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Hezbollah
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The funding of Hezbollah partly occurs through donations. Lebanese Shi’ites often make zakat contributions directly after prayers, leaving change in the two-handed Hezbollah collection tins. Also Hezbollah receives financial and political assistance, as well as weapons and training, from the Islamic Republic of Iran.[1][2] The US estimates that Iran was giving Hezbollah about $60-$100 million per year in financial assistance but that assistance declined as other funding was secured, primarily from South America.[3][4] Some estimates of Iran's aid are as high as $200-million annually.[5]

Contents

Monetary funding

Mohammed Raad, at one time leader of Loyalty to the Resistance Bloc, said money from Iran came only through private charities to be used for health care, education and the support of war widows. Hezbollah's main sources of income, he said, are the party's investment portfolios and wealthy Shiites.[5]

The U.S. Treasury Department has also accused Hezbollah of raising funds by counterfeiting U.S. currency.[6] Researchers at the American Naval War College claimed that Hezbollah raises $10-million annually in Paraguay,[7] which may, in some cases, be extorted.[6] Dr. Matthew Levitt told a committee of the US Senate that Hezbollah engages in a "wide variety of criminal enterprises" worldwide in order to raise funds.[8] Operation Smokescreen identified an illegal multimillion-dollar cigarette-smuggling fundraising operation in America.[9]

Money is also received from supporters abroad. Mohammed Hammoud was convicted in the United States for "violating a ban on material support of groups designated as terrorist organizations". The amount was USD 3,500, which Hammoud claimed was to "support Hezbollah's efforts to distribute books at schools and improve public water systems."[10]

In 21/10/2008, The Los Angeles Times reported that an international cocaine smuggling and money laundering ring with alleged connections to Hezbollah was dismantled in Colombia. It is claimed that 12% of the group's profits went to fund Hezbollah, although no dollar figure was specified.[11]

A June 25, 2009 article published by the Jamestown Foundation, a respected think tank based in Washington, D.C., reported on the allegations connecting Hezbollah to drug trafficking and money laundering incidents in Curacao in April 2009 and previous incidents linking Hezbollah to cocaine and money laundering rings dismantled in Colombia and 2008 and a similar ring dismantled in June 2005. The article takes a critical approach to these allegations by questioning the veractiy of accusations linking Hezbollah to the drug trade in the Americas. The article also reported that Lebanese organized crime groups are likely to be responsible for drug-related activities in the region and that solid evidence proving the Hezbollah angle to drug-related activities never emerges.[12]. in jan 09, 2010 the Der Spiegel says Drug dealers on behalf of Hezbollah transfer millions to Lebanese group via European narcotics transactions.[13].


As of July 2009 it was reported that Iran is helping Hezbollah rebuild Lebanon[14].

Military funding

Hezbollah has also received Iranian-supplied weaponry, including 11,500 missiles already in place in southern Lebanon. 3,000 Hezbollah militants have undergone training in Iran, which included guerilla warfare, firing missiles and rocket artillery, operating unmanned drones, marine warfare, and conventional war operations.[15]

Mahmoud Ali Suleiman, the Hezbollah operative captured in August 2006 by the IDF for his role in the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid on July 12, admitted during his interrogation that he received weapons-training and religious instruction in Iran. He told his interrogators that he rode in a civilian car to Damascus, from where he flew to Iran. Other than the Russian-made Katyusha, Hezbollah's reported artillery cache is entirely Iranian-made.

On August 4, 2006, Jane's Defense Weekly, a defense industry magazine, reported that Hezbollah asked Iran for "a constant supply of weapons to support its operations against Israel" in the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict. The report cited Western diplomatic sources as saying that Iranian authorities promised Hezbollah a steady supply of weapons "for the next stage of the confrontation".[16]

Iran long denied supplying Hezbollah with weapons,[17][18] despite persistent reports to the contrary.[19][20][16][21] However, "Mohtashami Pur, a one-time ambassador to Lebanon who currently holds the title of secretary-general of the 'Intifada conference,' told an Iranian newspaper that Iran transferred the missiles to the Shi'ite militia, adding that Hezbollah has his country's blessing to use the weapons in defense of Lebanon".[22] The Israel Defence Forces regard Hezbollah as virtually an arm of the Iranian armed forces; a senior Israeli defence official told Jane's Defence Weekly that "we should consider that what we are facing in Lebanon is not a militia but rather a special forces brigade of the Iranian Army."[23] In an interview in 2007, Hezbollah Deputy Secretary-General Naim Kassem told the Iranian Arabic-language TV station al-Qawthar that all terrorist attacks and suicide bombings in Lebanon must be approved by the ayatollahs in Tehran; in 2008 Iran issued a stamp commemorating a recently-killed Hezbollah leader.[24][25]

Similar claims and denials regarding supply of weapons have been made with respect to Syria[26][17][27][28] Many have accused Syria of funneling the weapons to Hezbollah from its border with Lebanon. Hassan Khalil, a top political adviser to Nasrallah, said that the group "firmly opposes the supervision of the Syrian-Lebanese border," adding that "Hezbollah has enough weapons to defend Lebanon against [an] Israeli aggression, even if borders with Syria are completely closed". [29]

References

  1. ^ UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (2006-03-29). "LEBANON:The many hands and faces of Hezbollah". http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=52494&SelectRegion=Middle_East. Retrieved 2006-08-17.  
  2. ^ Edward Cody and Molly Moore (2006-08-14). "The Best Guerrilla Force in the World". The Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/13/AR2006081300719.html?nav=rss_world.  
  3. ^ "Hezbollah's Global Finance Network: The Triple Frontier". January, 2002. http://www.meib.org/articles/0201_l2.htm. Retrieved 2006-08-07.  
  4. ^ CNN, November 7, 2001 Sources: Terrorists find haven in South America Accessed August 17, 2006
  5. ^ a b Washington Post, December 20, 2004 Lebanese Wary of a Rising Hezbollah Accessed August 8, 2006
  6. ^ a b US Treasury Department, June 10, 2004 Treasury Designates Islamic Extremist, Two Companies Supporting Hizballah in Tri-Border Area Accessed 2006-07-26
  7. ^ Naval War College Newport Papers #21 Latin American Security Challenges Accessed August 8, 2006
  8. ^ Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, United States Senate Testimony of Dr. Matthew Levitt Accessed August 8, 2006
  9. ^ Cigarette Smuggling Linked to Terrorism, The Washington Post
  10. ^ Washington Post, June 22, 2002 N.C. Man Convicted Of Aiding Hezbollah Accessed August 6, 2006
  11. ^ http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-cocainering22-2008oct22,0,384200.story?track=rss
  12. ^ Jamestown Foundation, Mystery Surrounds Alleged Hezbollah Links to Drug Arrests in Curacao [[1]] Accessed June 29, 2009
  13. ^ Report: Hezbollah funded by drug trade
  14. ^ Iran is helping Hezbollah rebuild Lebanon
  15. ^ "Iran Provider of Hezbollah's Weaponry". Asharq Alawsat. July 16, 2006. http://www.asharqalawsat.com/english/news.asp?section=1&id=5651.  
  16. ^ a b "Missiles neutralizing Israeli tanks". 4 August 2006. http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory?id=2275334. Retrieved 2006-08-07.  
  17. ^ a b Asia Times Online :: Middle East News - Hezbollah's transformation
  18. ^ "Iran denies giving aid to Hizbullah", Jerusalem Post, July 28, 2006
  19. ^ AFP, August 4, 2006 Iran to supply Hezbollah with surface-to-air missiles Accessed August 5, 2006
  20. ^ Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism (2006-04-28). "Country Reports on Terrorism: State Sponsors of Terror Overview". http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/crt/2005/64337.htm. Retrieved 2006-07-17.  
  21. ^ Video Clip
  22. ^ Haaretz, August 5, 2006 Iranian official admits Tehran supplied missiles to Hezbollah Accessed August 5, 2006
  23. ^ "Israel to counter Hizbullah forces", Jane's Defence Weekly, 26 July 2006
  24. ^ Separating Mullahs From Their Moolah, Investor's Business Daily, April 25, 2007; accessed September 22, 2008.
  25. ^ Iran unveils Hezbollah commander stamp, USA Today, March 10, 2008; accessed September 22, 2008.
  26. ^ Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism (2006-04-28). "Country Reports on Terrorism: State Sponsors of Terror Overview". http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/crt/2005/64337.htm. Retrieved 2006-07-17.  
  27. ^ "Hezbollah: Violence mixed with social mission". CNN. 2006-06-13. http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/meast/07/13/hezbollah/index.html. Retrieved 2006-06-15.  
  28. ^ Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism (2006-04-28). "Country Reports on Terrorism: State Sponsors of Terror Overview". http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/crt/2005/64337.htm. Retrieved 2006-07-17.  
  29. ^ http://english.wa3ad.org/index.php?show=news&action=article&id=1273 Hizbullah Has Enough Arms to Defend Country

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