Archive | Lebanon

Lebanon proposes anti-US sanctions over embassy move

Posted by: John Phoenix

Lebanon’s foreign minister has told an emergency Arab League meeting that imposing economic sanctions should be considered against the US over its embassy relocation move.

“Preemptive measures (must be) taken against the decision… beginning with diplomatic measures, then political, then economic and financial sanctions,” said Gebran Bassil during an Arab Lague meeting held in Cario on Saturday.

US President Zionist puppet Donald Trump on Wednesday defied global warnings and said Washington formally recognized Jerusalem al-Quds as the “capital” of the Jewish Nazi state and would begin the process of moving its embassy to the occupied city, breaking with decades of American policy.

“Could this calamity bring us together and wake us from our slumber? Let it be known that history will never forgive us and our future will not be proud of what we have done,” added Bassil.

Arab League chief Ahmed Aboul-Gheit also called on world nations to recognize the State of Palestine with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.

He added that Trump’s decision raised a question over Washington’s role as a peace mediator, not just in Palestine but the whole world. “The decision amounts to the legalization of occupation,” he added.

“The decision by the US administration is in its essence legitimizing the occupation and admitting and allowing their stance by force. It is a waste of international legitimacy and the principles of justice, and therefore has placed he who took (the decision) in a state of conflict with the collective will of the international community,”  he stressed.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki called on members of the league to instruct their UN envoys to submit a draft resolution to Security Council to condemn Trump’s decision, which “betrays its hostility and bias against the Palestinian people.”

He also called on world nations to recognize the State of Palestine with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.

“I expect from you to commission the Arab block (in the Security council) to immediately act in presenting a draft resolution to the security council that rejects this American decision. We also call upon all Arabs in light of this American decision that challenged, not only Arabs and Muslims, but the world as a whole, to quickly visit Jerusalem, so as not to leave it as a victim to the American decision and Israeli threat,” he added.

Jordanian foreign minister also stressed that there will be no peace and security in the region unless Jerusalem al-Quds is free.

“We want peace as a strategic option, which we demand for all of the region’s peoples completely and indefinitely. However, there will be no peace without a free and independent Palestine, there will be no peace unless Jerusalem is free, and is the capital of Palestine,” said Ayman Al Safadi.

Meanwhile, Zionist puppet Mahmud Ab-A$$’s diplomatic adviser said that Ab-A$$ will reject to meet US Vice President Mike Pence during his scheduled visit to the region later in the month.

“There will be no meeting with the vice president of America in Palestine… The United States has crossed all the red lines with the Jerusalem decision,” he added.

Clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinian protesters in al-Quds continued on Saturday over the Trump administration’s divisive decision.

Palestinian protestors threw objects at Israeli soldiers and set trash cans on fire, while others held guns to the head of an effigy of Trump, before burning it.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, LebanonComments Off on Lebanon proposes anti-US sanctions over embassy move

Lebanon’s Hariri says Damascus wants him killed



Prime minister says Syrian regime also responsible for 2005 assassination of his father, former premier Rafik Hariri

ed note–Prima facie evidence that Hariri is not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

The fact is, Syria probably does want him dead, but would never do it, as they know how it would be painted in the JMSM, resulting in a push for war against Syria not seen since what took lace in Libya and Iraq.

Him saying this, as well as blaming Damascus for the assassination of his father when it was actually Israel who did it, all but certifies that indeed he will be targeted by Mossad as a means of  ratcheting up tensions as a precursor to launching a new war against Hezbollah.

Former Mossad thug Raphael Eitan said it best–‘Once we Jews have taken over the land, all that the Arabs will be able to do is to scurry around like drugged cockroaches.’

Times of Israel

Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri charged that the Syrian regime which he blames for his father’s assassination also wants him killed, in an interview published Thursday in French magazine Paris Match.

Hariri assessed that the regime’s military successes against rebels in the Syrian conflict were victories for presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia and Iran’s Hassan Rouhani rather than their allied Syrian counterpart Bashar Assad.

“I have a lot of enemies, extremists and the Syrian regime. The latter has issued a death sentence against me. They accuse me of interference in their country,” said Hariri, who was interviewed at his Beirut residence.

Hariri, who has made the same accusation in the past, says the regime in Syria was behind the 2005 assassination of his father, former premier Rafik Hariri, in a car bombing on the Beirut seafront, a charge denied by Damascus.

At Lebanese President Michel Aoun’s request, Hariri has suspended his shock resignation announced from Riyadh on November 4 and returned to Beirut after a three-week absence.

He cited Iran’s “grip” on his country through Lebanon’s powerful Shiite movement Hezbollah and threats to his life as causes of his resignation, which he has suspended pending political negotiations in Beirut.

On the military victories of Assad’s regime, Hariri told Paris Match: “He has not won. It’s presidents Putin and Rouhani who have won” with the military forces they had committed to the conflict in Syria.

The premier, who has called for Hezbollah to “disassociate” itself from conflicts such as Syria where it has fought alongside Assad’s forces, said: “It is in Lebanon’s interest that these [Hezbollah’s] arms not be used elsewhere.”

Hariri flew Wednesday night to Paris for a family visit, a source close to the prime minister said.

After a lengthy stay in the Saudi capital, Hariri already stopped over in Paris at the invitation of French President Emmanuel Macron on his way back to Beirut last week.

Following charges that he had been detained in Riyadh, some analysts described his departure for France at the time as an “exfiltration” by Paris.

Posted in LebanonComments Off on Lebanon’s Hariri says Damascus wants him killed

Hariri backtracks, Prince Salman goes quiet, and Lebanon takes a breath

Image result for Saad Hariri CARTOON
What made Hariri do it? Why didn’t he give his resignation to the Saudis instead?

by Jim W. Dean, VT Editor  … with New Eastern Outlook, Moscow

Crown Prince Salman -Can a 32-year-old really pull all these moves off?

[ Editor’s Note: Since returning to Lebanon, Saad Hariri has been walking a geopolitical tightrope between Saudi Arabia and his coalition government while playing the drama queen at the same time.

After exposing himself as a puppet of the Saudis, he now is maneuvering to claim he saved Lebanon from being dragged into regional conflicts, which is a new fraud piled on top of the first.

We have not heard a word from Mr. Hariri condemning the Saudis for destabilizing the region via its proxy terror war on Syria, which has crushed Lebanon economically due to the refugee problem, to the point where mountains of garbage piled up in its streets with no funds for a new dump.

His attempt to be a foil against Iran and Hezbollah by charging them with being terror sponsors after he has been in a coalition government with Hezbollah for many years was ridiculous. Iran had pumped huge amounts of money into rebuilding Lebanon’s infrastructure after Israel’s mass punishment in the last war by bombing civilian targets as collective punishment.

Hariri actually joined the Saudis in trying to start a new conflict, purely for the Saudis’ hatred for Iran and their loss at not being able to Balkanize Syria. Fortunately, Lebanon’s political leaders seem united in wanting to put this issue behind them and move on to its many other problems; but Hariri will be stained by it forever, and most deservingly… Jim W. Dean ]

The geo-political theater around the three-ring circus started by the Saudis yanking Prime Minister Saad Hariri out of Lebanon to get a Royal spanking and then put on his pitiful resignation show, has taken a pause. The Royals have gone quiet, while their own internal power struggle plays out.

Beirut National Museum survived the civil war greatly damaged – Jim Dean Archives

Hariri is back in Beirut singing a different tune now, about how Lebanon has to remain united and not get involved in regional disputes, when two weeks ago he was point man on starting a war on Hezbollah as a way of getting to Iran.

Hezbollah’s Nasrallah was way ahead of him, with his MP delegation stating they were wide open to having a discussion on how best to maintain Lebanon’s stability, despite their having to drive a Saudi- and Israeli-backed ISIS out of Lebanon.

Walid Jumblatt, representing the Druze population, directly challenged Saudi Arabia to engage Iran to diffuse tensions in the region, saying that there has to be reconciliation and compromise. How wonderful to see little Lebanon standing up to the Saudi, Israeli and US bullies, despite all of its other problems.

No one is buying the Saudi new bogeyman story

It seems no one wanted to buy the Saudi bait to be proxy cannon fodder in a Royals’ conflict with Iran. They have seen what happened to Syria and Iraq, and are not that stupid.

The Saudis’ bitterness at losing their terror war on Syria, and then trying to divert that failure into a new destabilization campaign against Hezbollah and Iran, did not play well in many capitals, including all those looking forward to doing a decade of big business with Iran.

Frankly, everyone is getting tired of failed fake leaders trying to blame others for their self-created problems by starting new conflicts.

Our Founding Fathers were a resistance movement, as is Hezbollah

On the contrary, the world is much more aware of who the real threats to the Mideast are simply by looking at the team of gangsters who tried to carve up Syria, who thought their plan of attrition would bear fruit in time, while pretending that the carnage was all just the people’s will, a civil war among Syrians.

Hariri’s Saudi masters were exposed by Qatar’s Ex-Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim when he spilled the beans that the US Coalition, Turkey and the Gulf States had spent $137 billion trying to destroy Syria. Think of what that money could have done for the region if it had been invested in peaceful development.

That said, if the Saudis had given to Yemenis to develop what it has spent trying to conquer them, the Yemenis would be grateful Saudi allies. But the Warmongers do not choose the peace route, preferring to have everyone at each other’s throats, the divide-and-conquer routine.

Saudi Arabia and Israel attempt to replace ISIS with the Arab League

It has been a turbulent two weeks while the crisis built up. The Saudis and Israelis came out of the closet on their legacy relationship by announcing their decades of diplomatic relations and intelligence sharing.

These two happening so close together, in the middle of the Hariri resignation fiasco, signaled that we were seeing the roll out of a new plan B to replace the failed Syria Balkanization project.

I had to pinch myself to make sure I was not dreaming when reading the news that, after a Saudi-called meeting, Arab League chief Ahmand Aboul-Giet announced moving forward with an anti-Iran resolution in the UN for destabilizing the Mideast.

The Arab League has been willingly played, and accepts donations

Mind you, this is after the Arab League kicked Syria out while the other Gulf State Arabs were conducting an open terror war against Syria, with alleged arch enemy Israel helping them out in the Golan Heights by tying SAA forces down there and supplying ISIS.

Meanwhile Hezbollah, while designated a terrorist organization by the US, had found itself fighting ruthless terrorists in Syria, most of them just plain criminals there for the looting, and abusing women with permission from the Saudi Wahabbi imams, while riding around in Japanese Toyotas, using US and Gulf State supplied weapons, including US made TOW missiles, lots of them.

Back in Jerusalem, the Likud defense minister, Russian émigré Avigdor Lieberman, who has a seething hatred for all Arabs and Muslims, announced that he wanted to form an anti-Iran coalition with the Arab Nations.

And at the same time, while Israel has been using settler extremists to defile the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, the Israeli minister of military affairs says he wants to buddy up with Arab countries in a new alliance against Iran.

When will we stand up to the real state-sponsored terrorists?

The UNSC, a battleground in itself

Do they really think that the UN Security Council is going to buy a new Iran boogeyman fairy tale? I don’t think so. It all looks like a weird Saturday Night Live comedy skit, especially after the Hariri stunt, and Macron hugging him like a long lost lover when he arrived in Paris.

A lot of the world has learned who the real terrorists are, and they aren’t Iranians or Yemenis.

The chemical weapons that Saddam used on Iran were made in the USA, found by our troops, and at first thought to be the smoking-gun proof that Saddam had chemical weapons, until they saw the US manufacturer labels. The weapons were quickly removed from the country, never to be seen again.

The Iranians did not rain medium-range missiles down on Iraqi cities during their long war. It was the US ally, Iraq, that rained them down on Iranian cities; one of many details that few in the West remember, if they ever knew.

This new Fake War attempt puts the Russians in a tough position because, along with Iran and Hezbollah and the SAA, they saved Syria from being taken over by foreign-backed terrorists, and where Lebanon certainly would have been next.

Like Putin stating that it was better for Moscow to fight Russian citizen terrorists in Syria and kill them there so they could never return home, Hezbollah also knew it would be better to fight them in Syria.

They all were fighting to save themselves and not get picked off one by one by the terror-sponsor proxies. The Russians had had a taste of the US doing that in the brutal Chechen war.

Billions for war or billions for peace?

Russia does not want to sell S-400s and nuclear plants to the Saudis, and build similar plants and LNG gas facilities for Iran just to see it all get blown up in a new war. Moscow wants stable, long term commercial customers to keep Russia’s technology brain-power base growing and increasing its own defensive power, as Iran is doing, and for the same reason as Iran does. They know they are in the crosshairs of the unipolar maniacs.

Every billion dollars that gets spent on stupid wars that destroy billions more in infrastructure impoverishes everyone but the warmongers. They don’t get killed or maimed, or carry the huge financial debt for the war and rebuilding afterwards.

The boiler room that is the main engine regional instability now is state-sponsored terrorism, not the online recruited cannon fodder variety, but the boardroom and officers’ club kind. Western nations and their intelligence agencies, including the US’ and Britain’s, have been involved in this up to their eyeballs.

As long as we have no recourse against them politically or legally, we are doomed, because time will be on their side. More false flag terror attacks will find us pleading for more protection, followed by having more of our rights taken away and rendering us incapable of reversing the situation. I pray that it is not already too late.

Posted in Lebanon, Saudi ArabiaComments Off on Hariri backtracks, Prince Salman goes quiet, and Lebanon takes a breath

Iran Lambasts Saudi Arabia for Asking the Nazi regime to Attack Lebanon


Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has lashed out at Saudi officials for asking the Zionist regime of Israel to attack Lebanon, saying such moves are a shame for the Muslim world.

Speaking in a cabinet session on Wednesday, Rouhani slammed Saudi Arabia’s clear interference in the affairs of an independent country like Lebanon.

It is a very unprecedented event in the history that a country asks the prime minister of another country to resign and then introduces someone else as his replacement, the Iranian president added.

“In what position do you think you [Saudis] are? Why do you think you have the right to say a party should not be part of another country’s government? How far do you think money can work?”

“It is very embarrassing and shameful that a Muslim country in the region asks the Zionist regime of Israel and begs it to bomb the Lebanese people,” he added.

“Not a single Muslim country has ever made such moves,” Rouhani said, adding that such measures show the new rulers of Saudi Arabia are immature.

He also pointed to Saudi aggression on Yemen, and said, “Is there anyone who thinks about the people of Yemen and shows some humanity?”

“The defenceless people of Yemen have been suffering from various problems caused by disease, poverty, and continued bombardment within the past years,” he said.

“For what reason does a Muslim country, which claims to be the custodian of most sacred Muslim sites, put the innocent and Muslim people of Yemen under pressure and is still continuing its aggression?

He also rapped the Western powers for supporting Saudis and the UN for keeping silent over the atrocities and failing to take any decisive and binding stance towards the issue.

Posted in Iran, Lebanon, Saudi ArabiaComments Off on Iran Lambasts Saudi Arabia for Asking the Nazi regime to Attack Lebanon

Jubeir and the rest of the Saudi Zionist Scum can all go to hell


‘Enough is enough’: Riyadh calls on Hezbollah to disarm amid ‘aggressive’ Iranian actions

‘Enough is enough’: Riyadh calls on Hezbollah to disarm amid ‘aggressive’ Iranian actions
Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement must disarm and become a regular political party for the situation in Lebanon to stabilize, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Zip Air said. He added that Riyadh’s policy is a reaction to Iran’s “aggression.”

Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri © Mohamed Azakir

In an interview with Reuters, the minister called the Shiite Hezbollah party and militant group a “subsidiary” of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, and said that Saudi Arabia is currently consulting with its allies to decide what leverage it can use to force the Lebanese movement to comply with its demands. He added that Riyadh would make a decision “in time.”

Jubeir went on to say that his country decided to take action in response to what it called the increasingly aggressive behavior of Iran in the region, particularly in Yemen and Lebanon. “Any way you look at it, they (the Iranians) are the ones who are acting in an aggressive manner. We are reacting to that aggression and saying enough is enough,” he said.

Riyadh’s role in the ongoing Lebanese political crisis remains obscure. In early November, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri abruptly resigned in a surprise announcement made during a visit to the Saudi capital. He has remained in the kingdom ever since.

This situation gave rise to speculation that the politician was not acting of his own free will. On Wednesday, Lebanese President Michel Aoun said he considers Hariri “detained” by the Saudis, as “nothing justifies” his “lack of return for 12 days.”

After announcing his resignation, Hariri accused Iran and Hezbollah of a “desire to destroy the Arab world” and said that he feared for his life. The Saudi officials then accused the group of “kidnapping” Lebanon.

A Hezbollah fighter stands in front of anti-tank artillery at Juroud Arsal, the Syria-Lebanon border, July 29, 2017. © Ali Hashisho

In response, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah denounced the whole situation around Hariri’s resignation an “unprecedented Saudi intervention” in Lebanon’s internal affairs. He also accused Riyadh of taking Hariri “prisoner” in an attempt to “impose its will on the Lebanese government.”

On Thursday, Jubeir said that Hariri’s resignation was his own decision, adding that the Lebanese politician would independently decide when to return to his homeland. The Saudi minister also rejected all allegations concerning Saudi Arabia detaining Hariri as “baseless.”

The tensions around Hariri’s resignations were partially defused as the politician agreed to visit France upon the invitation of President Emmanuel Macron. A spokeswoman for the French presidency said on Wednesday that Hariri would arrive in Paris “in the coming days.”Following the news, Aoun expressed his hope that this move would put an end to Lebanon’s political crisis.

After his visit to Paris, Hariri is expected to fly home to Beirut to officially submit his resignation. Earlier, Aoun said he would not accept Hariri’s resignation until he presents it himself upon his arrival in the Lebanese capital.

Posted in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia1 Comment

Hezbollah’s Nasrallah: Saudi Arabia inciting Israel to attack Lebanon


Hezbollah leader says Saudi Arabia has declared war on Lebanon and is detaining PM Saad Hariri

Hassan Nasrallah, the head of Lebanon’s militant Shia movement Hezbollah, gave a televised address on 10 November (AFP)

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said in a televised speech on Friday that Saudi Arabia had declared war on Lebanon, claiming that the kingdom had incited Israel to strike Lebanon.

“Saudi Arabia is inciting Israel to launch a war against Lebanon,” said Nasrallah.

“I speak here about facts not analysis. Saudi Arabia is ready to pay tens of billions of dollars to Israel for that,” he added.

Nasrallah also drew parallels between the current situation and 2006 when Hezbollah fought a devastating war with Israeli forces in southern Lebanon.

Read more ►

Saudi Arabia’s last card in Lebanon: Use Israel to strike Hezbollah

“We know now through Israeli media that the 2006 war on Lebanon was prolonged by Saudi when Israel wanted it to end.”

Hariri detained

Nasrallah went on to say that Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who announced his surprise resignation on Saturday while in Riyadh, is being detained in Saudi Arabia and is barred from returning to his country.

He called Hariri’s resignation an “unprecedented Saudi intervention” in Lebanese politics, while adding that it was “illegal and unconstitutional because it was submitted under coercion”.

Reaffirming earlier reports that Hariri had been placed under house arrest in Riyadh, Nasrallah said that the humiliation of Hariri was considered a humiliation to every Lebanese person.

“Lebanon has witnessed foreign interventions before, but it never reached the level of forcing the prime minister to resign,” he continued.

“We may have disputes with the Future Movement, but we condemn Saudi Arabia’s humiliation of Prime Minister Hariri.”

Nasrallah said that Saudi Arabia had been trying to “oust Hariri from his position as the leader of the Future Movement and to impose a new leadership without consulting the figures of the movement”.

A report in pro-Hezbollah newspaper Al-Akhbar had claimed on Thursday that Riyadh is pressuring the Future Movement to replace Hariri with his brother, Bahaa Hariri.

Nasrallah added that there had been a Saudi attempt to impose a new prime minister for Lebanon.

Read more ►

Saudi Arabia’s new adventure in Lebanon: Success or failure?

“Saudi Arabia is trying to incite the Lebanese against one another. They want us to humiliate and fight each other,” he said.

Hariri, who was born in Saudi Arabia and holds Saudi citizenship, has not said when he will return to Lebanon, where President Michel Aoun has yet to formally accept his resignation.

In a statement issued on Friday after a meeting with the Saudi envoy to Lebanon, Aoun insisted Hariri should return to Lebanon.

“President Aoun met Saudi charge d’affaires Walid Bukhari and informed him that the circumstances in which Mr. Hariri’s resignation took place were unacceptable,” the statement said.

The president “called for the return to Lebanon of the head of the government”.

Aoun, who is allied with Hezbollah and is a fierce critic of Saudi Arabia, also “voiced his concern over what is being said” about Hariri’s current status in Saudi Arabia and demanded a “clarification”.

French President Emmanuel Macron, whose country has close ties with both Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, visited Riyadh on Wednesday.

Read more►

ANALYSIS: Saad Hariri’s resignation shatters hopes of a new Lebanon

Macron’s foreign minister said on French radio on Friday he thought Hariri’s freedom of movement was not impeded, despite most of the Lebanese political class implying he was de facto under house arrest.

Citizens to return home

Commenting on Saudi Arabia’s call on its citizens in Lebanon to return home, Nasrallah said: “This is a war on Lebanon not on Hezbollah.”

Nasrallah warned the Lebanese people from allowing the state to collapse as in other Arab countries such as Libya and Syria.

“Look around you and learn the lessons. Saudi Arabia is asking you to sabotage the state and its institutions.”

“We are all Saad” says a poster depicting Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, who has resigned from his post, in Beirut (Reuters)

Nasrallah said that Lebanon had been in a state of “security and stability” over the past year since Hariri formed a national unity government in November 2016.

It had been “a new era for Lebanon” after two years of deadlock between political parties in Lebanon, said Nasrallah as he recounted what had been achieved during that time.

Read more ►

‘A regional power’: How fighting Assad’s war transformed Hezbollah

Nasrallah credited Lebanon’s recent stability which allowed “nine million people to visit Lebanon since the beginning of 2017” to the willingness of Lebanese political factions to collaborate and compromise.

Hezbollah is the only organisation that did not disarm after the 1975-1990 civil war and now has an arsenal that outstrips Lebanon’s own armed forces.

Comparing the current strength of Hezbollah, which has been fighting for years alongside pro-government forces in Syria, with 2006, Nasrallah said: “We are stronger today, we warn them again misguided calculations, against any knee-jerk initiative.”

Earlier this year, Hezbollah officials told Middle East Eye that the movement’s battlefield experience in Syria had enabled it to become a major military force and a “regional power” in the Middle East.

“Everyone is dealing with Hezbollah as a regional power,” a Hezbollah political official who wished to remain anonymous told MEE.

“That was not our aim when we intervened in Syria. All we wanted is to defend the resistance and defend a state that has stood by and supported the resistance since its inception in 1982 until now.”

Posted in Lebanon, Saudi ArabiaComments Off on Hezbollah’s Nasrallah: Saudi Arabia inciting Israel to attack Lebanon

Saudi Zio-Wahhabi has openly declared war on Lebanon with Hariri house arrest

The secretary general of Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, delivers a televised speech from Beirut, Lebanon, on November 10, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
The secretary general of Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, delivers a televised speech from Beirut, Lebanon, on November 10, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

The secretary general of the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah says Saudi authorities have clearly and openly declared a war on Lebanon by holding Prime Minister Saad Hariri hostage in the oil-rich kingdom, and forcing him to quit his post.

Addressing his supporters via a speech broadcast live from the Lebanese capital city of Beirut on Friday afternoon on the occasion of Arba’een and Hezbollah Martyr Day, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah stated that the 47-year-old leader of the Future Movement was invited to Riyadh without his advisors accompanying him, and then forced to announce his resignation as the head of the Lebanese government.

Leader of Lebanese Hezbollah movement delivers speech on situation in country, region 

Press TV @PressTV

Leader of Lebanese Hezbollah movement delivers speech on situation in country, region

Nasrallah argued that Saudi officials have embarked on a campaign to flagrantly interfere in Lebanon’s domestic affairs, stressing that Hariri’s statement had been dictated by Saudis, who have put him under “house arrest.”

“Hariri is a prisoner in Saudi Arabia, and cannot return to his own country. Saudi Arabia is seeking to impose its will on the Lebanese government. It is trying to sow the seeds of discord among various political factions here and pit them against each other,” the Hezbollah leader said.

Nasrallah went on to say that Saudi Arabia has even appealed to the Israeli regime to launch a military onslaught against Lebanon in the name of fighting Hezbollah, and is ready to spend billions of dollars to attain this objective.

“Saudi wants to destroy Lebanon under the pretext of combating Hezbollah. It was the main architect of Israel’s war on Lebanon in the summer of 2006,” he pointed out.

The Hezbollah chief further censured Saudi Arabia’s “humiliating treatment” of Hariri, arguing that an insult to the Lebanese head of the government is an insult to the country’s nation and its political groups.

“Saad Hariri must be allowed to return to Lebanon as soon as possible. The Lebanese prime minister is in some sort of captivity in Saudi Arabia. His resignation is illegal and of no value since it was made under pressure,” Nasrallah pointed out.

He stated that Lebanese President Michel Aoun is wisely managing the country through the current political crisis, calling on all political factions in Lebanon to avoid brinkmanship, and strive to bolster cooperation.

Nasrallah also dismissed reports about an assassination plot against Hariri, emphasizing that the allegations were made by Saudis in a bid to mislead the world public opinion.

“Even the text of Hariri’s resignation statement had been written by the Saudis,” the Hezbollah chief underlined.

“Israel may push Takfiri militants to start a war against Lebanon. I don’t think Israelis would choose to get into a war with Lebanon following an act of cool calculation,” Nasrallah said.

“Saudi Arabia is afraid of facing Iran, and wants to take revenge of Hezbollah instead,” he commented.

“Iran has never meddled in Lebanon’s internal affairs,” the Hezbollah leader said.

Hariri announced his resignation in a televised statement on Saturday, citing many reasons, including the security situation in Lebanon, for his sudden decision. He also said that he sensed a plot being hatched against his life.

Hariri accused Iran and Hezbollah of meddling in Arab countries’ affairs; an allegation the two have repeatedly denied.

The Lebanese prime minister announced his resignation following visits to Saudi Arabia.

The resignation also comes less than a month after he announced plans to join a coalition government with the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah.

He became prime minister in 2016 after serving another term between November 2009 and June 2011.

Iran has vehemently rejected Hariri’s remarks, saying his resignation and rehashing of the “unfounded and baseless” allegations regularly leveled by Zionists, Saudis and the US were another scenario to create new tensions in Lebanon and elsewhere in the Middle East.

“The sudden resignation of Mr. Hariri and its announcement in another country are not only regrettable and astonishing, but also indicative of him playing in a court that the ill-wishers in the region have laid out,” Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Saturday.

Elsewhere in his speech, Nasrallah made reference to Saudi Arabia’s devastating aerial bombardment campaign against Yemen, saying the Saudi regime has failed to achieve its goals in the impoverished Arab country despite a lengthy war and a total blockade.

He brushed aside claims that Iran has provided Yemeni forces with missiles, stressing that Yemenis have been able to design and manufacture their own military hardware over the past years.

“Saudi Arabia claims to be helping Yemen but has only killed many people there and caused the spread of diseases as well as hunger,” Nasrallah said.

He added that Saudi officials have also failed in the face-off with Qatar, and their interference in Bahrain has made the Al Khalifah regime bankrupt.

“Bahraini officials now have to resort to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in order to pay the salaries of their employees,” Nasrallah said.

Posted in Lebanon, Saudi ArabiaComments Off on Saudi Zio-Wahhabi has openly declared war on Lebanon with Hariri house arrest

Zionist puppet Ab-A$$: Salman’s Palestinian Poodle


Saudi's New King: Establishing Legitimacy Through Murder, Hate and War

Abbas: Salman’s Palestinian Poodle

We haven’t heard too many new outrages from Saudi Arabia in a few days.  So perhaps the ambitious Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman is toning down his ambitions after the U.S. warned him he was going too far; or else he temporarily moderated himself preparing for a new onslaught on as yet unspecified targets.

Salman has been doing a lot of summoning of his rivals and satraps in order to apprise them who’s the new sheriff in town and demand broad obeisance.  If he doesn’t like the answers he’s getting or doesn’t trust his interlocutors, he has them shipped off to the “spa” for a session with one of his royal masseurs, schooled in the art of relaxation techniques.  Many of the royal rivals he arrested received such treatment.

But Salman has treated his foreign satraps a bit more gingerly.  He didn’t like seeing Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri meeting in Beirut with the former Iranian foreign minister, Ali Akbar Velayati.  That led to the Lebanese leader getting a ‘special invitation’ to join Salman at his Ritz Carlton “guest house.”  Once he was safely under the Saudi thumb, they told Hariri if he expected any more business or infusion of capital into his bankrupt construction business he must resign as punishment for his impudence.  No satellite state of the Saudis would ever exhibit such a streak of independence again if he wished to retain any Saudi financial support.

Hariri dutifully resigned as if he was a trained seal, on Saudi TV, leaving Lebanon in political chaos and not knowing what was going on.  Now you have the strange phenomenon of Hariri’s political enemies, the Shiite Hezbollah, speaking of him as if he was the nation’s beloved leader and begging him to return and resume his presidency.  While Hariri remains imprisoned in his gilded cage.

Though Salman appears to have temporarily backed off his worst impulses and perhaps decided to take a breather, the second stage of his putsch could be worse.  He has already placed Qatar in the doghouse for its temerity in seeking out an independent political path in the Gulf by pursuing commercial ventures and relations with Iran.  Qatar is under siege by all of the Gulf and Sunni states in the region.  It remains to be seen how severe the long-term impacts will be on Qatar.  It certainly will harm their economy.  But to what degree is unknown.

Salman may have the same plan in store for Lebanon if he doesn’t get his way there.  His demands, like those he made against Qatar, are entirely unrealistic.  He wants Iran to stop meddling in Lebanon.  He wants Hezbollah to withdraw from Lebanese politics.  One presumes that if his demands aren’t met (as they weren’t by Qatar) that he could pursue the same path against Lebanon.  The Saudis provide immense amounts of aid and commerce to Lebanon.  Withdrawing it, would have a severe impact.

abbas and salman

Abbas gets the satrap treatment from Crown Prince bin Salman, fading into the background under a mound of offerings (AFP)

But Salman doesn’t seem to have realized that Hezbollah and its Iranian allies are a tough, hardened lot.  Lebanon survived a brutal civil war and two decades of Israeli occupation.  No matter the level of pain the Saudis tried to inflict, it would not break the country just as western sanctions never broke Iran.  In fact, such a draconian approach would likely strengthen the hand of Hezbollah in Lebanon.  It would pose itself, just as it does regarding Israel, as the chief force defending Lebanese independence and sovereignty.  And what could Hariri or his Sunni Future Movement offer?  Their fealty to a sclerotic, corrupt Saudi petro-state?

Hariri wasn’t the only satrap summoned to Riyadh.  Salman also snapped his fingers and demanded that Mahmoud Abbas make an appearance before him at the royal court.  We don’t know what they discussed.  But it’s not hard to guess.

We’ve been hearing about the much-vaunted Trump Middle East peace plan.  Apparently, it will be rolled out in a matter of weeks.  Kushner and Greenblatt have made their own jaunts to the House of Saud to iron out the details.  They’ve huddled with Netanyahu as well to be sure that the proposed plan ratifies all of Israel’s current rights and privileges.

The odd man out here was Abbas.  No one cared much what he thought.  That’s why he was summoned.  Salman likely informed him of what he would be expected to do when the time came–to perform like a seal before the world.  This “deal” would be ratified by the Saudis on behalf of their Palestinian brethren.  The latter would be expected to bow obediently and accept the lot offered them.  Israeli TV even reported that the Saudi prince told Abbas to take the deal or resign.  That would be a suitably bleak appraisal for Israeli media of their quisling Palestinian interlocutor.  I doubt even the Saudis would be that crude.  But who knows?

If I were a Palestinian I would be very apprehensive about what the future holds.  The Saudis don’t give a farthing for the Palestinians or their interests.  They would sell them out for an oil well.  The deal, if one is ever presented, will make Palestine into a bantustan.  No Palestinian in his right mind would consider accepting whatever Trump and the Saudis will offer.

The question is how Abbas and the PA will react.  Clearly, the Saudis hold the purse strings and the PA leadership is as crooked as the day is long.  So in that sense, the Palestinian fate may be sealed.  The only question is how frightened are they of the Palestinian street?  What will Marwan Barghouti do?  Will he call out the resistance?  Or will he remain quiet?

And if the Palestinians resist, can the Saudis bring them under their thumb as they did Hariri?  Can they lay siege to Ramallah like the Israelis are laying siege to Gaza?

In fact, one might argue that much of Salman’s approach has been learned at the knees of the Israelis.  They have taught Salman how to wage war on his neighbors like Yemen and how to cultivate proxy forces like the Yemenis fighting against the Houthis there (think of Israel’s repeated incursions into Gaza and Lebanon).  They’ve offered the example of a decade long siege of Gaza in order to throttle the political ambitions of uppity Hamas militants.  That is likely one reason Salman is employing siege tactics in Qatar and threatening them in Lebanon.

The problem is that none of these Israeli tactics worked.  Cultivating proxies to fight your battles has failed in Lebanon (the South Lebanon Army) and in Syria (al-Nusra in the Golan).  The Gaza siege has not ended Palestinian militancy nor has it destroyed Hamas.  The most you can say is that they temporarily “mowed the grass.”  That is, they beat back their opponents, tamped down their military power and forced them to spend down their weapons arsenal a bit.  That’s not statecraft.  It’s managing chaos like the Dutch boy holding his finger in the dike.

If this were a poker game, Israel and Saudi Arabia would bluff and bluster.  But their Iranian and Hezbollah opponents would see right through it.  They are the ones with the strong hand.  Bibi and Salman have a weak hand.  While they may fool the world into thinking they don’t.  Nasrallah and his Iranian allies know what cards they really hold.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Iran, Lebanon, Saudi ArabiaComments Off on Zionist puppet Ab-A$$: Salman’s Palestinian Poodle

Hezbollah – Capabilities And Role In The Middle East


…from SouthFront

Hezbollah is a social and political movement with a strong armed wing. It was formed in 1980s. Hezbollah’s creation was conditioned by the aspiration of the Shia population of Lebanon to meet the challenges of Israeli expansion and Western “new-style” colonialism.

The Hezbollah (“Party of God”) movement was formed in 1982 in Lebanon by a segment of the Shia community displeased with the secular, in their view, nature of the Amal moderate Shia party. There were also disagreements concerning whether Israel should be confronted using new organizational forms and methods of warfare. According to its General Secretary Hasan Nasrallah, since its formation, Hezbollah was a purely intra-Lebanese creation, relying on the support and aid from the Palestinian and Lebanese parties, while the support from Iran and Syria came later.

Since the very beginning, Hezbollah’s activities have been based on three principles. First, Islam is declared an ideological, doctrinal, and practical basis for the organization’s functions. Secondly, its main aim is the struggle against Israeli occupation of Lebanon and Palestine and against Zionist domination. Third, it recognizes the Iranian Shia thesis concerning the necessity of Vilayat-e-Fakih. This Shia doctrine asserts that during the era of the 12th Great Reappearance of Imam Muhammad al-Mahdi the leadership over the Shia is transferred to high-ranking Shia clerics.

Structure and Decision Making

Hezbollah, as an organization, has a structure based on certain ideological principles and exists within the framework of a state, that has no actual influence on the movement’s activities. The party is led by the Shura Council consisting of 7 members (six spiritual leaders—ulemas—and one secular leader). The members are elected by the Central Council (Al-Majlis al-Markazis), consisting of the 200 most authoritative members of the movement. Shura Council elections consist of three phases. The first is the candidate selection (usually 70-80), both clerics and secular individuals who satisfy the criteria set by the top leaders. Those who pass this stage have the right to participate in the second stage. In other words, they become candidates for the Shura Council. As a rule, 10-15 people make it to the second round. The final phase consists of the direct election of the 7 Shura Council members.

Council decisions are final and religiously binding for all party members. They are adopted either unanimously or by the majority of votes. If there is a deadlock or a split within Shura Council, issues are decided by the party leader, whose decisions are final and obligatory on all administrative institutions, and cannot be challenged. This is how the principle of Vilayat-e-Fakih is observed and splits within the ruling elite are averted.

The actual operations of the party are conducted by the administrative executive apparatus, known as Shura Tanfiz. It consists of five councils:

  1. Executive Council (oversight over political and organizational matters, including social, cultural, and educational activities);
  2. Politburo (addresses intra-movement matters);
  3. Parliamentary Council (concerns itself with Hezbollah activities in the Lebanese legislature);
  4. Judicial Council (issues religious resolutions and carries out arbitration on matters of disagreement, relying on Islamic law); and
  5. Jihad Council (directs the movement, including oversight, recruitment, training, equipment, security).

Each council is usually headed by a Shura Council member.

The movement General Secretary is Hasan Nasrallah, who is also the supreme commander of its armed formations. Leadership also includes his deputy, a spiritual leader who is also the supreme judge, some Lebanese legislators, the military formation commander for Southern Lebanon, and regional leaders of the organization. The Executive Council has various departments responsible for specific areas of activity: welfare, healthcare, information, press, finance, external communications, coordination.

Armed Formations and Their Peculiarities

Assessments of Hezbollah’s armed strength vary. Iran’s FARS news agency data from October 2016 put Hezbollah’s armed strength at no less than 65,000 troops, including reserves. Of them, 21,000 are professional soldiers with constant training. According to the 2017 Military Balance, currently 5-8 thousand Hezbollah troops are fighting in Syria.

Bekaa Valley: the commander’s responsibilities include control over arms shipments from Iran through Syria for the “Sheikh Abdallah” military camp that’s under joint command by the Hezbollah and the Syrian army. According to various sources, this region’s forces consist of at least 7 infantry battalions with 252 people each. Three of them are motorized.

South Beirut: according to various sources, this region includes at least two battalions of 252 troops, one of them motorized.

South Lebanon: after the Taif treaty of 1989, Hezbollah formations were reorganized and placed under a unified command. The current commander is responsible for Hezbollah military and Special Security formations and may also command Lebanese Army units in South Lebanon. This region includes at least 7 battalions of 252 troops each, five of them motorized.

Moreover, one should note the nontrivial fact of the existence of a full-scale, by Iranian, NATO, and Russian measures, tank regiment. In November 2016, near the city of al-Quiseir (Homs province, Syria), there was an inspection of Hezbollah equipment. The photos showed T-55, T-62, and some T-72 tanks, some 2S1 Gvozdika howitzers, BMP-1, and -2, M113 APCs with 14.5mm machine-guns, ZSU-57-2 SPAA. Most of this equipment apparently came from SAA arsenals and was obtained from the Lebanese Army and possibly Iran.

Of most interest are the hybrids assembled using Kvadrat (SA-6) SAM tracked chassis and Soviet-era KS-12 85mm and Ks-19 100mm AA guns. While their effectiveness against modern aircraft and drones is doubtful, they are useful as direct fire support against land targets. Other interesting weapons are the modern Kornet ATGMs mounted on quadricycles. These self-propelled ATGMs are able to effectively fight any modern tank, including Israeli.

By all appearances, this unit was formed to prosecute the war in Syria, where thousands of Hezbollah fighters are constantly on the front lines. The absence of direct fire support such as tanks and artillery undermines the success of operations. Therefore it’s logical to assume that Hezbollah decided to assemble an arsenal of its own armor and accompanying artillery to ensure battlefield success.

Being a fully-fledged political and military organization, Hezbollah understands that it is surrounded by enemies such as Israel and radical Sunni Islamists. Therefore having a tank regiment with experienced crews is of vital importance, as the unit represents a serious force by the standards of Lebanon and the adjacent countries. The prolonged civil war in Lebanon, the permanent stand-off with Israel, and now also the struggle against Sunni Islamists, in other words, the constant balancing on the edge between war and peace, makes the movement flexible in its command arrangements and able to quickly and appropriately react to emerging problems.

One can also draw the conclusion that the paramilitary wing of the Hezbollah, in spite of external attributes of a partisan movement, which it was 20-30 years ago, is gradually becoming a fully-fledged army with a training establishment, a command structure, and a logistical segment.

Cadre Selection and Training

The preparation of a future fighter starts at a very young age. Kids aged 6 are involved in discussions and as they grow, they receive more advanced political and religious preparation. A sample training regimen includes: Studying Koran, A day at the mosque, I love my country, How to run a household, Summer camp, I submit to my leader. Younger kids’ uniform, as a rule, includes blue shirts with epaulettes, white scarves, and pins with the image of Khomeini.

Older boys spend several weeks during the summer in camps in the south and in Bekaa Valley, where they train and acquire survival skills while obtaining more in-depth religious preparation and studying their native language and culture.

Then they transfer to the Imam al-Mahdi Scouts. One of the scouts’ missions is helping the poor. According to the Scouts head, if kids who lost their father or their brothers were left to their fate, they would withdraw inwardly and develop psychological problems such as aggression.

At the age of 17, those who excelled at the Scouts become members of Taabia, or the reserves.

At the same time, education does not seek to promote absolute hatred toward Israel, despite what Western journalists love to depict. The education system is first and foremost based on developing a national and religious identity, the context in which the Shia community of Lebanon exists.

In an interview provided by a Hezbollah fighter, it was noted that those who choose political independence become social pariahs. Such people can’t even visit their villages, given that the family and the society hate them.

Cadre troops are focused on combat training, and each receives a specialty such as an ATGM gunner, a sniper, or demolitions. Regular Hezbollah fighters undergo training in specialized camps in Lebanon, Syria, and Iran (under IRGC officer leadership). They conduct training for the rank and file and select outstanding individuals for special units. Some of them become commanders, others are selected for the Special Security Apparatus.

Taabia reservists are engaged in protecting villages and are selected from the Scouts. Cadre fighters and reservists undergo service in one of the districts: Israel-Lebanon border and the Litania river area—Nasr Brigade, north of Litania—Badr Brigade, Bekaa Valley—Haidar Brigade.

Each Hezbollah brigade in south Lebanon has a sector in northern Israel that it is supposed to occupy. Combat and special training in each brigade take into account local geography. One should also note that border terrain is fortified: there is a large-scale network of tunnels, bunkers, minefields. Using the tunnels, Hezbollah can concentrate large number of troops on the needed attack sector without being spotted and attacked from the air

Due to fighting in Syria, Hezbollah opted to conduct training courses with reservists lasting 60-90 days. Commanders are also sent to the battle zone to obtain experience. Intensive operations and unavoidable losses have forced commanders and troops to remain in the war zone (murabata) for longer than their rotation periods. For the reservists, it was 15 days a year. Before the Syrian war, the border with Israel was considered such a zone. Currently, the rotation period in the Syrian war zone is 20 days and may be increased if the situation demands it. This is considered optimum, as it allows for having trained and rested troops available in case of any escalation on Israel border, and in Syria.

Here’s an example of a news report regarding deployment of Hezbollah units from May 20, 2017. The Radwan special unit and others were fully withdrawn from Syria and replaced by the Badr Brigade which is stationed in the eastern and northern part of the Aleppo province. Aziz Brigade was withdrawn from the outskirts of Palmyra and al-Qaem Brigade temporarily replaced it there.

Moreover, the Radwan unit was brought to an elevated alert level and sent to south Lebanon (Litania river and Shebaa farms on Israel border). Al-Jalil Brigade, intended for operations in Galilee in case of war with Israel, remained on its permanent positions in south Lebanon. Nasr Brigade, which is directly under Hasan Nasrallah, remained in reserve.

The Radwan unit was named after the head of Special Security department Imad Mugniyeh (pseudonym al-Hadja Radwan) who was killed in 2008. The unit has much experience in raids and is the most prepared for urban warfare, which makes it irreplaceable in Syria. If there is a new war between Hezbollah and Syria, it will be in the first line of attack.

Military Doctrine. Specifics of Fighting in Syria

Hezbollah leadership reviewed its concept of operations after the start of the Syria war. Before the war, the emphasis was placed on defensive ops in built-up areas with small units to inflict maximum troop and equipment losses on the IDF while simultaneously shelling Israel using large numbers of short- and medium-range rockets.

In Syria, Hezbollah realized that it had to wage offensive ops in cities. Therefore it reconsidered its training system, increased its rocket arsenal, and provided more heavy weapons and recon systems.

The first operation where Hezbollah took offensive using large units was the battle for el-Quseyr in April-June 2013. Some 1200-1700 best-trained Hezbollah troops took part in the battle. They were divided into 17 detachments, with later division into teams of 3-5 troops. Prior to the attack, the command performed recon of the city and its approaches, then divided the city into 16 sectors, one for each detachment. Each region had its codename. During the battle, this allowed for command of forces using open channels of communication without the enemy being able to take any countermeasures. Hezbollah command undertook the direction of SAA tank and artillery units near the city. Considering that the city was in the Islamist hands for over a year and was well-fortified, the ratio of losses was nevertheless 5:1 in favor of Hezbollah. The battle showed that with proper organization, a fortified city can be effectively attacked by a small force.

As far as the military direction of Hezbollah units in Syria by Iran is concerned, it seems probable that Iran directs Hezbollah units down to battalion level (sometimes down to company) using IRGC specialists from the al-Quds Force. It can’t be ruled out that IRGC specialists coordinate Hezbollah and local self-defense forces like the Kataib Hezbollah and Asaib Ahl al-Haq. Units smaller than a battalion don’t warrant the provision of specialists. There is a need for a large number of trained cadres able to command and provide assistance. One of the factors influencing cooperation in this instance is the language barrier—Arabic in Lebanon, versus Farsi in Iran.

Hezbollah became one of the factors which allowed to turn around the war in Syria, since its troops were able to fight in cities. The SAA, in 2011-12 was organized along 1970-80 lines to fight combined arms battles mainly against Israel. New realities have shown that this army was unable to fight as small units in the cities. Moreover, the SAA has not fought for a long time. Its last significant operations took place in 1982. Therefore it had no commanders with urban warfare experience. Hezbollah, on the other hand, has constantly fought Israel since the moment of its creation. Generations of commanders have honed their skills in the years of clashes and battles with the IDF, causing it serious losses during the 2006 war. Israel was forced to retreat from south Lebanon, and Hezbollah’s reputation has risen to unprecedented heights.

Israel’s military command is worried about Hezbollah’s operations in Syria, since its paramilitary wing will now be able to wage offensive ops using heavy weapons and a huge number of short-, medium-, and long-range rockets.

The fact that Hezbollah has become akin to a regular army is confirmed by IDF’s rethinking of its approach to the fight against it. First, IDF is preparing for fighting big formations, up to a brigade, whose task will be invading Israel and capturing villages or military bases. Second, it is paying special attention to combating tunnels, including technical and psychological preparation of its troops to fight in tunnels.

Rocket Arsenal

The movement’s distinguishing characteristic is the enormous rocket arsenal which, by various estimates, contains between 50 thousand and 120 thousand weapons. And not merely an arsenal, but a whole system, from rocket part and fuel factories to storage facilities and camouflaged launch sites.

The existing land-based arsenal includes various short-range ballistic missiles, surface-to-surface missiles and multiple rocket launchers.

The existing land-based arsenal is reflected by the following table:

Click to see the full-size image

* –depending on the specific variant.

MRL – multiple rocket launcher

SSM – surface-to-surface missile

SRBM – short-range ballistic missile

Most of the weapons come from Iran and Syria. The possession of Scud-Ds is doubted, including doubts of the Western media. This system requires qualified personnel and specialized equipment, since the rocket uses liquid fuel.

To assess Hezbollah’s effectiveness, let’s look at the shelling of Israel in 2005. At the start, according to Nasrallah, there were over 12 thousand rockets. Official Israeli police reports noted 3770 rocket strikes on the country, including 901 strikes in the cities. Thanks to civil defense, only 44 were killed and 1384 were wounded. One is also tempted to note that Hezbollah mostly used rockets with ranges under 100km and small warheads, as no SRBM strikes were noted. This was due the small number of SRBMs and Israeli effort to destroy them, which was partly successful. Hits by 600-980kg SRBM warheads would have had catastrophic consequences on cities. The presence of SSMs proved a surprise for Israel. On July 14, 2006, Israeli corvette Hanit was hit by a Chinese-made C-802 SSM launched from the short. The ship’s air defense was turned off since nobody expected an SSM attack. 4 sailors were killed and the corvette was incapacitated for 3 weeks. The 165kg warhead most likely failed to explode, otherwise, the corvette would have sunk.

Having a large rocket arsenal made in Iran, PRC, and Syria, raises the question of whether Hezbollah has its own factories of rockets. If it does, they manufacture certain numbers. It’s been a long time since the last war with Israel. Launching a rocket after lengthy storage could be dangerous to its launch crew. It would seem that the war in Syria is being used to use up old Russian and Chinese rockets of which it has large numbers. The situation is more complex with SRBMs. They are very expensive to make. It would make no sense to establish their production on territory which at any moment could be bombed by Israel. With proper servicing, such rockets can be stored for up to decades. It’s likely that some assistance here is provided by Iranian civil and military specialists.

Building a rocket plant on the territory of another country is a whole different matter. In August 2017, Israeli media reported that Iranians are building a ballistic missile plant in north-west Syria. It is built near the coastal city of Banias, tens of kilometers from Tartus where the Russian base is located, and south of Hmeimim where Russian aircraft are based, protected by S-300 and S-400. Therefore the factory can be protected against Israeli strikes. According to experts, the plant will produce Fateh-110 rockets for the SAA and, possibly, Hezbollah.

The rocket arsenal has been modernized and expanded. At the start of the next war, Hezbollah will be able to launch 1500 rockets a day, instead of 200 in 2006, covering the whole territory of Israel and not only the border regions. There are reports that Hezbollah has Russian Yakhont SSMs obtained from Syria, instead of the unreliable C-802.

Therefore Hezbollah rocket arsenal is not a network of warehouses full of artisanal rockets, dangerous to own crews. It’s a whole range of industrially produced weapons capable of destroying land and naval targets at various ranges.

All of the above does not mean Hezbollah seeks war with Israel, whose leadership should be aware that if there is another war in south Lebanon, Israel’s civilians will face unprecedented threats.

Intelligence and Counter-Intelligence

Hezbollah’s Special Security department is responsible for both intel and counter-intel, and implements several missions, one of the most important being professionally carried out operations abroad at the behest of Shura Council. Imad Fayez Mughniyeh was a head of Special Security department until 2008 when he died in a car bomb blast in Kafr Sousa neighborhood of the Syrian capital, Damascus.

Responsibilities of the department’s head in Shura include overseeing the following departments:

  1. National preventive security apparatus, which provides personal security to high-level spiritual leaders.
  2. Internal security and intelligence apparatus, which tracks political and religious reliability of the Hezbollah members.
  3. National central security apparatus, which observes, tracks, infiltrates, and if necessary eliminates military or political individuals or groups seeking to interfere with Hezbollah in Lebanon.
  4. Foreign combat cells and intel apparatus. This department partly overlaps with the central security council, depending on types of requests received by cell leaders.

Imad Mugniyeh is the individual who made this department one of the most powerful secret services in the world. He was born in 1962 in the Tayr Debba village in south Lebanon. He started his career in the mid-1970s in the FATH organization. In 1977-82 he was a member of its intelligence and special units (Force 17, Unified Security Directorate, etc.). After an advanced course under IRGC instructors at the Imam Ali base in Bekaa province, he headed the personal security team for prominent Shia cleric Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah.

Before 2005, Hezbollah was to a large extent integrated into Lebanese intel services, including Amn al-Amn Main Directorate for Common Security which expanded its ability to carry out intelligence and counter-intelligence ops. After Hezbollah was accused of being complicit in the death of former Lebanese PM, Rafik Hariri in February 2005, Hezbollah members were forced to leave Lebanese secret services, which affects the movement’s intel work.

The Special Security department studies Iranian and Israeli experience. According to Israeli intel members, Hezbollah has a large agent network in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and AMAN military intelligence. This opinion is supported by the presence of limited access Israeli MOD maps, manuals, and documents on captured Hezbollah members.

The movement’s intel successes are largely based on exploiting familial and criminal ties between Israeli and Lebanese Arabs, and the well-oiled cooperation between Hezbollah intel and Palestinian Authority armed formations. Moreover, Hezbollah intelligence often uses interrogations of captured officers and soldiers, and data obtained through recruitment of senior Israeli officers. For example, Hezbollah was able to recruit IDF Lt. Col. Omar el-Haiba, a Bedouin. This officer occupied a high post in the Western district HQ. He was one of the most capable Bedouin officers in the IDF. After a serious wound, he was disabled but nevertheless returned to the IDF and earned awards for his agitation among the Bedouins. This officer was arrested on suspicion of giving Hezbollah secret information on IDF forces on Lebanon border and the schedule of patrols. On June 18, 2006 a court martial sentenced him to 15 years in prison for espionage, contact with enemy agents, and drug trade.

Due to the secrecy regime in Special Security Apparatus, little is known about foreign terrorist and intel cells. As a rule, they become known only after major events. Hezbollah selects people for special ops from among its own special units. These people are believed to be well trained and prepared to die for the sake of the mission. Some of them are from Arab and Islamic organizations that have ceased to exist. All of Hezbollah’s special ops are handled by Special Security apparatus, with support from Iranian and Syrian intel and special ops forces, and from the IRGC.

Members of the overseas cells are thoroughly trained. They have knowledge and information about the country where they work. They speak the language of the country. This attracts less attention from civil and military authorities.
Infiltration unit equipment in includes Israeli or other military uniforms, depending on the mission. Units infiltrating Israel speak Hebrew, use Israeli weapons and equipment as camouflage, and are familiar with all types of weapons used in the region. Members of special infiltration units and members of the suicide units differ, among other things, by their uniforms. For example, Jihad Detachments wear green or black clothing, carry Semtex, C-4, or C-9 charges, and usually wear masks on operations.

The following Jihad Detachments are known:

  1. Islambula Brigade: assassination of political activists.
  2. Al-Quds Brigade: two units of suicide bombers consisting of 56 each, the Fathi Shkaki Company and the Ihye Ayasha Company.

On Imad Mugniye’s initiative, in the early ‘90s a special unit of Hebrew-speaking Lebanese Palestinians was formed. It had the task of eavesdropping on IDF army frequencies. Later, SSA sought to improve their language and professional skills at the Center of Islamic Science and Culture and its branches in Iran, Cyria, and Lebanon.

One should note that the Hezbollah units and controlled territories are targets of Israeli human intelligence efforts. Israeli Border Police (MAGAV) includes the YAMAS unit which camouflages its members to look like Arabs. During the 2006 war, Hezbollah counterintelligence located and destroyed an Israeli agent network in south Lebanon and Beirut. The network conducted espionage in Hezbollah HQ and transmitted this data to the IDF. Agents from among local population set up equipment to monitor Hezbollah military installations and used GPS devices to guide munitions, spread glow-in-the-dark powder around buildings and command centers, rocket warehouses and launch sites. Still, IDF and Israeli intel was not able to kill or capture a single senior Hezbollah official or destroy the command system, since the shelling of Israel continued no matter what.

The Media: Agitation and Propaganda

Hezbollah places particular importance on the media. It owns a satellite TV channel (al-Manar), four radio stations, and five newspapers. Without any doubt, Hezbollah’s image was to a large extent formed by al-Manar, which has been broadcasting since June 1991, and has gone satellite in 2000. It has become Hezbollah’s face to the world. The channel is unique, before its existence Arab media consisted of newspapers and radio stations. Experts believe its audience is second only to al-Jazeera. Al-Manar became the official channel of the movement, demonstrating accomplishments, particularly in the realm of fighting Israel. Its broadcasts consist mainly of news and political programs, broadcasts dedicated to the memory of martyrs, informational and entertainment shows. It is also unique in that it broadcasts in Hebrew for the Israeli population. While Western media depict the al-Manar as propaganda for a terror group, the channel does not broadcast any information on making bombs, executions of Israeli soldiers, blowing up of checkpoints, and other forms of cruelty.

Hezbollah radio stations al-Nour and al-Iman broadcast from southern Beirut. Al-Islam broadcasts in south Lebanon, and Sawt al-Mustad’afin broadcasts in the area of Bekaa river valley. There are also newspapers: Al-Bilad, al-Ahd, al-Muntalaq, al-Sabil, and Baquitou Allah.

The movement has a website, Its content includes the most important news from Lebanon and the world, video addresses by movement leader, respecting the memory of martyrs, opinion polls, and memorable dates in the movement’s history. Agitation video broadcast by TV and web channels are of high artistic and directorial quality and take into consideration the preference of the audience and Arab mentality not only in Lebanon but the world.

Social Work

Even though the Hezbollah is known in Western media as a terror organization, it defies that label by the multifaceted aspect of its activities. Apart from fighting in Syria and against Israel, it is part of Lebanon’s legislature, provides education and medical services to the Lebanese. In 2000-2010 Hezbollah spent several billion dollars on humanitarian efforts in Lebanon. The organization builds kindergartens and schools, hospitals and clinics, and even supermarkets. Its fighters and their family members can take advantage of many services with major discounts. Education in Hezbollah-built schools is cheaper than in public schools. The poor obtain stipends. Of course, the education focuses on the Arabic language, Islam, and Shia traditions. But English language and physical sciences are also taught. These schools provide a very high level of instruction by ME standards.

The media also focus on those who fell for the freedom and independence of Lebanon. As a sign of respect for the martyrs, which is how Shia community views them, the funerals are attended by senior officials. They also participate in any funerals of people who perished in battle or in other circumstances. This is apparently due to Hasan Nasrallah’s having suffered a personal loss. His eldest son Hadi became a martyr during fighting in south Lebanon.

If the killed fighter had children, they are taken under care, receive education or jobs. In spite of financial problems, providing money for cadre soldiers and for the families of the dead is the top priority.

Mu’assasat Jihad al-Bina’ or the Fund for Sacred Struggle was founded by the Hezbollah in 1988. It quickly became one of the most visible NGOs in Lebanon. Although it is autonomous, its activities fall under the purview of the social services department of the movement. Its main aim is to “lessen the burdens faced by the poor families by relying on God’s aid in fulfilling their moral and Islamic obligations.” The Fund operates in southern districts of Beirut, Bekaa Valley, and south Lebanon. The fund provides more than half of population of those regions with water, helps farmers with procuring livestock, fertilizers, fuel. It carries out electrification of the most backward villages.

Mu’assasat al-Shahid, or the Martyrs’ Fund, supports the children of killed or captured fighters and civilians. It provides housing, jobs, and support for widows and runs a job placement office for the youth.

Lujnat Imdad al-Khomeini, or the Khomeini Support Committee, was formed right after Israeli aggression of 1982. It helps poor families, particularly those which suffered from Israeli occupation. The aid includes monthly benefits, food parcels, basic necessities, clothing, health services, and education. The committee provides medical assistance, including through medications, diagnoses, surgeries, and rehabilitation, to tens of thousands of patients a year. The financial and technical incapacity of the Lebanese government, particularly the Ministry of Health, forced the movement to take under the control of the Islamic Health Unit the hospitals of south Lebanon.

Hezbollah education department is headed by an office titled al-Ta‘bia’ al-Tarbawiyya, or the Education Directorate. It provides financial aid to needy Hezbollah members. Its expenditures are extremely important to the movement, because public schools suffer from lack of funds for construction and education technology.

The education department also provides needy students higher education in applied sciences, and religious studies in various institutions such as Technical Institute of the Great Prophet, the Technical Institutes of Sayyid Abbas al-Musawi, the Institute of Sayydat al-Zahra’, the Institute of Shaykh Raghib Harb, and the Islamic Shari’ah Institute.

Other types of aid include paying for textbooks and school materials, and part of the tuition in public and private schools.

Economic and Financial Activities

A variety of sources of funding—donations, business, and Iran’s support—ensure the party’s independence and economic stability. Its assets are held in the Saderat Bank of Iran or in other banks in accounts of front individuals, to prevent the US and the West from freezing its assets. The party is a huge corporation whose assets belong to the whole party, not just specific individuals.

The main sources of funding are:

  • Direct subsidies from Iran, no more than $100 million per year, though $200 million before the fall of oil prices.
  • Contributions by Shia community in and outside of Lebanon
  • Profits from economic and banking activity.

Income from smuggling, illegal sale of weapons and drugs, are not taken into consideration in this context

According to Pew Research Center and the World Factbook (CIA), Shia Muslims represent a high percentage in about 25 countries.

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Total: approx. 200 million worldwide.

One should keep in mind that Pew data have often been criticized by Western experts and Shia diasporas for underestimating Shia numbers.

According to World Labor Organization, average salaries in these countries in 2016 were:

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The Islamic concept of Zakat states that when it comes to deeds performed in God’s name, including supporting warriors waging jihad, the poor, or people propagating Islam, the average worker should contribute 2.5% of theirsalary.

Considering the multi-child families which are the rule in Muslim countries (one does not consider non-working wives and children), zakat may be paid by up to 10% of the community.

In this case, contributions by country look as follows:

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Thus, the Shia diaspora may contribute no more than 1/5, or 120 million USD, for financing Hezbollah.

This calculation does not include income tax, since each country has a different tax law. One should also keep in mind that not all Shia in the West and Persian Gulf are supportive of Hezbollah’s military aid to Syria. For example, NGO surveys of Shia in the Persian Gulf states in the second half of 2013 suggests that the percentage of supporters fell to 30-50%. This is apparently due to the Hezbollah being given an image of the aggressor by the media of these countries, which can’t help but influence financing. After IS was proclaimed in 2014, India’s Shia issued a statement proclaiming readiness to send 30,000 volunteers to Iraq to fight radical Islam. There is no information concerning the Shia of India or neighboring countries providing aid for Syria.

More than 100,000 Lebanese have permanent residence in African countries, including 60,000 in Cote d’Ivoire, 25,000 each in Senegal and Sierra Leone, 16,000 in Nigeria, 6,000 in DRC, 5,000 each in Gabon and Cameroun. The majority of Lebanese in Africa are not Christians but Shia. They have concentrated control of much profitable business, which allows them not only live well but support their historical motherland. In 2008 alone, money transfers from African Lebanese exceeded $1 billion. It is difficult to assess Lebanese Shia affluence in Africa due to the never-ending financial crisis. Since it is Hezbollah that runs active social programs in Lebanon, one can assume the majority of remittances ends up on the organization’s accounts.

Overall, the movement collects no more than $500 million a year. It’s not much, considering it is waging a war in Syria and is financing the social sector of the whole country.

Why Hezbollah became a Middle East powerhouse and its transition to a quasi-state

After the IDF withdrawal from most of Lebanon in 1985, Hezbollah with active support from the IRGC began to create its own weapons arsenals, and the January 1989 Damascus-Tehran agreement allowed Hezbollah to restore its military infrastructure and resume operations in south Lebanon. Thus by 1991 Hezbollah became the leading Lebanese resistance force, operating in the country’s south against the IDF.

Starting in early ‘90s, Hezbollah began a transition away from being a purely paramilitary formation. In the summer of ’92, Iran’s leaders recommended Hezbollah transform itself from an openly extremist organization into an active Lebanese political force. Hezbollah reached an internal compromise between the “moderates” and “radicals”, established a ceasefire with Amal, and began active preparation for parliamentary elections. Hezbollah today acts as the leading political force in Lebanon and as a major Shia social and humanitarian organization (Lebanon has an estimated 2.5 million Shia out of 6.2 million total population). IDF withdraw from south Lebanon in 2006 was a huge victory in the eyes of the Arab world. Hezbollah has truly become a significant regional factor. Growing its influence in Lebanon and Syria and the region with Iran’s help, Hezbollah has become a base for recruitment, training, and preparation of volunteers for battling Israel and radical Sunni organizations. Hezbollah units often fight like regular army nits.

One of the reasons for the rise of Hezbollah’s regional influence is the strategic coordination between the Lebanese and Iraqi Shia, and also Syrian Alawites due to the continuous war in the Middle East. It’s important to note that the organization has proved its worth even in the darkest hours of Lebanon’s history, such as the many years of almost uninterrupted slaughter, but also during the perennial clashes with its external adversaries, even dangerous ones like Israel.

Opinions of Iran’s influence vary. Some experts claim Iran’s aid is so important that it fully affects all aspects of Hezbollah’s decision making process. Naturally, Iran’s authority as the leader of the Shia around the world is near-absolute. It also provides Hezbollah with tremendous military aid. Moreover, the movement has suffered losses in Syria, it’s most professional and best trained fighters have perished there, which weakens the organization. Therefore Hezbollah leaders have to show more flexibility and care in its dealings with Iran if differences of opinion arise.

The most likely explanation is that Hezbollah maintains considerable independence due to its exceptional political standing in the country, and of its nature as a strike force against Israel and Syria’s Sunni. Since the start of conflicts in Syria in 2011, Nasrallah tried to maintain neutrality. Hezbollah became involved only in 2013 when the situation grew out of control and there was a danger of combat spreading to Lebanon. Nasrallah stated in one of his announcements that” Iran should be viewed as the center of strategic influence in the region, as the model of a sovereign state which supports nations in their search for independence and as a force which helps countries and nations of the Middle East become stronger. Syria and Iran can’t force Hezbollah to act against its own plans. They can only argue with us and try to convince us.”

Since its independence, Lebanese government paid little attention to the problems of the southern parts of the country. Therefore Hezbollah has assumed the role of helping the poor and developing infrastructure not for self-promotion, but because it was an objective necessity. Practically since birth, a Lebanese Shia is under Hezbollah’s care. Kindergartens, clinics, schools, and institutions—all of that has been built and is financed by the movement. So it’s no surprise that the movement is hugely popular and service within its ranks is considered honorable.

One should especially note that today Hezbollah is more than a movement. Even though it has not declared sovereignty over part of the country, it has every attribute of a state. It has legislative, executive, judicial authority, institutions for the collection and distribution of taxes, its own education system, a military, intelligence and counter-intelligence, media—all of that exists and functions within the movement’s framework. Moreover, it has control over its subjects, the totality of information about them and, most importantly, it relies on their good will to work with the movement in some form. The concept of citizenship is not after all defined by a passport but by the individual’s willingness to associate to a state or a movement and be loyal to it.

Here’s what is written about it by one of Hezbollah’s ideologues and the deputy general secretary, sheikh Naim Kassem: “From the theoretical point of view, we are calling for an Islamic state, we are drawing others into that process, since only an Islamic state may facilitate the maximum of human happiness. But on the practical level this question depends on the free human choice, in addition to the Quran Ayat 2.257: There is no compulsion in religion. The correct way is quite separate from the false one. Whoever does not believe in idol worship but believes in God, has found a reliable foundation which cannot be crumbled. Verily, God is all-hearing and all-knowing.”

The victory of radical Sunni groups in Syria would mean the possibility of merciless annihilation of all other religious groups, following the Iraq scenario. After the US invasion of Iraq triggered a civil war and later the appearance of ISIS, which proved unspeakably cruel toward all other beliefs, it sent the message that in these conditions of ethnic and religious warfare, only paramilitary organizations like the Hezbollah can ensure their own survival.


Hezbollah’s popularity among Lebanese Shia is based on several factors: its military campaign against Israel, its wholly Lebanese nature, its role as a defender of the historically repressed Shia community, its religious nature and its wide range of social services.

Hezbollah has done more for the Shia community in Lebanon than the official government. Since the very start of its involvement in the war in Syria, the movement leaders that its fighters are defending Lebanon, Lebanese Shia, and Shia holy sites from the spread of extremist Sunni Islam, represented first and foremost by Jabhat al-Nusra and IS. According to Nasrallah, this was not a war of choice but of necessity.

Lebanese NGOs which carried out a survey in 2015 noted that 57% of respondents view the threat of radical Islam to Lebanon as real, and 80% view Hezbollah as making the life in Lebanon calmer. Lebanon today, just as the Middle East as a whole, is experiencing renewed inter-religious and inter-communal slaughter.  People living in unstable and unpredictable countries are trying to find protection and support among their own national or religious community. Therefore it is no surprise that Hezbollah enjoys such unconditional support among the Shia of Lebanon and Syria, even if they don’t fully support the movement’s aims and mission.

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Rania Masri on Saudi Arabia and Kidnapping of Lebanese Prime Minister


Hariri has essentially been held incommunicado for over a week, even though a few heads of state have apparently been allowed to see him under the supervision of Saudi authorities.

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