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  #21  
Old 08-18-2008, 09:16 PM
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Lightbulb Hezbollah’s telecommunications expansion

Hezbollah’s telecommunications expansion

By Walid Phares


As part of his ongoing monitoring and analyzing of the strategic expansion of Hezbollah in Lebanon, military expert Thomas Smith published a series of articles and blogs following up on the build up by the Iranian-backed militia in Lebanon, particularly in the areas north of the Litani river. In his last piece he had a conversation assessment with me on the latest penetration by Hezbollah of the Mount Lebanon areas, north of the Druze districts into the heartland of the Christian areas. It follows another piece about Hezbollah's strenght. Please find the two short blogs here.

BEYOND THE DROPZONE - World Defense Review
Phares on Hezbollah’s telecommunications expansion
by W. Thomas Smith Jr. on 17 August 2008

In a conversation last week with Middle East terrorism expert Dr. Walid Phares regarding Hezbollah’s recent strategic positioning and repositioning since the 2006 war with Israel - more specifically since the attacks on the Lebanese government in May 2008 - the subject came up of Hezbollah’s extensive telecommunications system.

I was reporting the existence of Hezbollah’s telecommunications system - and Hezbollah’s control of much of greater Lebanon’s telecom system - as early as September of 2007 (when I was in Lebanon). Dr. Phares has also been writing about it, and with much greater specificity than perhaps any other writer or analyst to date.

On Wednesday, Phares told me:
“Before the invasion of West Beirut and the assault on the Druze mountain, Hezbollah’s telecommunications systems were up-and-running and fully operational in half of Lebanon. They showed the structure of absorption for thousands of Hezbollah fighters and Iranian Pasdaran already deployed in Lebanon. The swift takeover of half of Lebanon’s capital and the multi-axis advance on the Shuf heights demonstrated that this system can insure an internal “hard” communications which can instruct, direct, guide, and move large units from one side of Lebanon to another.

“Following the political victory of Hezbollah in Doha and the surrender of the Lebanese first cabinet of Seniora and the March 14 Coalition to the Syrian-Iranian agenda, Hezbollah’s TC system not only survived, but we believe was extended and expanded. Reports - including those from media open sources - tells us that the TC system was stretched across the line of summits from the Metn area in the center northbound to Kesruwan and Jbeil mountains, deep in the Christian heartland of Lebanon. Hezbollah operatives and special forces have been seen on the commanding heights and summits of central Mount Lebanon where they’ve established “security zones.” The Iranian-backed militia today controls better strategic location than that which was ever controlled by the Syrian occupation forces before 2005.”

Hezbollah "five-times" stronger than it was during Israeli war
In terms of weaponry, strategic and political positioning, and its ever-expanding international reach; Hezbollah is "five times more capable today," than it was at the beginning of the July 2006 war with Israel: A fact, according to experts, that prompted Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak to tell his troops during a Tuesday morning tour of positions along the Golan Heights, "It's not for nothing that we're training here."

Not for nothing indeed. Poised just over the border in south Lebanon is Hezbollah; a Lebanon-based Shiia terrorist army, organized somewhat on the Taliban model, heavily funded and equipped by Iran and operationally supported by both Iran and Syria.

Hezbollah has strengthened its strategic positions across Lebanon in recent months. And in recent weeks, its military training and posturing has increased in regions of the country far beyond its traditionally recognized southern defenses (below the Litani River) and Al Dahiyeh (Hezbollah's south Beirut stronghold near the airport).

Worse, Hezbollah's newfound political power - literally forced on the government at the point of a gun after Hezbollah turned its weapons on the Lebanese citizenry in May 2008 - has enabled the terrorist group to both maintain its private militia status (including its possession of military grade weapons and a massive private telecommunications system) and position itself as a "legitimate" arm of the Lebanese Defense apparatus. And the West - including the virtually impotent United Nations forces in Lebanon - has done absolutely nothing to prevent any of it.

All of this - accomplished despite the will of the pro-democracy majority in Lebanon - has emboldened Hezbollah, and created an environment wherein the terrorist group now feels comfortable openly-flexing its muscle in areas of Lebanon that suggest ominous plans for that country's future.

Since the attacks in May, eye-witnesses and open-sources from Arab-language newspapers have reported an increasing number of Hezbollah paramilitary exercises - scouting, navigating, night operations - many of those exercises being conducted provocatively close to Christian areas of Lebanon, and along-or-near strategically vital roads that pass through the mountains between the coast and the Bekaa Valley to the Syrian border.
For instance, in the months before and weeks since the May attacks, Hezbollah and Pasdaran (Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) fighters - according to more than one independent source - have conducted small military exercises in the area around the town of Jezzine, east of Sidon.

"Reports about this have been limited because journalists either don't fully recognize the strategic significance or they are afraid of Hezbollah," says Col. Charbel Barakat (Lebanese Army, ret.), a former infantry brigade commander who today directs the office of counterterrorism for the pro-democracy World Council of the Cedars Revolution. "Almost no Western journalists have reported this, and only a few Lebanese have."

Further north in the Sannine mountains west of Zahle, Hezbollah has reportedly set up guided-missile batteries and early-warning radar. Civilian hikers unfortunate enough to venture into this area reportedly have been detained, held, and interrogated for several hours by Hezbollah militiamen.

Also in recent weeks, Hezbollah and Pasdaran reportedly have been observed training and setting up temporary outposts in the Aqura area on the road between Aqura and Baalbeck - and the security teams surrounding the exercise zone in one instance were reportedly wearing Lebanon Internal Security Forces (ISF) uniforms, though the ISF according to our sources denied they had policemen in the area at that time.

Aqura is key, because it is along the east-to-west road from Aqura to the coast that in a future war, Hezbollah plans to cut the country's largest Christian area in half. In such an attack - similar to what Hezbollah has previously done in Druze areas of the western Bekaa - Hezbollah fighters would knife through the Christian area, accessing pre-staged weapons and ammunition from the Shiia villages of Lasa, Almat, Ras Osta, and Kafr Salah which are located along (or fairly close to) the Aqura-to-Jbail trek.

"Hezbollah is establishing layered-defenses north of the Litani, in the southern and central Bekaa, and they have reinforced their presence in southern Beirut." says Dr. Walid Phares, director of the Future of Terrorism Project for the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. "They also have created new positions in Mount Lebanon and in the far north near the highest peak of the Cedars mountains. Which means technically, Hezbollah - which means Iran - controls the highest ground in the region south of Turkey."

Strategic positioning is behind Hezbollah's activity: Controlling as much of the commanding high-ground as possible and being positioned to cut roads and divide-and-isolate Sunni, Druze, and Christian areas in the event of war.

"Hezbollah knows that he who controls the mountains - consequently the mountain passes - controls all of Lebanon," says Barakat. "Hezbollah is also telling itself, 'I am afraid the Israelis will attack me north of the Litani (so I will strengthen those positions above the Litani) and I am not allowed to have my weapons and missiles south of the Litani, so I will move them north.'"

Like the Israelis, Hezbollah is not simply training for "nothing." Unlike the Israelis - who train solely to defend their state - the ultimate goals of Hezbollah are to control as much of Lebanon as possible, further the aims of the Iranian Revolution, and generally export terror.

What makes Hezbollah particularly scary today is the organization's increasing political clout, the attempt in some circles to whitewash who-and-what they are, and as Phares says, "Hezbollah today is five-times more capable militarily than it was during the July 2006 war."
— W. Thomas Smith Jr
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  #22  
Old 08-18-2008, 10:41 PM
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Exclamation Terror is where you make it: Iraq's Shia extremists 'trained in Iran by Hizbollah'

Terror is where you make it: Iraq's Shia extremists 'trained in Iran by Hizbollah'


Saturday, 16 August 2008 The Daily Telegraph

Iraq's Shia extremists are being trained in four locations inside Iran and are planning to return to assassinate officials in Baghdad, according to US military intelligence.

By Our Foreign Staff

A senior American officer said that captured militia fighters and other sources in Iraq had confirmed suspicions that members of Iran's elite Quds force and members of the Lebanese militia Hizbollah were training their fellow Shia Muslims from Iraq to create more so-called "special groups" of fighters.

The US officer told the Associated Press that he had provided Iraq's national security adviser with several lists of the assassination teams' expected targets. He said they include several judges and specific politicians, but did not identify who they were.

The training is also intended to equip the insurgents for the daily clashes with Iraqi and American forces.

Iraq's intelligence service is preparing operations to determine where and when the special group fighters will enter the country and is to provide an assessment to Nouri al-Maliki, the prime minister, the US officer said.

He acknowledged that disclosing the information was an attempt to put pressure on Iran to suspend the training and prevent the militia fighters from returning to Iraq. The US military also wants the Iraqi government to take steps to protect the targets. "Wanted" posters picturing men believed to be heading the special groups are being posted around Baghdad, the military officer said.

The US also is encouraging the Iraqi government to confront Tehran with the information in diplomatic channels

The fighters, who are not expected to deploy in Basra which British forces oversee, are said to be due to return to Iraq by October.

Cell leaders of the special groups are being trained in Tehran, the officer said, while their footsoldiers are taken to separate camps for indoctrination.

They are reported to be undergoing intensive training in the use of increasingly sophisticated roadside bombs as well as the same rocket-propelled grenade launchers used by the Quds force and Hizbollah.

Iran & Hezbollah training Iraqi hit squads: US military



Saturday, 16 August 2008

WASHINGTON (AFP) — Iraqi assassination squads are being trained in Iran by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Quds Force and Lebanese Hezbollah for attacks in Iraq, a US military official said Friday.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the Shiite "special groups" were being trained in Qom, Tehran, Mashad and Ahvaz in assassination and bombing techniques to target specific Iraqis as well as US troops and Iraqi security forces.

"We have intelligence reports confirming Iranian-sponsored groups are planning to return back to Iraq and are targeting specific coalition forces, ISF (Iraqi Security Forces) and Iraqi citizens," the official said.

The intelligence, if it proves out, raises the prospect of a deadly new security challenge at a time when the US military is hoping to make further cuts in its forces.

The official, who spoke from Iraq, said the information has been turned over to the Iraqi government "and they are taking the lead in handling the situation."

The groups were being trained in "reconnaissance, small arms, small unit tactics, cellular operations, EFPs and other IEDs, RPGs and assassination techniques," the official said.

EFPs, which stands for explosively formed projectiles, are armor-piercing bombs that have proven highly effective against US armored vehicles. The US military charges that components for the bombs are made in Iran.

The official said the special groups were being deployed to carry out "terrorist acts" against specific individuals as well as US and Iraqi forces.
The special groups have been associated in the past with radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi army, but the official would not link those being trained to Sadr.

Among the Iraqi groups identified as involved in the training were Kitaib Hezbollah, which he described as a criminal group supported by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard that has claimed a number of sophisticated attacks since 2005.

The official identified a second Iraqi group as As Said Al-Haq.
"They are being trained by Quds Force under the leadership of Qassim Suleimani and Lebanese Hezbollah," the official said.

The US military many times in the past have accused Iran of fomenting violence in neighboring Iraq, supplying Shiite groups with arms and training for attacks on US forces.

But the violence has fallen off sharply in the wake of a US surge strategy that helped turn Sunni tribes against Al-Qaeda and Iraq's Shiite led government against Shiite militias and the so-called special groups.
US military officials have said many special group leaders fled to Iran, but were believed to be biding their time for a return.

Also contributing to the drop in violence has been a unilateral cease-fire declared a year ago by al-Sadr, who the US military believes is in Iran.
Sadr announced in June that he would replace the 60,000-strong Mahdi Army with a smaller fighting force to target the US-led occupation.

US: Quds, Hezbollah training Iraqi militia in Iran



The Associated Press

By PAMELA HESS

WASHINGTON (AP) — Iraqi Shiite assassination teams are being trained in at least four locations in Iran by Tehran's elite Quds force and Lebanese Hezbollah and are planning to return to Iraq in the next few months to kill specific Iraqi officials as well as U.S. and Iraqi troops, according to intelligence gleaned from captured militia fighters and other sources in Iraq. (Ah, Muslim training Muslim to murder other Muslims how Islamic!!!!)

A senior U.S. military intelligence officer in Baghdad described the information Thursday in an interview with The Associated Press. He spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence.

The officer on Wednesday provided Iraq's national security adviser with several lists of the assassination teams' expected targets. He said the targets include many judges but would not otherwise identify them. Iraq's intelligence service is preparing operations to determine where and when the special group fighters will enter the country and is to provide an assessment to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

The U.S. official acknowledged disclosing the information in an attempt to pressure Iran to suspend the training and prevent the militia fighters from returning to Iraq. The U.S. military also wants the Iraqi government to take steps to protect the targets. "Wanted" posters picturing men believed to be heading the special groups are being posted around Baghdad, the military officer said.

The U.S. also is encouraging the Iraqi government to confront Iran with the information in diplomatic channels, and it wants Iraq to continue pumping money into its own reconstruction. By building stability and Iraqis' confidence in their government, internal support for militia groups should decline, making it more difficult for them to operate.

The fighters are expected to return to Iraq between now and October, but the officer said there's no intelligence suggesting they are actually in Iraq yet. The information came from militia fighters captured in Iraq and other sources in the country that the officer would not describe.

Many of the fighters fled to Iran this spring after Iraqi government forces cracked down first on militia sanctuaries in Basra and Baghdad's Sadr City district, then in Amarah and now in Diyala province, the military officer said.

One of the reasons the U.S. believes the special groups moved out during that period is the sharp decline in the number of deadly roadside bombs bearing Iran's signature explosive design. In March, there were 55 such attacks. By July, that number had dropped to 17 and by August 13 there had been just four, according to U.S. military charts obtained by The AP. U.S. intelligence believes those sophisticated bombs can be traced back to Iran. The military counts 446 of them so far this year; 178 of them were found and disabled before they could explode.

Iran, Hezbollah's benefactor, denies giving any support to Shiite extremists in Iraq.

The officer said training is going on in at least four locations in Iran: Qom, Tehran, Ahvaz and Mashhad. The number of "special group criminals" — the U.S. name for Iraqi fighters sponsored by Iran — is unknown but is estimated in the hundreds and possibly more than 1,000.

According to the officer, the training camps are operating under the direction of Quds force commander Brig. Gen. Ghassem Soleimani, with the knowledge and approval of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The elite Quds Force is a branch of Iran's Revolutionary Guard.

The training includes how to conduct reconnaissance to pinpoint targets, small arms and weapons training, small unit tactics and terrorist cell operations and communications. They are also learning how to use bombs packed with explosive penetrators that can rip through U.S. armored vehicles, along with other improvised explosive devices and rocket-propelled grenades, including the RPG-29 used by Lebanese Hezbollah and the Quds force. They are also receiving training on assassination techniques, employing RPGs, small arms or explosives, the officer said.

Lebanese Hezbollah conducts much of the training in the camps because they speak Arabic. Iranians are Persian and speak Farsi. Lebanese Hezbollah also has credibility with the Iraqis, given the successful 2006 uprising in Lebanon, the officer said. The U.S. officer said there are no confirmed reports of Lebanese Hezbollah members crossing into Iraq. It is not clear what time period he was referring to.

Last year, the U.S. military reported capturing in Basrah Ali Mussa Dakdouk, an alleged Lebanese Hezbollah guerrilla leader. Iraqi Shiite lawmakers and a top Iraqi army officer told the AP last month that Hezbollah trainers were running training camps in southern Iraq until April, when they were pushed into Iran by the Iraqi crackdown.

The trainees in the Iranian camps include three Iraqis already wanted by the Iraqi government for terrorist attacks: Haji Mahdi, Haji Thamir and Baqir al Sa'idi, the officer said. He identified two Iraqi Shiite militia groups in Iran by name: "The League of the Righteous," or "Asaib al Haq," and the "Kataib al Hezbollah."

Foot soldiers and cell leaders are physically separated for most of the training, the officer said. Leaders are trained in Tehran and cell members are in separate camps where Quds trainers attempt to indoctrinate them without competition from their Iraqi leaders.

The "special group criminals" are offshoots of cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's Jaysh al-Mahdi militia. They spun off their own groups after al-Sadr declared a cease-fire with the Iraqi government in August 2007 and are not thought to be under his control now.
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The LORD lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.

Asymmetric Warfare It’s not just for the “Other Guys”


Last edited by Paparock; 08-18-2008 at 10:55 PM..
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Old 08-18-2008, 10:49 PM
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Arrow Confronting the Iranian threat

Confronting the Iranian threat

Saturday, 16 August 2008 The Washington Times
Editorial


As it considers its options in dealing with Iranian nuclear weapons, Israel has become increasingly concerned about the possibility of a larger war with Tehran and its proxies - and specifically, the possibility that it could be on the receiving end of missile attacks launched by the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah in the event of a strike against Iranian nuclear facilities. During the summer 2006 war, Hezbollah fired 4,000 rockets, blanketing Northern Israel, and it is apparently prepared to do so again if war breaks out between Iran and Israel. Israeli intelligence says that Hezbollah has close to 40,000 short- and medium-range missiles in Southern Lebanon - triple the size of its its pre-war stockpile.

The rebuilding of Hezbollah's military arsenal near the Israeli border was not supposed to happen: Under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701 (UNSCR 1701) - a cease-fire resolution passed on Aug. 11, 2006, that ended the fighting - U.N. peacekeepers were supposed to ensure that Hezbollah was disarmed. The resolution also called for an international arms embargo against the group along with deployment of an international force to prevent weapons smuggling. None of this has happened. Today, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak travels the world declaring UNSCR 1701 a failure, as he emphasizes that Israel cannot abide an Iranian proxy in southern Lebanon armed with 40,000 missiles capable of targeting his country. In the event of war between Israel and Iran, the Jewish state is preparing for the possibility that much of this arsenal will be raining down on its civilian population - not unlike two summers ago.

As it considers military action against Iranian nuclear facilities, Israel is trying to gauge how Iran and the rest of the Arab and Islamic worlds would react to such a move. In addition to Hezbollah strikes from Lebanon, there is the possibility that Syria could enter any war with Israel on Tehran's side. But launching missiles from Syrian territory is dangerous in that it would provoke severe retaliation from Israel, which maintains air supremacy. Jordan and Egypt, which have signed peace treaties with Israel, would likely stay out of the fighting. But in Gaza, where Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and other Iranian- and Syrian-backed terrorist groups are based, Israel could expect an upsurge in rocket attacks. Another factor is al Qaeda - which has affiliates in Gaza, Egypt's Sinai Peninsula and Jordan. It would not be a surprise if al Qaeda tried to launch strikes against Israel or Arab "collaborators" (governments that have made peace with Israel) in an effort to demonstrate solidarity with Tehran. Such attacks could take the form of terrorist strikes such as suicide bombings directed at civilians or assassinations of government officials.

In Iraq, there would surely be efforts by Iranian proxies to target government institutions and U.S. troops; the same would likely happen in Afghanistan and Pakistan as well. A critical question is what will happen in Saudi Arabia and other nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), all of whom have had difficulties to one degree or another with Iran dating back to the 1979 revolution - ranging from Iranian-sponsored terrorism on their territory to Iranian efforts to stir up restive local Shi'ite populations. Occasionally, there is a backlash. That was the case Tuesday in the Saudi-owned pan-Arab newspaper al-Hayat, which ran a column attacking an Iranian foreign ministry official for predicting the demise of Arab regimes in the Gulf. The al-Hayat piece blasted Tehran for supporting Hamas and Hezbollah and attempting to export "the Khomeini revolution." But this is the exception: The usual modus operandi of the Saudis and their GCC colleagues is to make angry public denunciations of Israel while privately praying that the Zionists deal a blow to their Iranian tormentors.
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The LORD make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.

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Old 08-21-2008, 07:48 PM
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Arrow Hezbollah Signs Pact with Salafis

Hezbollah Signs Pact with Salafis
By Walid Phares


"But implementation to be decided later"
Amidst a growing world crisis, new developments in Lebanon may signal what lies ahead in the sphere of global jihadist forces in the near future. A memorandum of understanding has been signed by Hezbollah, the main pro-Iranian organization in the region, and a number of Salafist groups outlining efforts to "confront America."

Innocent minds may question how that impacts our lives. However, events that unfold in Beirut have a direct effect on the war on terror, or to be more precise, on the jihadist war on democracies. Here is why:


The Two Trees
In my last three books (the "Future Jihad Trilogy") I depicted the world web of jihadism as two large trees. The Salafist tree, emanating from radical Sunni circles and encompassing mainly the Wahhabis, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Deobandis is the largest. But it has been evolving and some of its branches have mutated into layers of radicalism. Al-Qaida is one of the latest mutations, for now the most radical.

The Khomeinist tree, centered on the Iranian regime, has a single branch. It is centralized and has disciplined extensions in the region, mostly Hezbollah out of Lebanon.

Each "tree" has a worldview and a future jihad to accomplish. In many realms they oppose each other and they compete for the hearts and minds of Muslims worldwide.

But despite their "brotherly enmity" their respective agendas have two goals in common: one is to oppose the rise of democracy in the region, and the second is to defeat U.S. support for that democracy.

Salafist and Khomeinist jihadis have always claimed they reject each other's doctrines and plans. But despite their ideological bickering they have been able to find common ground -- when it suits them -- and some jihadist Salafis have collaborated with Iran and its Syrian ally, even though most Salafis heavily criticize Khomeinism.

The Lebanon "understanding" between some Salafis and Hezbollah is the first open joint declaration between followers of Tehran's jihadism and the followers of Salafist jihadism. It is a "premiere" with significant consequences.


Road to the Agreement
On Aug. 19, leaders from Hezbollah and Salafist organizations called a press conference at Al Safir Hotel in Beirut's Raouche district and signed a memo of understanding between the two forces.

Radwan Aqeel wrote in the Beirut daily An-Nahar (Aug. 18): "Hezbollah is practicing a calm policy of overture toward the Sunni political and religious forces, especially since last May (against the Sunni Future Movement) to save the image the party has developed in the past as an 'Islamic resistance' in the Arab and Muslim world including in the Arab Gulf, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian territories."

It is believed that the move by Hezbollah to sign an agreement of understanding with Salafist organizations aims ultimately at penetrating the Arab Sunni world via Lebanon's Muslim community and maintaining an influence over the region's attitude toward the West.

According to Aqeel, "this move didn't come [out of the] void, but after many meetings away from media between representatives of Hezbollah and some Salafist groups." These encounters, said An-Nahar, included the head of Hezbollah's political bureau Ibrahim al-Amin and Sheikh Safuan al-Zuhbi from the Salafist movement.

Another Beirut daily, Al-Mustaqbal (Aug. 18) wrote that Hezbollah has been successful in recruiting 15 Salafist groups in Lebanon including the Waqf Ahya' al-Turath al-Islami to form a "Salafist camp" allied to the Iranian-Syrian axis. Hezbollah officials, wrote Al-Mustaqbal, are declaring that Americans have been defeated in the region by "resistance" in Lebanon, Iraq and Gaza.

The founder of the Salafist current in Lebanon, Sheikh Daee al-Islam al-Shahhal said it is "a partial step." Al-Akhbar, the pro-Iranian daily, reported that Shahhal argued, during visits to jihadist movements, that these agreements are happening, because of the "aggression against Islam all over the world."

At first, Shahhal rejected the Hezbollah-Salafist memorandum of understanding. But he revealed that he was not against dialogue (with Hezbollah), "but we have some reservations concerning the attack against the Sunnis in May."

Observers said his declarations were to assure the Saudis that the classical Salafis are not slipping away to the Iranian camp. However the representatives of many other Salafist groups stayed the course firmly. Hassan Shahhal who heads the Belief and Justice Movement (BJM) called the memorandum a step in the right direction.

The agreement commits to:

1) Condemn any Islamic group that assaults another.
2) Abandon incitement, which creates trouble and will allow the "enemies" to take advantage of the situation.
3) "Confront" the American agenda.
4) Firmly support Hezbollah and the Salafist movement against others.
5) Form a religious committee to discuss any disagreements between the Shiites and the Sunnis.
6) Respect each others' opinions.

But under pressures from Salafists who are opposed to HezbollahSheikh Hassan Shahhal, who signed the understanding on Monday with Hizbullah's Ibrahim Amin al-Sayyed, declared freezing the agreement pending "appropriate circumstances that allow its implementation." In other words, the document was produced and signed, which was the most difficult stage. The second stage, implementation, will depend on the ability of Hezbollah to recruit more Salafists via financial incentives and political backing.

Consequences of the Agreement

Undoubtedly, the consequences of this event will be filled with strategic implications. Certainly this joint declaration is only between a number of Salafist groups, not the entire tree, let alone the Wahhabi Muslim Brotherhood web on one hand and Hezbollah; it remains confined to Lebanon; we're not dealing with an all-out two-trees jihadist merge.
Far from that, what we're witnessing is a massive move on behalf of one tree, the Khomeinists, to connect to some branches of the Salafist tree.
These attempts aren't new, for Iran has been funding "Sunni" Hamas and Islamic Jihad for decades. And the Syrian regime has been controlling Sunni-Salafist satellites for years.

Fatah al-Islam, a Salafist combat group which fought the Lebanese army during the summer of 2007 has been released from Syria into northern Lebanon. But all of these relationships were not declared openly nor were they organized officially.

The Salafist-Hezbollah agreement in Lebanon is a novelty from which there are a number of lessons to be learnt:

1) It demonstrates that Hezbollah continues to move forward after its big win in May against Lebanon's first Fouad Siniora government and the March 14 Coalition.

The organization relentlessly controls the national security decision making process of Lebanon and is stretching its military presence in areas it had never reached before, such as into the heart of the Christian areas north of Beirut; and soon, the Sunni north.

The agreement will serve as a launching pad to begin establishing a presence through these Salafis from the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli, all the way to the northern border with Syria. In short, and as Salafist leaders opposed to the agreement have stated, this is a strategic penetration of the Sunni community in Lebanon via its most militant segment, the Islamist Salafis.

2) Regionally, a Hezbollah-Salafist coordination space will receive highly-strategic aid from Iran's oil power and will profit from Syria's intelligence apparatus.

While since 2003 the Syrian-Iranian axis was extending a discrete support to the jihadist-Salafis, escorting them to the Sunni Triangle in Iraq to fight the U.S.-led coalition, as of the birth of this new consortium in Beirut, Hezbollah and its regional backers have no reason to be shy.

In fact as is the case with Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the "Palestinian arms" of Tehran-Damascus, we may see the rise of a "Salafist arm" of that axis with all the unnatural ideological ingredients this could display. If the Shiite Khomeinists were able to accommodate Alawi socialists why not extend this market to Salafist forces? But the implications could be earth-shattering for the rest of the region.

Writing in Kuwait's Al-Siyassa (Aug. 18), Hamid Ghoriafi reported that "Iranian Pasdaran and Hezbollah have already started bringing Salafist groups to Lebanon from other countries to be trained and then sending them to Arab Gulf countries to deploy them for the greater battle to come against the United States and its allies."

This is a classical Iranian tactic: using a proxy force to terrorize their foes into submission. Saudis, Kuwaitis, Egyptians, Jordanians and beyond are on notice: There is now a Salafist force in a joint venture with Iranian backed Hezbollah.

3) Internationally, this will have a ripple effect far beyond Lebanon's borders. Pictures of Salafist and Hezbollah leaders embracing and committing to a unified Islamist jihad against the enemies of the "umma," or Muslim world, can send waves of emotional charges around the Arab world.

The mere image of branches from the two trees joining forces against the enemy will have a chilling effect on the jihadist movement.

The international community will be facing two networks, but three creatures: al-Qaida and its worldwide Salafist constellation on the one hand, and the Tehran-led nebulous with Syrian-Iranian intelligence services in the center, Hezbollah in the front and a web of small Salafis on Iran's payroll instead of the Wahhabis -- all-in-all pretty complicated for Western intelligence services to penetrate.


Failed Debate in West
Indeed, the major lesson from this small experiment of a marriage between a Khomeinist organization and a Salafist network -- even if it won't attract all Salafis, is that Western analysis has failed, one more time.

With some solid exceptions, the bulk of North American and European academic and expert literature has erred in the mass assertion that what we saw in Beirut was not to happen, cannot happen and will not happen. Pre- and post Sept. 11, 2001 research, which has seriously influenced governments on both sides of the Atlantic has been overconfident that since the Sunni-Shia religious divide cannot be bridged, these two spheres cannot converge.

Many scholars of Middle Eastern studies established in the United States and the West have argued for years against the possibility of a joint venture between the two branches of Islamism.

They even rejected the "limited possibility" of such a coordination between Salafis and Khomeinists. Hence their advice to decision-making institutions and to media has negatively affecting long-term national security strategic planning.

The essence of the analytical errors made by scholarly advisers to the war on terror can be encapsulated in two points:

First, the overwhelming majority of Middle Eastern studies apologist attitudes was to wrongly assert that traditional Salafism in its essence is neither political nor militant: 'just conservatives practicing spiritual revivalism,' they said.

But ironically those Salafis who joined Hezbollah in a strategic venture in Beirut were among the circles presented by the apologists as the "good Salafis," versus the "bad Salafis" of al-Qaida.

Second, that same dominant elite in academia kept theorizing that Salafis by nature cannot sit at the same table with Khomeinists.

Well some have just done so, and the "model" is here. Now, as these events are countering the most critical expert advice provided to Washington and Brussels, the next stage for the alternative counter-terrorism expertise is to help decision-makers realize how dramatic this Beirut experiment could become.

Even with a 10 percent chance of success the consequences of the so-called war on terror from the Middle East to Africa, Europe and the Americas are endless.

More important could be the effects of any model of Salafist-Khomeinist collaboration on U.S. Homeland Security. This particular chapter will be addressed later, but it is useful and astounding to observe how the jihadis are experimenting and evolving while recent efforts in America and Europe have led to the creation of a lexicon which, if anything, would blind the counter-terrorism communities and decision-makers from "seeing" these and other new dangers.
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Old 08-25-2008, 02:56 AM
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Arrow The Deterrent Relationship Between Israel and Hezbollah

The Deterrent Relationship Between Israel and Hezbollah
between 1982 and 2006



Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center
at the Israel Intelligence Heritage & Commemoration Center (IICC)
August 20, 2008



The Deterrent Relationship Between Israel and Hezbollah between 1982 and 2006 1




Summary

This study analyzes the mutual deterrent relationship between Israel and Hezbollah as it existed between 1982 and 2006. Its objective is to provide a better understanding of the State of Israel's deterrent capabilities against terrorist and guerrilla organizations in general, and Hezbollah in particular.

Its point of departure is the discourse, which has grown stronger over the past decade, regarding the question of Israel 's ability to use a deterrent policy against terrorist and guerilla organizations. Its hypothesis is that by studying how Hezbollah ranks its interests and by investigating the relationship between Hezbollah and Israel , general insights will be gained as to the possibility of implementing such a policy against Hezbollah. Such insights will make it possible to determine whether a deterrent policy can be implemented against Hezbollah today and to draw conclusions regarding the possibility of improving its effectiveness. This study examines the development of the deterrent relationship between Israel and Hezbollah over five consecutive time periods, signifying central changes in how Hezbollah ranks its interests, making it possible to test Israeli deterrence under different conditions.

The study distinguishes between the inability of implementing a deterrent policy against a terrorist organization on the one hand, and the possibility of implementing efficient partial deterrence against a guerilla organization on the other. It argues that to adjust the theory and policy of deterrence to the specific case of sub-conventional deterrence against a guerilla organization such as Hezbollah, use must be made of research tools different from those used to examine conventional deterrence. Of those tools, ranking the organization's internal interests (instead of the balance of interests between the parties) is a useful index to test the very possibility of implementing deterrence, and further, to determine the manner of its implementation. Furthermore, deterrence against a guerilla organization must be regarded as partial, incapable of existing as an exclusive policy of the State and necessarily combined with other political tools. On the practical implementation level, the study shows that successful partial deterrence must focus on the organization's political interests and not on an attempt to directly prevent its violent actions.

The study also examines how the political echelons determine a deterrent policy, and present unique and different methods of policy implementation are presented which can be translated into operative deterrence. Finally, based on the findings, recommendations are made for activating deterrence in relation to a civilian population which will continue as the central tool for the implementation of Israel 's deterrent policy.


1 This is a thesis submitted by Tomer Naveh for a Masters’ degree at Tel Aviv University, October 2007. His thesis advisor was Prof. Ariel Merari. Naveh received his degree with distinction from the Security Studies Program. He served in intelligence in the Israeli Southern Command and in the Israeli Navy.
The full study in Hebrew appears on the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center website.
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Arrow Hezbollah presence in Venezuela feared

Counter-terror officials "increasingly concerned" about Hizballah activity in Venezuela
BOGOTA, COLOMBIA -- Western anti-terrorism officials are increasingly concerned that Hezbollah, the Lebanon-based Shiite Muslim militia that Washington has labeled a terrorist group, is using Venezuela as a base for operations.
Linked to deadly attacks on Jewish targets in Argentina in the early 1990s, Hezbollah may be taking advantage of Venezuela's ties with Iran, the militia's longtime sponsor, to move "people and things" into the Americas, as one Western government terrorism expert put it.
As part of his anti-American foreign policy, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has established warm diplomatic relations with Iran and has traveled there several times. The Bush administration, Israel and other governments worry that Venezuela is emerging as a base for anti-U.S. militant groups and spy services, including Hezbollah and its Iranian allies.
"It's becoming a strategic partnership between Iran and Venezuela," said a Western anti-terrorism official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the issue is sensitive.
Several joint Venezuelan-Iranian business operations have been set up in Venezuela, including tractor, cement and auto factories. In addition, the two countries have formed a $2-billion program to fund social projects in Venezuela and elsewhere in Latin America.
Those deepening ties worry U.S. officials because Iranian spies around the world have been known to work with Hezbollah operatives, sometimes using Iranian embassies as cover, Western intelligence experts say. [...]
See also: Nicaragua.
Hezbollah has long operated in the large Lebanese communities of Latin America. In addition to receiving a multimillion-dollar infusion from Iran, the militia finances itself by soliciting or extorting money from the Lebanese diaspora and through rackets such as smuggling, fraud and the drug and diamond trade in South America and elsewhere, Matthew Levitt, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told Congress in 2005.
Three years ago, police in Colombia and Ecuador broke up an international cocaine-smuggling ring that functioned in Latin American countries, including Venezuela, and allegedly sent profits to Hezbollah in Lebanon. The lawless "tri-border" region connecting Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina has been a center of mafia activities and finance linked to Hezbollah, Western anti-terrorism officials say.
Hezbollah operatives based there participated, along with Iranian spies, in the car bombings in Buenos Aires of the Israeli Embassy in 1992 and a Jewish community center two years later that killed a total of 114 people, an Argentine indictment charges.
In the aftermath of that indictment, filed in 2006, Hezbollah and its Iranian sponsors, chiefly the Revolutionary Guard, decided to shift from the increasingly scrutinized tri-border area to countries including Venezuela, Western anti-terrorism officials say.
"Hezbollah's overseas apparatus and the Revolutionary Guard [are] building new infrastructures in Latin America," the Western security official said. "It preserves the capability of Hezbollah and the Revolutionary Guard to mount attacks inside Latin America. . . . It is very, very important to Iran and Hezbollah right now."
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Old 08-29-2008, 05:26 PM
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Exclamation Hezbollah Kills Lebanese Army Officer

Hezbollah Kills Lebanese Army Officer


Hezbollah has “brazenly attacked the Lebanese Army” – in its Thursday shooting-attack on an army helicopter, killing 1st Lt. Samer Hanna and wounding several others – so say the leaders of Lebanon’s pro-democracy movement.

Hours after the shooting, Tom Harb, secretary general of The International Lebanese Committee for UN Security Council Resolution 1559 (which calls for the disarming of Hezbollah), tells me:

“This is tantamount to a declaration of war by Hezbollah, and if they will attack the Lebanese Army, they will surely have no qualms about attacking the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).” Harb has just sent a letter to the UN stating such.

Hezbollah – a Shiia terrorist group with expansive ambitions both at home in Lebanon and abroad – is heavily funded and equipped by Iran and operationally supported by both Iran and Syria.

As we have reported, the group has strengthened its strategic positions across Lebanon in recent months. And in recent weeks, Hezbollah’s combat training and military posturing has increased in regions of the country far beyond its traditionally recognized southern defenses (below the Litani River) and Al Dahiyeh (Hezbollah’s south Beirut stronghold near the airport).

The doomed helicopter was in fact shot down over a rugged stretch of terrain in south Lebanon where sources have been informing us for weeks that Hezbollah and Pasdaran (Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) fighters have been conducting small-unit military exercises.

This is not the first time Hezbollah has attacked the Lebanese government. But it is one of the boldest attacks to date against the army. In May, Hezbollah – which has been able to skirt UN demands to disarm by threatening Lebanon’s leaders and claiming to be a legitimate “resistance” force – turned its weapons on the Lebanese government and citizenry following government decisions to both fire a Hezbollah-linked airport security chief and shut down the terrorist group’s private telecommunications system (linking Hezbollah with Teheran and Damascus). In the end, Hezbollah won, was granted veto power over government decisions, and ultimately positioned as an “official” wing of the Lebanese Defense apparatus.

Simply put, Hezbollah has increased its leverage over the legitimate army. Hezbollah has infiltrated the officer corps of the army. But the army and police dare not go where Hezbollah does not permit, which is what the army apparently did today.


“The helicopter was brought down ‘because it crossed red lines that Hezbollah had warned the Defense Ministry and army command’ not to cross,” sources told the Lebanese media. “…
sources also said that the Resistance [Hezbollah] considered the region very sensitive, and Hezbollah leaders have already stressed the importance of the location because it contained the Resistance’s telecommunications apparatus.”


Harb says, if Pres. Michel Sleiman, the pro-Syrian former commanding-general of the Lebanese armed forces, does not respond to this attack, “he will demonstrate that he is not only yielding to terrorists, but he is perhaps collaborating with Iran and Syria.”



But none of us are holding our breath. Sleiman, who I spent more than two hours with in a one-on-one conversation (not including private conversations with his chief of intelligence and several of his generals) last fall, became agitated whenever I brought up the issue of Hezbollah. “Why do you want to talk about Hezbollah?” he snapped at me.



Following Thursday’s attack, Sheikh Abdul Amir Qabalan, deputy president of the Higher Islamic Shiia Council, began propagating the typical spin, blaming the attack on Israeli “infiltrators.” And Hezbollah has since reportedly said they were only firing warning shots.



All of this comes on the heels of published remarks by Italian Army Major General Claudio Graziano, senior commander of UNIFIL. Speaking to the Jerusalem Post on Aug. 15, Graziano said that “excellent cooperation” existed between UNIFIL and Hezbollah militiamen, and that “apart from UN troops, Lebanese soldiers and [local] hunters, no one is armed south of the Litani River.”



Not sure if Graziano was drinking grape or cherry Kool-Aid.




Hizballah’s Attack On The Lebanese Army: An Accident Or A Message?






By Andrew Cochran

Phillip Smyth is the the CT Blog's Assistant Newslinks Editor and a contributor to the Aramaic Democratic Organization. He has visited Lebanon, interviewied anti-Hezbollah NGOs and Hezbollah supporters, and maintains regular contact with sources there. He wrote the following about the downing on Thursday of a Lebanese Army helicopter by Hizballah forces.


The hills of Iqlim al-Tuffah are known for their apple orchards, in addition to being an off-limits Hizballah base. The area had been targeted by the Israelis for surgical and reprisal attacks against Hizballah since Israel and the SLA patrolled the Security Zone. The peaceful noon time on Thursday was interrupted by anti-aircraft fire. A helicopter was forced to land in the village of Sojod. Only, this time, the helicopter was not Israeli, nor did it belong to the UNIFIL forces based in southern Lebanon, this was a Lebanese army UH-1 Iroquois (commonly known as the Huey). The helicopter attack also killed one, First Lieutenant Samer Hanna, in addition to other casualties. Nevertheless, the full story of this incident is marred with speculation, rumors and many unnerving facts.

Many in the media insinuated that the attack may have something to do with “Sunni Islamist militants from the north [read: Tripoli]”. The New York Times stated, “The Lebanese Army has come under attack several times this summer, including in a bombing this month that left nine soldiers and several civilians dead.As with the NYT, the AFP, made sure the Sunni Islamists would be placed at the end of the article stating,"Nine Lebanese soldiers and five civilians were killed in a bombing at a bus stop in the northern port city of Tripoli earlier this month in an attack thought to have targeted the army. The army has also suffered other attacks since it fought a 15-week battle with militants of the Al-Qaeda inspired Fatah al-Islam in the Nahr el-Bared Palestinian refugee camp in northern Lebanon. In December the head of the army's military operations, General Francois el-Hajj, was killed in a massive bomb attack and just over a month later Major Wissam Eid, a top intelligence officer, was killed in similar circumstances.”


In fact, the last attack in the south by suspected Sunni Islamists was in June, 2007, killing 6 Spanish peacekeepers in a UNIFIL convoy. While Hizballah was the obvious cause of the latest attack, and even Hizballah militiamen said that theythought that there was an Israeli landing attempt (under way) and opened fire in the direction of the helicopter, hitting it.”The major press still insinuated that a group like Fatah al Islam could be behind the attack. When the attack was first reported, Hizballah initially denied it had anything to do with the attack, but this would later be disproved.

The Israeli daily Ha‘aretz reported that, “ Hezbollah downed a Lebanese Army helicopter on Thursday in what Israeli officials believe was a case of mistaken identity: The Shi'ite militiamen apparently thought they were firing at an Israeli chopper.” Even with the assumption that Hizballah made a mistake, Ha’aretz further disproves this theory when they said “The helicopter was apparently flying at low altitude.” Just a cursory look at the paint schemes of a Lebanese UH-1 (usually painted a dark green with a very visible red, green and white Lebanese air force roundel) versus Israeli models (normally painted an olive green with a golden V, and recognizable roundel featuring the Star of David or a desert, green and brown camouflage), shows that the Hizballah militiamen operating the anti-aircraft gun(s) were either extremely incompetent or had some idea that they were targeting a Lebanese helicopter.

Needless to say, Hizballah, especially in a strategic region 12 miles from Israel, doesn’t normally employ incompetents to man its newly installed anti-aircraft fixtures.This was quite obvious considering Hizballah’s quick reaction to campers (they were kidnapped and held) who stumbled onto Hizballah’s new anti-aircraft facilities on Mt. Sannine. Furthermore,any Hizballah fighter could logically assume that Israel wouldn’t launch an incursion into a Hizballah stronghold such as Iqlim al-Tuffah in a single Huey helicopter. The Arabic daily As Safir,“cited poor coordination between Hizbullah and the Lebanese army regarding the helicopter overflight and the tension among Hizbullah ranks as a result of Israeli threats and intensified Israeli overflights over the past few days as reasons for the confusion that led to the helicopter shooting.”

Nevertheless, Naharnet reported that a “semi-official report” stated that, “the helicopter came under gunfire upon take off from a hilltop.
The Hizballah and allies responded with a mixture of whitewashing the incident, ignoring it, and even tried to shift blame onto the Israelis.According to the International Herald Tribune, “Sheik Abdul-Amir Kabalan, urged the army to investigate swiftly and suggested that a collaborator with Israel may have fired on the aircraft.” Kabalan is close with Harakat Amal, the other major Shia party in Lebanon, which in turn is allied to Hizballah. NOW Lebanon reported that according to “inside sources,” “Hezbollah fighters shot at the military helicopter because it crossed red lines that Hezbollah had warned the Defense Ministry and army command' not to cross OTV, the Free Patriotic Movement’s mouthpiece (the FPM is Hizballah’s key Christian ally), did not even offer a story on their website regarding the incident. Instead OTV only featured the story as a small link reading, (Google Translation) “General Michel Aoun visited the Metropolitan of Mount Lebanon for the Roman Orthodox George Khader and discussed with him the latest developments in the death of First Lieutenant Samir Hanna result of the fall of the Lebanese Army helicopter. After exposure to a shooting in the south, the UN Security Council extended an additional year of peacekeeping forces in south Lebanon.”

Note: there is no mention of Hizballah, OTV’s politics page is also devoid of any mention abut the helicopter and the controversy surrounding it. Hizballah’s TV organ, Al Manar was little different. In their article they used the Lebanese army’s neutral language in describing the attack, “The Lebanese army said in a statement that one of its helicopters came under gunmen fire while undertaking a training mission over the Iqlim Al-Toffah region in south Lebanon.”

In Lebanon, rumors spread very quickly. However, with reports saying that the helicopter was attacked while it was still on ground and that the assailants, after killing 1st Lt. Samer Hanna, assaulted another officer,”this could have been a targeted attack Former general Elias Hanna told the AFP that,“the Shiite movement wanted to send a message to the army ahead of the nomination of an army chief and discussions on a national defence strategy.” Toni Nissi, Lebanese leader of the International Lebanese Committee for U.N. Security Council Resolution 1559 told me that,“no one is allowed to fly over a Hizballah base.”Adding, “[Hizballah is] not happy with the nomination of the chief of the army.”

On the macro level, the dead pilot of the helicopter, Samer Hanna, came from the village of Tannourine. This is the same village that March 14th legislator, and former candidate for the Lebanese presidency, Boutros Harb came from and represents. Harb was noted as saying Hizballah controlled a, “mini-state inside the state”, and also stating “Whenever we have a state and government ready to fight for the country’s independence, at that moment Hezbollah will not have a pretext to continue having their arms and we’ll invite them to be part of the institutions of the state.” A contact whose family is close to Hanna’s, told me that Hanna’s political background was, “with the March 14th Coalition.” If this was a targeted operation, they surely struck a cord with the March 14th Coalition regarding Hizballah’s arms, and at the very least with MP Harb.

Whether this was a legitimate accident, or a deliberate attack, Hizballah has deliberately or inadvertently made a clear message to the March 14th leadership.

1. Hizballah does not like who will become the new army commander.

2. Hizballah rules the south of Lebanon, and army encroachment will not be permitted.

3. Hizballah, not the Lebanese state, will dictate any future relationship with the army.
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Old 09-08-2008, 01:29 AM
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Exclamation Iran solidifies control over Hizbullah

Iran solidifies control over Hizbullah
Iran is consolidating its grip on Hizbullah and has instituted a number of structural changes to the Lebanese group, under which Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah no longer enjoys exclusive command over its military wing, top Israeli defense officials have revealed.


According to the officials, following the Second Lebanon War, Iran decided to step up its involvement in the Hizbullah decision-making process and has instituted a number of changes to the terror group's hierarchy, under which Nasrallah has to receive Iranian permission prior to certain operations.

"There is real Iranian command now over Hizbullah," a top IDF officer said. "This doesn't mean that Nasrallah is a puppet, but it does mean that whenever he pops his head out of his bunker he sees an Iranian official standing over him."

Reports of Iranian discontent with Nasrallah had begun to surface following the 2006 war, which Teheran reportedly was not interested in at the time. Several reports in the Arab press claimed that Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had ousted Nasrallah from his post as Hizbullah secretary-general and replaced him with Naim Qassem, Hizbullah's second in command. Iran has denied the reports.

"Iranian supervision grew tremendously following the war," the top officer explained. "Nasrallah is still in a decision-making position but Iran's influence has dramatically increased."
A report in a Syrian opposition paper claimed Sunday that a high-level delegation of Iranian Revolutionary Guards visited Beirut last week to coordinate the integration of some Hizbullah branches into the Guards' Al-Quds Force, which is in charge of Iran's terror activities in Iraq, Lebanon and elsewhere.

According to the Reform Party of Syria, parts of the Hizbullah operation structure will now be under the command of Brig.-Gen. Faramaz Ghasem Suleimani, commander of the Al-Quds Force. Suleimani is listed by the US as a terrorist and the Guards was declared a terror group in 2007.

The paper claimed that Iran's ultimate plan was to dilute Syrian influence over Hizbullah in case Damascus strikes a peace deal with Israel.


Iran's solidification of its control over Hizbullah is seen as an attempt to direct its military forces in the event of a conflict in the Middle East. If Iran is attacked by the US or Israel, it may now be able to order Hizbullah to retaliate on its behalf.

In the past, IDF Military Intelligence has speculated about what Nasrallah would do in such a situation, raising the possibility that Hizbullah would not immediately attack Israel if Iran was attacked.

In another development, Hizbullah's Al-Manar satellite television station has begun using an Indonesian satellite to broadcast across Asia and Australia. Hizbullah asked Indonesia for permission to use the satellite after Thailand kicked Al-Manar TV broadcasts off its satellite in January. Israel expressed its disappointment with Indonesia's decision, since Al-Manar is full of anti-Israel and anti-US propaganda.
Indonesia's decision to allow the Al-Manar hookup undermines US and European efforts to limit the reach of Hizbullah's broadcasts, the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center said.
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Exclamation Hezbollah uses its summer camps to indoctrinate youngsters with radical Shi'ite Islam

07/09/2008
Hezbollah uses its summer camps to indoctrinate youngsters with radical Shi'ite Islamic ideology, which includes:






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Arrow "Hezbollah and Sudan's Salafi Regime Converge

"Hezbollah and Sudan's Salafi Regime Converge


By WALID PHARES


Lebanon's Shiite Hezbollah organization openly declared its backing of Omar Bashir's regime in Sudan, as the latter solidified its alliance with Hezbollah. Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah is seen in photo giving a speech on the organization's al-Manar TV. (AFP Photo via Newscom)



The convergence between Jihadi Khomeinists and Jihadi Salafists seems to be developing as strategists and terrorism analysts are debating the near future of the global jihadi movement.

Moving fast to reach out to the Islamist regime in Khartoum, the Iranian-backed Hezbollah organization openly declared its backing of Omar Bashir's government as the latter in turn solidified its alliance with Hezbollah. This development, which surfaced as of the end of July, comes in parallel of an attempt by the Khomeinist-inspired organization to sign a collaboration agreement with Salafist factions in Beirut a few weeks ago. But the Hezbollah-Sudan exchange of declarations of support is by far the most significant convergence of Jihadi forces from the two branches of Islamism since Iran began funding Hamas and Islamic Jihad more than a decade ago.

On July 31, Lebanon Now reported that as he was welcoming the Sudanese presidential envoy Qutub al-Mahdi, Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah's secretary general, called the International Criminal Court (ICC) indictment of President Bashir for genocide as "part of the international conspiracy to strike elements of force in the Arab and Islamic nations, and to destabilize internal stability."

It is worth noting that the ICC had issued a warrant for the arrest of the head of the Sudanese regime for his responsibilities in the mass murder of Black African tribes in Darfur. As I wrote in an op-ed titled "Brotherhood against Democracy" last July, a surge in the region bringing together authoritarian forces and regimes, all of them opposed to international efforts, U.S.-led or not, to back democracy in the region. Within this expanding jihadi-authoritarian axis, Lebanon-based Khomeinists have been playing a significant role in the rapprochement with Salafist movements and regimes.

As reported in the independent Beirut daily an-Nahar on Aug. 1, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said "international meddling in Sudan's affairs has reached dangerous levels."

According to an-Nahar, Nasrallah declared he is backing the Sudanese regime and Bashir "in this fateful confrontation."

The pro-Syrian daily al-Akhbar (Aug. 1) quoted Nasrallah as saying the
"conspiracy (against Bashir) aims at striking the elements of strengths in the Arab and Islamic Umma."

The leader of Hezbollah committed to fight back against "what is called international community with determination," asserting that this conspiracy targets the Arab and Muslim states one after the other, especially those whom he called the "obstructionist forces" (al-qiwa al-mumania).

The pro-government daily al-Mustaqbal quoted Nasrallah accusing the United States and some groupings in America with links to Zionism of "working on dividing Africa and spread chaos on the continent."

Responding to Hezbollah declarations of collaboration, Sudan's regime declared its solidarity with the Iranian-funded militia, which is listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S. and a number of Western countries. According to the Chinese News Service Xinhuanet (Aug. 12) Bashir expressed his "admiration for Lebanese (based) Hezbollah and for its secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah."

His statement came during a visit by a Hezbollah delegation, led by Lebanese MP Hassan Hajj Hassan to Khartoum to express solidarity.
Hassan said that his organization repudiate the demands of the prosecutor general of the ICC and "as a resistance in Lebanon we will be together with the Sudanese to confront the conspiracy of the 'arrogant American' against the interest of our Umma in Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq and Sudan."

The ties between Hezbollah -- and regionally the Iranian regime -- and the Islamist establishment in Sudan are neither new nor a surprise. For observers have long noted the back and forth movement between the Tehran Khomeinist networks and Khartoum's Salafi Islamists. Already, in the early 1990s a delegation from the Pasdaran attended the all out Jihadi Conference in Sudan organized by Dr. Hassan Turabi, one of the main Islamist ideologues of the late 20th century. But in the past few years, especially as the Darfur crisis emerged in international relations, reports asserted that "Hezbollah has sent military trainers to Sudan to train elements of the militia movement there that Sudanese President Bashir has recently established to deal with the 'American campaign' against his regime," according to Stratfor an intelligence newsletter (Aug. 28).

But reality may be even more critical. Sources in the region believe Hezbollah has already established permanent basis in Sudan around Khartoum, in the Darfur areas controlled by the Janjaweed militia and close to the southern Sudan districts managed by the SPLA. The Iranian regime has dispatched the Arabic speaking Hezbollah trainers to Bashir a while ago, in the framework of collaboration against the U.S., Europe and the Arab moderates. The direct mission of the Hezbollah "expeditionary corps" is more strategic than Western analysis has already absorbed. First, the "advisors" will be training Sudanese regime militias to strike at the forthcoming "international force" to be deployed in Darfur. Second, they will coach the Khartoum Islamist forces in a potential return of hostilities with the southerners. Hezbollah will practically help Bashir's Jihadists to crush any move towards self determination in the south. Last but not least, a Hezbollah base in Sudan, will offer Tehran an ideal launching pad for potential terrorist operations against U.S. targets in the entire region including the Red Sea, the African Horn and provide a sea shore for Iranian activities south of the Suez Canal.

This tremendous geopolitical opportunity was not even considered by many experts and analysts advising Washington and Brussels as they refused even to consider the mere possibility of cooperation between Sunni Salafism and Shia Khomeinism. This is another troubling example of how academic apology can lead to future strategic catastrophe in the real world.
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Old 09-16-2008, 10:56 PM
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Lightbulb Communications and terrorism

08/09/2008
Communications and terrorism



Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center

at the Israel Intelligence Heritage & Commemoration Center (IICC)
September 8, 2008





Communications and terrorism: Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV channel has started broadcasting via an Indonesian satellite, after being taken off a Thai satellite. The Indonesian satellite covers East Asia, China, and Australia. Indonesia is a Muslim country, making it more difficult for the international community to fight the incitement aired by Hezbollah.




The coverage of the Indonesian communications satellite PALAPA-C2 (satjournal.tcom.ohiou.edu)

Overview

1. About two months ago, Hezbollah's Al-Manar TV channel started broadcasting via an Indonesian communications satellite called PALAPA-C2. The satellite's coverage includes, inter alia, China , East Asia, and Australia .

2. A local newspaper in Perth , Australia published an article (August 21) saying that Al-Manar's broadcasts could be viewed across Australia . According to the article, the channel airs talk shows and documentaries inciting against Israel and the West. The channel also airs children's shows and music shows, and calls upon the viewers to donate to Hezbollah. The article further states that Australia's Minister of Communications examines the legal aspect of the channel's broadcasts in order to report to the government whether those broadcasts contradict the Australian law (according to which any channel which encourages viewers to join or support terrorist organizations should be banned).

3. The US Embassy Spokesman in Indonesia noted that the US government was concerned about the use made by Al-Manar of the Indonesian communications satellite, as the US declared Al-Manar a terrorist entity in December 2004. Indonesia's Minister of Communications and Information Mohammad Nuh said that the broadcasts were “purely commercial” and that the US had no right to meddle in the company's affairs. He further stated that such TV channels as BBC also made use of satellites.

4. The Indonesian PALAPA-C2 is a third-generation communications satellite launched in 1996. Owned by Indonesia Telkom, it is operated by the SATELINDO Group from Jakarta , Indonesia . Most of Indonesia Telkom's shares are held by the Indonesian government, which has the right to veto strategic decisions. The satellite is suited to the rainy weather in Indonesia and the surrounding region, so that it can broadcast with almost no interruptions. It provides video transmissions, cellular phone services, and Internet access. 1



The logo of SATELINDO, the operator of the
satellite which broadcasts Al-Manar




SATELINDO's ground satellite station
Summary and assessment
5. Indonesia 's readiness to allow the broadcasting of Al-Manar via an Indonesian communications satellite impedes the international struggle against Al-Manar's inciting broadcasts. Participated by the US and several European countries, that struggle has had partial success, reducing the availability of Al-Manar worldwide. For example, in August 2005, the activity of Asiasat, a communications satellite which broadcasted Hezbollah's TV channel to
Asian countries, was terminated. In addition, limitations were imposed on the channel's broadcasts to the US , Europe, and South America . 2

6. In January 2008, the Al-Manar channel started broadcasting via Thaisat, a communications satellite operated by a Thai company which covered Southeast Asia . The Middle East correspondent of an American news agency approached the company management after the affair was exposed in an Information Bulletin of the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center . As a result of the exposure, Thaicom officially announced that it was taking Al-Manar off its satellite starting January 11, 2008 . 3

7. Now, therefore, Hezbollah has recovered from the blow it took in Thailand (and elsewhere) by broadcasting Al-Manar via the Indonesian communications satellite. This will allow Hezbollah (and Iran, which sponsors it) to significantly improve the availability of Al-Manar's inciting broadcasts, particularly among Muslim target audiences in Southeast Asia, China, and Australia.



1 Palestinian terrorist organizations' websites, such as those of Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, rely on Indonesian Internet service providers, seeing as some Western companies have stopped servicing them.



2 The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center has been following that process from the start. For example, see our Information Bulletin: “The Spanish government ordered the banning of Hezbollah TV station's broadcasts to Latin America via its satellite company, Hispasat” ( July 11, 2005 ).



3 See our Information Bulletin: “Hezbollah's Al-Manar TV channel has started broadcasting via the THAICOM communications satellite. A Thai satellite, it broadcasts to most Asian countries, Australia, Africa, and Central Europe . This compromises the efforts of the international community to limit the spread of Hezbollah's incitement programming” (January 10, 2008); as well as “The Thai communications satellite Thaicom stopped broadcasting Al-Manar TV a short time after it began. That was the result of the public exposure of the services it was providing for Hezbollah (Follow-up report)” ( January 14, 2008 ).
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Asymmetric Warfare It’s not just for the “Other Guys”


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Lightbulb "Hezbollah Brigades of Palestine": the latest manifestation of jihad in Palestine

"Hezbollah Brigades of Palestine": the latest manifestation of jihad in Palestine

These groups just keep morphing and multiplying, as recently happened with Hamas and its latest offspring, Jaysh al-Umma, which made clear that "Muslims all over the world were obliged to fight the Israelis and the 'infidels' until only Islam rules the earth." Misunderstanders of jihad? More on this story.

http://www.upi.com/Top_News/2008/10/...6801223228907/


"Hezbollah announces new Jihad group"

from UPI, October 5:
JERUSALEM, Oct. 5 (UPI) --
JERUSALEM, Oct. 5 (UPI) -- A new Palestinian militant group called Hezbollah Brigades of Palestine says it has established itself to "carry out Jihad."


The group issued a statement Saturday describing itself as a "Sunni Jihad group which has nothing to do with politics" made up of "former members of Fatah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and leftist parties" whose goal is to "carry out Jihad for the sake of Allah and resist enemies of Islam," the Israeli Web site DEBKAfile.com reported.

Unnamed sources told the Web site the Lebanese Hezbollah is behind the new group, saying it aims to lure members of all the established Palestinian terrorist groups on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip for ad hoc operations against Israel.
DEBKAfile.com said unnamed Israeli counter-terrorism officials believe Hezbollah issued the statement to counter a warning from Brig. Gaby Eisenkott of the Israeli Defense Forces that any new Hezbollah rocket attacks would result in the destruction of Shiite villages in southern Lebanon.
The group issued a statement Saturday describing itself as a "Sunni Jihad group which has nothing to do with politics" made up of "former members of Fatah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and leftist parties" whose goal is to "carry out Jihad for the sake of Allah and resist enemies of Islam," the Israeli Web site DEBKAfile.com reported.

Unnamed sources told the Web site the Lebanese Hezbollah is behind the new group, saying it aims to lure members of all the established Palestinian terrorist groups on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip for ad hoc operations against Israel.

DEBKAfile.com said unnamed Israeli counter-terrorism officials believe Hezbollah issued the statement to counter a warning from Brig. Gaby Eisenkott of the Israeli Defense Forces that any new Hezbollah rocket attacks would result in the destruction of Shiite villages in southern Lebanon.
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Arrow U.N. Secretary-General: Hizballah must be disbanded

U.N. Secretary-General: Hizballah must be disbanded
It sounds promising, but what does the U.N. plan to do differently, when UNIFIL's presence has had quite the opposite effect from curbing Hizballah in any way? Not much, apparently: Just more talk.

from the Associated Press, October 17
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satelli...cle%2FShowFull
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned that Lebanon will not be a fully sovereign state until Hizbullah, and other militia groups are disbanded.
"Hizbullah's maintenance of separate military assets and infrastructure is a fundamental challenge to the government's attempts to consolidate the sovereignty and authority of the Lebanese state," he wrote in a six-month report to the UN Security Council, obtained Thursday by The Associated Press.
"In addition, several Palestinian militias operate in the country, inside and outside of refugee camps," said the secretary general, adding that they also undermine the stability of the country and the region. [...]
The secretary-general said that clashes in May and violent incidents since then raised concerns "that groups on all sides of the political spectrum may be re-arming."
In the report, Ban called on Lebanese parties to immediately halt all efforts to acquire and build paramilitary capabilities.
He reiterated that disarming and disbanding all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias should be done through a political dialogue "that will lead to the monopoly on the use of force by the government of Lebanon throughout all of its territory."
"The ultimate purpose of disarmament is the establishment of a strong Lebanese state for all inhabitants of Lebanon," he said.
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Exclamation The Hezbollah-Latin America Ties Become More Clear

The Hezbollah-Latin America Ties Become More Clear


By Douglas Farah


I have been traveling, but am somewhat surprised at how little attention the recent multi-country drug bust firmly tying Hezbollah to Latin American drug trafficking structures has received.

This is the clearest publicly-available case that shows how organized criminal groups and terrorist organizations are broadening and strengthening their links. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), responsible for several significant busts recently, led this one too.

The operation has been underway for several years, and has yielded a trove of information on Hezbollah's ties to the Lebanese diaspora in Latin America, and the money ring that stretches through Venezuela, Panama, Guatemala, Hong Kong, the United States, Europe and Lebanon. The size of the network, the ability to function across religious and ethnic lines, and ability of all groups to profit from the criminal enterprise should give one pause.

The profits from the sales of drugs went to finance Hezbollah," said Gladys Sanchez, lead investigator for the special prosecutor's office in Bogota, in an interview. "This is an example of how narco-trafficking is a theme of interest to all criminal organizations, the FARC, the paramilitaries and terrorists."

Ms. Sanchez is exactly right. The contours of the pipeline are easy to identify. The regime of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela has allowed Iranian banks to operate, brought in flights whose passengers are not registered, and issued multiple identification cards to Iranian and Syrian individuals.

The FARC, in Colombia, in turn, exporting some 250 tons of cocaine through Venezuela, who allows the rebels to pay off generals in charge of specific ports. Chavez has to do this, in part, to buy peace in the military, who have grown tired of his antics and his inability to fulfill his promises.

So, Iran sponsors Hezbollah and allies with Chavez. Chavez sponsors the FARC and allies with Iran. The FARC has the dope, Hezbollah has the international distribution network, having been involved in heroin traffic and organized criminal activities for years.

What is alarming to me is that, despite Hezbollah’s stated intention to attack the United States and Iran’s evident interest in having the ability to strike at the United States, this alliance (and the Chavez-Iran alliance) attract very little attention at senior policy levels.

Perhaps it is the end-of-administration syndrome, coupled with the Iraq-Afghanistan energy and attention suck, that allow these events to pass almost unnoticed. Yet this pipeline is in a far better position to strike the United States than the Sunni terrorist structures operating out of Afghanistan.

We can see how they are funded, and that there is a clear interest in expansion. What we don’t see is many people paying attention.
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Arrow Hizbullah: We don't have to accept the Blue Line

Hizbullah: We don't have to accept the Blue Line


A Hizbullah official rejected the UN-demarcated Blue Line between Lebanon and Israel this week and laid claim to seven villages in northern Israel and "millions of square meters" that it says belongs to Lebanon.

Hizbullah's international relations official Nawaf Moussawi said Monday that "we don't have to accept the Blue Line" as the border, claiming that it only symbolized the "line of withdrawal" by the Israeli army from south Lebanon in 2000.

The senior Hizbullah official also warned against considering the Blue Line valid as "Lebanon would lose millions of square meters of her national soil."

The UN published the border demarcation known as the Blue Line in June 2000 to determine whether Israel had fully withdrawn from Lebanon.

Moussawi made the comments as he was receiving foreign ambassadors in Lebanon, according to the NOW Lebanon news site.

While similar claims have been made by senior Hizbullah officials in the past, experts say it's interesting the statements were made in an international rather than domestic context. In addition, Moussawi also said that "Zionist terrorist organizations moved the border line from the 1920 line to a new line in 1923, and Lebanon lost its seven villages and 20 farms."

Moussawi is referring to seven Shi'ite villages in the area of the Upper Galilee that were included within Mandatory Palestine in a border demarcation treaty signed by France and Britain in 1923. While the first stage of demarcation included the seven villages in Lebanon, the final agreement between the two colonial powers shifted the boundary and excluded these seven Shi'ite villages, as well as about 20 others.

In 1948, the inhabitants of these seven villages were deported and became refugees in Lebanon. In 1994, following pressure from Hizbullah, they received Lebanese citizenship.

The international community recognizes these villages as a part of Israel.

"What is interesting for me, is that it's an international audience and [Mussawi] may have wanted to get some message across to this sort of audience," says Asher Kaufman, an Israeli scholar and a history professor at the University of Notre Dame. "It needs to be seen within the context as the exchange of inflammatory statements between Israel and Hizbullah, which has been going on now for some time."

Hizbullah's comments demonstrate its desire to find new avenues and modes of confrontation to replenish its bargaining power and its political relevance inside Lebanon, other experts say.

"They are playing with petty issues that no one in mainstream Lebanon cares about," said Magnus Ranstorp, a Hizbullah expert at the Swedish National Defense College. "They are creating an issue that is relatively insignificant, even if Israel withdrew from the Shaba Farms area, there would be the seven villages... There is always something else that they would manufacture."
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Arrow Hezbollah picks Mughniyah replacement

Hezbollah picks Mughniyah replacement


http://www.cedarsrevolution.net/jtph...=2370&Itemid=2

Hezbollah has appointed a replacement for Imad Mughniyah, the Lebanese militant group's operations chief who was assassinated in February, the Kuwaiti newspaper Al Rai Al Aam reported on Friday.

The paper identified the replacement as Mustafa Shahada, a member of the group's military apparatus since its founding. It should be noted that the report has not been corroborated by any other source.

According to the report, the decision was apparently reached ahead of Hezbollah's general convention a few weeks ago.

Al Rai Al Aam described Shahada as a professional fighter who is highly regarded by the group's guerillas and leadership. Shahada has kept a very low profile until today, and is credited with having good operational capabilities.

"This commander... is very aware of [Hezbollah's] aspirations, and knows how to carry out its purposes and vision in the medium and long term," the paper wrote.

The daily also confirmed earlier reports that should Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah become incapacitated in some way, his nephew Hasham Tzefi A-Din will stand in for him. It added that Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has made a special religious decree allowing for Nasrallh to continue as Hezbollah's secretary general despite a limit set by the group's regulations.

Last month, Nasrallah reiterated his vow to avenge the assassination of Mughniyeh in a Damascus car bombing, for which he blames Israel. Israel has denied involvement in the incident.

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1033315.html
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Old 11-26-2008, 12:19 AM
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Exclamation Hezbollah, an Imminent Danger

Hezbollah, an Imminent Danger?

ROOTS OF HEZBOLLAH -- Members of the Basij volunteer militia established by Iranian revolutionary leader Ayatollah Khomeini wave Hezbollah and Iran's national flags as they attend a rally on al-Quds day (Jerusalem Day) in Tehran on Sept. 27. Jerusalem Day, an annual day of protest decreed in 1979 by Khomeini saw people across the Middle East demand that the holy city be returned to Palestinian control. (UPI)



CIA Director Michael Hayden said last week that al-Qaida was still the largest threat to the United States. He added, "If there is a major strike on this country, it will bear the fingerprints of al-Qaida."

But some analysts say that the focus should not go entirely on al-Qaida, stressing that the capabilities of the Shiite organization Hezbollah should not be underestimated.


Pre Sept. 11, 2001, Hezbollah was the organization believed to be responsible for the deaths of the largest number of Americans killed in terrorist attacks. Former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage called Hezbollah "the A-team of terrorists, while al-Qaida may actually be the B-team."


Today in a context of major tension with Iran regarding its nuclear program, Iraq and Lebanon, just to mention a few, intelligence analysts warn that the Hezbollah threat against the West should not be taken off the radar.


Hezbollah is believed to maintain a vast network of operatives across the world; from Europe to Africa to the Middle East, to Latin America and even North America.


In Africa, and in particular in the predominantly Sunni Maghreb, extremist Shiites are making inroads. The threat of potential Shiite terrorism is something Morocco knows something about, having dismantled earlier this year a large terrorist cell known as the Belliraj network. Members of this cell included a correspondent of the Hezbollah-run Al-Manar TV. According to intelligence sources they were planning terror attacks in Morocco.


Hezbollah has long had a presence in Latin America. It is believed to maintain a large base of operations in the tri-border area where Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina converge.


Following the assassination by Israel of its leader Abbas Moussawi, Hezbollah launched in 1992 and 1994 two terror attacks in Buenos Aires against the Israeli embassy, killing 29 people and the Jewish community center, killing 85.


Intelligence sources say that Hezbollah's activities in Latin America have expanded into Venezuela and other countries. In October 2006 homemade bombs were left in front of the U.S. embassy in Caracas. Police subsequently arrested a student in possession of Hezbollah material in Spanish.


Europe presents other possible targets. Counterterrorism officials, especially in Europe, are sometimes privately more concerned by Hezbollah than al-Qaida. Intelligence officials say that infiltrating the movement is almost impossible, mostly because of the lack of a large Shiite population on the continent, and when compared to Intel on Sunni terrorist groups, European law enforcement officials say they are almost blind.


Hezbollah has an impressive network in Europe with, according to intelligence officials, operatives in Belgium, Bosnia, Britain, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Norway, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and Ukraine.


Germany is thought to have about 900 Hezbollah members and authorities fear it could become a target. A recent report issued by Germany's security services, says Hezbollah could launch damaging terrorist attacks in Germany, the UK and elsewhere in Europe. British authorities confirmed recently that Hezbollah sleeping cells disseminated throughout the UK are threatening to strike in case of attacks against Iran.


The Middle East remains the region where Hezbollah can inflict the most damage to the West. Being clearly in command in Lebanon, UNIFlL forces in southern Lebanon remains vulnerable to attacks.


Hezbollah's arsenal is impressive and includes some 40,000 rockets that have been supplied by Iran, Syria and Eastern European countries. These weapons could also end up in the hands of the insurgents in Iraq.


Finally, Hezbollah could also be a threat to the U.S. homeland. In February 2004, then-CIA Director George Tenet stated that Hezbollah had cultivated an extensive network of operatives on American soil and an "ongoing capability to launch terrorist attacks within the United States."


After its most successful operative, Imad Mughnieh, was assassinated in Damascus in February, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security warned state and local law enforcement agencies of a potential risk of Hezbollah's revenge against targets in the United States.


Hezbollah's activity in the United States has so far been limited to major fund raising through business ventures, criminal activity (such as cigarette smuggling) and donations from supporters. Some experts think that Hezbollah would never dare attack the United States on its soil because it would endanger its huge fundraising operations. This, say others, might be wishful thinking. A confrontation with Iran could well change that.

--

Olivier Guitta, an adjunct fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and a foreign affairs and counterterrorism consultant, is the founder of the newsletter The Croissant (www.thecroissant.com).
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Lightbulb Hugo’s Hezbollah

Hugo’s Hezbollah
The Western hemisphere's harbor for terror

http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles...A-698495018B83

By: Alan Levine

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has defied the United States unlike any other leader in the Western Hemisphere since Cuba's Fidel Castro. Chavez has strong ties with state sponsors of terror, suppresses democracy at home, and has worked to destabilize his neighbors. Recently, Chavez has also helped the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah establish a base in the Western hemisphere.

For years, the U.S. State Department has stated its concern that Hezbollah raises funds “among the sizable Muslim communities” the South America, and that weak rule of law could “tempt terrorist groups to seek to establish safe havens” in the tri-border area between Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay. Indeed, with the aid of Iranian embassies, the area was believed to be a staging ground for Hezbollah’s 1992 and 1994 bombings of Jewish and Israeli targets in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

It was the U.S. Treasury Department, however, that provided recent evidence that Hezbollah had found a safe haven in Venezuela. In January 2008, Treasury’s Office for Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) placed two Venezuelans—including one prominent diplomat—on its Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list, for providing financial support to Hezbollah. Adam Szubin, director of OFAC, noted that the Venezuelan regime was “employing and providing safe harbor for Hezbollah facilitators and fundraisers.”

According to the Treasury, Ghazi Nasr al-Din, a former official of the Venezuelan embassies in both Lebanon and Syria, provided counsel on fundraising to Hezbollah supporters, and provided information on where to deposit money that would go directly to Hezbollah.

Fawzi Kanan, a businessman, was also designated by OFAC. The owner of two travel agencies, Kanan used his businesses in Venezuela to transfer funds to Hezbollah and to facilitate travel for Hezbollah operatives. He even met Hezbollah officials in Lebanon about possible kidnappings and terrorist attacks.

Instead of opening an investigation, Chavez said that the world was using the allegations to “make a move” against him. Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro lashed out at the United States: “If they want to search for terrorists, look for them in the White House.”

Venezuela’s support for Hezbollah doesn’t end there. It was reported a few months later that the Venezuelan minister of the interior, Tayek al-Ayssami, was working directly with al-Din to recruit young Venezuelans of Arab descent that were supportive of the Chavez regime to train in Lebanon with Hezbollah. Reportedly, the purpose was to prepare these youths for asymmetric warfare against the United States in the event of a confrontation. According to this report, Hezbollah also established training camps inside Venezuela, complete with ammunition and explosives, courtesy of al-Ayssami.

Reports also indicate that Hezbollah has been responsible for converting a number of indigenous tribes in Latin America to their radical version of Islam, including the Venezuela-based Wayuu tribe. These tribe members now make up much of the membership of “Hezbollah Venezuela,” a group tied to the attempted bombing of the U.S. embassy in Caracas in 2006.

Chavez, meanwhile, is perhaps the most open apologist for Hezbollah in the hemisphere. During the Israel-Hezbollah War in 2006, Chavez withdrew the Venezuelan ambassadorto Israel. He later accused Israel of conducting its defensive war in “the fascist manner of Hitler.” After making those comments on al-Jazeera television, Chavez returned home and continued to malign Israel on his weekly television broadcast, Aló Presidente, where he labeled the United States “a terrorist nation” for supporting Israel.

Chavez's rhetorical and material support for Hezbollah likely stems from his affinity for the group’s benefactor and ideological inspiration, the Islamic Republic of Iran. Chavez and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who refer to each other as “dear brother,” are proud to share “revolutionary views.” Chavez says the two countries are “united like a single fist.” Despite their differing faiths, they joined hands and prayed for the peoples of the world “to destroy [U.S.] world hegemony.”

The U.S. Treasury should be commended for designating Venezuelan individuals and entities that support Hezbollah. Effective sanctions against the Venezuelan government, however, will be impossible to implement until the United States breaks its reliance on Venezuelan oil. Until that day comes, Washington should strengthen its alliances with Venezuela’s neighbors in an effort to weaken Chavez’s power. Congress can assist by passing a free trade agreement with Colombia, a staunch anti-Chavez ally. Failure to take these and other important steps will only encourage Hezbollah to expand in America’s backyard.
Alan Levine is an intern at the Jewish Policy Center
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Lightbulb Lebanese Sunni Cleric Bilal Daqmaq Attacks Iran and Hizbullah

http://www.memri.org/bin/latestnews.cgi?ID=SD215308


Special Dispatch - No. 2153




December 15, 2008
No. 2153



Lebanese Sunni Cleric Bilal Daqmaq Attacks Iran and Hizbullah, States: We Are Terrorists in the Service of What Is Right


Following are excerpts from an interview with Lebanese Sunni cleric Bilal Daqmaq, which aired on OTV on November 20, 2008.
To view this clip on MEMRI TV, visit http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/1941.htm.

Bilal Daqmaq "I wish terms like 'terrorism' and 'fundamentalism' would not be used in a hostile manner with regard to Muslims. We are terrorists, if you want to use this term, but our terrorism is in the service of what is right.

"Allah says in the Koran: 'Prepare against them what force and steeds of war you can, to strike terror in the enemies of Allah and in your own enemies.' Whoever attacks us or wants to strike terror in our hearts - we will strike terror in his heart, if necessary.

"But in Lebanon, there is an army and there are security forces, which must protect the citizens, Muslims and non-Muslims alike. We do not employ terrorism in this country, because there are security forces that must carry out their duties. When they are remiss in this - as we've seen in Beirut and Tripoli - the people will have no choice but to defend themselves."
[...]
Interviewer: "Does self-defense require the blowing up of Lebanese army trucks and buses?"

Bilal Daqmaq: "Of course not. We denounce this. But if we're attacked by the Lebanese army or by anyone, we will defend ourselves."
[...]
Interviewer: "Hizbullah is a resistance force."

Bilal Daqmaq: "What resistance? The resistance is over. Resolution 1701 ended the resistance, and the Lebanese army moved into South Lebanon.
[...]
"I believe that the dialogue is futile and that Hizbullah will not turn in its weapons, because frankly, these weapons are connected to the Iranian-Syrian agenda."

Interviewer: "So your solution is to arm yourselves?"

Bilal Daqmaq: "No, the solution is for the Lebanese army to carry out its duties. Millions of dollars have been spent on the army, and if it can disarm Hizbullah, we will welcome this. Otherwise, it should be done through dialogue and politics."
[...]
Interviewer: "How do you view the Iranian regime?"

Bilal Daqmaq: "This regime plays the Lebanese 'card' improperly. It wants to exploit this country, in order to promote its nuclear program."

Interviewer: "Do you consider the Iranian regime to be heretical?"

Bilal Daqmaq: "The Iranian regime is not an Islamic government. They have a constitution and a religion of their own. This is not an Islamic regime."
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Arrow Former Lebanese President Amin Gemayel on Hizbullah

http://www.memri.org/bin/latestnews.cgi?ID=SD215408


Special Dispatch - No. 2154




December 15, 2008
No. 2154


Former Lebanese President Amin Gemayel: It's Time For Hizbullah's Weapons to Return to the Control of the Lebanese State



In a speech at a Beirut rally marking the 72nd anniversary of the establishment of the Kata'ib Party and the second anniversary of the assassination of Lebanese industry minister Pierre Gemayel, Gemayel's father Amin Gemayel, who is a former president of the country and who currently is the Kata'ib party head as well as a March 14 Forces leader, harshly condemned Hizbullah for possessing weapons and called for the weapons to be returned to state control.

Following are excerpts from Gemayel's speech. [1]


Lebanon Cannot Tolerate an Illegal Military Presence Within Its Borders
"Loyalty to Lebanon… should be manifested in severing relations with external [forces], respecting the state's sovereignty, putting an end to separatism, surrendering illegal weapons, opposing the naturalization [of the Palestinian refugees], eschewing fanaticism and extremism, and [promoting] social harmony and respect for the other…

"The country cannot tolerate any illegal military presence within its borders. [It cannot tolerate] the weapons of the Palestinian organizations; it is time to collect them [wherever they are found], inside and outside the Palestinian [refugee] camps. [Similarly, Lebanon cannot tolerate] Hizbullah's weapons in the South, in the Beqa' Valley, in Beirut, in Dhahiya etc., and these should likewise be returned [to Lebanese] state [control].

"[The same is true for] the weapons belonging to fundamentalist organizations in several neighborhoods - it is time to disarm them and come out against them. The Lebanese oppose the naturalization of [the Palestinian refugees], as well as all plans [to establish] states-within-a-state in Lebanon that will possess a religious character of their own. The Lebanese want only the state of Lebanon, and only for the Lebanese…

"What is the point of seeking a defense strategy if it will never eradicate these three threats [i.e. the weapons of the Palestinians, Hizbullah, and the Lebanese fundamentalist organizations]? We seek a defense strategy to protect our homeland, while others [seek a strategy] to protect their weapons. We want a state that will protect the Lebanese land and people by means of its army and security forces, [for only thus] will the Lebanese refrain from seeking the help of external [forces], who will sooner or later bring catastrophe upon them."


The Possession of Weapons by Lebanese Organizations Is a Threat to the State
"A defense strategy is [meant to bring] peace, not war. Countries arm in order to ensure their safety and economic prosperity, not in order to start futile wars and bring back the era of occupation. For Lebanon, the only true defense is peace. A homeland cannot [tolerate the existence of] two states [within its borders], just as a state [cannot tolerate] two armies, and an army cannot tolerate [weapons in the hands of other forces] or decisions on arms issues made by [other bodies].

"The possession of arms by both Lebanese and non-Lebanese forces - who usurp [Lebanon's authority] to decide on issues of war and peace - exposes Lebanon to the risk of an Israeli attack at any moment, since [Israel] does not differentiate between aggressive forces within Lebanon [on the one hand] and the Lebanese state and people [on the other]...
"All our efforts to deal with economic problems are wasted as long as [Lebanon's] security is the hostage of authorities that oppose the official government, and as long as there is no political stability because some [Lebanese] continue to form alliances at the expense of the official regime. What Lebanese [company] will dare to expand its activities, increase its production, or create new job opportunities, unless it is certain that the state extends its sovereignty over the entire country? What foreign financier will dare invest money in Lebanon, unless peace prevails [in the country] and the sovereignty of the state extends over all its lands?"

Those Who Possess Illegal Arms Have No Concern for the Lebanese People
"What is true for investments and job opportunities is also true for aid and [foreign] grants. In other words, the fact that the state does not have exclusive control over arms precludes the Arab countries, and [other] countries that are friendly [to Lebanon], from honoring their commitments to it. The resolutions of the Paris 1, Paris 2, and Paris 3 [conferences on economic aid to Lebanon] do not go hand in hand with [the Iranian missiles] Zilzal 1, Zilzal 2, and Zilzal 3.

"Illegal arms have been used in Lebanon not only for military purposes, as during the May 7 clashes in Beirut, Tripoli, and the Beqa' Valley... [2] but also in the economic domain: they have caused production projects to be moved to other countries and large funds to be transferred overseas, and [they have] driven away large companies that energize the economy, create jobs, and prevent the emigration of our citizens. "Those who possess these arms, and their allies, have no concern for the Lebanese people, since they are far removed from Lebanon's economic and social crisis… [This is because] they operate their own budget, funds, donations and securities, and because the framework in which they exist is, in essence, a state-within-a-state, separate from Lebanon, which has its own vital infrastructures. [Its existence] creates a rift which contravenes the content and spirit of all agreements and charters upon which Lebanon was established…"


[1] Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), November 24, 2008.
[2] A reference to to the May 7, 2008 takeover of Beirut, Tripoli and the Beqa' valley by Amal and Hizbullah forces, in response to the Lebanese government's decision to dismantle the organization's communications network, and also in response to its decision to fire Beirut airport security chief Wafiq Shuqair, who is affiliated with Hizbullah.
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