Skip to comments.U.S. and allies target Hezbollah financing, ties in Africa
Posted on 09/20/2013 1:18:25 PM PDT by Tailgunner Joe
The United States and its allies are clamping down on suspected Hezbollah activity in West Africa, which Washington says is a major source of cash for the Lebanese group as its patron Iran feels the pinch of sanctions.
The push coincides with Hezbollah's deepening role in Syria, where it has dispatched thousands of fighters to back President Bashar al-Assad. It also comes in the wake of attacks outside Lebanon linked to Hezbollah that Western experts say are part of global campaign that could soon include Africa.
Critics, however, argue that Washington and its allies may be exaggerating the threat and failing to distinguish between different forms of support for various elements of the Shi'ite Islamist guerrilla and political movement, which was founded with Iran's help after Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 1982.
U.S. officials say that while most Lebanese in West Africa have few links to the group, Washington's financial sanctions have reduced an annual flow of millions of dollars which Hezbollah receives from people and businesses in the region.
Iran remains the main sponsor and armourer of a group which fought Israel with missiles in a month-long war in 2006. But Western sanctions imposed on Tehran over its nuclear plans add significance to Hezbollah's other income, U.S. officials say.
"(West Africa) is more important in the sense that what they're getting from Iran is squeezed. Iran's capacity to fund Hezbollah has been impaired," said David Cohen, U.S. treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.
"There's reason to think Hezbollah is not just collecting money but it is also using these outposts as places where they can plan and conduct activities," he added.
Nigeria, with support from Israel, says it has uncovered a Hezbollah cell and arms cache and arrested has locals it accuses of spying for Iran.
(Excerpt) Read more at reuters.com ...
Except in Syria, of course.
I hope that makes our choice of allies clear. < /sarc>
Yes, by all means, let’s support al Qaeda.
Maybe they can blow up the World Tade Center again.