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Hezbollah: Terror Out of Lebanon

December 2012

  • This Shi’ite terrorist group in Lebanon represents an outpost for Iran to project its power in the eastern Mediterranean.
  • It is also a tool for Iran to inject itself into regional politics and Arab societies.
  • Since its inception in the early 1980s, Hezbollah's Iranian architects were explicit about this objective behind creating the group.
  • In this capacity, Hezbollah has been a successful Iranian investment, functioning as an overseas operations unit, organically tied to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).
  • Hezbollah has also allowed Iran to project power in South America to Central Asia.
  • Some analysts claim that Hezbollah has “evolved” since the 1990s, owing to its integration into the Lebanese political process.  The implication is that it has shunned Iran’s broader agenda in order to participate in Lebanese politics.  Some have compared Hezbollah to the IRA.  However, the evidence shows the opposite. 
  • Hezbollah remains ideologically and operationally part of an Iranian agenda. Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah routinely refers to himself as a soldier in the army of Iran's Supreme Guide – the ultimate authority for Hezbollah.
  • On the question of its overseas operations, Hezbollah coordinates closely with its superiors in Iran. The attacks against Jewish and Israeli targets in Argentina in 1992 and 1994 were conducted in collaboration with high ranking Iranian officials and the Iranian embassy in Argentina.
  • Iran also used Hezbollah to train special groups in Iraq. Hezbollah's military commander, Imad Mughniyeh, in coordination with the IRGC's Qods Force commander, Qassem Soleimani, organized the training in Lebanon of Iraqi fighters from the Mahdi Army and other Shiite groups.
  • In 2009 Hezbollah cells were apprehended in Egypt and Azerbaijan.
  • Iran is also Hezbollah's main weapons supplier. In November 2009 the Israeli navy intercepted the Francop, which was carrying 500 tons of arms en route to Hezbollah via Syria. That was most likely the tip of the Iranian naval smuggling iceberg.
  • Most of Hezbollah’s rockets facing Israel right now, a cache of up to 60,000 projectiles, came from Iran via Syria.
  • The Syrians have also been directly supplying weapons from their own stock to Hezbollah. Those include advanced long range missiles and SCUDs. They have also been transferring weapons systems they purchased from Russia to the Shiite group. This includes advanced anti-tank and anti-aircraft systems.
  • Military integration between the Syrians, the Iranians and Hezbollah has increased significantly. Syria now hosts Hezbollah weapons storage and distribution sites as well as Iranian radar and listening posts on its soil.
  • Hezbollah also receives significant financial assistance from Iran. However, it also derives cash from a number of illegal activities, including: racketeering, contraband, software piracy, fraud schemes, narcotics, money laundering, and blood diamonds. It also receives contributions from wealthy Shiite businessmen, especially in Africa and Latin America.
  • The group's network has tentacles in a number of South American countries, including Paraguay and Venezuela, as well as Europe, Canada and the United States.
  • Hezbollah has shown it will not hesitate to use its arms against anyone in Lebanon who might think of challenging that state of affairs.  This includes the Lebanese government, itself.
  • In February 2013, Hezbollah was found to be behind the attack in Bulgaria which killed a Bulgarian bus driver and six Israeli tourists.
  • Also in February 2013, a Lebanese-Swede on trial for a plot against tourists in Cyrpus admitted in open court he was being paid by Hezbollah.