Iran unable to bankroll Hezbollah mired in Syrian conflict, German newspaper cites Western intel
Lebanon-based terrorist outfit Hezbollah is in the middle of a financial crisis, recent intelligence assessments reveal. “Tehran’s vassal is on the verge of bankruptcy,” leading German newspaper Die Welt reported citing Western intelligence sources. Despite a steady flow of funding from Iran, the “Party of Allah,” as the terrorist group is called in Arabic, seems to have overstretched itself by venturing into the Syrian Civil War.
In 2011, Iran had ordered Hezbollah to march into Syria, extending its base of operation beyond Lebanon, to keep the Assad Regime in power. German newspaper Die Welt reports:
Although [Hezbollah] controls a third of Lebanon and acts like a state within a state, it is running out of fighters and money. The Hezbollah militia is stuck in a deep crisis that reaches up to its leadership circle.
Western intelligence see it as a sign that Hezbollah chief had his own chief of staff Mustafa Badreddine killed because he was causing trouble. Badreddine was responsible for the militia operation in Syria, where the Shia fighters hold the regime of Bashar al-Assad in power.
Badreddin was not the only victim of internal power struggle. Other Hezbollah officers too supposedly have lost their lives for criticising [the Hezbollah chief Hassan] Nasrallah. Meanwhile, the militia has reportedly created a death squad under the leadership of Nasrallah’s bodyguard Ibrahim Hussein Jezzini to ensure discipline in its own ranks, Arab media reports.
‘Die Welt’ has learned that killing of critics is only the first step: after the ‘martyrs’ are buried and crocodile tears have been spilled, the organisation confiscates the property of the members. For the militia that acts as Iran’s most important foreign policy asset — it’s all about money.
“The group hasn’t faced worst financial situation in decades.” former [Under-] Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Crimes in U.S. Treasury Department, Adam Szubin said May last year. Since then the crisis has intensified due to two reasons: Hezbollah is fighting on several fronts, while its revenues are shrinking due to U.S. sanctions. Tehran’s vassal is on the verge of bankruptcy. Shia businessmen in Lebanon — an important pillar of support for Hezbollah — fear American sanctions if they continued cooperating with the militia. [Author’s translation]
Obama’s Nuclear Deal resulted in an initial windfall for Hezbollah as well, with Tehran transferring over a billion dollars to the militia in 2015 alone. Largely due to the United State’s willingness to tighten sanctions, Hezbollah is running out of other sources of financing its massive terrorist infrastructure. [Author’s translation]
Lebanon, a majority Christian country in the middle of the last century, has not only turned into a Muslim majority country, but a state run by a terrorist Islamic outfit. Lebanon’s Hezbollah, a state within a state, runs everything from TV stations to “welfare” for the families of slain Jihadists. Die Welt continues:
Where does the money come for global activities? “As long as Iran has moey, Hezbollah will have money,” Nasrallah said in the speech last July and admitted that the budget and all expense are covered by the Islamic Republic [of Iran]: “Our money reaches us the same way we get our rockets that we use to threaten Israel.” According to Western intelligence estimates, Mullah send between 200 and 350 million dollars annually — in addition to that weapons and logistical services worth more than 700 million dollars are provided.
However, expenses have been on the rise due to the war in Syria. Iran’s ailing financial situation has prevented it from correspondingly increase the funding for Hezbollah. The payments from Tehran thus cover only 70 percent of expenditures.
The terrorist organisation collects donations to cover [the shortfall], not only in Lebanon but all over the world: in African countries, USA and Europe, but primarily in Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay triangle in South America, where tens of thousands of Lebanese people have immigrated during the civil war in their native land. [Author’s translation]
It’s not all bad news for the Shia terrorist outfit. Hezbollah’s chief Hassan Nasrallah and his hand-picked clique has managed to secure their own little earthly paradise, making sure they won’t be joining their foot soldiers on virgin-seeking martyrdom adventures anytime soon:
The Hezbollah’s leadership could easily cover the budget deficit from of their own pockets. Nasrallah owns private assets to the tune of 250 million dollars. The top brass of the organisation is believed to have deposited more than 2 billion dollar in bank accounts across the world. [Author’s translation]
The report in DieWelt also indicts Venezuela’s Socialist government for its role in aiding and abetting Iranian-backed organisation:
In South American triangle Hezbollah operatives offer their services as [drug] couriers and money launderers.
This cooperation runs especially well in case of Venezuela with its vice President Tareck El Aissami. He ensure that embassies of his country sell passports in Middle East that Hezbollah activists use to travel undetected across the world.
According to a report by South America-based Center for a Secure Free Society (SFS), at least 173 individuals from Middle East have been arrested carrying Venezuelan passports – most of them travelled over to Canada via Venezuelan capital Caracas. More than half of them had links to Hezbollah. [Author’s translation]
As Legal Insurrection blogged last May, German investigators had busted one of Hezbollah’s money-laundering rings — linking it to South American drug cartels. Such revelations only point to Hezbollah’s deep criminal network extending well beyond the Middle East.
These latest intelligence reports on Hezbollah’s financial woes should be no reason for complacency on part of the United States and other Western governments. The Trump administration could play a leadership role in blocking the international money trail that would otherwise end up financing Islamist propaganda, Jihadi recruitment, and terrorist operations.
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