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Hezbollah continues ramp-up to war PDF Print E-mail
Written by W. Thomas Smith, Jr.   
Wednesday, 07 May 2008

W. Thomas Smith, Jr.
W. Thomas Smith, Jr.

Reporting from Lebanon for NRO on October 9, 2007, I wrote:

 

“… [Hezbollah] is monitoring and jamming cell-phone communications, and tracking phone signals. They also have their own private telephone comm lines running from the south to the Bekaa Valley, and from both regions to Dahiyeh (in Beirut) and who knows where else. The very Internet service provider I am using to post this entry is a subsidiary of a larger Hezbollah-owned or affiliated company.

Worse: Many of the Lebanese ‘leaders’ here are afraid to go on the record about these issues or anything else related to Hezbollah.”

That was nearly seven months ago; during which time a series of widely spread attacks were launched against my Lebanon reporting by that terrorist-friendly propaganda sheet, The Huffington Post (the attacks have since been debunked on a number of fronts by experts in the business of counterterrorism.). 

 

Now comes a piece in Israel’s Haaretz, reporting on Monday of this week:

 

“An official Lebanese government report reveals that Iran is setting up an illegal telecommunication network across Lebanon, capable of intercepting all telephone conversations in the country, the Saudi-owned daily al-Sharq al-Awsat reported Sunday.

… Iran has set up this network to aid the Lebanon-based guerilla group Hezbollah.”

 

According to Lebanese telecommunications minister Marwan Hamadeh, Hezbollah’s goal is to link all the militias in Lebanon, Syria (which provides operational support to Hezbollah), and Iran (which trains and finances Hezbollah to the tune of $1-billion annually) by way of this vast telecommunications network.

 

“Their goal is not security resistance,” Hamadeh said in an interview with al-Sharq al-Awsat. They want to connect between all the Iranian and Syrian militias and they want to eavesdrop on everyone.”

 

No surprise there.

Haaretz adds:

 

“The Iranian communications network has been completed in southern Lebanon, the Lebanon Valley, southern Beirut and several Christian areas in Mount Lebanon [where much of my reporting originated from in September and October]. Work is currently underway to complete the infrastructure in the northern Lebanon Valley.

… the network is capable of tracking 100,000 numbers using a digital format in which each number is five digits long.

… the Hezbollah hardware can hook up to Lebanon's main telephone network.”

 

We actually discussed these things in great detail – again, seven months ago – at NRO, The Washington Times, and elsewhere.

 

But there’s more.

 

Within hours of this writing, a demonstration – under the pretext of a Labor protest – is slated to begin in Lebanon. The demonstration, engineered by Hezbollah and its allies (according to my sources), will enable members of the Lebanon-based terrorist group to physically confront and attempt to provoke legitimate Lebanese security forces into action against them. They’ve done this before.

 

The Lebanese army (having been heavily infiltrated by Hezbollah and with an officer corps that continues to promote pro-Syrian commanders) and national police forces are presently incapable of disarming – much less defeating in a pitched battle – Hezbollah and its allies in Lebanon. Nor apparently are the multinational troops of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

 

All of this comes on the heels of the following reports this week and last:

 

  • The wire services are reporting that Hezbollah is training Shiia extremists for operations against American and allied forces in Iraq. We’ve been reporting this for months (along with the facts that Hezbollah’s worldwide operations are increasing, as are their strategic collaborations with unlikely groups like Al Qaeda).

 

  • Parliamentarian Walid Jumblatt has accused Hezbollah of setting up special cameras at the Beirut airport to monitor incoming and outgoing aircraft. Jumblatt says the terrorist group – whose stronghold Dahiyeh (the Hezbollah-controlled southern suburbs of Beirut) is adjacent to the airport – is planning to assassinate senior political leaders.

 

  • Brig. Gen. Wafiq Shoukair was just dismissed from his post as airport security chief because of his ties to Hezbollah. But guess what? He will retain his post in the Lebanese Army.

 

  • Hezbollah’s allies in Lebanon have in recent days reportedly called for the “toppling” of the Lebanese government (Lebanon, by the way, has been unable to elect a president in months, and many parliamentarians and their families are forced to travel and reside under constant military or paramilitary police protection.)

 

  • In late April, a French diplomat was detained for several hours by Hezbollah after he was caught photographing areas in Dahiyeh. Amazingly, this barely registered a blip in the American press.

 

Of course, Hezbollah-friendly reporters and bloggers will argue – and have done so with little to no criticism of the veracity of their reporting – that anyone can freely move in-and-out of Dahiyeh and any other Hezbollah controlled zones in Lebanon.

 

But in a piece yesterday, regarding the detention of the French diplomat, noted columnist and television journalist Diana Mukkaled writes:

“The Lebanese media is incapable of obtaining information about the crisis in the suburbs [Dahiyeh] because of the imposed media blockade, which has extended to include the inability to access or observe any movements in Hezbollah’s general surroundings.

“The area is strictly off-limits to the media.

“The recent incident involving the French Socialist delegate could have passed without much ado had the delegate not hailed from a prominent state. It is likely that dozens have been subjected to similar treatment without it causing any uproar or protest.”

All of this plays to Hezbollah’s multi-faceted quest to seize power in Lebanon; continue to revamp its defenses in Dahiyeh, the Bekaa Valley, and multiple regions south of the Litani River; prepare for a ground war with Israel; and continue its asymmetrical terrorist operations against America and the West.

 

But then what do Ms. Mukkaled, Mr. Hamadeh, Mr. Jumblatt, or I know?

 

Apparently a lot more than Hezbollah, its allies, and its sympathizers want us to know … or say. 

 

 


# #


FamilySecurityMatters.org contributing editor W. Thomas Smith Jr. is director of the Counterterrorism Research Center of the Family Security Foundation. A former U.S. Marine infantry leader and shipboard counterterrorism instructor, Smith writes about military/defense issues and has covered conflict in the Balkans, on the West Bank, in Iraq and Lebanon. He is the author of six books, and his articles have appeared in USA Today, George, U.S. News & World Report, BusinessWeek, National Review Online, CBS News, Townhall.com, The Washington Times, and others.
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Note -- The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions, views, and/or philosophy of The Family Security Foundation, Inc.

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Connecting the Dots: Is a Terrorist-Allied TV Company Infiltrating Our Media?

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