at any minute, so I will try and be brief. I appreciate you holding
this hearing. I continue to be concerned, as this whole Committee
does, on the whole threat of shoulder-fired missiles targeting do-
When you put them in the hands of these people, who have clear-
ly demonstrated their lack of concern for civilian populations by fir-
ing Katyusha rockets at Israel—a number of Members of this Com-
mittee, including Ms. Berkley and I, traveled to Israel about 3
years ago, and the day after we left a particular kibutz that we
stayed in overnight, the kibutz was fired on by Katyusha rockets.
This is not a new phenomenon. It has been going on in Israel for
years, the firing of rockets against innocent civilians in that coun-
try, and the recent war just made it more of a concern.
What concerns me even more is Hezbollah’s efforts to win the
hearts and minds of the world population and the Lebanese popu-
lation by their perceived altruistic contributions to that population,
and, in my opinion, it is surrogates trying to allow them to buy
friends in that population. Clearly, they are spending billions of
dollars in the reconstruction effort in Lebanon.
My question to you is, can you trace where those billions of dol-
lars are coming from, and are you able to tell us where those dol-
lars are coming from today?
I cannot say to the extent of 100 percent, but
there is no question that Iran is supplying very significant amounts
of money to Hezbollah, and much of that goes through Syria, and
it is supplied because, as you say, the Iranians want to use
Hezbollah as a surrogate. They want to strengthen Hezbollah as a
counter, from their point of view, to Israeli influence in the region,
and they want to, frankly, use them as proxies against us. It is a
Any good detective will tell you, if you want to find
the base of criminal activity, find out who the criminal is, you fol-
low the money. Do you have any idea the degree, how much money
they are getting, and do you also know of any legitimate means
that Hezbollah has of raising dollars in Lebanon itself?
The dollar contribution of Iran to Hezbollah, I
could not tell you. I do not know. I can try to find out, and if we
can give you an answer, I will send it to you.
[The information referred to follows:]
WRITTENRESPONSERECEIVEDFROMMR. FRANKC. URBANCIC, JR. TOQUESTION
Because of the clandestine nature of funding for Hizballah, we can only estimate
its financial resources. Iran probably provides in excess of $100 million per year.
Hizballah also receives funds from other sources, including private charitable dona-
tions made to its social and cultural organizations, and profits from businesses, like
its construction arm, Jihad al-Binaa. Post-conflict, Hizballah promised to pay be-
tween $10,000 and $12,000 for each household to compensate for the loss of a home,
apartment or other dwelling. One estimate says that 15,000 people have received
this payout. If only half that number were paid at the lower figure, that makes a
minimum of $75,000,000. So far as we know, most of this funding has come from
But, yes, Hezbollah, as I was mentioning to Con-
gresswoman Berkley, it is more than a military organization. It is
a military organization, it is a terrorist organization, but it is also
a business. It runs TV stations. It runs banks. It runs hospitals.
It runs clinics. It has a whole series of, if not legitimate, at least,
on the face of it, innocent-appearing corporations. It has a very
wide reach throughout Lebanon and throughout the world, and it
has a huge fundraising mechanism. It does diamonds. It does—you
Thank you. We will go to Mr. McCaul of Texas.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
It has been commented upon, the relationship of Chavez to Iran.
He has embraced the Islamic Jihadists. Marguerita Island is a
known Hezbollah haven. The tri-border area is of concern.
Recently, Mahmoud Kourani was arrested. He was the Hezbollah
operative who, as I am sure you are aware of, smuggled across the
United States-Mexico border the brother of the Hezbollah chief of
military operations in southern Lebanon. That puts it squarely in
our hemisphere and our own back yard.
In Beirut, he paid $3,000 to bribe a Mexican Consulate if I recall
for a Mexican visa and was smuggled into California by a ‘‘coyote.’’
He pled guilty, was arrested, and then was convicted of being a
member, fighter, recruiter, and fundraiser for Hezbollah. That
deeply concerns me, and I know there are many other cases like
My question is twofold, and that is, in my experience in the Jus-
tice Department in counterterrorism, you read Lightning out of
Lebanon, the cell in North Carolina that was busted. How many
Kouranis do you believe are here, and how easy is it for them to
go from support cells, in other words, financing, to operational? As
we ratchet things up with Iran, I am concerned about these cells
lighting up in the United States.
Lastly, the influence of Chavez and Hezbollah on the cartels,
which have completely taken over northern Mexico in the delivery
Sir, to answer your first question regarding how
easy is it to go from support to actual operations, that is a question
that, as you know, if somebody is motivated to cause harm, they
can do it, and that has always been everyone’s concern.
What we do, though, working together with intelligence commu-
nities overseas and with our law enforcement here is try to target
those that we know are Hezbollah members, who we know have
the military training, and try to intercept them if we know they are
trying to head to the country or are in the country. I think, to date,
we have been very successful regarding that end of it.
Your distinguished colleague was kind of equating fundraising
with material support for terrorism, and I would differ with him
on that. The bottom line, sir, is that it is a good question, and that
is why we go after anyone who provides any support or anybody
who sympathizes and basically violates the laws. We go after them
and try to take them out and get them deported or get them into
jail because we agree with you, sir, that we do not know what the
intent of a lot of these individuals is and what it would take for
them to maybe become operational.
Fortunately, to date, they have not been. Like I said, it has been
basically a fundraising operation through a lot of low-level criminal
conduct. We are seeing more now like the bank frauds and more
of the narcotics trafficking, and that brings it to a different level.
But that is what we are seeing, at least in regard to the Hezbollah
members or sympathizers that are in this country.
Okay. The second half of my question, again, is
what influence, if any, do you believe Chavez and Hezbollah are
having on the cartels?
On the cartels. I am not sure which way it works,
actually. He is not a guy who is tough on crime, and we are very
worried about it. I think that links, more than links—I think that
there is a relationship there, and I think it is one we have to worry
about, and it is one we have to counter.
I see my time has expired. Thank you, Mr. Chair-
It is easy to see why Hezbollah is an effective
criminal organization because it can use an ideology to create the
unity that other criminal organizations do not have when every
member is in it plainly for their own economic gain.
We have not been able to convince the Europeans that Hezbollah
is a terrorist organization. Have we been able to convince some
that it is a criminal organization, and, if not, why not?
Yes and no. I mean, everything that we can pos-
sibly share with the Europeans, we take to the Europeans, and
then it is up to the Europeans to decide. You understand that very
clearly. But we are actively pursuing every avenue that we have
with the Europeans. They do not always respond because they do
not always see it as in their interest. When we do have criminality
involved, the Europeans tend to be more responsive, and it is a
Mr. Urbancic, you are coordinating our effort
against terrorism, and we have to get the entire world on our side
on Hezbollah and related issues. It occurs to me we have had some
Are you consulted with regard to what our position should be on
issues that Russia cares about that are outside the area of
antiterrorism, and what I am referring to here is linkage; that is
to say, when we are trying to decide whether to accept Russia’s pol-
icy toward Moldova or Abkhaza or whether to confront Russia and
take an anti-Russian position, does anybody come to you and say,
‘‘Well, what do you need from the Russians on the antiterrorism
I mentioned earlier, we just completed our Joint
Working Group on Counterterrorism with the Russians about 2
weeks ago, and one of the biggest things that we discussed with
them is how we can link ourselves up, in the G–8 and elsewhere,
Sir, I think you are misconstruing my word ‘‘link-
age.’’ You are going to work with antiterrorism officials in Russia.
And the foreign minister.
And the deputy foreign minister and important
people in Russia, and they are going to have to decide things like,
will Russia list Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, and you are
going to have a mixed record on your ability to get Russia on our
side on important terrorism issues, especially Hezbollah, and Rus-
sia has not been as anti-Hezbollah has it ought to be.
The question is, have we offered to Russia to ameliorate our poli-
cies toward Abkhaza, Moldovia, or any other nonterrorist issue in
order to get them on our side on Hezbollah?
I think we do not want to compromise principles,
but it is clear that when we work with the Russians, as we work
with almost any other country, the better the relationship is in
other areas, the better the relationship is in additional areas. A
quid pro quo, you can have Abkhaza, and will you give us
Hezbollah? Probably not, but we want to work and find a way to
work with the Russians to bring them around.
But does the guy in the State Department who is
talking to the Russians about Abkhaza or Moldovia talk to you?
Sure. Absolutely. We are in the same room all of
Okay. Then there is the hope for a little bit more
linkage behind the scenes. I have had top State Department offi-
cials tell me, we absolutely refuse to link any other issue with the
Global War on Terrorism, and I think that that is the chief expla-
nation of our failure to get the international support that we need.
I know that we want to bring in the other panel, but I do want
to ask the other witness a question, and it is kind of outside the
scope of this Committee, but what do we need to do with our do-
mestic laws on the books in order to give you the tools you need
to prevent terrorists from either raising money here in the United
States or organizing cells to carry out operations here in the United
Sir, with all due respect, I am probably going to
leave that one to the director, but I think, sir, that we have a lot
of the tools necessary to disrupt and dismantle. I think what the
problem we are seeing, sir, is the immigration issues that, I think,
are very important to this country. I think that we are basically
seeing a lot of people who are coming through the front door get-
ting into this country and getting established who probably should
have been blocked before they got into the country.
So I think that the domestic security issue is one of the things
that, as a team, I think we have bigger issues. I think law enforce-
ment works really well with the laws we have right now. I am sure
that the director could probably come up with a few to tighten up
here and there, but, at the same time——
I want to interrupt you. You seem to be saying
that we are allowing to immigrate to the United States legally per-
sons who may subscribe to extreme Islamist views.
No, sir. What I am saying, sir, the Detroit case
is a perfect example where we are seeing there is a lot of fraud,
there is a lot of stuff that is being done by the individuals that are
getting into this country, and I think that we are seeing a lot of
that with regard to a lot of our terrorist investigations.
As law enforcement entities and as a community, I think we
need to take a real hard look at what we probably need to do to
basically prevent a lot of the fraud and prevent a lot of the stuff
that allows these people into the country who then engage in low-
level criminal activity and engage in the support back home of fun-
neling the money back to the terrorist organizations.
Okay. I yield back.
Thank you, Mr. Sherman, and, Mr. Sherman, I think
this is one of the issues that we have investigated with our Com-
mittee. We had a hearing on USCIS and whether it was broken in
regard to its ability to check this kind of fraud.
Gentlemen, we appreciate it very much.
We are going to ask now for our next panelists to come forward,
and we are going to go right to their testimony. As they are coming
forward, I am going to introduce them.
Mr. Eitan Azani is a senior researcher at the Institute for Coun-
terterrorism in Israel. He is an expert on terror organizations in
the Middle East, particularly on Hezbollah. Mr. Azani was formerly
the head of intelligence in the Lebanon Division of the Israeli De-
fense Force, prior to which he served as head of the intelligence
branch of the Israeli Air Force. Dr. Azani is a colonel in the Israeli
Colonel, thank you for traveling here. Your institute was kind
enough to host me on a recent trip to Israel and I met several of
your colleagues at that time.
We next have Mr. Christopher Hamilton. He is a Senior Fellow
in Counterterrorism Studies at the Washington Institute. Prior to
joining the institute, he had a distinguished FBI career for over 20
years. Mr. Hamilton served in the Bureau’s Counterterrorism Divi-
sion. His work involves strategic planning, providing guidance to
field investigators, overseeing counter-espionage operations, and
implementing the FBI’s first overseas Arab language instruction
program. Mr. Hamilton received numerous awards for his service,
including a Director of Central Intelligence Meritorious Unit Cita-
tion in 1993.
Lastly, we have Mr. Ilan Berman, vice president for policy at the
American Foreign Policy Council. He is an expert on regional secu-
rity in the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Russian Federation.
Mr. Berman has consulted for both the U.
S. Central Intelligence
Agency and the U.S. Department of Defense, and Mr. Berman is
the author of Tehran Rising: Iran’s Challenge to the United States,
and he is also co-editor of Dismantling Tyranny: Transitioning be-
yond Totalitarian Regimes.
Gentlemen, thank you very much. Dr. Eitan Azani, if you would
like to begin. Please summarize in 5 minutes. Thank you.
STATEMENT OF EITAN AZANI, PH.D., SENIOR RESEARCHER,
INSTITUTE FOR COUNTERTERRORISM, HERZLIYA INTER-
DISCIPLINARY CENTER, HERZLIYA, ISRAEL
Thank you very much for inviting me here to speak
before the Committee. I want to start with a sentence saying
Hezbollah is a pragmatic terror organization of global reach, a
pragmatic but not a moderate organization, a pragmatic but dan-
gerous organization since the beginning of the organization during
Nasrallah, using a double-faced policy, on one hand, to blur the
identity of the organization as a terrorist organization and to em-
phasize the identity of the organization as a political party inside
Lebanon and social party inside Lebanon. If we look at the flag of
the organization, we can see the global aspiration of the organiza-
tion. We see here the globe.
The other issue is the violence. The organization uses violence.
We see the hand with a rifle, which means, at the end of the day,
they say ‘‘resistance,’’ and I say ‘‘violence.’’
The goals of the organization. A sentence said that Hezbollah are
the winner. Looking into some notes regarding the principles, ide-
ology, and aim of the organization, the principles came from the
heritage of Khomeini. ‘‘Activism’’ means violence. ‘‘Self-sacrifice’’
means the culture of suicide bombing. The role of the religious
scholars inside the organization: Who are the enemies, global en-
emies? The great Satan, United States; greater Satan, Israel; and
the corrupted Muslim regimes in the region.
What are the goals? Establishing an Islamic state in Lebanon.
Even today, we think about Hezbollah as trying to establish an Is-
lamic state in Lebanon today. Destroying Israel: Death to Israel
and also death to the United States. Promoting the concept of
ummah, led by the Shiites. As you can see here, a picture showing
how they educate their children in this organization.
I was asked, can a separation be made between the organiza-
tion’s social, political, and military wings, and Hezbollah answered
there is only one leadership in Hezbollah, through members, senior
members, of Hezbollah have said during the last year. One of them
is Muhammad Fanish. Currently, he is a minister in the Lebanese
Government. He said very clearly, no distinction should be made
between the military wing and the political wing of Hezbollah. The
other declaration by Naim Kassan—he is the deputy of Nasrallah—
said there is only one leadership in Hezbollah, and its name is the
Shura Council, which is the decision-making council of the organi-
zation. It directs the political, military, cultural, and social activi-
ties of the organization.
What is the Hezbollah Shura Council? Seeing the photos of the
Shura Council, the members of the Shura Council of Hezbollah, we
can see that there are seven Lebanese members—most of them are
religious scholars—and two Iranians. Most of these members are
heads of other Subcommittees of the organization.
For example, Imad Mugniyah, one of the most wanted by the
FBI, on top of the list of the FBI, is the head of the Jihad Council,
and he sits on the Shura Council. Other members are the head of
the Political Council, the Executive Council that carries out social
activities, which means, at the end of the day, in the same Shura
Council sitting together, are the military and terrorist branches of
the organization and the other social and political branches of the
What is Hezbollah’s uniqueness? Hezbollah is backed by a two-
state sponsor of terrorism, and more than that, it is a state within
a state in Lebanon, which means it is backed by three state spon-
sors of terrorism. It is operating inside and outside the political
system in Lebanon, trying to promote the goals of the organization
and to exploit the Lebanese political system to promote the organi-
It is well equipped and well trained, and even as you can see
here, Nasrallah declared that even though his members are in the
Parliament, he did not withdraw his Jihadist responsibilities,
which means we are playing in these two places.
Hezbollah versus Israel; we see that Hezbollah initiated direct
and indirect operations against Israel from Lebanon and through
the Palestinians. What we see is a pure terrorist strategy of the or-
ganization in the second Lebanon war. Why? Intentionally and
knowingly, attacking the Israeli cities; this is a pure terrorist act.
Through the Palestinians, organization tried to support and pro-
mote terror attacks as a means to disrupt possible agreement of po-
litical initiatives between Israel and the PA. In Iraq also, the orga-
nization carried out a terror attack.
Some words regarding Hezbollah in a second Lebanon war: First
of all, we speak about strategic changes in Lebanon that are still
in process, so it is very difficult to evaluate what it will be. One,
for sure, is the decrease of Hezbollah power in south Lebanon, and
there is an unstable situation in the region.
There is risk and opportunity, which means we have two main
possible developments. One is more decreasing of Hezbollah power;
the other, get Lebanon in civil war again. The crucial condition to
decreasing Hezbollah power is the survivability of Seniora’s govern-
ment in the field.
Thank you, Mr. Azani. I think we will get to some
of your other points during Q&A, and we will now go to Mr. Ham-
STATEMENT OF MR. CHRISTOPHER HAMILTON, SENIOR FEL-
LOW, COUNTERTERRORISM STUDIES, THE WASHINGTON IN-
STITUTE FOR NEAR EAST POLICY
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I would like to pick up where both you and Representative Sher-
man left off before and reemphasize the fact that in order to under-
stand Hezbollah, we need to look at the whole situation in the Mid-
dle East. Certainly, in one big salad bowl there are two other
issues there that I do not think you mentioned. The issue is an
emerging Sunni-Shia split and the possibility of a transnational
Shia organization equivalent to the Sunni.
The analysis of this conflict is important, and I would like to
make several conclusions regarding the conflict that just ended be-
cause I think everybody else is looking at that, the Israelis are
looking at it, Hezbollah is looking at that, and we should also be-
cause I think there are a number of lessons to be learned.
Certainly, the first is that they are very confident, and anybody
who watched Hassan Nasrallah last week, in front of 500,000 peo-
ple, as he sneered at the United States and made a lot of state-
ments very boldly. This is the man that is in charge. He is cracking
jokes. He knew what he was doing, and he is clearly somebody that
we need to contend with.
Let me just go right into about six conclusions that I have made,
very general. Some of these overlap with what has already been
The first is, as we know, and I just said that Hezbollah is a very
well-managed organization, and at the risk of dating myself, I go
back to the Redskins back in 1970 when George Allen said he
wants veterans on his football team. That is what Hassan
Nasrallah has. He has very experienced people working his organi-
zation. That is unlike many other organizations, and that makes
him a very formidable organization, passing these instincts down
to Hamas and PIJ as well.
Secondly, the war did not impact their terrorist capability. They
were hurt significantly—do we have to adjourn here?
We have 15 more minutes, and I would like you and
Mr. Berman to conclude, and then we will ask you some questions.
Very good. I have another 3 minutes to go.
The war did not impact their terror capability. It did impact
their military capability. These are two separate entities. Inside
the Hezbollah organization, their terrorist capability remains very
robust. As I said in my statement, they planned nine terrorist at-
tacks inside Israel.
I think the upshot of that is that we need a second U.N. resolu-
tion, 1702, somehow to address the terrorist issues that still exist
there. They still have training camps and they still fund terror op-
erations, and something needs to be done about that.
Hezbollah’s stature relative to its other patrons has been ele-
vated. There is no longer a patron-client relationship between these
organizations and Hamas. This is a semi-independent state actor
emerging in the Middle East. As was mentioned before, they have
a very close relationship with Venezuela and Cuba, and I will dis-
cuss that in just a second.
The third issue that I would like to raise is the robust intel-
ligence-gathering capability of Hezbollah. They penetrated the IDF
in northern Israel very effectively. They knew about the IDF ma-
neuvers. They were able to anticipate that. They have a surveil-
lance capability, records keeping. They have everything.
This concerns me in the United States with Venezuela because
Venezuela is here, Cuba is here. Any kind of coalition or alliance
between these organizations gathering intelligence in the United
States is certainly not to our interest.
I see no evidence that Hezbollah and al-Qaeda have formed any
kind of alliance at all, and I do not see that happening in the fu-
Despite all of this that we are talking about, what do we think
of the threat from Hezbollah? I would assess that threat as mod-
erate, and breaking that down into intentions and capabilities, I
think their intentions are low at the moment. In the past, they
have not conducted violent attacks against us or Israel outside the
region unless they were provoked, and they are, so far, not pro-
voked. So I would assess their intentions as being fairly low.
Their capabilities are high. We have already discussed all of that.
They do have people here in the United States, and we have to as-
sume that those people have some sort of capability to do some
kind of military operation. The question was asked to John
Kavanagh before about is the FBI looking at that, and, absolutely,
the FBI will see that. They are watching for that, and just because
they see fundraising does not mean they do not see military and
Lastly, Hezbollah’s capabilities inside the United States. There
are a couple of things that I am concerned about. Hezbollah, as
well as Hamas and PIJ (Palestinian Islamic Jihad), they all know
that we are watching them. They are very aware of what we do,
and they are getting very, very good at deflecting our investigations
and using our laws against us. It is becoming very, very difficult
to get convictions now. They have very good lawyers, and that is
becoming certainly a problem for us.
Secondly, they are very good at resurrecting themselves. As I in-
cluded in my statement, I noted that the assistant secretary of the
Treasury, Stuart Levey, mentioned the fact that these organiza-
tions are recreating themselves. Once one goes down, another one
pops up right behind it, and they are already doing that. Thank
you very much.
Thank you, Mr. Hamilton.
STATEMENT OF MR. ILAN BERMAN, VICE PRESIDENT FOR
POLICY, AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY COUNCIL
Thank you very much, Chairman Royce, and I
want to take the opportunity to thank you and thank Chairwoman
Ros-Lehtinen and Ranking Member Sherman and Ranking Mem-
ber Ackerman for holding this hearing and for inviting me.
You have in front of you my personal statement, my prepared
statement, so let me just elaborate on a few points here.
I have been asked specifically to talk about Hezbollah’s relation-
ship with Iran, and I think that is a very good place to start be-
cause it is really impossible to understand Hezbollah without un-
derstanding the intentions and the capabilities of the country that
Iran has played a central role not only in establishing Hezbollah
but in sustaining it ever since. Hezbollah is, and continues to be,
made in Iran, essentially, and its future remains intimately tied to
that of the Iranian regime, and this becomes, I think, very impor-
tant as we move forward, looking at issues like the Iranian nuclear
First of all, it is important to note that Hezbollah is the first, the
primary, and the most successful example of Iran’s effort to export
the revolution, the central foreign policy principle that animated
the Ayotollah Khomeini, and Hezbollah very much follows this line
to this day. Hezbollah’s spiritual guide, Hassan Nasrallah has pub-
licly pledged allegiance to Khomeini’s successor to the supreme
leader, Ali Khamenei, and he serves as his personal emissary to
Lebanon and beyond.
The second is financing. According to United States officials, the
Iranian regime is the central banker of terrorism, and it spends
hundreds of millions of dollars annually on sponsoring instability
abroad, and a large portion of those funds go to Hezbollah, as much
as $200 million, according to some estimates. Other estimates put
it a little lower, at $100 million, but, still, substantial amounts.
The third point is logistics and training. Since 1982, the Iranian
Clerical Army, the Pasdaran, has had a significant, on-the-ground
presence in Lebanon, interfacing with Hezbollah operatives and
Hezbollah cadres. This foothold has significantly augmented
Hezbollah’s indigenous know-how, know-how in terms of making
bombs, know-how in terms of guerilla maneuvers, but also poten-
tially its war-fighting capabilities as well. As we know, there were
reports of Pasdaran officials, Pasdaran operatives, who were in-
volved in the recent fighting in Lebanon.
The fifth is the synergy between the Iranian regime and
Hezbollah itself. We have a situation where cooperation with
Hezbollah precipitates planning and interaction on an institutional
level that reaches up to the highest level of the Iranian Govern-
We also have an arms connection. Iran is Hezbollah’s principal
military supplier. It is responsible for establishing and preserving
the organization’s military capabilities. It has provided Iran with
thousands of short-range missiles, short-range Katyushas, and
even indigenously made, longer-range missiles, such as the Fajr-5.
And there are also reports that Iran has even been helping
Hezbollah to weaponize chemical agents that it has developed into
So this is the state of affairs that has been obtained for some
time, as one of your colleagues mentioned earlier, but it is also
poised to get substantially worse. First of all, we have a situation
where ongoing difficulties for us and for our allies in Iraq and the
advances that Iran has made in its nuclear program have catalyzed
a growing wave of Shia empowerment in the region, and a rising
tide lifts all boats, and I think we are beginning to feel this with
regard to how Hezbollah operates and the freedom of movement
that it feels that it has in the levant.
The other issue is that Hezbollah is positioned to be a principal
actor in what I clearly see as an emerging conflict with Iran over
its nuclear program. It is useful to remember here that the prin-
cipal conduit for the Iranian regime to interact with Hezbollah is
the Pasdaran. It is also the repository of the Iranian regime’s WMD
know-how and the keeper of its nuclear and ballistic missile arse-
So all of this is to say that Hezbollah may be, and this is, again,
a very remote possibility but still not one that can be ruled out
completely, may be at the receiving end of an established prolifera-
tion network, should the Iranian regime choose to proliferate these
technologies. After all, Iran’s radical new President, Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad, has actually said that once we get these tech-
nologies, once we get this know-how, we will share it with any and
all Muslim comers. So this is something, I think, to keep in mind.
The second thing, and, I think, equally important, is that
Hezbollah, if there is some sort of military confrontation with Iran,
the general consensus is that Iran has a very robust, asymmetric
response capability to activate terrorist cadres in Iraq, in the West-
ern Hemisphere, and the only group that it has that has truly glob-
al reach in order to do that, to retaliate, is Hezbollah, which means
that Hezbollah will be at the tip of the spear of an Iranian re-
sponse, if there is one, and this is something I think that we should
really keep in mind.
My final point here, I think, and I will close with this, is that
when we look at Hezbollah, there is obviously the issue of Israel
and Hezbollah’s grievance against Israel looms very large, but the
dictum that you mentioned at the start of your statement, ‘‘Death
to America is not just a slogan; it is a vision, a strategy, and a pol-
icy,’’ that very much obtains today, and I think that is going to be
something that occupies more of Hezbollah and Iran’s horizon in
the near future.
Thank you, Mr. Berman.
Mr. Sherman, did you have a question?
One for the record for Mr. Hamilton. Respond in
writing whether you think that there are any changes we could
make in Federal law to make it easier to prosecute and easier to
detect those who are raising money or sending money to Hezbollah.
I would like to ask Mr. Berman, how a nuclear
Iran would empower Hezbollah. You have indicated one way, and
that is, of course, they could go all out and actually smuggle a nu-
clear weapon into Israel or use their cells here in the United States
to smuggle one into the United States. Short of the doomsday of
actually exploding a nuclear weapon, how else would Iran’s having
a nuclear weapon allow them to be bolder in sponsoring terrorism
and allow Hezbollah to be bolder in carrying it out?
Well, thank you very much. I think that is an ex-
cellent question. My answer, if I may, is a little bit opaque, but I
would focus on a couple of points.
The first is that the Iranian regime has clearly staked a claim
to nuclear possession as an element of regime stability, and this is
both internal and external.
When you say ‘‘internal,’’ you mean they could use
it against their own people——
No, no, no. Certainly, not, but possessing a nuclear
capability allows the Iranian regime to repress its people more
widely without fear of retaliation from the international commu-
On the external front is where Hezbollah comes in. Hezbollah is
obviously Iran’s principal terrorist proxy. There is no doubt as to
that, and we have heard that multiple times in this hearing, but
Hezbollah’s level of activity obviously is determined, at least in
part, by what Iran tells it it can do.
A great example that I experienced during the recent conflict in
southern Lebanon was a conversation that I had with a colleague
who used to serve at a very senior level of the Israeli Government,
and he said that the type of intelligence that he was seeing sub-
jected that Hezbollah was not mustering all of its capabilities, that
the rockets it was firing were serious, and they were deadly, but
they were not armed with chemical agents.
I would say this: They have not demonstrated the full breadth
of their arsenal, and the closer Iran comes to crossing the nuclear
threshold, I think, at least politically, the more there will be the
impetus for Hezbollah to act freer.
Thank you, Mr. Berman.
Mr. Hamilton, I was going to ask you a question. You com-
mented, in reference to Hezbollah and the United States, you said,
‘‘You often see in these groups the people who deal in finances also
have military backgrounds.’’ Now, that was the case with Kourani
as well. ‘‘The fact is,’’ you say, ‘‘they have the ability to attack in
the United States.’’
I wondered if you could expand on that observation, especially in
light of the fact that the ACLU now has, in terms of surveillance,
taken a case to a judge, an activist judge, and has, temporarily, at
least, called into question the ability of our Federal Bureau of In-
vestigation and our Central Intelligence Agency to monitor phone
calls from outside the United States from Beirut into Hezbollah
cells or, for that matter, get into al-Qaeda cells and what that por-
tends in terms of——
However we resolve that issue, we need that in-
formation. There is absolutely no doubt about that.
The other issue regarding the military capability of these organi-
zations; there is a long history of other organizations wherein, if
they are involved with any kind of fundraising, running any kind
of charity, that they are perfectly capable of doing an attack,
maybe not with the same skill as others, but if they were going to
do it, they would set up the situation, and other people would come
into the country to actually execute the attack.
When I was in Israel, Prime Minister Olmert told me
that, in his view, their ability to have surveillance without their ca-
pability being understood, or the West, in general, Europe and the
United States, that, unfortunately, due to the New York Times re-
leasing this information, there is now more understanding by the
terrorists of our capability, of how we listened into those phone
conversations, and that has really hurt Western intelligence.
Mr. Hamilton, based on your background at the FBI, do you con-
cur with that, or how do you see that?
We have a long history of that, beginning with
the trial of the World Trade Center bombers, giving up our tech-
nology and our capabilities. That said, the bad guys always know
that, and they always continue to make the same mistakes.
Okay. We will go now to Mr. Tancredo for his ques-
Just a very quick one to Mr. Berman, please. I
do not understand Russia’s long-term interests here. I do not un-
derstand how they can continue to play footsie with Iran and with
Hezbollah and not recognize the threat that both of those—that en-
tity, I guess, poses to them in the long run. I just do not get it.
I think that is an excellent question. Let me con-
tent myself with spending a few seconds to talk about what the
Russian-Iranian relationship is.
When it was founded in the early 1990s, the Russian-Iranian re-
lationship was animated essentially by three things. The first was
money. The Russian defense industry had suffered substantially
from the collapse of the Soviet Union. They needed client states to
sustain it, and what you had was Iran coming off of a ruinous war,
8-year war, with Iraq that needed to build up its military capa-
So there was a very natural symbiosis there, and that continues
in very many ways to day. It has also expanded to include today
the atomic industry. Iran, if it successfully nuclearizes, becomes a
showpiece for the Russians to tell other countries that it is trading
with, look, come see Iran. Come see what we have done for Iran.
We can do the same for you. So this is something that I think we
need to keep in mind.
The second issue is Muslim empowerment, and the Russians
have been, and continue to be, very concerned about Iran spon-
soring the type of radicalism that it sponsored in Lebanon with
Hezbollah in the post-Soviet space.
And the third is, in many corners of the Russian policy-making
elite, there is still the idea that sticking a finger in the eye of the
United States is a very good time. You put those together, and you
stir, and it makes for a very heady cocktail, and I think it goes a
long way toward explaining why the Russians have been intran-
sigent up until now.
Thank you, Mr. Tancredo. You would think that the
attack on the Beslan school would give Russia pause.
Thank you. I thank our panelists for traveling here, especially
you, Mr. Azani, for traveling all the way to the United States. We
are going to talk a little later. We are going to have some addi-
tional questions that we are going to submit to you in writing, if
you do not mind, for your response. But we very much appreciate
your testimony before the Committee, and we stand adjourned.