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  #41  
Old 12-20-2008, 08:26 PM
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Default An Interesting Look at the Importance of Hezbollah and the Future of Warfare

An Interesting Look at the Importance of Hezbollah and the Future of Warfare


By Douglas Farah

This interesting study by the U.S. Army’s Strategic Studies Institute of the 2006 Hezbollah-Israel wars offers some important insights not only into that conflict, but why Hezbollah matters and how their actions can affect how future wars develop.

The study, first brought to public attention by the Haaretz newspaper,concludes that Hezbollah fought the war not as an “information age guerrillas,” but as a prototype of a new hybrid force that also relies on conventional tactics and structures.

The report also concludes Hezbollah fought better than any other Arab force to fight with Israel.

The report is worth reading because, whether one agrees or not with everything there, it is thought-provoking. It is particularly important given Hezbollah’s growing strength and reach in Latin America, because it shows that the movement has a disciplined, innovative military mind-set.

This discipline and ability to take the long view is why it is so difficult, to my thinking, to dismiss the presence of Iran and Hezbollah in Latin America.

These state and nonstate groups operating in a coordinated fashion, are are exerting a great deal effort and a considerable sum of money in troubled economic times to pursue their agenda. It is hard to believe they would do that for no return, or without an expected strategic payoff.

This combination (state-nonstate) may be an important factor in understanding how Hezbollah as developed over time to look like a more conventional force. Without state support, that would likely not be possible.

As an aside, it also maintains strong ties with other militant groups, such as Hamas and the international Muslim Brotherhood, as this remarkable photograph from the Holy Land trial exhibits show, dug out by the NEFA Foundation.

In the picture, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrahhah is flanked by Hamas leader Khaled Mishal and chief Muslim Brotherhood theologian Yousef al-Qaradawi. That is Qaradawi, who raised funds for the HLF, according to U.S. government documents, and who has issued fatwas favoring the killing of Americans in Iraq; the beating of women and the conquest of the rest of the world in the pursuit of establishing an Islamist caliphate.
But back to the study. It makes the important point that most forces today are neither purely guerrilla nor purely conventional, and that Hezbollah in the 2006 campaign, was closer to the latter, while maintaining important elements of the former.

Hezbollah’s methods were thus somewhere between the popular conceptions of guerrilla and conventional warfare—but so are most military actors’, whether state or nonstate. Few real militaries have ever conformed perfectly to either the “conventional” or the “guerrilla” extreme. The commonplace tendency to see guerrilla and conventional methods as a stark dichotomy and to associate the former with nonstate actors and the latter with states is a mistake and has been so for at least a century.

In fact, there are profound elements of “guerrilla” methods in the military behavior of almost all state militaries in conventional warfare, from tactics all the way through strategy. And most nonstate guerrilla organizations have long used tactics and strategies that most observers tend to associate with state military behavior. In reality, there is a continuum of methods between the polar extremes of the Maginot Line and the Viet Cong, and most real-world cases have always fallen somewhere in between. The 2006 Lebanon campaign, too, fell somewhere in between. Its placement on this continuum, however, is much further from the Viet Cong end of the scale than many low-tech transformation advocates would expect for a nonstate actor—and, in fact, the biggest divergence between Hezbollah’s methods and those of modern Western militaries may well be Hezbollah’s imperfect proficiency of execution rather than the doctrine they were trying to execute.

The question then is, how should the U.S. military be restructuring its forces for the coming decades? The authors argue that too much change to deal with asymmetrical warfare would be counter-productive. We will likely be facing more of these hybrid organizations, just as we face growing hybrids between criminal and terrorist structures.

The Obama administration will have multiple short-term crises to deal with. But this is one of the longer-range ones that needs to be tackled consistently over time to get it right.
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  #42  
Old 12-21-2008, 01:20 AM
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Default US Army War College

The US Army War College recently published a review of the 2006 Lebanon War. An interesting critique, although most of the details have been published elsewhere by now.
http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pdffiles/PUB882.pdf


Some thoughts from reading the study:
  • The study has a lot contradictions. On the one hand, they state that "Hezbollah inflicted more Israeli casualties per Arab fighter in 2006 than did any of Israel’s state opponents in the 1956, 1967, 1973, or 1982 Arab-Israeli interstate wars." [p. xv] On the other hand, the study also points out the lack of traditional military training that hampered Hezbollah's performance: "Hezbollah direct fire marksmanship was very uneven. Small arms fire, for example, was systematically inaccurate and caused few casualties." [p. 71]

  • Hezbollah's longer range rockets were destroyed in opening hours of the war. The larger size of these missiles - and their attendant launch facilities - made them much easier for the Israeli air force to pick out. Over fifty were destroyed in a single, pre-dawn raid on July 13th. [p. 30]

  • Although Hezbollah was able to continue its rain of shorter-range Katyusha rockets onto Israeli territory, they did not pass through the war as unscathed as the press was often led to assume. It is estimated that Hezbollah's losses numbered between 650 and 750 fatalities.[p. 33] Unlike the regular armed forces of Egypt or Syria, Hezbollah does not have the same depth in manpower reserves to continue to sustain losses of this magnitude - suggesting that a more concerted Israeli ground operation could very well led to the organization's effective collapse in southern Lebanon.
  • As usual, Hezbollah used civilian buildings and villages to provide "human shields" for many of the bunkers and rocket launch sites in southern Lebanon.[p. 43] Nothing new there.
  • "Hezbollah did some things well, such as its use of cover and concealment, its preparation of fighting positions, its fire discipline and mortar marksmanship, and its coordination of direct fire support. But it also fell far short of contemporary Western standards in controlling large-scale maneuver, integrating movement and indirect fire support, combining multiple combat arms, reacting flexibly to changing conditions, and small-arms marksmanship." [p. 75]
Taken as a whole, I have to conclude that this confrontation would have turned out very differently if Israel's army - and political leadership - had been prepared to engage in the kind of larger scale, offensive ground operations that have characterized past Arab-Israeli wars. I read this as more an indictment of Israel's leadership for failing to take the necessary counter-actions both during and in advance of the war, than it is an endorsement or Hezbollah's "new" capabilities.

Last edited by haamimhagolan; 12-21-2008 at 04:00 AM.. Reason: Added comments
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Old 12-29-2008, 06:25 PM
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Exclamation Egypt: Hizbullah declared war on us

Egypt: Hizbullah declared war on us


In a press conference held on Monday afternoon in Ankara with his Turkish counterpart, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit responded to criticism by Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah on Sunday, saying that "They have practically declared war on Egypt via several satellite stations. The Egyptian people reject and opposes this declaration."

"They want for there to be chaos in Egypt as there is in their country," Gheit said of Hizbullah.

"I tell this man [Nasrallah]: No, no! Our armed forces can defend our homeland from people like you. Your interest in creating chaos is not in the best interest of the area," he added.

The Egyptian foreign minister added that his country had tried to prevent the escalation in violence by asking Israel not to carry out an operation in the Gaza Strip.


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"We asked Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni to Cairo in order to tell her: 'Do not attack the Gaza Strip,' but unfortunately, this is not what happened."

Meanwhile, Tens of thousands of Lebanese Hizbullah supporters poured into the streets of southern Beirut, protesting Israel's air assault on the Gaza Strip.

The protesters carried Palestinian, Lebanese and yellow Hizbullah flags and banners supporting the Palestinian people.

"Death to Israel," and "At your service, Gaza!" many in the crowd shouted during Monday's demonstration.

The massive rally was called for by Nasrallah who in a speech on Sunday urged crowds in the Arab and Islamic world to rise up in support of Gaza.
He declared Monday a day of mourning and solidarity with Gaza.

In his televised speech on Sunday, Nasrallah attacked Arab nations - particularly Egypt and Jordan - and accused them of cooperation with Israel in its offensive in the Gaza Strip.

"There are some who speak of Arab silence, but this is wrong. There is full Arab cooperation, especially by those who have signed so-called peace agreements with Israel," he said.

The Hizbullah leader called on Arabs everywhere to go out into the streets and demonstrate, in order to force their governments to stop the Israeli offensive.

Nasrallah reprimanded Egypt for casting the responsibility of the condition in Gaza on Hamas.

He attacked the Egyptian foreign minister who in a Saturday press conference said that Hamas, which had been repeatedly warned by Egypt, must bear responsibility for the current situation in Gaza.

"Yesterday, we heard a high-ranking Egyptian leader cast the responsibility on the victim. Can we accept such things from Arabs? Casting the responsibility for this war on the Gaza resistance is embarrassing and saddening," Nasrallah added. "Our nations call on Egypt to help."

Nasrallah also warned the Lebanese government and army to be on alert in southern Lebanon in case Israel attacked.

Nasrallah said Sunday that Hizbullah is ready to confront any Israeli "aggression" against Lebanon in light of Israel's assault on Gaza.

"Since the beginning of the Zionist attack on Gaza, Israeli officials have issued threats about another front, and they mean Lebanon," Nasrallah said.

He warned that Israel has taken measures on its borders that might or might not be defensive, and "might take advantage of the situation to launch an attack on Lebanon."

Nasrallah said that Israel needed such action on "an electoral level and to salvage the image of the Israeli army." But, he added, "We are not concerned or afraid... We are ready to face any attack on our country."

Nasrallah was speaking from a secret location through a giant screen to hundreds of supporters who gathered in Hizbullah's stronghold of Beirut's southern suburbs.

Elsewhere across the Middle East, thousands of demonstrators took to the streets on Sunday for the second day in a row to protest Israel's air assaults on Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip.

From Ramallah to Lebanon to Iran and Iraq, crowds of protesters called for an end to Israel's attacks, which began Saturday and have claimed more than 280 lives in the Hamas-controlled Strip.

Several of the protests turned violent.

"We have a disaster here... the number of people dying, the number of wounded, the number of houses and buildings destroyed, which is carried by almost 700 Arabic satellite stations," said Dr. Abdel Monem Said Ali, director of the Cairo-based Al-Ahram Center for Strategic and Political Studies.

"I think it is mobilizing the Arab public in a way that for sure will push their governments" to take diplomatic and political action, he said.

Arab foreign ministers are scheduled to meet in Cairo on Wednesday under the auspices of the Arab League to "formulate the Arab position to deal with Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip," Arab League Chairman Amr Moussa said Saturday night.

The urgent meeting was initially going to take place on Sunday but was delayed to accommodate members who had meetings scheduled with other Arab regional groups.

On Sunday, Moussa said that the UN Security Council action passed earlier in the day expressing serious concern at the escalating situation in Gaza and urging an immediate halt to all violence was "not enough."

At the upcoming Arab League meeting, the members will "have to balance a very strong message of support to the Palestinians with keeping the road open to negotiations," Ali said.

"Some will call on Egypt and Jordan to cut diplomatic relations with Israel."

Already on Saturday, Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir told Al-Jazeera that those nations which have normal relations with Israel should cut their ties in light of the Gaza operation, Ali said. Jordan, Egypt and Mauritania are the only three Arab League states that have full diplomatic relations with Israel.

Both Egypt and Jordan are receiving internal pressure from syndicates, trade unions and political parties to sever their relations with Israel.
Jordanian deputies burnt an Israeli flag during a parliamentary session on Sunday in a rare protest against the Jewish state's raids on the Gaza Strip, Reuters reported.

Delaying the Arab League meeting by a few days could be a wise choice to let things cool off a bit, Ali said.

"The initial position of Arab countries in such a meeting is usually to take an extreme position," he said. "After two days, their nerves will be much better, particularly if they work out a cease-fire in the next few days."
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Asymmetric Warfare It’s not just for the “Other Guys”

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  #44  
Old 12-29-2008, 10:46 PM
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Jordanian deputies burnt an Israeli flag during a parliamentary session on Sunday in a rare protest against the Jewish state's raids on the Gaza Strip, Reuters reported.

How pathetical and childish.

Its amazing how selective the Islamic memory is.

Jordan's King Hussein's bedouin troops inflicted massive deaths/casualties against the Palestinian refugees during the Black September imbroglio.

I can't remember Jordanian deputies burning a Jordanian flag.

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  #45  
Old 01-17-2009, 01:24 PM
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Islam is a religion of lies and deception.
Hezbollah confirms this things .

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  #46  
Old 02-22-2009, 05:55 PM
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Exclamation

Here is a shout out from Israelis to Hezbollah to lighten the mood!



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


Last edited by Paparock; 02-22-2009 at 07:55 PM..
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  #47  
Old 03-04-2009, 02:38 PM
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Exclamation Former Hizbullah Member Rami 'Aleiq

http://www.memri.org/bin/latestnews.cgi?ID=SD226909


Special Dispatch - No. 2269





March 3, 2009
No. 2269
Former Hizbullah Member Rami 'Aleiq: We Used to Have Sex with Syrian Prostitutes after Signing Temporary Marriage Contracts With Them

Following are excerpts from an interview with Rami 'Aleiq, the former head of the Hizbullah Students Union at the AmericanUniversity in Beirut, which aired on Rotana Music TV on August 25, 2008.

To view this MEMRI TV clip, visit http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/2037.htm.

TO VIEW THIS CLIP AND OTHERS, YOU MUST LOG IN/REGISTER FOR MEMRI TV, AT http://subscriptions.memri.org/content/en/member_registr_tv.htm. REGISTRATION IS FREE OF CHARGE.

"Three Things Influenced My Personality... The School, the Street, and [Home]... But... the Influence of the Street Culture Prevailed"
Rami 'Aleiq: "I was born in 1972, before the Lebanese civil war. As soon as I came into this world, I witnessed forced emigration, great anarchy, war, and weapons. Undoubtedly, this had an impact on me, and left me with question marks and a sense of rejection, even as a child.
[...]
"One is raised on certain notions - whether religious, political, cultural, ideological, or social - but later, one realizes that these notions gradually fall apart before one’s eyes."
[...]
Interviewer: "When you were young, you were a thug. You stabbed your sister with a knife because she didn't want to wear the hijab. You were 14 years old at the time."

Rami 'Aleiq: "Right."

Interviewer: "You accused your family of apostasy, saying they were infidels and sinners. Such a criminal worldview in a teenager... Who shaped it for you?"

Rami 'Aleiq: "First of all, I'm not sure I agree with the word 'criminal.' This is the product of society. It was shaped by the street. Three things influenced my personality, as they influence the personality of any teenager or child..."

Interviewer: "Stabbing is not a crime?"

Rami 'Aleiq: "Taken by itself, it is a crime. But crimes have underlying social circumstances. I was just a child, a minor. [A child is influenced] by the school, the street, and his home. My home was moderate, and so was my school, but the street was overflowing with extremism. The influence of the street culture prevailed." [...]

"It Is Not Just Hizbullah... All [The] Parties Rely On Teenagers"
Interviewer: "Let's return to when you were 13 or 14 years old. That year, you took up arms and became a fighter for Hizbullah. The rifle must have been bigger than you."

Rami 'Aleiq: "Right."

Interviewer: "Does Hizbullah's army need 13-year-old children in its ranks?"

Rami 'Aleiq: "To be honest, it is not just Hizbullah. This applies to all the parties. All parties rely on teenagers."
[...]
Archival footage shown

Crowd: "We are all with you, Rami! We are all with you, Rami!"

Interviewer: "That was you?"

Rami 'Aleiq: "Yes."

Interviewer: "And this is you now?"

Rami 'Aleiq: "Yes."

Interviewer: "There is a very great difference."

Rami 'Aleiq: "Only in the sense of external appearance. The essence is the same, but the form has changed tremendously. This incident... If I want to sum up the circumstances, this was one of the incidents that changed the course of my life, and changed my beliefs. I was subjected to a savage beating. If you look at the newspapers from that day, you will see what savage beatings we got.

"People from all sects and political affiliations were standing by me. We shattered the fetters of partisanship. There were members of different parties as well as independents, and we shattered the fetters of political pressures. We decided in advance that we would stick together even if we got beaten up. This was a great thing which caused many of my beliefs to come undone.
[...]
"This was somehow connected to the conspiracy theory. We felt that there was an existential threat to the Shiites. This theory still exists."

This Conspiracy Theory "Was The Product of a Certain Culture... The Idea That Your Salvation Depended on Preserving the Narrow [Shiite] Framework"
Interviewer: "Who taught you this conspiracy theory?"

Rami ‘Aleiq: "Nobody did. It was the product of a certain culture, which would instill in your mind the idea that your salvation depended on preserving the narrow [Shiite] framework. This makes you feel that the end absolutely justifies the means."
[...]
Interviewer: "After this, you secluded yourself for three days in an old church, you developed a desire to learn about Jesus and Christian teachings, and you performed Christian rituals. Were you baptized with holy water in accordance with Christian rituals?"

"I Was Baptized With Holy Water... [But] I Did Not Convert From Islam To Christianity. I Kept My Islamic Faith"
Rami 'Aleiq: "Yes. I was baptized with holy water. I did this out of my own free will, but just to be clear, I did not convert from Islam to Christianity. I kept my Islamic faith, and still do. I added the Christian way to my religious practice, because I distinguish between religion and faith. Faith has no identity, and the goal of religion is to reach faith, to reach God."
[...]
Interviewer: "Are you for or against sex before marriage?"

Rami 'Aleiq: "I'm for it."

Interviewer: "But all religions forbid this."

Rami 'Aleiq: "I think that the way this issue is viewed is subject to social development, and religions need to be aware of social developments."[...]

"We Would Have Sex With Prostitutes For 500 Syrian Lira per Half Hour... In Islam... A Girl Is Mature from the Age of Nine... I Was a Child, and So Was She... I Was Not Allowed to Touch Her" Without Contracting a Pleasure-Marriage
Interviewer: "[In your book,] you write: 'When I went on trips, I used to go secretly with several young friends to the Al-Marja neighborhood in Damascus. We would go to a hotel in order to have sex with prostitutes for 500 Syrian liras per half hour.' To justify this, you write: 'None of us would make physical contact with the girl he chose before signing a formal pleasure-marriage contract with her.' Isn't marriage meant to be out of pure intentions? Weren't you conning God this way?"

Rami 'Aleiq: "You're right. Pleasure-marriage means conning God, as well as ourselves. I am against this way of relating to sex and to women.
[...]
"This is something that still goes on. It is wrong."

Interviewer: "Back then you were an observant Shiite Muslim from Hizbullah, weren't you?"
Rami ‘Aleiq nods.
[...]
Interviewer: "How did you ever dare to sign a pleasure-marriage contract with a nine-year-old girl?"

Rami 'Aleiq: "In our culture, in order to be able to touch a girl or a woman, there must be a contract of pleasure-marriage."

[...] Interviewer: "We are talking about a nine-year-old girl..."

Rami 'Aleiq: "Sure. In Islam, and this is what we were taught, a girl is mature from the age of nine. This is true with regard to Sunnis as well as Shiites. You are focusing on Shia Islam, because I am a Shiite, but according to religious jurisprudence, a girl is mature at the age of nine. This is where we got this idea. I was a child, and so was she, so I was not allowed to touch her, if I didn't form with her the kind of relation that permitted this."
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  #48  
Old 03-06-2009, 04:17 PM
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Exclamation Hezbollah says British dialogue offer is 'step in right direction'

Hezbollah says British dialogue offer is 'step in right direction'



Britain has taken a "step in the right direction" by signalling willingness to talk to Hezbollah, a spokesman for the Lebanese Shi'ite group said on Friday.

Britain's Foreign Office Minister Bill Rammell said this week that his country had reconsidered its position because Hezbollah had joined a national unity government in July, formed under a deal to end a paralysing political conflict in Lebanon.

"This policy revision is a step in the right direction and we shall see how it translates in practical terms," Hezbollah spokesman Ibrahim al-Moussawi said.

Britain's policy since 2005 had been to shun contact with the Iranian- and Syrian-backed Islamist group, which was founded in the early 1980s to fight Israeli occupation of Lebanon and is considered a terrorist organisation by the United States.

A Foreign Office spokesman said the British government was exploring contacts only with Hezbollah's political wing, not its military arm, which features on Britain's list of banned organizations.

Hezbollah itself makes no distinction between its political and military functions.

It also runs medical, educational, social and reconstruction activities. Its leadership is highly centralized and all members undergo military training.

Hezbollah, which has 14 members of parliament, has taken part in successive Lebanese governments since 2005. It has just one minister in the current cabinet, but along with its allies, wields veto power over important decisions.

Rammell said a delegation of British opposition Conservative legislators had held talks with a Lebanese parliamentary committee that included one Hezbollah member. The British ambassador to Lebanon was present at the meeting.
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Old 03-07-2009, 03:32 PM
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Default Hizbullah: UK talks can't be secret

Hizbullah: UK talks can't be secret



Hizbullah officials said Friday they would welcome talks with Britain but that they had rejected what they said were British demands for the contacts to take place secretly.

Britain's Foreign Office announced Thursday that it has contacted Hizbullah's political wing in an attempt to reach out to its legislators. Its ultimate aim, it said, is to encourage the group to abandon violence and play a constructive political role in the deeply divided country. But the Foreign Office Friday denied that it had pursued any secret talks with Hizbullah.

Britain ceased contact with the group in 2005 and listed its military wing as a terrorist organization last year. Hizbullah became part of a unity government in Lebanon in May after violent street clashes with rivals in which its gunmen took over large parts of Beirut.

Mahmoud Komati, deputy leader of Hizbullah's political bureau, said Friday: "The British have been constantly trying for nearly a year to hold a dialogue with us, but they wanted a secret dialogue," Komati said. "If [Britain] wants a dialogue, let this dialogue be in public."

However, a British Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with government policy, said that was not true.

She said as the British government reconsidered its policy toward Hizbullah last year, "we sought an opportunity for our ambassador to meet with [Hizbullah] MP Ali Amaar. The meeting of the Lebanese Foreign Affairs Committee was the first occasion such a meeting took place. It was a public meeting, and we have publicly informed the British Parliament about it."

The spokeswoman was referring to a January meeting that was discussed Thursday by the Foreign Ministry when it announced its attempts to re-establish contact. The Foreign Ministry also said that the government was seeking to build relations with other legislators attached to the group.

Legislator Mohammed Fneish, who represents Hizbullah in the unity government, welcomed Britain's decision to establish contacts with the group.

"Hizbullah has no objection to holding contacts with Britain," Fneish told The Associated Press. "Hizbullah's policy is to be open. Therefore, we are ready for dialogue and contacts with any country that is not hostile to us."

Hizbullah spokesman Ibrahim Moussawi also praised Britain's decision as "a step in the right direction."

In London, Foreign Secretary David Miliband explained Britain's decision to reconsider its policy toward Hizbullah as part of an effort to press the group to disarm.

"We've sanctioned low-level contacts with them so that we can make absolutely clear our determination to see UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which calls for the disbanding of militias among other things in Lebanon, taken forward with real speed," Miliband said Friday on BBC Radio 4's "Today" program.

That resolution also ended the 2006 Israel-Hizbullah war.

Miliband said Hizbullah's military wing remains on Britain's list of outlawed groups.

"Our objective with Hizbullah remains to encourage them to move away from violence and play a constructive, democratic and peaceful role in Lebanese politics, in line with a range of UN Security Council Resolutions," the ministry said Thursday.
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Old 03-09-2009, 03:41 PM
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Arrow Hezbollah 'still wants to attack Israelis abroad'

Hezbollah 'still wants to attack Israelis abroad'

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1069756.html


The government's counterterrorism unit on Monday warned Israelis that Hezbollah still seeks to perpetrate terror attacks against them abroad, urging that they take extra precautions ahead of the Jewish holiday of Pesach.

"Hezbollah has repeatedly blamed Israel for the death of Imad Mughniyeh, something that increases the threat of terror against Israeli targets abroad," the Counter Terrorism Bureau said in a communique.

The bureau, which is part of the Prime Minister's Office, was referring to Hezbollah's slain terror operations head, who was assassinated in a February 2008 car bombing in Damascus. Israel has denied involvement in the killing.

"As such," the communique continued, "the Counter Terrorism Bureau stresses its existing travel warning on the matter of the abduction of Israelis, or harm to them, abroad."

The bureau reiterated its guidelines for Israeli nationals abroad, stating that they should be even more stringent in light of the current threat.

It called on them to pay attention to unusual phenomena, refrain from visiting Arab and Muslim countries, reject tempting proposals from suspicious or unknown individuals and meet in crowded places with trustworthy companions.

Israelis abroad should make an effort to change their routines, especially in reference to hotels and restaurants, and also refrain from bringing suspicious guests into their hotel rooms, the bureau said.
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Old 03-12-2009, 01:48 PM
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Exclamation Radicalization in Hizbullah's Positions Following the Gaza War

http://www.memri.org/bin/latestnews.cgi?ID=IA50409



Inquiry and Analysis - No. 504



March 11, 2009
No. 504


Radicalization in Hizbullah's Positions Following the Gaza War: Hizbullah Must Be Independent of All State Institutions; 'Hizbullah Will Absorb All the Political Forces in the Country'


By: H. Varulkar *

Introduction
Recently, and in particular since the end of the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza, Hizbullah has radicalized its positions on the question of its weapons. This trend was heralded by statements made during the war by Hizbullah secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah and his deputy Na'im Qasim, who declared that the Gaza war had settled the debate in Lebanon over the necessary "defense strategies," that is, over the future of Hizbullah as a Lebanese resistance movement and over the question of disarming it. Since the war's end, Hizbullah leaders have been repeatedly emphasizing that there is no place for any discussion of dismantling it as a resistance movement, or of disarming it, and that Lebanon's future defense strategy will necessarily be anchored in the resistance movement. Senior Hizbullah official Mahmoud Qamati even announced explicitly that on no account would Hizbullah agree to subordinate itself to the Lebanese government, to its officials, or to state institutions.

The national dialogue sessions, devoted to "Lebanon's defense strategies," and in essence to the future of Hizbullah as a resistance movement, as well as to the dispute over its weapons, began September 16, 2008, in accordance with the May 2008 Doha agreement; so far five sessions have been held. During the sessions, the participants discussed Lebanon's defense strategy. It should be noted that, as early as 2006, a national dialogue took place in Lebanon with the participation of all the large Lebanese factions and parties. The dialogue, which began March 2006 and continued for several months, was devoted to such contentious issues as the Palestinian weapons in Lebanon, the Shab'a Farms, Lebanon's relations with Syria, and the investigation of and tribunal for the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Al-Hariri. However, about a week before the session on "Lebanon's Defense Strategy," at which Hizbullah's weapons were to be discussed, Hizbullah kidnapped the two Israeli soldiers, triggering the 2006 war, and the session was cancelled. [1]

A. Hizbullah Leaders During the Gaza War: The War Will Impact Lebanon and Its Defense Strategy

Nasrallah: The Debate on Lebanon's Defense Strategy Is Settled

In a speech delivered January 7, 2009, during the Gaza war, Hizbullah secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah stated: "Our experience in the July 2006 war [in Lebanon], and the experience of the Palestinian resistance in Gaza... have settled... all the arguments on Lebanon's [required] defense... Indeed, the formidable [Israeli] army - one of the strongest armies in the world and with the best air force in the region - has been unable to achieve its objectives in combating the resistance, [because the latter - though it has] limited resources and is besieged within a narrow geographical region, is endowed with strong faith and will. This proves that armed popular resistance, anchored in faith, determination, and popular support, is the strongest and best option for confronting the cruelest army in the world..." [2]

On January 13, 2009, Hizbullah's faction in the Lebanese Parliament, the Loyalty to the Resistance bloc, held its weekly meeting, during which it issued an announcement that stated: "Gaza's steadfast endurance in the last 18 days, despite the siege and the meager resources at its disposal, in the face of the cruelest and most destructive war in the history of the region, is unambiguous proof that resistance is the best and most effective option for defending the land and safeguarding the national identity and honor." [3]


Na'im Qasim: The Gaza War Will Impact Lebanon's Defense Strategy
Hizbullah deputy secretary-general Sheikh Na'im Qasim stated, at a Hizbullah-organized symposium at the law faculty of the Al-Hadath campus of Lebanese University: "The results [of the Gaza war] will impact Lebanon and the [entire] region, since the issues are interrelated. The aggression against Gaza underscores the importance of Lebanon's strength - which is anchored in its resistance, people, and army - and will impact Lebanon's defense strategy [by tipping the scales] in favor of resistance. Gaza managed to withstand the Israeli aggression thanks to its resistance, [and this resistance] will triumph, as the future will prove."

Qasim continued: "Today, we live in the era of the resistance, and there is no turning back..." [4]


B. In the Wake of the Gaza War: Escalation in Hizbullah's Position in the Debate Over Its Weapons


As mentioned above, since the end of the Gaza war, Hizbullah's leaders have radicalized their positions regarding the future of the organization and its weapons. This is reflected in their insistence on three fundamental principles:
  1. Any defense strategy must be anchored in resistance.
  2. Hizbullah will not relinquish its weapons.
  3. Hizbullah will continue making decisions independently and will be established as independent of the state institutions.
1. The Resistance Movement is the Basis of Lebanon's Defense Strategy; "Hizbullah Will Absorb All the Political Forces in the Country"
Hassan Fadhlallah, member of the Loyalty to the Resistance bloc, said: "Any Lebanese defense strategy must be based upon resistance that is strong and capable, and possesses the [necessary] resources in order to defeat the Israeli army on every level." He added: "In the wake of the aggression against Gaza, the resistance is even more convinced that the only viable option for the Lebanese is to intensify their resistance [efforts], in which all [factions] must participate. In the dialogue [on Lebanon's defense strategy], we will listen to ideas and proposals and remain open to suggestions. [However,] we hold consistent and well-founded beliefs that are based on... our experience in previous years..."

Fadhlallah added: "After what happened in Gaza, no one has any grounds to question the effectiveness, importance, or necessity of the resistance..." [5]


Hizbullah Leaders: "We Will Strive to Incorporate All Political Forces in the Resistance"
The March 14 Forces have contended for a long time that a possible solution to the question of Hizbullah and its arms would be to incorporate them into the Lebanese military. Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, for example, said that following the signing of the Doha agreement, Hizbullah should be absorbed by the Lebanese state. [6]

At a national dialogue session, March 14 Forces member Boutrus Harb proposed dismantling Hizbullah's military arm and establishing a national border guard that would be directly subordinate to the Lebanese army, and incorporating Hizbullah militants into it. He also suggested that Hizbullah's weapons be handed over to the Lebanese army. [7]

Since the end of the Gaza war, Hizbullah leaders have begun to entertain the opposite possibility, that is, instead of being incorporated into the military and state institutions, "Hizbullah will absorb all the political forces in the country." For example, Hizbullah Foreign Relations Bureau head Sayyed Nawaf Al-Moussawi stated: "When [during the Gaza war] it became clear that the defeatist Arab [countries] and the hypocritical Western governments were helpless and engaged in conspiracies, [it became equally clear] that, apart from the resistance and its weapons, there was no mechanism for defending [the country]. Today, more than ever, we insist that these weapons be preserved and reinforced. Moreover, we will strive to gradually absorb the political forces [in Lebanon] under the aegis of the resistance movement." [8]


"Defense Strategy" Must Be Replaced by "Resistance Strategy"
Sheikh Nabil Qaouq, a Hizbullah official in South Lebanon, stated that the organization strove to involve all the Lebanese political forces in the resistance, and coined the term "resistance strategy" - as opposed to "defense strategy" - for this concept. He said: "Today we are witnessing another success of the resistance strategy, and the nation has been increasingly embracing this concept." He emphasized that "a new [situation] has emerged, which will determine the future of the region in such a way that no superpower or formidable force will ever again [be able to] ignore the power of the resistance."

Qaouq added, "Hizbullah is eager to absorb all the political forces and factions in Lebanon [and involve them in implementing] the strategy of resistance... This [new situation], which has [emerged] in the wake of the Gaza events, will shift [the focus in the intra-Lebanese] dialogue from the issue of disarming Hizbullah to that of [inculcating] the resistance strategy among the Lebanese people and in all the countries in the region." [9]


2. As Long As Blood Flows in Our Veins, We Will Not Surrender Our Weapons
Hizbullah Shura Council member Sheikh Muhammad Yazbek stated at a Hizbullah ceremony in Al-Haramel: "Hizbullah will not surrender its weapons as long as blood flows in our veins and as long as [Lebanon] has not laid down the foundations for a strong and just state that can protect its citizens and its people..." [10]

Loyalty to the Resistance bloc chairman Muhammad Ra'd stated: "The arming of the resistance is both a privilege and a legitimate right which is anchored in all [international] conventions. Anyone seeking to deny [us] this right using [various] slogans or pretexts is perpetrating a terrorist act and supporting the terrorism embodied by the Zionist entity..." [11]


3. The Resistance Will Continue Making Decisions Independently
Hizbullah Political Bureau deputy head Mahmoud Qamati stated at a memorial ceremony for Islamic Resistance leaders: "[Today,] more than ever before, the resistance movement adheres to its weapons, its power, its capabilities, its independence, [and] its popular drive, since it sprung from the womb of the people and does not belong to any official institution. Indeed, if we become part of the establishment, we will be forced to abide by decisions of state that are dictated by international power balances. If its decisions are determined by the Lebanese state, they will [actually] be determined by the Security Council, the U.N., the Arab League, and all the other international institutions, which we regard as subservient to the policy of the U.S.. Why should we entrust our fate to the so-called international legitimacy, when it has suffered a defeat in Gaza?

"The decision of the resistance will remain independent; its weapons will remain in its possession, and we will not hand over a single bullet. We participate in the [national] dialogue [on Lebanon's defense strategy] in order to create a situation in which the official Lebanese decisions are supportive of the Lebanese army, the resistance, and the people..." [12]

The opposition-affiliated Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar wrote in a similar vein: "Throughout the recent period, Hizbullah leaders have been pointing out that, as far as Hizbullah is concerned, the best possible plan would be to establish the status of the armed resistance as independent of all state [institutions], in order to protect Lebanon and help it to defend itself and to restore its occupied territories... In the wake of the aggression against Gaza, Hizbullah's message has become clear: Only the resistance can lead the struggle. Our experience in July 2006 and in the 2009 Gaza [war] has proved that [the use of] arms can bring victories unprecedented in the Arab-Israeli conflict..." [13]

*H. Varulkar is a research fellow at MEMRI.



[1] Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), May 26, 2008; http://www.qatar-conferences.org/lebanon/speech2.doc.
[2] www.hizbollah.tv, January 7, 2009.
[3] www.hizbollah.tv, January 14, 2009.
[4] Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), Januray 15, 2009.
[5] Al-Safir, Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), January 26, 2009.
[6] Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), July 4, 2008.
[7] Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), January 27, 2009.
[8] Al-Safir (Lebanon), January 26, 2009.
[9] Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), January 26, 2009.
[10] www.hizbollah.tv, January 26, 2009.
[11] www.hizbollah.tv, January 25, 2009.
[12] www.hizbollah.tv, February 20, 2009.
[13] Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), January 26, 2009.
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Old 03-13-2009, 03:03 PM
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Post Report: U.S. slams renewed ties between Britain and Hezbollah

Report: U.S. slams renewed ties between Britain and Hezbollah

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1070934.html


A senior official in the Obama administration said the United States disagrees with Britain's decision to renew contact with the Lebanon-based militant group Hezbollah.

The New York Times reported on Friday that the official, who spoke Thursday on condition of anonymity, said the British government had informed the "previous administration" of its decision.

Britain's Foreign and Commonwealth Office last Thursday said it was re-establishing contact with the political wing of the Lebanese militant group,as part of an effort to press the militant organization to disarm.

The official also said that the U.S. would like Britain to explain "the difference between the political, social and military wings of Hezbollah because we don't see the difference between the integrated leadership that they see."

Britain ceased contact with members of Hezbollah in 2005, and listed Hezbollah's military wing as a proscribed terrorist organization last year.

However, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said last week that it had reconsidered its position following political developments in Lebanon.

"We have reconsidered the position...in light of more positive developments within Lebanon," Foreign Office Minister Bill Rammell told a parliamentary committee last week. "For that reason we have explored establishing contacts."

Rammell said he was referring to the formation in July last year of a unity government in which Hezbollah and its allies hold effective veto power, as agreed under a deal that ended a paralyzing political conflict in the country.

"We will look to have further discussions and our overriding objective within that is to press Hezbollah to play a more constructive role, particularly to move away from violence," Rammell said.

The move could be significant because Britain, the United States and other powers are locked in a dispute with Iran, Hezbollah's backers, over its nuclear program.

The U.S. State Department said last Friday that it has not changed its stance regarding Hezbollah, and that it feels the time is not right for renewed contacts with the Lebanon-based militant group.

The U.S. also said it would closely follow developments between Britain and Hezbollah.
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Old 03-14-2009, 03:46 PM
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Lightbulb Nasrallah vows Hezbollah will never recognize Israel

Nasrallah vows Hezbollah will never recognize Israel



Hezbollah leader Nassrallah rejects U.S. preconditions for talks

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said late on Friday his movement would never recognize Israel, rejecting a U.S. precondition for dialogue with the group which the U.S. considers a terrorist organization.

"To those who impose conditions on us, we say: We will never recognize Israel," he said in a speech during celebrations to recognize the birthday of the Prophet Mohammed.

The White House said on Tuesday that both Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas and Lebanese militant group Hezbollah must renounce violence and recognize Israel before they can expect even low-level U.S. engagement.

"We reject the American conditions ... Today, tomorrow and after 1,000 years and even until the end of time, as long as Hezbollah exists, it will never recognize Israel," Nasrallah said.

He added that Hezbollah will impose its own preconditions for dialogue with the United States if the organization ever decides to open a diplomatic front with Washington.

Nasrallah pointed out that the U.S. diplomatic overtures to Syria and Iran were due to the failure of Washington’s regional plans in the Middle East.

A senior U.S. official said on Thursday he was unhappy with a British decision to open low-level contact with Hezbollah and suggested London only indirectly informed the new U.S. administration ahead of time.

" Iran was manipulating Arab states and entities to increase its influence in the region in order to achieve some goals, including easing the pressure on its nuclear program "
Ahmed Abul-Gheit

Arab unity over Iran

Nasrallah also saluted recent moves to smooth over Arab differences, with Saudi Arabia and Egypt seeking to improve ties with Syria, which has supported Hezbollah.

Hezbollah’s chief called on the Arab states to "extend a hand" to Iran and Turkey, which he said support the Arab interests. He added that "all Arab reconciliation reinforces us."

At an Arab foreign ministers’ summit last week, Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal called on joint Arab stance to confront the “Iranian challenge.” The Saudi minister pointed out that the Arab unity depends on a shared Arab vision over the Gulf security and the Iranian nuclear program.

Last Thursday the Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul-Gheit accused Iran of trying to impose its hegemony on the Middle East. Abul-Gheit told the Egyptian television that Iran was “manipulating Arab states and entities to increase its influence in the region in order to achieve some goals, including easing the pressure on its nuclear program and to be a key partner, sitting with Arabs at one table to make deals on Arab issues," the Egyptian weekly Al-Ahram reported March 12.


http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satelli...cle%2FShowFull

Nasrallah vows to never recognize Israel

In a recorded speech aired Friday evening in Beirut in honor of Prophet Muhammad's birthday, Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah reportedly rejected a preliminary US condition for talks and stressed his group would not recognize Israel "even in 1,000 years."

"Today the United States comes and says to us: You are terrorists and we are willing to forgive you for what has been, under the condition that you recognize Israel," French news agency AFP quoted Nasrallah as saying.

The Jerusalem Post could not independently confirm the report.

Nasrallah stressed that the Lebanese people are "capable of defeating this entity (Israel) and can make it disappear," and therefore, Hizbullah will not recognize Israel "not today, not tomorrow, not even in 1,000 years."

According to the French agency, after harshly rejecting Obama administration conditions for dialogue, according to which the group must denounce terror and recognize the Jewish state, Nasrallah touched on Hizbullah's ties with the Hamas leadership in the Gaza Strip.

He reportedly emphasized that while there was much good faith and support between the terror groups, "Hizbullah has no faction or organization in Gaza."

"Our status is that of a brother helping his brother, and we will help anything decided by the leadership of the Palestinian resistance," he concluded.

The new US administration's readiness to reach out to adversary regimes, such as Syria and Iran, has been a hallmark of its new foreign policy, but this has so far not extended to groups on its official terrorist registry, such as Hizbullah and Hamas.

A senior US official on Thursday expressed strong disagreement with the British decision to begin contacts with Hizbullah, The Los Angeles Times reported Friday.
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Old 03-24-2009, 03:37 PM
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Question Britain's Double Vision of Hezbollah?

Britain's Double Vision of Hezbollah?


By Walid Phares


The British government’s announcement to open a dialogue with “the political wing of Hizballah” is most troubling. In a statement to a parliamentary committee, Bill Rammell, the British foreign office’s minister for Middle East affairs, rationalized the decision on the grounds of what his office perceives to be “more positive developments within Lebanon.”

This British declaration underscores a pervasive failure to properly understand the structure of the Iranian-backed terrorist organization. At worst, the call to distinguish between the group's political and military wings (in terms of decision-making) may be driven by a desire to construct imaginary facts for diplomatic and political purposes. Are officials selling a false image of what Hizballah is so that they join the foray of the “sitting, talking and listening” with Iran and Syria's regimes now underway?

Very possible. But it would have been much better to inform the public that the government intends to talk to a terrorist organization for purpose of national interest, rather than claiming the talks are only with the political wing. Eight years after 9/11 and the subsequent attacks worldwide, citizens are much better informed about jihadi organizations than they were in the 1990s. Officials in the UK and the US must realize that claiming there are two Hizballah(s) will not fly with most of the public.


Hezbollah's organizational chart: one centralized entity with multiple tentacles

Hizballah was founded by the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards, Pasdaran, in 1981. Its military organization responsible for terror operations is part of the Consultative Council (majliss al shawra), which is Hizballah’s supreme command, along with, the organization's legislators, Fatwa clerics, financial executives and political operatives. This "politbureau" of Hizballah oversees the military, security, doctrinal and political actions of the entire apparatus -- there is no structural delineation.

Furthermore, the Jihad Council, Hizballah's War Department, which issues the orders for acts of terror, is headed by the Secretary General of the organization, Hassan Nasrallah and includes many of the organization’s “political leaders”: Hashem Safi al Din, Hussein al Khalil, Abbas Ruhani, Ibrahim Aqil, Fuad Shukr, Nabil Kauq and others.

Hezbollah's chart showing clearly that it is one organization with the military and terror networks under the Shura Council
Hizballah is not the IRA, which had a clearer delineation between its militia and its military wing, the Sin Fein. Moreover, Lebanon is not Northern Ireland. Yes, British citizens can be easily led to make the comparison by government using the clichés by which most Britons remember the IRA, but the attempt to fool the public will be short lived. The lack of separation between Hizballah’s political and military operations is well documented in public sources. Any suggestion to the contrary is simply ridiculous.

If the British government wishes to make that distinction, they will find themselves incapable of answering the most basic questions. Mr. Nasrallah, Hizballah’s secretary general and purported partner in any dialogue, is a la fois the chief political executive of the organization and Hizballah's supreme military commander. How then will meeting Nasrallah be political, when he is the commander in chief of the militia and its security apparatuses? Will diplomats meet with him between 9 and 11 AM when he is a secretary general and avoid him at other hours when he wears his military hat? It simply doesn't make sense.

If the British government wishes to engage in talks with a terrorist organization, it must make that case and not obfuscate its true intentions of working with the Hizballah’s political wing. At the end of the day, Hizballah will remain who it is, who it says it is and who it will continue to be: a terrorist organization devoted to Jihad against the West. It is more honest to try to convince the public that time to talk with Hizballah, Iran and Syria, and even perhaps Hamas, has come. It will be more productive to acknowledge that some liberal democracies aren't able to carry the load of a confrontation with the jihadists than to attempt to rewrite history and reality.

Even if the British government chooses to engage with Hizballah -- which is certainly a questionable strategy -- they should not do so on the false pretense that there are “two Hizballah’s” just as there were two IRA’s. There are not, and the British people are well aware of that fact.
Moreover, any negotiations which are premised on such a mis-characterization of the interlocutor cannot possibly succeed for the British. Hizballah, on the other hand, can and likely will.

**********

Dr Walid Phares, author of The Confrontation: Winning the War on Future Jihad is the Director of the Future Terrorism Project at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies
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Old 03-24-2009, 03:40 PM
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Exclamation Hezbollah: Narco-Islamism

Hezbollah: Narco-Islamism



By Matthew Levitt
Middle East Strategy at Harvard, March 22, 2009

Earlier this month, the United Kingdom announced that it is reopening dialogue with the political wing of Hezbollah. Unlike the United States, the United Kingdom has only banned Hezbollah's terrorist (External Security Organization) and military wings. The ban on the terrorist wing came in 2000, while the ban on the military wing only came in June 2008 in response to Hezbollah's "providing active support to militants in Iraq who are responsible for attacks both on coalition forces and on Iraqi civilians, including providing training in the use of deadly roadside bombs," for plots to kidnap British security workers in Iraq, and for its support for terrorist activity in the Palestinian Territories.


Meanwhile, the European Union has not yet designated any part of Hezbollah -- military, political or otherwise -- although it did label Imad Mughniyeh, the late Hezbollah chief of external operations, and several other Hezbollah members involved in specific acts of terrorism.

But despite the differences between U.S. and European perceptions of and policies toward Hezbollah, there is one critical area where all parties' mutual interests converge, namely law enforcement. Regardless of divergent political considerations or definitions of terrorism, combating crime and enforcing sovereign laws are straightforward issues. More than any other Islamist group, Hezbollah has a long record of engaging in criminal activity to support its activities. The United States and its European counterparts have a particularly strong shared interest in combating the group's increasing role in illicit drug trafficking.

Just this past week Admiral James G. Stavridis, the Commander of U.S. Southern Command who has now been nominated to head NATO troops as Supreme Allied Commander Europe, testified before the House Armed Services Committee about the threat to the United States from the nexus between illicit drug trafficking -- "including routes, profits, and corruptive influence" -- and "Islamic radical terrorism." While Hezbollah is involved in a wide variety of criminal activity, ranging from cigarette smuggling to selling counterfeit products, the connection between drugs and terror is particularly strong. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), 19 of the 43 U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations are definitely linked to the global drug trade, and up to 60 percent of terror organizations are suspected of having some ties with the illegal narcotics trade.

Hezbollah is no exception to this statistic, and in recent years has augmented its role in the production and trafficking of narcotics. Hezbollah has utilized the vast Lebanese Shi'a expatriate population, mainly located in South America and Africa, to its advantage. According to Michael Braun, former assistant administrator and chief of operations at the DEA, "Both Hamas and Hezbollah are active in this [Tri-Border] region [see map at right], where it is possible to make a profit of $1 million from the sale of fourteen or fifteen kilos of drugs, an amount that could be transported in a single suitcase."

For example, Admiral Stavridis's testified that in August 2008, the U.S. Southern Command and the DEA, in coordination with host nations, targeted a Hezbollah drug trafficking ring in the Tri-Border region of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. In August 2008, the United States, in cooperation with Colombian investigators, identified and dismantled an international cocaine smuggling and money laundering ring based out of Colombia. This operation, which was made up of a Colombian drug cartel and Lebanese members of Hezbollah, used portions of its profits -- allegedly hundreds of millions of dollars per year -- to finance Hezbollah.
Such revelations should not surprise. Back in December 2006 the U.S. Treasury listed Sobhi Fayad as a Specially Designated Terrorist. Why? Because, Treasury informed, "Fayad has been a senior TBA [Tri-Border Area] Hezbollah official who served as a liaison between the Iranian embassy and the Hezbollah community in the TBA. He has also been a professional Hezbollah operative who has traveled to Lebanon and Iran to meet with Hezbollah leaders. Fayad received military training in Lebanon and Iran and was involved in illicit activities involving drugs and counterfeit U.S. dollars."

Africa is additionally becoming an area of concern regarding terrorist groups engaged in drug trafficking. According to Admiral Stavridis, drug traffickers have expanded their presence in West Africa as a "springboard to Europe." Hezbollah has long maintained a strong presence in Africa, and has utilized Africa as a strategic point to from which to raise and transfer funds and to engage in criminal enterprises, such as diamond smuggling.

The nexus between drug trafficking and terrorist activities -- specifically those of Hezbollah -- represent an immediate law enforcement challenge for the United States and its European allies. While the Europeans may not view Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, they are certainly eager to prevent Hezbollah from running criminal enterprises within their borders. Countries are particularly determined to prevent the importation of illegal narcotics across their borders, whether by organized criminal networks, terrorists groups, or the hybrid narco-terrorist networks that DEA officials describe as "meaner and uglier than anything law enforcement or militaries have ever faced."

So while there is no common understanding between the United States and the United Kingdom on whether or how to engage Hezbollah or even how to classify Hezbollah and its various component parts, there is no "gray area" as to whether drug trafficking is illegal. The United Kingdom and other European nations are no less eager than the United States to combat the flow of drugs into their countries and to prevent Hezbollah from operating criminal enterprises within their territory.

The British decision to openly engage Hezbollah politically is misinformed, to be sure. But do not be surprised if the Brits talk to Hezbollah "political" leaders on the one hand while arresting some of their cohorts involved in illicit narcotics on the other. Officials may openly describe these actions as targeting criminals, not Hezbollah, but the effect will be much the same.

Matthew Levitt is a senior fellow and director of the Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence at The Washington Institute.
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Old 04-01-2009, 02:14 PM
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Arrow Lebanese Daily Reveals New Facts about 'Imad Mughniyah's Career in Hizbullah



Special Dispatch - No. 2302

March 31, 2009
No. 2302
Lebanese Daily Reveals New Facts about 'Imad Mughniyah's Career in Hizbullah
On the first anniversary of the assassination of Hizbullah operations officer 'Imad Mughniyah, the editor of the Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar, Ibrahim Al-Amin, who is close to Hizbullah, published a comprehensive editorial on Mughniyah's life and his role in Hizbullah. The article reveals new details about Mughniyah's involvement in Hizbullah's preparations before the 2006 Lebanon War, in the rebuilding of the movement's strength after the war and the investigation and assessment of the war's outcomes, in Hizbullah's preparations for its next confrontation with Israel, and in the transmission of Hizbullah's expertise to the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.

Following are excerpts from the editorial, and from a previous article by Ibrahim Al-Amin on Mughniyah's role in preparing the Palestinian forces in Gaza for the war:

Preparing for the 2006 Lebanon War
"During the six-year period [between Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000 and the 2006 Lebanon War], Mughniyah led the greatest development process in the history of the resistance during his time, training thousand of fighters, deploying them along the [Lebanon-Israel] border using special methods of camouflage, and introducing new methods of warfare [to be used] on the battlefield. Along with hundreds of hand-picked [fighters], he worked to deploy Hizbullah's missile force in a way that would [best] allow it [to] fulfill its function, and [oversaw] the digging of tunnels, the construction of military bases, and the establishment of dozens of observation points, concealed and unconcealed… [He] honed the abilities of the resistance [forces] through detailed study of the procedures and operation methods of the occupation army. At that time, [Mughniyah] headed an intelligence apparatus [whose activities will remain secret] for many years to come, but which had a hand in [various] victories and achievements.

"After the successful abduction [of the three Israeli soldiers] in the Shab'a Farms area in autumn 2000, and the successful [prisoners] exchange deal in January 2004, Hajj 'Imad [Mughniyah] waited for the [subsequent] mediation efforts [between Hizbullah and Israel to bear fruit]. Since there were still prisoners in the [Israeli] jails, it was decided to carry out another kidnapping. In July 2006, [Hizbullah] successfully carried out Operation Fulfilled Promise [Hizbullah's name for the July 12, 2006 kidnapping of the two Israel soldiers], and then the [2006 Lebanon] War broke out..."

Rebuilding Hizbullah's Strength after the War
"'In six months we accomplished what [previously] took us six years to do.' So said Mughniyah nine months after the end of the [2006] Lebanon War, referring to the measures taken by the resistance to rearm and restore its strength. From the very first day after the end of the insane war launched by Israel against Lebanon, Hizbullah's leaders were all engaged in caring for [the refugees] driven from their homes and in assessing the damages. Mughniyah, for his part, visited his comrades in the resistance - officers and soldiers - and handled the issue of the wounded and killed. At the same time, he was [already] formulating [plans] to recruit thousands of new resistance [fighters], as part of an intensive work plan for regaining all the arms [and resources] lost during the war. In Hizbullah's August 2006 victory rally, [Hizbullah Secretary-General] Hassan [Nasrallah] felt confident to announce to the [attending] masses that Hizbullah's missile arsenal was already larger than it had been during the war."

Drawing Lessons from the Outcomes of the War - Long before Israel's Winograd Report
"… Within a few weeks [from the end of the war], Mughniyah formed dozens of [investigation] committees, which scrutinized every point and every confrontation [between the two sides], documenting as many of the battles as possible and reconstructing what befell each of the resistance units - those that directly took part in the fighting and those that [only] assisted and stood by in the areas where no fighting occurred. Teams were appointed to go over the testimonies and conduct investigations in order to draw lessons from [Hizbullah's] successes and mistakes. Within a short period of time - long before the publication of the Winograd Report in Israel - Mughniyah and the [other] resistance commanders prepared their report and assessment of the war. Lessons were learned and conclusions were drawn, and this led to the formation of a series of plans. Mughniyah supervised the implementation of many of these plans, while other [commanders] are now working to complete the rest."

Preparing for the Next Confrontation: The Annihilation of Israel No Longer Just a Dream
"Between August 15, 2006 [the end of the war] and February 12, 2008, Mughniyah [hardly] slept. He worked very long hours, sometimes going two or three days without sleep… During this period, he again formulated new plans for the resistance, based on the outcomes of the [summer 2006] confrontation and on [his expectations regarding the next] confrontation, which could occur any day. But his operational activities were grounded in the belief, shared by other Hizbullah commanders, that the annihilation of Israel was no longer just a dream that would take decades to realize. [They saw that] it was possible … to deal the enemy blows that would neutralize its ability to defend its entity [i.e., state], and to target the [Israeli] home front in a way that would undermine its unity and its strength - all in order to accomplish … the mission of rescuing Palestine and annihilating Israel.

"[Mughniyah] worked to introduce programs for developing, training, and preparing [the Hizbullah forces], and for arming them with every type [of weapon], as rapidly as possible, in preparation for a war that would last many months, not weeks like the previous war. [He also worked to introduce] new abilities at the various ranks [of the organization], to create advanced new mechanisms for all the sectors and for all the planning activities, to meet all the needs of the [forces in] training, to arm the tens of thousands of resistance fighters, and to deploy them according to the new plans, which presented an upgraded [version of the warfare] method based on combining resistance units with classical weaponry."

Conveying Hizbullah's Expertise to Hamas: Training Fighters in Syria, Lebanon, and Iran
"Palestine always remained a watchword for [Mughniyah] and for his comrades in the Palestinian resistance, who shared his cause. Neither side ever found it difficult to cooperate [with the other] in order to achieve the common goal, which serves the [even] larger purpose of creating conditions that will bring about the actual annihilation of Israel. Mughniyah did not need any special occasion, or any false pretenses, in order to explain to the enemy - even before [he explained it to his own] allies and resistance fighters - that the cause of restoring Palestine to its people and annihilating Israel took precedence over everything else…

"From October 15, 2006 onwards, Mughniyah did not rest for a single day. He behaved as if he sensed his approaching death, and before leaving, sought to finish every [task] he could, not only in Lebanon but in other places as well, and in particular, to convey [Hizbullah's] expertise to the Palestinians. He worked on this task long and scrupulously, along with the leaders of the Palestinian factions who were in charge of this issue in Gaza, the West Bank, and the rest of Palestine. He shared with them in detail the lessons drawn by the resistance from the July war, [including] its assessment of the functioning of the enemy army, its strong and weak points, with emphasis on the needs of the Palestinian resistance.

"[Mughniyah] took charge of the assistance program aimed at transmitting [Hizbullah's] experience to Gaza and the West Bank, and [supervised] the hosting Palestinian groups in order to furnish them with experience, ideas, and plans. This, in addition to transferring [weapons] into Palestine by various means - to which end the shahid [Mughniyah] recruited enormous human and financial resources. At the same time, his basic working hypothesis was that Palestine had prodigious human resources [of its own], which must be deployed correctly in the decisive battle that is sure to come one day - even if be far in the future." [1]

In an article he published during the Gaza War, Al-Amin shed further light on Mughniyah's role in preparing the Palestinian resistance forces for this confrontation. He wrote: "Soon after Israel's defeat in Lebanon, Mughniyah engaged in [the task of] transmitting [Hizbullah's] experience to Palestine. He hurried to hold a series of meetings, right until the period just before his death, pursuing what he regarded as his greatest dream… Soon, the plans were drawn up, and dozens of Palestinian resistance cadres traveled to Syria, Lebanon and Iran, where many details were revealed to them, and they were allowed to benefit from [Hizbullah's] comprehensive experience. "Within less than a year, Gaza saw [the emergence of] a reality on the ground that was different from the [situation] that had prevailed there in previous decades. The hierarchical [structure] of the resistance forces - particularly of Hamas - changed to accommodate the possibility of an insane Israeli war, [just] like the one that is being waged today. All the issues were discussed [in advance], including how to defend [Hamas'] ever-growing arsenal, keep the supply lines open and maintain contact between all the units. The shahid Mughniyah was quoted as saying: 'The Palestinians are proving, day after day, that they are a heroic people capable of withstanding every hardship. The way in which Gaza and the area around it turned into [a system of] living [underground] cities shows that - with willpower and [the right] leadership - [today's Palestinians] may yet accomplish what all the previous [generations] failed to do." [2]


[1] Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), February 16, 2009.
[2] Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), January 10, 2009.
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Asymmetric Warfare It’s not just for the “Other Guys”

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Old 04-08-2009, 02:07 PM
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Asymmetric Warfare It’s not just for the “Other Guys”

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I know that it is folly to underestimate an enemy; hubris has humbled many overly confident giants.

Having said that, we should never forget that Hezbollah is a master of psychological warfare and disinformation; they have proven themselves to be much better at killing civilians than soldiers.

At any rate, I recommend Ronen Bergman’s “Secret War With Iran” for further reading.

http://books.google.com/books?id=NkxZcHL1xdYC&dq=ronen+bergman+secret+war+ with+iran&printsec=frontcover&source=bl&ots=hkVG53 UZ79&sig=JmL5osxmZhH63fOew3696MYkkY0&hl=en&ei=x9rc SeiKG53flQeWzcz-DQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2#PPR8,M1
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Old 04-13-2009, 03:06 PM
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Arrow Hezbollah No. 2 says western perception of group has changed

Hezbollah No. 2 says western perception of group has changed

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1078255.html


Hezbollah's second-in-command on Monday said the Lebanese Shi'ite militia has gained new legitimacy in the western world, adding such greater legitimacy should pressure countries to stop their support of Israel.

In an interview printed in the Los Angeles Times on Monday, Naim Qassem said that the group "has convinced the West it is a popular, authentic, and important movement that cannot be ignored."

Qassem, who is the next-in-line to succeed Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah, proposed that "the more we [Hezbollah] clarify our image to the people of the West, the more pressure they will put on their governments to stop supporting Israel."

The LA times quoted Qassem as saying that Hezbollah is not carrying out any sort of military operations outside of Lebanon.

Qassem's statement contradicts those made by Nasrallah over the weekend, when he confirmed that Hezbollah had sent a member to Egypt - a rare acknowledgment that the group was operating in another Arab country.

On Monday, the pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat reported that a Hezbollah agent arrested in Egypt last week told investigators his cell was planning attacks on Israeli targets to avenge the killing of terrorist mastermind Imad Mughniyeh.

Also Monday, an Egyptian security official said police are tracking down 13 members of an alleged Hezbollah cell believed to be hiding out with Bedouins in the Sinai peninsula.

Related articles:
'Hezbollah planned Egypt attacks to avenge Mughniyeh'
Egypt: Hezbollah targeted Israeli tourists in Sinai
On jumpy Lebanon-Israel frontier, a quiet drug war
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Old 04-13-2009, 03:11 PM
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Exclamation Analysis: Hizbullah shows its true colors to the Arab world

Analysis: Hizbullah shows its true colors to the Arab world



Many Egyptians can't bring themselves to believe that Hizbullah was running agents and planning terror attacks in their country. Most Arab countries couldn't believe it, either, though they have offered no reaction. They are still trying to come to terms with the new situation.

But last week's news should not have surprised them. Iran never made a secret of its plans to export its brand of Islamic revolution to the whole of the Middle East, bringing about the destruction of Israel in the process. Hamas and Hizbullah are the Teheran regime's tools in working toward this goal.

Yet the very thought of having an Arab group set up terrorist network in the heart of Egypt is perceived by most of the Arab world as a violation of all that's holy.

Commentators can pontificate all they want about the weakening of Egypt, but the land of the pharaohs is still the most important country in the Arab world. It is the largest in population and boasts an impressive history and an impressive culture. Its strategic position is matchless since it commands the Suez Canal and is located at the crossroads of Asia and Africa.

And last, but not least, it has the strongest Arab army in the Middle East.

Had Hizbullah's subversive activities succeeded, that army might have been called in to take over. What would have happened to the region and to the peace process is anybody's guess.

We are not talking this time of a few Beduin being bribed to launch terror attacks against Israeli tourists: the target was Egypt itself.

According to official Egyptian declarations, a Hizbullah agent named Mohamed Yousuf Sami Shehab recruited around 50 young men - Lebanese, Syrian, Sudanese and Palestinians, and 12 Egyptian Shi'ites.

The foreigners entered Egypt with fake passports. When they were arrested $2 million were found in their possession, along with several cars, and explosives ready to be detonated.

They were busy setting up a terror infrastructure throughout the country, including in Upper Egypt, purchasing an apartment building in Aguza, one of the choicest locations in Cairo, and renting dozens of villas and shops in Sinai - in Dahab, Nueiba and Rafah.

In the city of Suez, they rented villas overlooking the canal in order to monitor the shipping traffic - apparently plotting to attack American and Israeli vessels. US warships bringing supplies and reinforcements to Kuwait, Qatar, Iraq and Afghanistan go through the canal on their way to the Persian Gulf.

Hizbullah may even have considered sinking a ship to close down the Suez Canal, which would have forced all maritime traffic from the West to the Persian Gulf and Asia to sail thousands of additional kilometers, via the Cape of Good Hope.

According to official sources in Egypt, Hizbullah intended to launch a massive series of terror attacks. Though American and Israeli targets were to be hit first, the aim was to destabilize the country and provoke huge demonstrations that could bring down the regime and lead to a military coup.

Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah gave himself away when he admitted in his speech on Friday that Sami Shehab was a member of his organization and that he had been sent to Egypt to deliver "logistic assistance" to Hamas in Gaza.

At the same time he launched a virulent attack on Egypt, lambasting it for blockading Gaza and dismantling the smuggling tunnels. His words were tantamount to a declaration of war against Egypt.

Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif declared that there could be no compromise on the safety of his country; President Hosni Mubarak and Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit have so far refrained from comment, leaving the field to a number of unnamed sources who attacked Nasrallah vigorously.

One has to keep in mind that Egypt is at the forefront of pragmatic Arab countries fighting against Iranian subversive activities in the region.

During the Second Lebanon War in the summer of 2006, Cairo was virulently attacked by Syrian, Iranian and Hizbullah media on the grounds of its alleged support for Israel, much as it was this year, during Operation Cast Lead.

It is well known that the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel is to Iran as a red flag to a bull. The treaty is seen as a major stumbling block in the path of the Islamic revolution launched by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1979 - and Teheran cut off diplomatic ties with Egypt after the treaty was signed.

Recent efforts by Iran to renew these ties failed, because Teheran refused to remove the name of Anwar Sadat's assassin from a major street in the Iranian capital. But it has been suggested that this demand was nothing but a pretext: Mubarak, who is well aware of Iran's intentions, is in no hurry to renew relations.

Iran's reaction was to step up its subversive activities in the region and especially against Egypt.

Another, dangerous aspect of that battle is the determination of more and more Arab countries to have nuclear programs of their own to counterbalance Teheran's efforts. Egypt is in the final planning stage of four nuclear plants to produce electricity.

A year ago Mubarak spoke publicly against efforts being made to promote Shi'ite Islam and accused Shi'ites of being more faithful to Iran than to their own country.

In this fight Egypt finds itself allied with Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Morocco against Iran and its allies - Syria, Sudan, Hizbullah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and lesser organizations.

It is through Hizbullah that Iran is most active. Agents and instructors from that organization are at work in Iraq, where they train pro-Iranian militias; in Yemen, where they support the Houthiin, a Shi'ite extremist movement, in rebellion against the government; and in Bahrain, where they help Shi'ite opposition forces.

It is quite likely that we are now seeing only part of their vast subversive endeavor.

In the past few weeks, the confrontation between the pragmatic Arab camp and Iran and its proxies surfaced openly. An Iranian official declared that Bahrain was an Iranian province, angering all Arab countries.

Mubarak flew immediately to Bahrain's capital, Manana, to affirm that Bahrain was and will remain Arab.

A few days later, Sunni Morocco off broke diplomatic relation with Iran because of the activities of Shi'ite preachers on Iran's payroll.

To show his displeasure with the situation, Mubarak did not attend the yearly Arab summit that took place in Doha, Qatar's capital, at end of March.

His representative launched a scathing attack on Iran without expressly naming it and said that Arabs should not let non-Arab elements interfere in their internal affairs; he went on to accuse Al-Jazeera of inciting the Arab masses to revolt against their governments - a dig at the emir of Qatar, who owns the popular station and who has lately joined the Iranian camp.

Setting up the Hizbullah network is the Iranian answer. It comes at a crucial time for Egypt, where nobody knows what will happen when Mubarak departs the scene, and where the Muslim Brotherhood is gaining strength.

Some people suggest that the feud between Egypt and Iran will benefit Israel, but this is far from the truth. Israel needs a strong and stable Egypt.

Meanwhile, there is a new player on the scene. US President Barack Obama has started a dialogue with Syria and is about to begin one with Iran.

Egypt and the pragmatic camp are not too happy about that development, though they will not admit it publicly; they would rather see Israel and the US bomb Iran and do away with the Iranian threat, since they know very well it will not be removed by diplomacy.

The raison d'etre of the ayatollahs' regime is to promote an Islamic revolution, and the only way to stop it by using force.

The writer, a former ambassador to Egypt, is a fellow at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
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The LORD bless you and keep you;
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.

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


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