A Bundle Of English Reports, News and Editorials For January 13/2020 Addressing the On Going Mass Demonstrations & Sit In-ins In Iranian Occupied Lebanon in its 88th Day

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Protesters chant slogans as they hold national flags during ongoing protests against the Lebanese political class, at a road leading to the parliament building in Beirut, Lebanon, Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020. Protesters have been holding demonstrations since Oct. 17 demanding an end to widespread corruption and mismanagement by the political class that has ruled the country for three decades and delays in the formation of a new government. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

A Bundle Of English Reports, News and Editorials For January 12-13/2020 Addressing the On Going Mass Demonstrations & Sit In-ins In Iranian Occupied Lebanon in its 88th Day
Compiled By: Elias Bejjani
January 13/2020

Titles For The Latest English LCCC Lebanese & Lebanese Related News & Editorials published on January 12-13/2020
Nasrallah Is A Gowned King Of delusions, nightmares, and hallucinations/Elias Bejjani/January 12/2020
The Cancerous Hezbollah Is The Main Problem In Lebanon/Elias Bejjani/January 11/2020
The Presence Of Iran & It Proxies In The Region Will End Very Soon/Elias Bejjani/January 10/2020
Soleimani’s assassination is the beginning of a new history in our region,” says Nasrallah
Hezbollah says payback for US strike has just begun
Nasrallah: ‘Blood’ to Show Americans World Not Safer Post Soleimani
Hezbollah leader warns US troops will have to leave region dead or alive
Report: Govt. Formation Returns to Square One after Aoun-Diab Exchange
Salameh Wants to ‘Unify’ Capital Controls, Not Slap New Ones
Report: Govt. Formation Returns to Square One after Aoun-Diab Exchange
Protesters Rally across Lebanon as Crisis Deepens
Sit-in outside Shukair’s residence in protest against extending contracts with cellphone companies
Adwan: Our judgment on the PM-designate will be upon his declaration of the government formation
Murad: To stop importing any agricultural commodities piled in our warehouses
Abu Faour: How can the dollar be available to money changers and not to banks?
Hmayid after meeting Larijani: Iran will stand by the Lebanese
Al-Rahi Slams Caretaker Govt. Inaction, Those Blocking New Govt.
Rahi calls on authorities to listen to the youth
Ghosn’s Japan Lawyer: Questioning Averaged 7 Hours a Day
Lebanon Central Bank Seeks Extra Powers, Wants Controls Standardized
Lebanon’s Exchange Markets Control Dollar Rate, Central Bank Only Monitors/Paula Astih/Asharq Al-Awsat/January, 12/2020
The Lebanese Carlos/Sawsan al-Abtah/Asharq Al Awsat/January 12/2020
The DEA’s (Drug Enforcement Administration) Targeting of Hezbollah’s Global Criminal Support Network/John Fernandez/The Washington Institute/January 12/2020

Details Of The Latest English LCCC Lebanese & Lebanese Related News & Editorial published on January 12-13/2020
Nasrallah Is A Gowned King Of  delusions, nightmares, and hallucinations
Elias Bejjani/January 12/2020
Sadly Sayed Nasrallah lives in a world of his own grandiose delusions and accordingly he is totally detached from reality. In this sickening realm comes his ‘One Thousand Nights and One Day,’ Tale stylish speech of today that was mere fabrications lies, fantasies. Definitely he himself does not believe a word of his inflated threats, allegations and lies. In reality, this man and his mercenary terrorist Iranian party, the so called Hezbollah, are a cancerous catastrophe that is destroying Lebanon and every thing that is Lebanese

The Cancerous Hezbollah Is The Main Problem In Lebanon
Elias Bejjani/January 11/2020
No solutions could ever take place in occupied Lebanon before the total eradication of the cancerous Hezbollah and the burying for ever its two big devastating lies the so evilly and falsely called resistance and liberation.

The Presence Of Iran & It Proxies In The Region Will End Very Soon
Elias Bejjani/January 10/2020
Could the So Falsely Called “Resistance and Liberation Axis” Leadership Explain how they are going to force the American’s military out of the region while, their topnotch figure Sayed Nasrallah is still living underground since 14 years because of his fear from them?. In Conclusion no one can offer what he does not own.

Soleimani’s assassination is the beginning of a new history in our region,” says Nasrallah
NNA/January 12/2020
“The response to the American crime is not a single operation, but rather a long path that must lead to removing America from our region,” said Hezbollah Secretary-General, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, on Sunday.
“The days will reveal that after the assassination of Soleimani the world will be different. It is the beginning of a new history in our region,” he underscored. “What happened at Ain al-Assad base is not a response, but a mere blow [in the face of America] along this long path, and it is a first, strong, and earth-shattering step on the road of this crime committed by America,” vowed Nasrallah. “What happened restored the true image of America that does not want stability for our region,” he said. In his delivered speech marking one week of memorial for the assassination of al-Quds Force Commander Qasem Soleimani and Al-Hashd Al-Sha’abi Deputy Chief Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and their companions, Nasrallah said: “Soleimani was a partner in the 2000 victory and it is our duty, following his martyrdom, to declare this fact.”
“Soleimani represented the Islamic revolution in Iran, and was the best messenger and carried its flag to our peoples and resistance movements in our countries,” he said.
Eulogizing Soleimani and outlining his contributions and support to the resistance movement, Nasrallah indicated that Soleimani shared the same notion that after liberation, Lebanon would remain in the Israeli threat circle, the reason for which the capabilities of the resistance had to be developed to prevent any Israeli aggression against the country. “Here the stage of developing missile capabilities began,” he said, noting that Soleimani encouraged them to continue further, saying, “You do not have the luxury of time!”
“Qasem Soleimani insisted on being present in Beirut’s suburbs during the aggression period in the summer of 2006, and he remained with us throughout the war,” Nasrallah went on, commending as well the Iranian contribution to Lebanon’s reconstruction at the end of the Israeli aggression in August 2006.
Referring to the Daesh terrorist group, Nasrallah considered that “if ISIS had not been defeated in Homs and other regions, it would not have been eradicated from Lebanon’s eastern mountain chain on the border with Syria,” pointing herein to “Soleimani’s presence, in person, in these battles.”He recalled the past Israeli claims that Lebanon was a “weak link”, up until the years 2000 and 2006, when Lebanon became “a strategic threat to it, leading to Israel’s characterization of the resistance as being a direct and existential peril.”
“All of this occurred with the blessing of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the dedication of Hajj Soleimani,” Nasrallah confirmed gratefully.
Referring to Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, Nasrallah said, “His relationship with Soleimani was a spiritual relationship, for he was a student of his, and Al-Muhandis was honest, humble, and stood by Soleimani during the stage of fighting ISIS, and it is no coincidence that God has chosen for them to die as martyrs together and that this martyrdom would have its great dimensions in the nation.”
Nasrallah reiterated his assertion of the role of Soleimani and the popular mobilization [Al-Hashd Al-Sha’abi] in defeating ISIS, “which means that they defended all the peoples of the region,” he said. “We are faced with the example of an Islamic leader who is never tired or bored, who is modest and works for God. This is Hajj Qasem Soleimani,” he corroborated.
On the Islamic Republic’s support to the resistance movement, Hezbollah Secretary-General said: “Iran deals with us and the Palestinian resistance as allies and not Iranian tools as some accuse us, because this is political Islam, which they are working to distort with the support of organizations like ISIS.”
“ISIS in Iraq is an American creation, supported by some Gulf countries with money, arms, media coverage and sectarian incitement, and ISIS is one of the most dangerous projects witnessed in Iraq. Here was the role of Hajj Qasem until his martyrdom, accompanied by Al-Hashd Al-Sha’abi, in purifying Iraq from ISIS,” Nasrallah indicated.”If ISIS had not been defeated in Iraq, it would have taken control of Iraq and would not have been defeated in Syria. If ISIS had not been defeated in Iraq and Syria, the Gulf States and Turkey would be in danger and the poison would have turned against its owners,” he underlined. Nasrallah concluded by vowing to “continue along the path towards achieving our goals.

Hezbollah says payback for US strike has just begun
Associated Press/January 12/2020
The leader of Hezbollah, which is closely aligned with Iran, said the strikes were the “first step down a long path” that will ensure U.S. troops withdraw from the region.
BEIRUT: The leader of the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah said Sunday that Iran’s missile attacks on two bases in Iraq housing U.S. forces was only the start of the retaliation for America’s killing a top Iranian general in a drone strike. Hassan Nasrallah described Iran’s ballistic missile response as a “slap” to Washington, one that sent a message. The limited strikes caused no casualties and appeared to be mainly a show of force. The leader of Hezbollah, which is closely aligned with Iran, said the strikes were the “first step down a long path” that will ensure U.S. troops withdraw from the region.
“The Americans must remove their bases, soldiers and officers and ships from our region. The alternative … to leaving vertically is leaving horizontally. This is a decisive and firm decision,” Nasrallah said. “We are speaking about the start of a phase, about a new battle, about a new era in the region,” he added.
His 90-minute televised speech marked one week since the killing of Iran’s Gen. Qassim Soleimani. Nasrallah praised Soleimani for his steadfast support for Hezbollah. Iran’s Revolutionary Guard has provided training for Hezbollah, which fought in the war in Syria alongside Iran-backed militias that Soleimani directed. Nasrallah said that the world is a different place after Soleimani’s death, and not a safer place as some U.S. officials have declared. Iran had for days been promising to respond forcefully to Soleimani’s killing. But after the ballistic missile strikes, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted that the country had “concluded proportionate measures in self-defense.” Nasrallah also praised the Iran’s leadership for admitting to accidentally shooting down a Ukranian passenger plane on the night it launched the missile attacks. He called the acknowledgement “transparency that is unparalleled in the world.”
The plane crash early Wednesday killed all 176 people on board, mostly Iranians and Iranian-Canadians. Iran had initially pointed to a technical failure and insisted the armed forces were not to blame. Hezbollah is one of Iran’s main allies in the region and is a sworn enemy of Israel, with which it has had a series of confrontations, lastly in 2006.

Nasrallah: ‘Blood’ to Show Americans World Not Safer Post Soleimani
Naharnet/January 12/2020
Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on Sunday warned U.S. officials that they would be mistaken if they thought that “the world has become safer” with the death of top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani.
“The U.S. administration will pay a hefty price and this crime will not go unpunished and it will not be forgotten,” said Nasrallah in a televised speech commemorating Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, an Iraqi paramilitary leader who was killed with Soleimani in a U.S. drone strike in Baghdad. “They are saying that the world has become safer post Soleimani and we tell them that they will realize that they are mistaken through blood. The world after Soleimani’s martyrdom will be different and it will not have a place for tyrants,” Nasrallah added.
“During the upcoming days, weeks and months, the Americans must pull out their troops, officers and ships and they must leave the region. There is no choice other than departing horizontally (in coffins) after they arrived vertically,” Nasrallah warned, noting that the U.S. withdrawal from the region is “a matter of time.”Commenting on the Iranian missile strike on a U.S. base in Iraq, Nasrallah said the response to Soleimani’s killing is “not a single operation but rather a long course that leads to the ouster of American forces from the region.”
“The Ain al-Assad attack was only a slap,” the Hizbullah leader added, echoing remarks by Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Praising Iran, Nasrallah said the retaliatory strike reflects “endless courage.” “Who dares on this planet to stand in the face of America and strike one of its bases with missiles?” Nasrallah asked. “All U.S. bases in the region can be targeted by Iranian missiles and Iran possesses more accurate missiles,” he warned. Nasrallah also noted that “this was also a strong message to the Zionist entity (Israel), seeing as (Israeli PM Benjamin) Netanyahu used to dream of sending his warplanes to Tehran.” “The Americans have been reined in… and the American prestige has been broken,” Nasrallah boasted. Nasrallah also denied U.S. President Donald Trump’s claim that Soleimani was plotting to target four U.S. embassies, dismissing the accusations as “lies.”
Moreover, Nasrallah suggested that Iraq will be the arena that will witness future retaliatory attacks against the Americans. “The second arena that is concerned with retaliation is the Iraqi arena in which America committed its crime and because it targeted an Iraqi leader,” Nasrallah said, adding that “should Americans refrain from leaving Iraq, the Iraqi people and resistance factions are the ones who would decide how to deal with the occupation forces.”

Hezbollah leader warns US troops will have to leave region dead or alive
Arab News/January 12/2020
BEIRUT: The leader of Hezbollah warned that US troops would have to leave the region dead or alive, and that their withdrawal from the Middle East was a long process rather than a single operation.
Hassan Nasrallah made the threat more than a week after a US drone strike killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the late commander of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.
He addressed his supporters on giant screens that had been set up in Bekaa and southern Lebanon in tribute to Soleimani and the deputy leader of the paramilitary group Hashd Al-Shaabi, Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis. Both men were killed by the US strike on Jan. 2.
Iran in retaliation fired missiles last week at air bases in Iraq used by US forces. The response to Soleimani’s death was a long process that should lead to the eventual withdrawal of Americans from the region, the Hezbollah secretary-general said.
“What happened in Ain Al-Asad Air Base in Iraq is a mere slap on the US and not a full reprisal, and whoever thinks otherwise is wrong, yet it is a very strong military response and a first step on a long path in reaction to the crime. After this slap, the Axis of Resistance should go to action,” he said referring to an anti-Western, anti-Israeli power bloc. “The Americans have to either leave the region vertically or horizontally (in coffins) and this is the ultimate resolution of the Axis of Resistance, and it is a matter of time for this to be achieved. It is a new era in the region and the upcoming days will prove it.”
He said the attack on Al-Asad had put the region on the brink of war, demonstrating “an unprecedented Iranian courage” as it targeted a US base and forces, something which had not happened since World War II, and that the strike was led by a state rather than an organization or resistance group.
It showed the “might of Iranian military capabilities,” which meant all US bases in the region could be subjected to similar missile attacks, he added, pointing out that Iran had more sophisticated and accurate missiles than the ones used in the Al-Asad attack.
FASTFACT
He addressed his supporters on giant screens that had been set up in Bekaa and southern Lebanon in tribute to Soleimani and Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, the deputy leader of Hashd Al-Shaabi.
Nasrallah said the strike was also a message to anyone who conspired with the US against Iran. He urged the chief of the Iraqi Kurds, Masoud Barzani, to recognize what Soleimani had done for him.
Barzani had contacted the Iranians asking for help when Iraqi Kurdistan almost fell to Daesh, he claimed, and they swiftly responded by sending aid overnight. Soleimani went with the Lebanese to Erbil to support the Kurds, and what was expected now was for them to press for a US withdrawal from the region, he added.
Nasrallah then turned his focus toward US President Donald Trump, branding him a liar and denying his accusation that Soleimani was planning to target the US Embassy in Baghdad.
He said that the huge crowds participating in Soleimani’s funeral terrified Trump and his administration.
“During the Israeli aggression against Lebanon in 2006, Soleimani came to Beirut via Syria, and stayed with us in the southern suburb of Beirut throughout the war in the military command headquarters under heavy bombing. After the war ended, he asked us about our needs, which resulted in Iranian assistance for the reconstruction of Lebanon.”
He heaped praise on Soleimani, saying the slain military man had stood alongside Syrians in the fight against Daesh.
“Had Daesh not been defeated in Iraq, it would have threatened all countries of the region, and its defeat in Iraq led to its defeat also in Syria, and had this not happened all Gulf states, in addition to Iran and Turkey, would have been in danger; this is why the peoples of the region should thank the Hashd Al-Shaabi for saving them and the region too.”

Report: Govt. Formation Returns to Square One after Aoun-Diab Exchange

Naharnet/January 12/2020
The debate that has erupted between President Michel Aoun and PM-designate Hassan Diab has returned the government formation negotiations to square one, a media report said. “President Michel Aoun and Speaker Nabih Berri have called for a techno-political government, a suggestion that has not been opposed by Hizbullah,” Asharq al-Awsat newspaper reported. Diab had decried pressures Friday evening but stressed that he will not “bow” or refrain from carrying out his mission, while emphasizing his commitment to the standards he has announced for the formation of a “small technocrat government.”Caretaker State Minister for Presidency Affairs Salim Jreissati, who is close to Aoun, hit back, issuing a statement underlining that “the President is not a mailman or a ballot box in the designation and formation process.”In this regard, sources close to the Presidency told Asharq al-Awsat that “Jreissati’s statement is sufficient and what happened shows that things have returned to square one and that this period requires a reevaluation of the entire process” while emphasizing that “no side is exerting pressures on Diab.”“The ball is now in the PM-designate’s court, especially amid the consensus of the parties who backed him and granted him their votes on pushing for the formation of a techno-political government, and therefore he cannot reject their demand,” the sources added. The sources also reminded of Berri’s call for “an inclusive and uniting techno-political government,” adding that Aoun has made a similar call and Hizbullah is not opposed to such a scenario. “Wisdom entails adding some politicians to the government and distributing the portfolios in a fair manner to reach a format that would be accepted by everyone,” the sources added. They also criticized Diab for “confining himself to rushed commitments, such as announcing a six-week deadline for forming the government, setting up a cabinet of nonpartisan experts and barring ex-ministers from participation.”“These issues are not fit for politics, in which developments are always expected to impose drastic changes,” the sources added. Sources close to Diab meanwhile reiterated his insistence on a “technocrat government composed of nonpartisan members.” Asked about the suggestion that Diab “should bow to the will of those who designated him,” the sources said: “If there are clear constitutional texts allowing them to withdraw this designation, let them do so.”The sources added that the parties would have the choice of withholding confidence should the cabinet line-up be referred to parliament as per the constitution.

Salameh Wants to ‘Unify’ Capital Controls, Not Slap New Ones
Naharnet/January 12/2020
Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh on Sunday clarified that a letter he sent to caretaker Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil was aimed at “unifying” capital controls in the country rather than imposing new restrictions. Salameh explained that his request seeks to “regulate” the controls that the Lebanese banks have imposed on depositors. The governor pointed out that he wants to “unify them to guarantee that they are being implemented fairly and equally on banks and clients.”A liquidity crunch has pushed Lebanese banks to limit dollar withdrawals and transfers since September. This has forced depositors to deal in the plummeting Lebanese pound, which has lost nearly two thirds of its black market value against the greenback for the first time since it was pegged at 1,500 to the dollar in 1997. Although no formal policy is in place, most banks have arbitrarily capped withdrawals at around $1,000 a month, while others have imposed tighter restrictions. With ordinary depositors bearing the brunt of these measures, bank branches have transformed into arenas of conflict. Fistfights, shouting and tears have become more frequent, as cash-hungry clients haggle tellers to release money trapped under informal capital controls. For decades, Lebanon’s commercial banks have been the main conduit of foreign currency entering Lebanon, via deposits from investors and the country’s wide-reaching diaspora. But a severe slowdown in foreign currency injections has hampered dwindling reserves in a highly dollarized economy where the Lebanese pound and the greenback are used interchangeably in everyday life. In November, two credit rating agencies downgraded Lebanon’s top banks further into junk territory, citing liquidity pressures. In a report that same month, the Bank of America said Lebanon’s foreign exchange reserves could run out by the middle of 2020 if they continue to plummet quickly. With no fresh currency coming in from outside due to increasing capital restrictions, “time could be rapidly running out,” it warned. Amid the depletion of foreign currency, dollar-hungry banks are now “trying to transfer their losses onto the public,” said Sami Halabi, director of the Beirut-based research and policy firm Triangle. By trapping dollar savings, banks are increasingly forcing the public to deal with the plummeting Lebanese pound, in what experts are calling a de-facto haircut. The restrictions have sparked panic in debt-ridden Lebanon, where protesters are demanding the removal of a political class they deem incompetent and corrupt. As demonstrations enter their third month, protesters are increasingly targeting banks, which they say are robbing people of their hard-earned savings.

Report: Govt. Formation Returns to Square One after Aoun-Diab Exchange
Naharnet/January 12/2020
The debate that has erupted between President Michel Aoun and PM-designate Hassan Diab has returned the government formation negotiations to square one, a media report said. “President Michel Aoun and Speaker Nabih Berri have called for a techno-political government, a suggestion that has not been opposed by Hizbullah,” Asharq al-Awsat newspaper reported. Diab had decried pressures Friday evening but stressed that he will not “bow” or refrain from carrying out his mission, while emphasizing his commitment to the standards he has announced for the formation of a “small technocrat government.”
Caretaker State Minister for Presidency Affairs Salim Jreissati, who is close to Aoun, hit back, issuing a statement underlining that “the President is not a mailman or a ballot box in the designation and formation process.”In this regard, sources close to the Presidency told Asharq al-Awsat that “Jreissati’s statement is sufficient and what happened shows that things have returned to square one and that this period requires a reevaluation of the entire process” while emphasizing that “no side is exerting pressures on Diab.” “The ball is now in the PM-designate’s court, especially amid the consensus of the parties who backed him and granted him their votes on pushing for the formation of a techno-political government, and therefore he cannot reject their demand,” the sources added. The sources also reminded of Berri’s call for “an inclusive and uniting techno-political government,” adding that Aoun has made a similar call and Hizbullah is not opposed to such a scenario. “Wisdom entails adding some politicians to the government and distributing the portfolios in a fair manner to reach a format that would be accepted by everyone,” the sources added. They also criticized Diab for “confining himself to rushed commitments, such as announcing a six-week deadline for forming the government, setting up a cabinet of nonpartisan experts and barring ex-ministers from participation.”“These issues are not fit for politics, in which developments are always expected to impose drastic changes,” the sources added. Sources close to Diab meanwhile reiterated his insistence on a “technocrat government composed of nonpartisan members.” Asked about the suggestion that Diab “should bow to the will of those who designated him,” the sources said: “If there are clear constitutional texts allowing them to withdraw this designation, let them do so.”
The sources added that the parties would have the choice of withholding confidence should the cabinet line-up be referred to parliament as per the constitution.

Protesters Rally across Lebanon as Crisis Deepens
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/January 12/2020
Hundreds protested across Lebanon on Saturday to denounce a crippling economic crisis and the political deadlock that has left the country without a government for over two months. Chanting anti-government slogans in the capital Beirut, the northern city of Tripoli and the southern city of Nabatieh, they also denounced a class of political leaders they deem incompetent and corrupt. In Beirut, hundreds of protesters marched to parliament, making stops at the state-run electricity company and the headquarters of the Association of Banks.. “All the reasons that made us take to the streets on October 17 still stand,” said protester Riad Issa, referring to the date Lebanon’s anti-government protest movement started. “Nothing has changed and the political establishment is closing its ears… and shutting its eyes.” Although protests have declined in size, demonstrations have been ongoing since October, increasingly targeting banks and state institutions blamed for driving the country towards collapse. The movement has been fueled by a crippling economic crisis, the worst since Lebanon’s 1975-1990 civil war. The World Bank has warned of an impeding recession that may see the proportion of people living in poverty climb from a third to half the population. To make matters worse, a liquidity crunch has pushed Lebanese banks to limit dollar withdrawals and transfers since September. This has forced depositors to deal in the plummeting Lebanese pound, which has lost nearly two thirds of its black market value against the greenback for the first time since it was pegged at 1,500 to the dollar in 1997. “The country is collapsing. We want a government of independents and a rescue plan,” read a banner carried by demonstrators in Beirut. Lebanon has been without a government since former Prime Minister Saad Hariri resigned on October 29, bowing to popular pressure. His successor, Hassan Diab, was designated on December 19 but is yet to form a government in a delay donors say debt-saddled Lebanon can ill afford. In a statement on Friday, he said he still stands by his pledge to form a government of independent experts to rescue the country from the brink of collapse, a key demand of protesters. But he said his efforts were being challenged. “The pressures, no matter how large, will not change my conviction,” he said on Twitter. “I will not bow to intimidation.”The delay in forming a government has drawn the ire of demonstrators. “We are tired of this skirting of responsibility,” said Rolan Younan, a demonstrator. “We need to reshape the political class.”

Sit-in outside Shukair’s residence in protest against extending contracts with cellphone companies
NNA/January 12/2020
A sit-in by members of the civil movement was staged outside the residence of Caretaker Tele-Communications Minister Mohammad Shukair in Hamra this afternoon, during which a press conference was devoted to tackling the contract extension with “Alpha” and “Touch” cellphone companies. In a word delivered by activist Neamat Badreddine, she considered that “the Minister of Tele-Communications preferred the interests of the two companies over the interest of the state, and circumvented the decision of the President of the Republic and the Parliamentary Communications Committee for an indefinite period without any hesitation.” Badreddine, thus, appealed to the President of the Republic to “hold Minister Shukair accountable through the Ministry of Justice, and to put an end to this farce”, while calling on the Parliamentary Information and Communications Committee “to meet urgently to discuss Shukair’s veering away from the Committee’s unanimous recommendation in restoring the administration of this sector to the hands of the state.”Badreddine also announced that the protesters will head tomorrow morning to the Audit Bureau to submit a notification to the Finance Public Prosecution and the Central Inspection Body over the existence of expired work contracts and disbursement of public money with expired signatures. Additionally, a notification will also be addressed to Financial Prosecutor, Judge Ghassan Oweidat, to initiate an audit into financial dossiers pertaining to operating expenses and waste of public funds.

Adwan: Our judgment on the PM-designate will be upon his declaration of the government formation

NNA/January 12/2020
Head of the Justice and Administration Parliamentary Committee, MP George Adwan, said the new Prime Minister-designate will be judged once he announces the new cabinet formation. “Today, we are before a political class, the majority of which has not learned from what happened and does not want to learn, while the solution at this stage is to form a government,” he said. Speaking in an interview with MTV Station earlier today, Adwan said: “The battle of the appointed Prime Minister or any new government is to gain the people’s confidence,” adding that “with the prevailing mentality and with the same people, we cannot have any different outcome.” “The delay in forming a new government is unfathomable under the prevailing conditions in the country, and it indicates a flop to return to our previous status,” he indicated. “As Lebanese Forces, we do not want to judge the intentions, for our judgment on the PM-designate will be when announcing the formation of his government,” the MP noted, stating that his Party was trying, before October 17, to encourage others towards the right path in saving the country. “The Lebanese Forces Party advocates any change taking place within the constitutional framework, and the issue of supporting early parliamentary elections is being seriously studied within the Strong Republic bloc,” disclosed Adwan.

Murad: To stop importing any agricultural commodities piled in our warehouses

NNA/January 12/2020
Caretaker State Minister for International Trade Affairs, Hassan Murad, stressed that “the national interest requires, without any hesitation, that we support the productive sectors in Lebanon,” reiterating “the demand of the agricultural sector to stop foreign imports of any agricultural commodities that are stacked in Lebanese warehouses and refrigerators.”During his meeting with a delegation representing agricultural bodies from the Bekaa region, Murad promised to stand by Lebanese farmers in their demand to stop agricultural import. He said he will raise the issue with Caretaker Agriculture Minister, Hassan Lakkis, in order to agree on ceasing importation until reaching self-sufficiency and consuming all agricultural quantities produced in Lebanon. “Priority remains to our national production during these circumstances,” he asserted, noting that “we have no problem with Egypt and when needed, it will have the privilege of our imports.”Murad concluded by declaring: “I will visit Syria at the beginning of next week, and I will work with them to facilitate the entry of Lebanese agricultural trucks, and reducing the financial taxes imposed on Lebanese exports. The Lebanese state is short on this issue, and I have been asking from day one to address this matter, especially that it would generate nearly a billion dollars’ revenue to the Lebanese state.”

Abu Faour: How can the dollar be available to money changers and not to banks?

NNA/January 12/2020
Caretaker Industry Minister Wael Abu Faour tweeted Sunday on the inavailability of the dollar currency at Lebanese banks, considering that “either banks are refraining from giving citizens their money, intending to humiliate and impoverish them, and therefore should be prosecuted…or money exchangers are conducting illegal money laundry operations, making huge profits from the Lebanese…Hence, they ought to be held accountable by the banking supervisory authorities and by the judiciary.”In all cases, Abu Faour regretfully deemed that the Lebanese citizen is the actual victim, since the new government is not likely to see the light anytime soon, while the citizen remains without any reference of protection.

Hmayid after meeting Larijani: Iran will stand by the Lebanese
NNA/January 12/2020
Amal Movement’s delegation pursued its visit Saturday to the Iranian capital, Tehran, where its members met with Iranian Shoura Council Speaker, Ali Larijani, offering condolences on the martyrdom of Major General Qasem Soleimani, and dwelling on the current Lebanese status.Following the visit, MP Ayoub Hmayid confirmed Iran’s solidarity and support for Lebanon. “Iran will stand by the Lebanese,” he said. “Mr. Larijani commended the wisdom of the Lebanese in administering the government issue, the repercussions of Prime Minister Hariri’s resignation, and the assignment of Dr. Hassan Diab to form the new government. At the same time, he praised the wisdom of Speaker Nabih Berri and Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah in approaching the arising situation, stressing that the assassination operation will not dissuade the Islamic Republic from its path in support of liberation movements and resistance in Palestine and Lebanon, and in the face of terrorism embodied in America and Israel and all those who were born to create chaos in this region of the world and others,” Hmayid underlined. The MP also indicated that the encounter was a chance to reiterate “the depth of connection between Lebanon and the Islamic Republic of Iran at all junctures, and the willingness of the Islamic Republic and the Iranian Shoura Council to be alongside the Lebanese and provide support at the parliamentary level and the exchange of expertise that can always be beneficial.”

Al-Rahi Slams Caretaker Govt. Inaction, Those Blocking New Govt.
Naharnet/January 12/2020
Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi on Sunday blasted the caretaker government for failing to “practice its responsibilities.” He also lamented that “those who brought the PM-designate are not facilitating his strenuous efforts to form a government.” “Does the caretaker government, which is neglecting its duties, and do the obstructers of the formation of the new government and the political forces and parties and parliamentary blocs… realize the magnitude of the financial, economic, commercial and morale loss that Lebanon and its people, entity and institutions are going through?” al-Rahi wondered.

Rahi calls on authorities to listen to the youth
NNA/January 12/2020
Maronite Patriarch, Cardinal Bechara Boutros al-Rahi, called on political leaders to listen to the demands of the youth, before their uprising turns into a devastating revolution. The Prelate, who presided over Sunday Mass in Bkirki, also condemned attempts to hinder the formation of the cabinet, deeming such acts as unacceptable. “The government must be formed quickly to protect the economy,” he saId. Rahi stressed the need for dialogue to restore national unity among the Lebanese.

Ghosn’s Japan Lawyer: Questioning Averaged 7 Hours a Day
Associated Press Naharnet/January 12/2020
A lawyer for former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn, who fled to Lebanon while awaiting trial in Japan, said his client was questioned an average of seven hours a day without a lawyer present. Takashi Takano said on his blog post the questioning continued through weekends, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Takano has said he told Ghosn he couldn’t expect a fair trial in Japan, but his chances of winning were good because the evidence against him was so weak. Japan’s judicial system has come under fire over Ghosn’s case. Critics have for years said the prolonged detentions tend to coerce false confessions. Suspects can be detained even without any charges. Japanese prosecutors and Justice Minister Masako Mori have repeatedly defended the nation’s system as upholding human rights, noting Japan boasts a low crime rate. Mori said the system follows appropriate procedures under Japanese law, stressing that every culture is different. Takano said he recently looked at prosecutors’ data and Ghosn’s notes to tally the hours of questioning for 70 of the days Ghosn was detained. On three days, Ghosn had been questioned for some 11 hours, according to Takano’s tally. Ghosn was detained under two separate arrests for 130 days. He has been charged with underreporting his future compensation and of breach of trust in diverting Nissan Motor Co. money for alleged personal gain. In a news conference in Beirut lasting more than two hours, Ghosn reasserted his innocence, and accused Nissan and Japanese government officials of plotting his removal. Ghosn, who led Nissan for two decades, has said the compensation was never decided, and the payments were for legitimate business. Much of his news conference was devoted to criticizing Japanese justice as rigged and harsh. He said he had been grilled without a lawyer present while held in solitary confinement. He advised all foreigners to leave.

Lebanon Central Bank Seeks Extra Powers, Wants Controls Standardized
Asharq Al-Awsat/Sunday, 12 January, 2020
Lebanon’s central bank is seeking extra powers to regulate and standardize controls which commercial banks are imposing on depositors, the governor said on Sunday, saying his intention was to ensure “fair relationships” between banks and customers. Seeking to prevent capital flight, commercial banks have been tightly controlling access to deposits and blocking most transfers abroad since October, when anti-government protests brought a long-brewing Lebanese economic crisis to a head. The Lebanese authorities have not, however, introduced formal capital controls regulating these measures. Central bank governor Riad Salameh, in a text message to Reuters, confirmed sending a letter to Lebanon’s finance minister on Jan. 9 seeking “exceptional powers necessary to issue regulations pertaining” to conditions in the sector. He said no new measures were planned.
The letter, reported by Lebanese media late on Saturday, said the measures imposed by commercial banks needed to be regulated and unified “with the aim of implementing them fairly and equally on all depositors and clients”. Lebanon’s caretaker government has not issued any statement on Salameh’s request, which was set out in a letter to caretaker Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil. In the letter, Salameh said implementation of the controls by commercial banks had “on several occasions led to prejudicing the rights of some clients, particularly with respect to the unequal approach with other clients”. He urged Khalil to work with the government “to take appropriate legal measures … to entrust (the central bank)” with the necessary extra powers. In justifying this, he cited the need to “secure the public good, to protect banking and monetary stability … and to protect the legitimate interests of depositors and clients”. Reflecting a hard currency shortage, commercial banks have gradually reduced the amount of dollars customers can withdraw since October. For most, the cap is now 200 dollars a week.Lebanon is facing the worst economic crisis since its 1975-90 civil war, rooted in decades of rampant state corruption and bad governance that have landed the country with one of the world’s heaviest public debt burdens.

Lebanon’s Exchange Markets Control Dollar Rate, Central Bank Only Monitors
Paula Astih/Asharq Al-Awsat/Sunday, 12 January, 2020
The price of the US dollar on the exchange market in Lebanon in the past few days has touched 2,500 Lebanese pounds (LBP), an unprecedented figure since the end of the civil war nearly 30 years ago.
Despite the stability of the official price at the threshold of 1,500 LBP, the Lebanese are very concerned over chaos in the market, especially since the vast majority of them receive their salaries in the local currency. Recent media remarks by central bank governor Riad Salameh, in which he tried to reassure the Lebanese about the fate of their bank deposits and the availability of liquidity, did not alleviate concerns that the dollar would touch the threshold of 3,000 LBP, double the official price. The head of the Syndicate of Exchange Offices, Mahmoud Murad, tried to ease concerns, stating that the rise in the price of the dollar fell within the supply and demand equation, which usually controls markets and is affected by the prevailing security and political conditions. “Money exchange offices are not responsible for the rise in the exchange rate, as the profit margin for them has not changed,” he told Asharq Al-Awsat. There are only 305 exchange offices affiliated with the syndicate, according to Murad, while between 200 and 300 others are working without a license.
Financial and Economic Expert Dr. Charbel Qordahi stressed that the central bank and the Banking Supervision Authority were legally the two bodies responsible for regulating the exchange sector. But he added that forcing the exchange offices to fix the exchange rate would lead to adverse results such as the emergence of a black market.“Stabilizing the exchange rate can only be done by securing the necessary liquidity in dollars,” Qordahi noted. Reflecting a hard currency shortage, commercial banks have gradually reduced the amount of dollars customers can withdraw since October. For most, the cap is now 200 dollars a week. Lebanon is facing the worst economic crisis since its 1975-90 civil war, rooted in decades of rampant state corruption and bad governance that have landed the country with one of the world’s heaviest public debt burdens.

The Lebanese Carlos
Sawsan al-Abtah/Asharq Al Awsat/January 12/2020
More than twenty books have been written on Carlos Ghosn, and soon, another writer will go where nobody else has, in search of the secret behind Ghosn speaking very little about his father. The book published in French will discuss an aspect that Ghosn has scarcely discussed: his father’s involvement in a murder for which he was given a death sentence that was never carried out but instead was imprisoned for a long time. This story motivates the son’s remembrance of his grandfather, the poor Lebanese man who immigrated to Brazil and became a successful businessman instead of his father, whom he barely talks about.This information does not change anything in terms of the accusations against Ghosn in Japan, but points at the centrality of his role and his excessive interest in his personality, chasing every little detail about his life. A car industry emperor whose success turned him into a phenomenon, just as the attempt to overthrow him, described in France as an ‘earthquake’. A planner, or a vulgar thinker, coming from different cultures with nationalities from three different continents. An immigrant who fluently speaks French, English, Portuguese and Arabic. His personal profile along with his way of work represents a rare living embodiment in Europe and Asia of an engineer of international businesses, capable of running several enormous companies at the same time, with unmatched success, generating billions of dollars in profit in a short period while supervising hundreds of thousands of employees without batting an eye.
In addition to weaving first class and extensive social and political relations all over the world. Many have met Carlos Ghosn or have seen him by chance, from presidents to regular citizens. The man is always moving, at a rate that is extraordinary for a man in his sixties, as energetic and vital as a man in his twenties. You could also add a list of friendships that are very hard to limit, and an uncompromising insistence on family life with his highest priority being to be a good father. Two reasons motivated him to leave Japan: knowing how unjust the legal system was and not being able to see his wife, which he considered a deliberate attempt to break his will, and a test in a position he could never accept.
He has many nicknames: Superstar, the Napoleon of Cars and the most famous Frenchman in Japan. His main problem is that he knows his worth and that he has always felt that the people he has worked with have been given him his worth in money. With all that he’s accomplished, he would always spark anger around him, with his decisions that would only rarely not be carried out. His influence expanded in the years after he conjured an unprecedented model for the Nissan-Renault Alliance, while every side would accuse him of favoring the other. Ultimately, this is what motivated the Japanese authorities to investigate old violations, as a result of the date for the merger of the two companies drawing closer, a merger that Nissan considered would melt its identity. It was not possible to halt this project without overthrowing the mastermind.
This does not mean that Ghosn is innocent of everything that he has been accused of. Still, it also does not prove that he who has been elevated to the position of Buddha today can, in a glimpse, put him in solitary confinement, forcing the Lebanese embassy in Japan to buy him a bed to spend his night. It is exaggerated to think that he should wait for the court date in 2021 and be treated like a criminal until then. This is a recurrent and complicated type of case, contaminated with business wars and political calculations, in Japan inasmuch as in France.
What was considered a tax evasion over compensations that did not even reach Nissan CEO’s pocket yet and the luxurious houses that the company has bought for him to move between houses that were neither bought in secret nor in his name, for it to become controversial today. There was a certain silence over what Ghosn considered his right in return for the Superman-like efforts that brought brilliant results. He was comparable to the US and its businessmen, especially after General Motors offered him a position for 35 million dollars per year due to Obama’s desire, a 10 million dollar increase over what he was getting paid, and he refused because he “could not leave the ship without a captain”.
A life-changing decision that he regrets until today. Did Ghosn believe that it was his right to make up for some of what he has lost, for more costs? Did he make a mistake when he let himself mix between the personal and his work? There is a vast difference between Ghosn’s conception of his exceptional role and financial benefits, on the one hand, and the accounts of his employers in Japan.
He saw himself as the owner of the project and its captain, while France and Japan saw him as just an employee who has crossed his limits. He always lived as a citizen of the world, while his many affiliations became his curse, making him a stranger wherever he goes. A difficult test for a man that believed in untamed liberalism that has the right to close factories with ease of conscience, dismissing thousands of workers, to generate tens of billions in profit. That was encouraged in the last twenty years.
Ghosn was seen as a miracle-maker when spiking the numbers and digging out dead companies and bringing them back to life. Everybody celebrated the Nissan-Renault alliance as the number one in the car industry without seeing the human touch and the scars that it left on the lives of many. However, a new era is being born, a period of uprisings and yellow vests, and the screams of people in pain. Carlos Ghosn did not commit anything new for him to be persecuted for, but circumstances have changed, and what was glorified yesterday has now fallen out of favor. It is not easy to see one of the most prominent symbols of globalization in the 21st century escaping in a box after everybody abandoned him, not finding peace except in the land of his ancestors.

The DEA’s (Drug Enforcement Administration) Targeting of Hezbollah’s Global Criminal Support Network
John Fernandez/The Washington Institute/January 12/2020
جون فرناندس/معهد واشنطن/إدارة مكافحة المخدرات الأميركية تلاحق شبكة الدعم الإجرامية العالمية التابعة لحزب الله
http://eliasbejjaninews.com/archives/82234/%d8%ac%d9%88%d9%86-%d9%81%d8%b1%d9%86%d8%a7%d9%86%d8%af%d8%b3-%d9%85%d8%b9%d9%87%d8%af-%d9%88%d8%a7%d8%b4%d9%86%d8%b7%d9%86-%d8%a5%d8%af%d8%a7%d8%b1%d8%a9-%d9%85%d9%83%d8%a7%d9%81%d8%ad%d8%a9-%d8%a7/
The head of the Counter-Narcoterrorism Operations Center discusses how the group uses drug trafficking and other schemes to fund its activities, and what the DEA is doing to stop it.
On January 9, John Fernandez addressed a Policy Forum at The Washington Institute. As the Drug Enforcement Administration’s assistant special agent in charge of the Special Operations Division’s Counter-Narcoterrorism Operations Center, he oversees interagency support to field investigations concerning Hezbollah’s global criminal support structures. The following is a rapporteur’s summary of his remarks.
As part of an effort to bring together the intelligence, law enforcement, and military communities in the fight against narcoterrorism and money laundering linked to terrorist organizations, the DEA established the Counter-Narcoterrorism Operations Center in the wake of the September 11 attacks. Today, CNTOC plays two primary roles. First, it shares non-drug-related terrorism information generated from its global operations with the FBI and other agencies that have primary investigative authorities for that information. Second, it conducts its own investigations at the nexus of narcotics and terrorism, focusing on “convergence targets” such as money launderers and sanctions violators.
Of the sixty-eight groups designated as Foreign Terrorist Organizations by the State Department, the DEA has linked twenty-five of them to the drug trade. The legal provisions included in 21 U.S.C. 960a have proven useful in expanding the agency’s authorities to target narcoterrorists, and although DEA cases do not always result in terrorism-related charges, the agency uses the evidence and means at its disposal to determine the most easily prosecutable offenses.
The DEA has the largest U.S. law enforcement presence overseas and an extensive source network, both of which have helped collect intelligence on terrorist tactics like the use of improvised explosive devices in Afghanistan, as well as organizations such as Lebanese Hezbollah, the Taliban, the Islamic State, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC), and Colombia’s National Liberation Army (ELN). Moreover, a DEA source was critical in foiling the 2011 Iranian plot to kill Saudi ambassador Adel al-Jubeir in Washington. (Iranian American suspect Mansour Arbabsiar had attempted to hire a DEA informant whom he believed to be a member of the Zetas drug cartel to conduct the assassination.)
Hezbollah is a unique target for the DEA due to several characteristics: its high level of sophistication; its hierarchical, compartmentalized structure; its combination of widespread political, military, criminal, and social activities; and its deadly targeting of Americans (prior to the September 11 attacks, Hezbollah had killed more Americans than any other FTO). Today, the Trump administration considers Hezbollah a high national security priority and has spearheaded a robust, cross-government effort aimed at stifling its activities.
Hezbollah’s criminal support network dates to the 1990s, when Imad Mughniyah, head of the group’s External Security Organization, sought to establish a supplemental source of funding besides the money it received from Iran. This criminal network expanded even further as a result of financial burdens incurred during the 2006 Lebanon war.
The DEA’s targeting of Hezbollah began about thirteen years ago with Operation Titan, which intercepted the sale of multi-ton cocaine shipments by Hezbollah associates in cooperation with the Colombian drug cartel La Oficina de Envigado. Notable cases since then have included Lebanese Colombian drug kingpin Ayman Joumaa and the Lebanese Canadian Bank.
In the past six years, the DEA provided assistance that led to the arrests of a number of prominent actors in Hezbollah’s global criminal support network, including Ali Fayyad (2014), Ali Koleilat (2014), Altaf Khanani (2015), Hassan Mansour (2015), and Ibrahim Ahmadoun (2015). In 2016, Operation Cedar targeted an international money laundering scheme, leading to the arrests of Hezbollah operative Mohamad Noureddine and others via concurrent raids in Belgium, France, Germany, and Italy. CNTOC financial investigators also played a central role in the arrest and indictment of Kassim Tajideen, a Hezbollah financier sentenced to five years in prison and ordered to forfeit $50 million in August 2019.
In all, relevant DEA field investigations have spanned six continents and focused extensively on individuals in Europe, Mexico, the Tri-Border Area, Venezuela, and West Africa. Since 2017, DEA efforts on this front have collectively resulted in seventeen indictments, fourteen arrests, three extraditions, and nine designations of Hezbollah-linked individuals through the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). In addition, there are four pending arrests, eight pending indictments, and four pending extraditions on the near horizon.
Hezbollah increasingly relies on criminal revenue streams from a wide array of sources that include the Lebanese diaspora, group members, affiliates, sympathizers, and unwitting collaborators. The organization has even competed for money laundering contracts in the same manner as Colombian cartels and other criminal organizations. OFAC designations are therefore an especially useful tool in targeting Hezbollah supporters. Whether singly or introduced concurrently with a criminal indictment (the most potent option), they help stymie revenue streams, isolate Hezbollah from its associates, provide a basis for criminal charges, and discredit the group’s leadership.
The degree to which Hezbollah values criminal proceeds and fears the idea of operatives being placed under U.S. custody is apparent in the pressure that the group and Iran have placed on governments that take action against such operatives. For example, after drug and arms traffickers Ali Fayyad, Khaled Merebi, and Faouzi Jaber were arrested in the Czech Republic in 2014, individuals related to Fayyad kidnapped five Czech military officers in Lebanon. The officers were returned in exchange for Fayad and Merebi’s release.
In 2017, operative Ali Koleilat was extradited from Belgium to the United States after intelligence uncovered Hezbollah plots aimed at securing his release. Among these threats were plans to assassinate the prosecutors involved in his case and kidnap a Belgian defense attache in Beirut.
That same year, Iran-related elements allegedly sought to bribe the Moroccan government after it arrested Kassim Tajideen. To their credit, the Moroccans resisted Iranian political pressure and expedited his extradition to the United States. Partly due to this decision, Tehran severed diplomatic ties with Rabat in 2018.
Regarding the amount of Hezbollah’s revenue obtained through criminal ventures, a precise figure is unknown, but unofficial estimates have placed it as low as 10 percent. Yet success can be further measured through fallout information on Hezbollah’s lost revenue, impediments to its capabilities, loss of morale, and reputational costs.
As for interactions with U.S. foreign partners, the DEA works closely with numerous countries on these issues. Because many European partners still have not designated Hezbollah as a terrorist organization in its entirety, the agency has found it constructive to leave out the terrorist label in briefings. Referring to Hezbollah’s drug/arms trafficking and money laundering activities while sidestepping terrorism helps avoid political sensitivities. Yet complications sometimes arise in messaging after arrests. For example, the United States wanted to highlight Hezbollah’s links in press releases about Operation Cedar, to the chagrin of several European allies.
Regarding Hezbollah’s relationship with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the criminal activities carried out by the two organizations often overlap. Like Hezbollah, Iran has turned to criminal revenue streams to offset the financial constraints imposed by U.S. Treasury sanctions and its own expenditures on proxy wars. Additionally, the DEA has received information on Iranian embassies being used in furtherance of Hezbollah criminal enterprises. For example, diplomatic pouches have reportedly been used to transport narcotics at times. And while Iran is Hezbollah’s principal funder, the group’s illicit proceeds are sometimes used to line Iran’s coffers.
In Syria, Hezbollah has used its drug proceeds to buy arms for fighters on behalf of the Assad regime, with senior commander Ali Fayyad and another individual believed to be involved in the purchases. Hezbollah also protects smuggling routes in the so-called Shia Crescent, including in Syria. Reporting indicates that marijuana, Captagon, and other drugs are now being heavily trafficked by Syrian military intelligence.
Officials at the top of Hezbollah’s hierarchy have given a green light to, turned a blind eye to, and/or actively directed many of these criminal activities, including security chief Wafiq Safa and Abdallah Safieddine, the group’s representative to Iran and cousin to leader Hassan Nasrallah. The fact that Nasrallah has the ability to rein in these individuals but has chosen not to underscores how significant criminal revenue has become to the terrorist organization.
*This summary was prepared by Samantha Stern.
The Policy Forum series is made possible through the generosity of the Florence and Robert Kaufman Family.
https://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/the-deas-targeting-of-hezbollahs-global-criminal-support-network