Funding Hizballah

AP via Jerusalem Post:

Lebanon's Hizbullah terrorist group is systematically siphoning profits from West Africa's multimillion-dollar diamond trade, in part by threatening the Lebanese merchants who long have handled much of the region's diamond business, US diplomats in West Africa charge.

The allegations, supported by independent analysts but denied by some traders, claim more pervasive, organized and coercive Hizbullah profiteering from West Africa's diamond trade than most US officials have previously acknowledged.

"One thing that's incontrovertible is the financing of Hizbullah. It's not even an open secret; there is no secret," Larry Andre, deputy chief of mission for the US Embassy in diamond-rich Sierra Leone, told The Associated Press.

"There's a lot of social pressure and extortionate pressure brought to bear: 'You had better support our cause, or we'll visit your people back home,"' Andre said, citing interviews by embassy staff with alleged Lebanese targets of the Hizbullah racketeering.

Hizballah is just another Islamic mafia. Apparently their sponsors in Iran are not giving enough support for their terrorist activities.

In recent years Hizbullah is alleged to have funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Palestinians' Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades, funding attacks that have killed civilians within Israel.

The US Embassy in Sierra Leone, citing experts, says between US$70- to US$100 million worth of rough gems are smuggled out of the country each year.

It's due largely to the lingering illegal trade that Hizbullah can continue to extract cash by threats, beatings and destruction of property, analysts say.

Victims, many of whom may have business dealings they do not want exposed, have little legal recourse.

"They're (Hizbullah) asking for contributions and they're going to use the culture card and the nationality card," says Joseph Melrose, American ambassador to Sierra Leone between 1998 and 2001. "Will they use threats? Sure."

In December 2003, an airliner that crashed off the West Africa nation of Benin had on board an alleged Hizbullah courier, carrying US$2 million in Hizbullah-bound funds, diplomats and news reports claimed.

One of the by products of the downfall of Saddam is the loss of funding to Palestinian terrorist organizations. But then the liberal media is not interested in facts which disprove their contention that Saddam was not working with terrorist.


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