From time to time, the United States identifies certain individuals as crucial to the operation of terrorist organizations. Often these individuals are top leaders, or they help finance terrorist organizations. These are frequently people who have committed, or are deemed to pose a significant risk of committing, acts of terrorism.
When such individuals are identified, the U.S. government places that person's name on the Specially Designated Nationals List, their assets within U.S. reach are immediately blocked, and they are effectively locked out of the global financial system. As a result, no U.S. citizen or company may conduct business with designated individuals. In this way, the United States deters participation in terrorism and disrupts financial support networks for terrorists and terrorist organizations.
Such are the cases of Ali Damush and Mustafa Mughniyeh. Both men, top leaders of the Lebanon-based Hizballah terrorist organization, have recently been named by the United States Department of State as Specially Designated Global Terrorists under Executive Order 13224.
Ali Damush is head of Hizballah’s Foreign Relations Department, an organization that engages in covert terrorist operations around the world on behalf of Hizballah and includes recruiting operatives and gathering intelligence.
Mustafa Mughniyeh is a Hizballah commander who once led Hizballah’s operations in the Golan Heights and helped organize the group’s terrorist infrastructure. He is the nephew of former Hizballah military commander Mustafa Badreddine and the son of Imad Mughniyeh, the former chief of Hizballah military and terrorist operations.
The imposition of sanctions by the United States against terrorists like Damush and Mughniyeh notifies the American public and the international community that Ali Damush and Mustafa Mughniyeh are actively engaged in terrorism. Such designations of terrorist individuals and groups expose and isolate organizations and individuals, and assist or complement the law enforcement actions of U.S. agencies as well as those of other governments.