United States has expressed support for Argentina’s efforts to bring to justice
the culprits of the deadly 1994 terrorist attack on a Jewish community center
in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people.
The Argentinean prosecutor’s office believes that the Iranian-backed Lebanese Hezbollah was responsible for that bombing and that the execution order had come from the highest authorities in Iran.
Ambassador Nathan Sales, US coordinator for counterterrorism, delivered keynote remarks on the significance of the attack and continuing concerns regarding terrorist financing in the western hemisphere. He said the administration of the US President Donald Trump is working with Argentinean authorities, along with officials from other Latin American governments, to bring both the Iranian regime’s officials and Lebanese Hezbollah to justice.
In 1982, exploiting a political power vacuum in Lebanon, the Iranian regime sent in a thousand-man strong group of Revolutionary Guard agents into the country to train and equip a Shiite group that sided with Khomeini to create the terrorist Lebanon Hezbollah. The aim of the Iranian regime was to create a military and political presence in the heart of the Middle East for itself.
Iran’s most important tool for spreading terrorism in the Middle East
Over the past 35 years, Hezbollah acted as the Iranian regime’s most important tool for spreading fundamentalism in the Middle East. Some of its most important roles in this regard include participating in the Syrian war on behalf of the Iranian regime, delivering arms and missiles to and training Yemen’s Houthi militias, training Iraqi militias with ties to the Iranian regime, and participating in terrorist attacks on a global level, such as the bombing of AMIA, a Jewish center in Argentina’s Buenos Aires. Hezbollah was also behind the murder of Rafiq Hariri, Lebanon’s former prime minister.
After the 2005 terrorist attack in Lebanon that left Rafiq Hariri and 21 others dead, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) was created to carry out the investigation and prosecution of the perpetrators.
On March 1, 2009, the STL officially opened. The four accused individuals – Mustafa Badreddine, Salim al-Ayyash, Assad Sabra and Hassan Oneissi – were trialed in absentia. The STL is unique among international criminal tribunals in that it can hold trials in absentia, and it is the first to deal with terrorism as a distinct crime.
International and regional stances towards Hezbollah
The United States first designated Lebanon’s Hezbollah as a terrorist organization in 1997. Canada, the Arab League and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) followed suit with similar designations.
The GCC has blacklisted Hezbollah, its military wing, its leaders and its offshoots and linked groups.
The European Union has blacklisted the military wing of Hezbollah. According to Reuters and AFP, Hezbollah’s terrorist activities on European soil led the EU to blacklist the group.
Diplomatic sources in Brussels indicate that Hezbollah’s activities to send militants to Syria to help Bashar al-Assad has helped change the balance in favor of blacklisting the group in EU.
The Combating Terrorism Center (CTC), a US military think tank in West Point, published a report last August listing an ever-growing catalog of the Iranian regime’s terrorist attacks and activities in the region and on a global scale, including to the regime’s latest attempt to bomb an opposition political rally in Paris.
The CTC called on the European Union to include Hezbollah in its entirety on the EU’s list of terrorist organizations.
“The international response to Iran’s international terrorist activity should not be limited to law enforcement action alone. A regulatory action would also be helpful, and it is worth noting there have been calls for the European Union to designate not just Hezbollah’s military wing as a terrorist group but to include the organization in its entirety, as well as expanded financial and diplomatic sanctions,” the report stated.
Referring to an Iranian terrorist diplomat that was recently detained in Europe, the report concluded that “in the wake of the Assadi affair, the State Department released timelines and maps depicting select incidents of Iranian-sponsored operational activities in Europe from 1979 to 2018, including both incidents involving Iran’s proxy, Hezbollah, as well as those carried out by Iranian agents themselves. Developing an appreciation for the extent of Iranian operations in Europe over the years is important and not just as some kind of academic exercise.”
Hezbollah’s financial sources
In addition to Iranian arms and money, Hezbollah makes money by trafficking illegal drugs to Europe and South America.
In a TV interview with Iranian-backed television, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah openly admitted that Iran provides his group with money, arms, missiles, food and clothing.