Hezbollah Terrorist Sleeper Cell Suspected in New York City
by Jim Kouri, CPP
While many US government officials are deeply concerned over Iranís nuclear program, according to recent reports, investigations by Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department revealed last May that the Lebanon-based terrorist group Hezbollah may be plotting attacks. These attacks may be launched by their sleeper cells in New York and several other US cities.
According to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the Jewish organization B'nai B'rith, Hezbollah's largest headquarters outside of the Middle East is located in Toronto.
In a story on Fox News, law-enforcement and intelligence officials were quoted as saying that though there is no imminent threat of any attacks, security has been stepped up after the reports of a meeting between Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and leaders of Hezbollah and other terror groups during his recent visit to Syria.
The Iranian Mission to the United Nations in New York City is being kept under surveillance by federal and local intelligence officers, according to Fox. The New York City Police Department possesses one of the largest intelligence divisions in the world.
Hezbollah, or God's Party, grew out of the Lebanese civil war in the early 1980s and quickly became the region's leading radical Islamic movement. Their primary goal was to drive Israeli and American troops out of Lebanon.
For many years, Hezbollah was synonymous with terror, suicide bombings and kidnappings. In 1983, militants who went on to join Hezbollah's ranks carried out a suicide bombing attack that killed 241 US marines in Beirut, which lead to President Ronald Reagan's withdrawal order for all US military peacekeepers.
In May 2000 -- due to the success of the party's military arm -- one of its main aims was achieved. Israel's military was forced to end almost 20 years of occupation in southern Labanon. Hezbollah now serves as an inspiration to Palestinian factions fighting to liberate more territory. The party has embraced the Palestinian cause and has said publicly that it is ready to open a second front against Israel in support of the intifada.
Hezbollah's political rhetoric's central theme is the total annihilation of the state of Israel. Its definition of Israeli occupation has also encompassed the idea that the whole of Palestine is occupied Muslim land and it has argued that Israel has no right to exist. Hezbollah's spiritual head Sheikh Fadlallah is close to Iranian government and is believed responsible for the vitriolic speeches of the Iranian president.
Hezbollah is funded, armed and trained by the Iranians and given free reign by Syria's ruling Ba'athist Party. Its international network, according to terrorism analysts, is believed to include at least 15,000 operatives in cells in the US, Canada, Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil, most of Western Europe, Indonesia, Malaysia, and throughout Africa. Western intelligence sources estimate Hezbollah's annual budget to be approximately $400 million, including almost $100 million annually from Iran.
Other sources of funding include Syria, charitable organizations, individual donations, legitimate business, and illegitimate businesses such as illegal arms trading, cigarette smuggling, currency counterfeiting, credit card fraud, theft, operating illegal telephone exchanges, and drug trafficking. Recently two men were convicted of running a criminal operation that helped to fund Hezbollah.
Hezbollah's growing international terrorist activity has raised concerns that the terrorist group may be emerging as a more serious threat than previously considered. Its global terrorist reach has serious policy implications for Democratic countries. However, there are international organizations that continue to insist that Hezbollah is a legitimate political party in Lebanon and that it does not warrant the designation of "terrorist group."
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for a number of organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. He writes for many police and crime magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer, Campus Law Enforcement Journal, and others. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com, Booksamillion.com, and can be ordered at local bookstores. Kouri holds a bachelor of science in criminal justice and master of arts in public administration and he's a board certified protection professional.