WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Lebanon-based Green Without Borders and its leader. Green Without Borders is a Lebanon-based organization that has provided support to and cover for Hizballah’s operations in southern Lebanon along the “Blue Line” between Lebanon and Israel over the last decade while publicly operating under the guise of environmental activism.
“The United States rejects Hizballah’s cynical efforts to cloak its destabilizing terrorist activities with false environmentalism,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson. “We will continue to support the many Lebanese civil society groups protecting Lebanon’s unique and sensitive natural environment while also relentlessly pursuing Hizballah and their support networks.”
OFAC is designating Green Without Borders and its leader, Zuhair Subhi Nahla, pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, as amended, which targets terrorists, terrorist organizations, leaders and officials of terrorist groups, and those providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism.
GREEN WITHOUT BORDERS
Green Without Borders (GWB) was established in 2013 with the ostensible purpose of protecting Lebanon’s natural environment, including reforestation activities. In reality, it has served as a cover for Hizballah’s activities in southern Lebanon along the Blue Line, where GWB has outposts manned by Hizballah operatives in more than a dozen locations. These outposts, which are manned by Hizballah operatives, serve as cover for Hizballah’s underground warehouses and munitions storage tunnels. These installations have impeded United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon peacekeepers from fulfilling their UN Security Council (UNSC) mandate to monitor the implementation of UNSC Resolution 1701 and have prevented oversight of these outposts. Under the cover of GWB outposts, Hizballah members conduct weapons training at firing ranges, patrol the surrounding area, and maintain containerized housing units 25 meters from the Blue Line. Alleged encroachment on private property by GWB and Hizballah and propagandizing by GWB have also caused well-documented clashes with locals.
Since 2013, GWB has used its resources to support Hizballah activity at GWB outposts and has also publicly partnered with the Hizballah’s construction arm, Jihad al-Bina, which was designated by OFAC in 2007. Collaboration between GWB and Hizballah is widely reported in the media, including by official Hizballah media outlets.
GWB is being designated pursuant to Section 1(a)(iii)(C) of E.O. 13224, as amended, for materially assisting, sponsoring, or providing financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, Hizballah.
ZUHAIR SUBHI NAHLA
Zuhair Subhi Nahla (Nahla) is the leader of GWB. Nahla has described GWB’s tree planting activities as providing a wall to protect Hizballah, highlighting its strategic importance for Hizballah’s security. Although Nahla claims that he and GWB are not part of Hizballah, he has publicly acknowledged his and GWB’s affiliation with the terrorist group.
Nahla is being designated pursuant to Section 1(a)(iii)(E) of E.O. 13224, as amended, for being a leader or official of GWB, a person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended.
As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of the persons named above, and of any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly 50 percent or more by them, individually, or with other blocked persons, that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons, must be blocked and reported to OFAC. Unless authorized by a general or specific license issued by OFAC or otherwise exempt, OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all transactions by U.S. persons or within the United States (including transactions transiting the United States) that involve any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked persons.
Furthermore, engaging in certain transactions with persons designated today entails risk of secondary sanctions pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended. Pursuant to this authority, OFAC can prohibit or impose strict conditions on the opening or maintaining in the United States of a correspondent account or a payable-through account of a foreign financial institution that knowingly conducted or facilitated any significant transaction on behalf of a Specially Designated Global Terrorist.
For information concerning the process for seeking removal from an OFAC list, including the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN List), please refer to OFAC’s Frequently Asked Question 897. Detailed information on the process to submit a request for removal from an OFAC sanctions list.
The power and integrity of OFAC sanctions derive not only from the ability to designate and add persons to the SDN List, but also the willingness to remove persons from the SDN List consistent with the law. The ultimate goal of sanctions is not to punish, but to bring about a positive change in behavior.