Report text available as:

  • TXT
  • PDF   (PDF provides a complete and accurate display of this text.) Tip ?
115th Congress    }                                 {    Rept. 115-367
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session      }                                 {           Part 1

======================================================================



 
SANCTIONING HIZBALLAH'S ILLICIT USE OF CIVILIANS AS DEFENSELESS SHIELDS 
                                  ACT

                                _______
                                

October 24, 2017.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

    Mr. Royce of California, from the Committee on Foreign Affairs, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 3342]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Foreign Affairs, to whom was referred the 
bill (H.R. 3342) to impose sanctions on foreign persons that 
are responsible for gross violations of internationally 
recognized human rights by reason of the use by Hizballah of 
civilians as human shields, and for other purposes, having 
considered the same, report favorably thereon without amendment 
and recommend that the bill do pass.

                           TABLE OF CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Summary and Purpose..............................................     1
Background and Need for Legislation..............................     2
Hearings.........................................................     3
Committee Consideration..........................................     4
Committee Oversight Findings.....................................     4
New Budget Authority, Tax Expenditures, and Federal Mandates.....     4
Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate........................     5
Directed Rule Making.............................................     6
Non-Duplication of Federal Programs..............................     6
Performance Goals and Objectives.................................     6
Congressional Accountability Act.................................     7
New Advisory Committees..........................................     7
Earmark Identification...........................................     7
Section-by-Section Analysis......................................     7

                          Summary and Purpose

    Hizballah conceals its military infrastructures inside 
densely-populated civilian centers, which constitutes a serious 
violation of the international laws of armed conflict. 
Hizballah's ability to maintain a low-signature regular 
military arsenal among civilian population increases, in its 
view, its survivability in war, and offers Hizballah's 
propaganda advantages (as was the case during and after the 
war). The organization therefore cynically exploits the marked 
moral disparity between itself and U.S. allied nation-states 
that act in accordance with international standards. Such a 
pattern of action puts the civilian population at risk and 
violates the distinction principle of the international laws of 
armed conflict. This legislation, in turn, is intended to 
target Hizballah and its foreign enablers for the use of human 
shields.

                  Background and Need for Legislation

    According to the international laws of armed conflict, the 
term ``human shields'' concerns ``civilians or other protected 
persons, whose presence or movement is aimed or used to render 
military targets immune from military operations.'' The use of 
human shields both in international armed conflicts and in non-
international armed conflicts constitutes a war crime. It is 
not necessary to force civilians to relocate close to a 
military objective. The mere placement of military assets in 
the vicinity of civilians fulfils this requirement.
    Following the first Lebanon War, Hizballah started 
consolidating its military build-up within Shi'ite population 
centers in Beirut, south Lebanon, and the Beqa'a Valley. The 
build-up of its military strength was a lengthy process, which 
accelerated following the Israel Defense Forces' withdrawal 
from the security zone. The background for the acceleration of 
the process was the drop in the intensity of the war which 
followed the IDF's full withdrawal from the security zone 
pursuant to United Nations Security Council Resolution 425. 
Located in villages of south Lebanon, Hizballah's military 
infrastructure forms the basis for the organization's offensive 
and defensive readiness and use of military force. Many 
civilian houses and public facilities in the area were used by 
Hizballah to conceal weapons--from arms and ammunition to 
sophisticated missiles.
    The IDF's withdrawal from Lebanon undermined the 
international and internal Lebanese legitimacy Hizballah sought 
to obtain in order to continue perpetrating terrorist attacks 
from Lebanese territory. However, Hizballah was finally free of 
the burden of daily fighting and could turn its efforts to 
upgrading and building up its military infrastructure. The 
process was greatly facilitated by the unprecedented backing 
and assistance extended by Syria and Iran, allowing Hizballah 
to acquire advanced arms, such that are held by some sovereign 
states rather than terrorist organizations.
    During the 2006 war with Israel, Hizballah forces 
extensively utilized human shields to protect themselves from 
counterattacks by Israeli forces. This fact was recognized by 
the United States, when, on August 11, 2006, Secretary of State 
Condoleezza Rice stated, ``Hizballah and its sponsors have 
brought devastation upon the people of Lebanon, dragging them 
into a war that they did not choose, and exploiting them as 
human shields . . . '' President Bush recognized this fact when 
he stated, on August 14, 2006, that ``Hizballah terrorists 
targeted Israeli civilians with daily rocket attacks. Hizballah 
terrorists used Lebanese civilians as human shields, 
sacrificing the innocent in an effort to protect themselves 
from Israeli response.''
    Since the end of the 2006 war with Israel, Hizballah has 
extensively upgraded its military infrastructure. Despite being 
legally required to disarm under U.N. Security Council 
Resolution 1701, a recent State Department report cites Israeli 
estimates that Hizballah has a stockpile of 100,000 rockets and 
missiles, including advanced anti-air and anti-ship missiles. 
The missiles were principally provided by the Iranian 
Government and are concealed in Shi'ite villages in southern 
Lebanon, often beneath civilian infrastructure. This arsenal 
comprises of missiles capable of reaching nearly all the 
country to include: the Fajr-5, with a range of 75 km; the 
Zelzal-2, 210 km; the M-600, 250 km; and the Scud D, 700 km. In 
contrast, during the Second Lebanon War in 2006 Hizballah's 
arsenal consisted of only 20,000 rockets, of which 4,000 were 
fired into Israel over the course of a month.
    There is cause for renewed concern about Hizballah's use of 
human shields. Hizballah appears to be rearming itself with 
thousands of rockets and advanced missiles through its patron 
Iran while also developing a domestic capacity to manufacture 
weapons within southern Lebanon. In addition, Hizballah appears 
to be using environmental NGOs as a cover to create lookout 
posts and infrastructure that could be used to target Israeli 
forces.
    A policy of zero tolerance for such crimes and relentless 
efforts to hold accountable those responsible for such 
practices would contribute to the fight against the use of 
human shields and, eventually, help reduce the suffering of the 
civilian population.

                                Hearings

    During the present Congress, the committee has continued 
its active oversight regarding Hizballah, including multiple 
hearings related to the content of H.R. 3342, such as:
          October 11, 2017, Subcommittee on the Middle East and 
        North Africa hearing, ``U.S. Policy Toward Lebanon'' 
        (Mr. Michael Ratney, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau 
        of Near Eastern Affairs, U.S. Department of State; Ms. 
        Jeanne Pryor, Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator, 
        Bureau for the Middle East, U.S. Agency for 
        International Development).
          October 4, 2017, Subcommittee on Terrorism, 
        Nonproliferation, and Trade hearing, ``Iranian Backed 
        Militias: Destabilizing the Middle East'' (Michael 
        Knights, Ph.D., Lafer Fellow, The Washington Institute 
        for Near East Policy; Mr. Aram Nerguizian, Senior 
        Associate, Burke Chair in Strategy, Center for 
        Strategic and International Studies; Kenneth Pollack, 
        Ph.D., Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute; 
        Ms. Melissa Dalton, Senior Fellow and Deputy Director, 
        International Security Program, Center for Strategic 
        and International Studies).
          June 8, 2017, full committee hearing, ``Attacking 
        Hezbollah's Financial Network: Policy Options'' 
        (Matthew Levitt, Ph.D., Director and Fromer-Wexler 
        Fellow, Stein Program on Counterterrorism and 
        Intelligence, The Washington Institute for Near East 
        Policy; David Asher, Ph.D., Member, Board of Directors, 
        Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance, Foundation for 
        Defense of Democracies; Mr. Derek Maltz, Executive 
        Director, Governmental Relations, Pen-Link, Ltd; Mara 
        Karlin, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Practice and 
        Associate Director of Strategic Studies, School for 
        Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins 
        University).
          May 24, 2017, Subcommittee on Terrorism, 
        Nonproliferation, and Trade hearing, ``Nuclear Deal 
        Fallout: The Global Threat of Iran'' (Mr. Ilan Berman, 
        Senior Vice President, American Foreign Policy Council; 
        Ray Takeyh, Ph.D., Hasib J. Sabbagh Senior Fellow for 
        Middle East Studies, Council on Foreign Relations; 
        Daniel L. Byman, Ph.D., Senior Fellow, Center for 
        Middle East Policy, Brookings Institution).
          March 29, 2017, Subcommittee on the Middle East and 
        North Africa hearing, ``Testing the Limits: Iran's 
        Ballistic Missile Program, Sanctions, and the Islamic 
        Revolutionary Guard Corps'' (Kenneth Katzman, Ph.D., 
        Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs, Congressional 
        Research Service; Mr. Michael Eisenstadt, Kahn Fellow, 
        Director of Military and Security Studies Program, The 
        Washington Institute for Near East Policy; Ms. 
        Elizabeth Rosenberg, Senior Fellow and Director, 
        Energy, Economics and Security Program, Center for a 
        New American Security).
          February 16, 2017, full committee hearing, ``Iran on 
        Notice'' (Mr. Scott Modell, Managing Director, The 
        Rapidan Group; Ms. Katherine Bauer, Blumenstein-Katz 
        Family Fellow, The Washington Institute for Near East 
        Policy; Mr. David Albright, Founder and President, 
        Institute for Science and International Security; 
        Andrew Exum, Ph.D., Contributing Editor, The Atlantic).

                        Committee Consideration

    On September 28, 2017, the Committee on Foreign Affairs 
marked up H.R. 3342 in open session, pursuant to notice. The 
bill was considered as introduced, and was agreed to by voice 
vote.

                      Committee Oversight Findings

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII of rules of 
the House of Representatives, the committee reports that 
findings and recommendations of the committee, based on 
oversight activities under clause 2(b)(1) of House Rule X, are 
incorporated in the descriptive portions of this report, 
particularly in the ``Background and Purpose of Legislation'' 
and ``Section-by-Section Analysis'' sections.

      New Budget Authority, Tax Expenditures, and Federal Mandates

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(2) of House Rule XIII and 
the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (P.L. 104-4), the committee 
adopts as its own the estimate of new budget authority, 
entitlement authority, tax expenditure or revenues, and Federal 
mandates contained in the cost estimate prepared by the 
Director of the Congressional Budget Office pursuant to section 
402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974.

               Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                  Washington, DC, October 13, 2017.

Hon. Edward R. Royce, Chairman,
Committee on Foreign Affairs,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.

    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 3342, the 
Sanctioning Hizballah's Illicit Use of Civilians as Defenseless 
Shields Act.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Sunita 
D'Monte, who can be reached at 226-2840.
            Sincerely,
                                                Keith Hall.
Enclosure

cc:
        Honorable Eliot L. Engel
        Ranking Member
H.R. 3342--Sanctioning Hizballah's Illicit Use of Civilians as 
        Defenseless Shields Act.
    As ordered reported by the House Committee on Foreign 
Affairs on September 28, 2017.

    H.R. 3342 would require the President to identify and 
impose sanctions on foreign people or entities affiliated with 
Hizballah that he determines have used civilians as human 
shields or have provided, tried to provide, or facilitated the 
provision of material support to that terrorist group. The bill 
also would require the President to provide to the Congress a 
list of people or entities so identified along with periodic 
updates. Finally, the bill describes several people and 
entities and would require the President to determine and 
report to the Congress if they meet the criteria to be 
sanctioned.
    Based on information from the Administration on the cost of 
similar requirements, CBO estimates that administering the 
sanctions and implementing the reporting requirements would 
cost less than $500,000 annually and would total $1 million 
over the 2018-2022 period, subject to the availability of 
appropriated funds.
    Enacting H.R. 3342 would increase the number of people who 
would be denied visas by the Department of State and the number 
who would be subject to civil or criminal penalties. Most visa 
fees are retained by the department and spent without further 
appropriation, but some fees are deposited in the Treasury as 
revenues. Penalties also are recorded as revenues and a portion 
of those penalties can be spent without further appropriation. 
Pay-as-you-go procedures apply to this legislation because 
enacting it would affect direct spending and revenues. However, 
CBO estimates that implementing those sanctions would affect 
very few additional people and thus have insignificant effects 
on both revenues and direct spending.
    CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 3342 would not increase 
net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four 
consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2028.
    H.R. 3342 contains no intergovernmental mandates as defined 
in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA).
    If the sanctions imposed by the President under the bill 
prevent U.S. entities from gaining access to property or from 
engaging in transactions that would otherwise be permitted 
under current law, the bill would impose a private-sector 
mandate as defined in UMRA. The cost of the mandate would be 
any forgone income directly related to the newly prohibited 
transactions or blocked property. Because of the broad scope of 
existing U.S. sanctions involving Hizballah, CBO expects the 
number of entities and people in the United States that could 
be affected by the legislation would be small. Further, CBO 
expects that the loss of income from any restrictions in the 
bill would be relatively low. Therefore, CBO estimates that the 
aggregate cost of the mandates would fall below the annual 
threshold established in UMRA for private-sector mandates ($156 
million in 2017, adjusted annually for inflation).
    The CBO staff contacts for this estimate are Sunita D'Monte 
(for federal costs) and Logan Smith (for private-sector 
mandates). The estimate was approved by H. Samuel Papenfuss, 
Deputy Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

                          Directed Rule Making

    Pursuant to clause 3(c) of House Rule XIII, as modified by 
section 3(i) of H. Res. 5 during the 115th Congress, the 
committee notes that H.R. 3342 contains no directed rule-making 
provisions.

                  Non-Duplication of Federal Programs

    Pursuant to clause 3(c)(5) of House Rule XIII, the 
committee states that no provision of this bill establishes or 
reauthorizes a program of the Federal Government known to be 
duplicative of another Federal program, a program that was 
included in any report from the Government Accountability 
Office to Congress pursuant to section 21 of Public Law 111-
139, or a program related to a program identified in the most 
recent Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance.

                    Performance Goals and Objectives

    The objective of this legislation is to broaden sanctions 
against Hizballah for their use of human shields. The 
overriding goal is to draw international attention to, and 
increase the condemnation of, this practice. Furthermore, the 
objective is to turn Hizballah's use of human shields from a 
strategic asset to the terrorist organization into a strategic 
liability for both Hizballah and its state sponsor, Iran. 
Performance goals associated with these objectives include, but 
are not limited to, the following:

         LA verifiable decrease in Hizballah's use of 
        human shields.

         LA verifiable increase in international 
        condemnation of Hizballah's use of human shields.

         LAn increase in international condemnation of 
        the Government of Iran's support for Hizballah's use of 
        human shields.

                    Congressional Accountability Act

    H.R. 3342 does not apply to terms and conditions of 
employment or to access to public services or accommodations 
within the legislative branch.

                        New Advisory Committees

    H.R. 3342 does not establish or authorize any new advisory 
committees.

                         Earmark Identification

    H.R. 3342 contains no congressional earmarks, limited tax 
benefits, or limited tariff benefits as described in clauses 
9(e), 9(f), and 9(g) of House Rule XXI.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis

    Section 1. Short Title. This Act may be cited as the 
`Sanctioning Hizballah's Illicit Use of Civilians as 
Defenseless Shields Act'.
    Section 2. Findings. This provision outlines findings of 
violations of human rights, specifically the use of civilians 
as human shields, by Hizballah during armed hostilities. It 
also outlines Hizballah's continued violations of international 
law and treaties, including multiple United Nations Security 
Council Resolutions.
    Section 3. Statement of Policy. This provision establishes 
policy of the United States to consider the use of human 
shields as a violation of human rights, to publicly condemn 
such use, and ``to take effective action'' against those who 
engage in such activity.
    Section 4. United Nations Security Council. This provision 
states that the President should direct the U.S. Ambassador to 
the U.N. to use appropriate influence to propose and support a 
resolution condemning the use of human shields by Hizballah and 
imposing multilateral sanctions against the terrorist 
organization.
    Section 5. Identification of Foreign Persons that are 
Responsible for Gross Violations of Internationally Recognized 
Human Rights by Reason of Use of by Hizballah of Civilians as 
Human Shields. This provision mandates that the President, 
based on the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, 
identify and sanction foreign persons who are responsible for 
violations of human rights for the use of human shields by 
Hizballah. Outlines such sanctions including the blocking of 
property and other financial transactions. Grants authority to 
the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security to declare 
aliens ineligible for admission to the U.S. and to revoke visas 
that have already been issued. Grants waiver authority for such 
sanctions to the President. This should include elements of the 
Iranian Government that support Hizballah's use of human 
shields by providing material support to that terrorist 
organization.
    Section 6. Report. This provision requires the President to 
submit a report to the ``appropriate'' Congressional committees 
outlining sanction determinations against individuals listed 
under the ``Persons Described'' subsection. Report shall be 
made publicly available but may include a classified annex.

                                  [all]