“A Clear and Present Danger to the United States Homeland”: Chairman Green Delivers Opening Statement in Hearing on Iranian Regime, Terrorist Proxies


WASHINGTON, D.C.— Today, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mark E. Green, MD (R-TN) delivered the following opening statement in a hearing to examine Iran-backed terror groups and the national security threats posed by the “Axis of Resistance,” which includes Hizballah, Hamas, the Houthis, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and various Iraqi and Syrian militia groups.

As prepared for delivery:
The Islamic Republic of Iran presents a clear and present danger to the United States homeland and our allies.
Last October, the Committee heard testimony from a variety of witnesses that highlighted the national security threats posed by the Iranian regime. Two of the witnesses, Former Ambassador Nathan Sales and Robert Greenway, discussed the Iranian regime’s terror capabilities and the threats the regime poses to the United States. In addition, we heard the harrowing testimony of human rights activist Masih Alinjead, who has been targeted multiple times by the Iranian regime on U.S. soil. The stories she shared opened the eyes of every member of this committee to the lengths that the regime will go to silence those who speak truth to the regime’s brutality.
Since our last hearing pertaining to the threats posed by Iran, the security threats from Iran and their proxies have metastasized even more. These threats include: assassination plots on former Trump administration officials; targeting and attacking U.S. service members abroad; disrupting trade and commerce and endangering maritime security in the Red Sea; and attempting to coordinate external terror operations in Europe and South America.
Today we will focus our efforts on the threats posed by Iran’s proxy networks, more commonly known as Iran’s “Axis of Resistance.” The “Axis of Resistance” is a network of independent militant Islamist groups that Iran uses to enhance their power projection capabilities, provide plausible deniability for attacks conducted on behalf of the Iranian regime, and create instability for Iran’s enemies in the region.
Most notably, these terror proxies include Hizballah, Hamas, the Houthis, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and various Iraqi and Syrian militia groups. These proxies and their sympathizers are present in countries, such as Lebanon, Iran, Yemen, Iraq, and Syria. In exchange for these groups’ support and actions, they receive significant financial backing, material support, and training from the Iranian regime. Although we regularly hear about these groups’ activities in the Middle East, their operations are not confined solely to that region.
Hizballah, arguably the most powerful proxy within the “Axis of Resistance,” has spent decades building the infrastructure needed to carry out its agenda in all parts of the world. As FBI Director Wray testified before the Committee last November, “the arrests of individuals in the United States allegedly linked to Hizballah’s main overseas terrorist arm, and their intelligence-collection and -procurement efforts, demonstrate Hizballah’s interest in long-term contingency planning activities here in the homeland.” In addition, this terror organization has conducted operations throughout Europe and South America and has extensive ties to Venezuelan dictator, Nicolas Maduro, and his authoritarian regime. Lastly, Hizballah has also engaged in narcotics, weapons, and human trafficking, as well as money laundering for authoritarian regimes, transnational criminal organizations, and other terror networks.
The Houthis, a Yemeni militia group, has been a long-time proxy for the Iranian regime. The Houthis have conducted operations that target U.S. partners in the Persian Gulf, such as Saudi Arabia. These attacks on our Middle East partners have shown evidence that Iran has provided the Houthis with unmanned aerial vehicles equipped with explosives and long-range missiles. These weapons have not only advanced Iran’s interests in the region but have also helped the regime test weapons systems before fielding the capabilities elsewhere. Recently, the Houthis targeted western commercial ships with antiship missiles. These attacks have not only killed innocent commercial sailors but have created significant delays in supply chains that will eventually cause the prices of goods to rise.
Sadly, the world is familiar with the dangers that Hamas terrorists pose. Their barbaric terror attack against Israel on October 7th demonstrates this group is committed to carry out its hateful agenda at any cost and that Iran is dedicated to bankrolling the organization’s quest to destroy Israel and the West. Hamas’s reach is not limited to the Gaza Strip and Israel. In December of last year, German authorities detained four individuals with ties to Hamas for plotting attacks on Jewish institutions in Europe. Their orders came from Hamas leaders in Lebanon.
As mentioned earlier, these threats are not localized. What happens in someone else’s backyard will eventually make its way to ours. We must acknowledge that the “Axis of Resistance” is committed to destroying Israel and the West. They have shown the intent to conduct operations abroad and have demonstrated a willingness to do so. These groups have also exploited conflicts via news outlets and online communications to call on their supporters located in the United States to carry out attacks.
I hope that today’s hearing will give members of this committee the opportunity to fully examine these terror groups and the current status of the threats they pose to the homeland and U.S. interests. I look forward to our witnesses’ testimony today and thank them all for being here. 


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://markgreen.house.gov/2024/3/a-clear-and-present-danger-to-the-united-states-homeland-chairman-green-delivers-opening-statement-in-hearing-on-iranian-regime-terrorist-proxies