Hezbollah plots in Europe over the past year exposed a return to violent operations being conducted by the Iranian-supported Lebanese Shiite group. Plots in Bulgaria and Cyprus led to a rigorous debate among European Union member states over whether or not to ban the organization’s military wing. But this only marks Hezbollah’s return to violent operations in Europe. Hezbollah has long used Europe as a staging ground for operations to be carried out elsewhere, as a logistical hub, and as a place where the group and its supporters could raise funds through a variety of criminal enterprises. The focus of this article is the wide variety of criminal activities Hezbollah engages in, revealing a global network that conducts extensive criminal operations throughout Europe.
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Thirty years ago last month, Hezbollah blew up the barracks of the U.S Marines and French paratroopers stationed at the Beirut airport, killing 241 U.S. servicemen and 58 Frenchmen. It wasn’t Hezbollah’s first terrorist operation, but this attack, the most memorable in Lebanon’s vicious and chaotic 15-year-long civil war, marked the Party of God’s entry onto the world stage.
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Hezbollah leader makes rare public appearance – 11/13/2013.
Sometimes, as in Panama, there are only intimations or incomplete reports. One sources suggests everybody knows Hezbollah has been laundering money through banks in Panama City — and there the piece stops.
Back up to the bombing of a Panamanian airliner in the 1990s and that too concludes shrouded in mystery.
On the more logical positive side, arms caches and interrupted shipments tell stories too, although, as with the findings of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, not much happens beyond some validation of knowing what was once merely suspected — or knowing with a higher level of probability.
In the wild, however contemptible and heinous the crime, whatever its depth in inhumanity, nothing need happen to perpetrator who may be remote, who may disappear, who may enjoy social sanctuary among good friends, or the sanctuary of altered identities and reduced public appearances, or who may sufficiently corrupt or threaten officials and others — whatever works — and get away with operations shuttered by arrests or surreptitious and ongoing.
As most, possibly all, unfunded mini-projects around here, the following affords but a glance at what the web has on Hezbollah in relation to whatever country comes to mind.
Nigeria and West African Region
Nowhere is the new reality of the West African organized crime-terrorism nexus more evident than in what recently transpired in a Nigerian courtroom. There, three Lebanese men, Mustapha Fawaz, Abdallah Thahini, and Talal Ahmad Roda sat uncomfortably in the dock as masked members of the Department of State Services, the country’s primary domestic intelligence service, testified against them. The three were accused of plotting terrorist attacks against American and Israeli targets in the northern city of Kano, as well as lesser charges of money laundering and illegal importation of goods. Nigerian police found a significant cache of weapons stashed at one of the accused men’s businesses in the capital Abuja and another cache at a private home in Kano. Although the men, all of whom have long standing commercial interests in Nigeria, pleaded innocent to the charges, they confessed to their affiliation with Hezbollah.
Meanwhile, reports in 2009 and 2010 from French, Japanese, South Korean, and Israeli sources described North Korean programs to provide arms and training to Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, two groups on the U.S. list of international terrorist organizations. Large quantities of North Korean arms bound for Iran, intercepted in 2009, contained weapons that Iran supplies heavily to Hezbollah and Hamas. Moreover, a large body of reports describe a long-standing, collaborative relationship between North Korea and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.
www.fas.org/sgp/crs/row/RL30613.pdf – 6/29/2010.
Panama – Intimations Only
Marking The Anniversary Of Hezbollah’s Bombing In Panama » ADL Blogs – 7/19/2013; 47 Killed in Crash of Panama Airliner – Los Angeles Times – 6/8/1992; Alas Chiricanas Flight 901 – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia; Few Clues, No Certainty 10 Years After Panama Airline Bombing Killed 12 Jews | Jewish Telegraphic Agency – 7/13/2004;
Prosecutors said Bouterse agreed to accept a multimillion-dollar payoff in exchange for allowing large numbers of Hezbollah fighters to use Suriname as a base for attacking American targets.
The indictment describes a sophisticated international sting in which Bouterse was recorded meeting in Greece and Panama with people posing as Hezbollah agents and Mexican drug traffickers. In reality, they were actually confidential sources and undercover agents with the US Drug Enforcement Administration, the indictment said.
Hezbollah’s Swedish Roots | World Affairs Journal – 7/24/2012.
Beyond the rhetoric lies a strategic alliance that has seen Caracas, along with Damascus and Havana, vote against United Nations sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program, and increasing Iranian investment in the Venezuelan economy, now worth more than $5 billion.
Is Venezuela harboring Hezbollah? – Salon.com – 1/8/2013.
▶ Nasrallah: Israel ‘Pushing for War’ – YouTube – Posted 11/14/2013.
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Posted four-and-one-half years ago:
▶ Iran tightens media shroud – YouTube – Posted June 24, 2009.
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