Numerous terrorist groups operate in Brazil’s southwest near its border with Argentina and Paraguay, also known as the Tri-Border Area (TBA) of South America. U.S.-sanctioned terrorist groups, including Hezbollah and al-Qaeda, are believed to recruit, plan attacks, and fundraise in the TBA with the knowledge of local authorities.Pablo Gato and Robert Windrem, “Hezbollah builds a Western base,” NBC News, May 9, 2007, http://www.nbcnews.com/id/17874369/ns/world_news-americas/t/hezbollah-builds-western-base/#.WmIxwq6nG71; “TERRORIST AND ORGANIZED CRIME GROUPS IN THE TRI-BORDER AREA (TBA) OF SOUTH AMERICA,” Library of Congress, last updated December 2010, https://www.loc.gov/rr/frd/pdf-files/TerrOrgCrime_TBA.pdf. Brazil specifically has harbored terrorist operatives and financiers from Hezbollah and al-Qaeda.
CEP is calling on Brazil to arrest, expel, or otherwise cut off support to the following sanction-designated or wanted individuals:
As Hezbollah’s representative in South America, Bilal Mohsen Wehbe has operated in the TBA since at least 2000.“Investigan a un libanés por terrorismo en triple frontera,” ABC Color (Asunción), December 14, 2010, http://www.abc.com.py/edicion-impresa/policiales/investigan-a-un-libanes-por-terrorismo-en-triple-frontera-196723.html; “Iran Report,” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, January 10, 2000, https://web.archive.org/web/20040113090225/http://www.rferl.org/iran-report/2000/01/2-100100.html. As of May 2017, Wehbe freely served as the imam of the Brás Mosque in São Paulo and as a leader of the Centro Islâmico no Brasil (Islamic Center of Brazil).Armando Rivarola, “EE.UU. prepara sanciones por nexos con el terrorismo,” ABC Color (Asunción), May 13, 2017, http://www.abc.com.py/edicion-impresa/politica/eeuu-prepara-sanciones-por-nexos-con-el-terrorismo-1593266.html. The U.S. government has designated Wehbe as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist for overseeing Hezbollah’s intelligence operations in the TBA and transferring funds to Hezbollah.“Treasury Targets Hizballah Financial Network,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, December 9, 2010, https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/tg997.aspx.
Khaled Hussein Ali is the alleged leader of al-Qaeda’s online propaganda arm in Brazil, the Jihad Media Battalion (JMB), which publicizes al-Qaeda’s attacks and distributes communications from its leaders in 17 countries. As of 2011, Ali lived in São Paulo, from where he reportedly ran the JMB.Da Redação, “Exclusivo: documentos da CIA, FBI e PF mostram como age a rede do terror islâmico no Brasil,” Veja (São Paulo), April 2, 2011, https://veja.abril.com.br/mundo/exclusivo-documentos-da-cia-fbi-e-pf-mostram-como-age-a-rede-do-terror-islamico-no-brasil/; Robin Yapp, “Brazil latest base for Islamic extremists,” Telegraph (London), April 3, 2011, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/southamerica/brazil/8424929/Brazil-latest-base-for-Islamic-extremists.html.