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July 24, 2016 / 18 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Hezbollah’

Hezbollah Sabotages French Effort to Advance Lebanese Presidential Elections, Unrest to Continue

Sunday, April 17th, 2016

French President Francois Hollande is wrapping up a two-day visit to Lebanon where he did his best to convince leaderless lawmakers to move ahead towards presidential elections, with little visible success. Hollande’s next stop on his Middle East tour is Egypt and Jordan.

The Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorist group cancelled a meeting between Shi’ite representatives and visiting French President Francois Hollande in Beirut on Sunday. Kuwaiti newspaper Al Seyassah quoted Lebanese ministerial sources as saying a minister from the terror group’s political wing, Lebanese MP Mohammed Ra’ad, was slated to meet Sunday with Hollande.

The French president was in Beirut Saturday and Sunday. Lebanon has been without a president since 2014. Internecine conflicts are rising in the country due to the raging civil war in Syria and the expanding threat of the Da’esh (ISIS) terror group flowing over their common border.

The unrest in both Syria and Lebanon has prompted Israeli defense officials to beef up its military troops along the border with both countries.

“I want to visit Beirut again when there is a president in Lebanon but the issue lies in the hand of Lebanese lawmakers … who should resolve the deadlock and elect a head of state,” Hollande said Saturday following talks with Lebanese parliament speaker Nabih Berri and Prime Minister Tammam Salam.

The country has been without a leader nearly two years, in part because Hezbollah keeps boycotting the parliamentary process that leads to the presidential elections.

Hollande is expected to reiterate France’s support for the Lebanese army, according to Yalibnan. Saudi Arabia suspended a $3 billion military grant to Lebanon earlier this year. Lebanon is home to more than a million Syrian refugees, the equivalent of a quarter the country’s population of 4.5 million. There are also nearly 400,000 Arabs who migrated to the country when they fled their homes during wars with Israel. They are still held at arms’ length as refugees in 12 camps after moving to the country after more than half a century.

The French leader was also scheduled to travel Sunday to an informal Syrian refugee camp in Lebanon’s eastern Beka’a Valley to speak to families who will be resettled in France.

Hana Levi Julian

Hezbollah More Isolated Among Arab Nations With Closer Ties to Iran

Friday, April 8th, 2016

While the Lebanon-based Iranian proxy Hezbollah terror organization is growing in its worldwide influence, it is slowly being squeezed into isolation in the Arab world.

Both the Beirut Arab satellite operator “Nilesat” and “Arabsat” have cut their transmissions of the Al-Manar television channel.

Al Manar is the official media outlet of Hezbollah.

For the time being, Hezbollah is carrying on its media activities via the Russian satellite, broadcasting on RT Arabic (Russia Today), according to telecommuncations expert Tony Hayek, who was quoted by A-Sharq Al-Awsat, owned by Saudi Arabia.

The group itself has also been squeezed out of Arab brotherhood organizations, largely through the efforts of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, which withdrew a significant sum for military aid from Lebanon this year.

The Gulf Cooperation Council and then the Arab League as well both officially declared Hezbollah to be a terrorist entity. The declaration carries severe implications financially as well as socially for members of the group when they travel abroad and in terms of their banking affairs.

Hezbollah is listed as a terrorist organization in the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Canada and Israel. However, the EU and UK make a distinction between the group’s military and “political” wings.

The terror group’s Lebanese parliamentarian, Nawwaf Moussawi accused Lebanese authorities of not taking effective measures against the A-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper.

The Saudi-owned newspaper, which is based in London, carried a satiric cartoon about the Iranian proxy group earlier in the month. According to a report by the newspaper its Beirut offices were targeted by a gang of unnamed attackers.

The vandals broke into the offices of the newspaper in Lebanon, and wrecked the premises. Seven of the attackers are currently being held by authorities; an eighth is still at large. Trial of the detainees set to begin Monday, A-Sharq Al-Awsat reported.

Even as its star may be fading in the Middle East, however, Hezbollah is growing new tentacles elsewhere in the world.

A Hezbollah terrorist cell in Europe was recently arrested by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency for drug trafficking and money laundering.

The terrorist organization has established business relationships with a number of drug cartels in South America, according to DEA acting deputy administrator Jack Riley.

Hezbollah has been known for years to be running operations through Mexico as well.

Hana Levi Julian

Russia Offers to Help Israel Develop Natural Gas Fields

Thursday, April 7th, 2016

Consider it a form of ‘protection.’ Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has offered to invest in Israel’s natural gas development.

Diplomatic sources told the Middle East Newsline (MENL) on Wednesday, “Putin very much wants to make Russia into the major developer of energy fields in the Mediterranean, and the first target has been Israel.”

A decision last month by Israel’s High Court of Justice nullified a “stability clause” that would have blocked regulatory changes to an offshore gas outline for the next 10 years.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had included the clause at the request of the consortium that developed the reserves, Texas-based Noble Energy and Israel’s Delek Group, in return for their massive investments.

The decision, however, may have killed the deal signed with the consortium and potential customers as a result. Although the court gave the government a year to fix the clause, it did little to soothe the fears of bureaucracy-exhausted investors, nor to prevent new customers from bolting.

Moreover, there have been attempts by Lebanon to claim Israel’s northernmost natural gas fields. One of the reserves is located off the coast of Nahariya, south of Lebanon’s territorial waters, and is a field Lebanon had never laid claim to until Israel discovered the gas and oil therein.

Hezbollah representatives spent months referring in various speeches to the reserve. Lebanon even attempted to recruit help from the United States in 2014 in seizing the reserve from Israel.

Putin, however, has pledged Russian influence to block attacks by Iranian proxies against any Russian-operated field. Efforts by Hezbollah to stop Israel from developing its natural resources beneath the Mediterranean would likely be among the targets of Russian ire.

More than one of Israel’s natural gas fields are located near Lebanese maritime borders.

According to the diplomatic source, Putin envisions an investment between $7 billion to $10 billion to develop Israeli offshore gas fields.

Several weeks ago, Putin said he plans to meet with Netanyahu in the nearest future, noting that Russia and Israel have “many issues” to discuss.

Israeli media reported this week that Netanyahu plans to travel to Moscow later in the month, allegedly on April 21, to meet with Putin.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told media on Wednesday that such a visit is indeed under consideration. “We will make a relevant statement in a timely manner” Peskov said, according to TASS.

Hana Levi Julian

Report: Al Qaeda in Yemen Starts Using Surface-to-Air Missiles

Sunday, March 27th, 2016

Al Qaeda terrorists in Yemen have reportedly acquired sophisticated Russian-made surface-to-air missiles and have used them to shoot down a fighter jet this month.

In an exclusive report (March 26) The Independent claims Al Qaeda used an SA-7 surface-to-air missile to down a French-made Mirage fighter jet in Yemen. The missile was allegedly a “Strela” shoulder-mounted heat-seeking projectile with a kill range altitude of 15 to 1,500 meters.

According to the report, the incident took place two weeks ago (March 14), just outside th southern Yemeni port city of Aden.

The jet crashed into a mountainside; officials at the time told media the crash was due to a “technical malfunction” but sources told The Independent the jet was shot down by Al Qaeda using a surface-to-air missile (SAM).

The fighter jet was flying in the United Arab Emirates air force as part of a Saudi-led coalition air campaign against the Shi’ite Houthi rebels who are backed by Iran. Both pilots were killed in the crash. Locals told media the jet was flying low and attacking AQAP forces entrenched in a district west of Aden.

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is deeply involved in this conflict, as is the Iranian-backed Hezbollah terror group, whose guerrilla fighters have been spotted among the Houthis.

If the report is true, this will mark the first time a SAM was used in the Yemen conflict – but not the first time Al Qaeda has ever used one.

In fact, Al Qaeda produced a detailed guide to help its operatives learn how to use a SAM to bring down commercial aircraft. One such guide was found in Mali as far back as three years ago, according to a 2013 report by The Associated Press.

The 26-page document, written in Arabic, was recovered by AP in a building that had been occupied by Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghred (AQIM). This manual also was used for SA-7s, also called “man-portable air-defense systems, or MANPADS.

In that instance, the SA-7s in question were believed to have originated from the arsenal of the late Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi.

Not only were they found in Timbuktu, however. Atlantic Council analyst Peter Pham, a former adviser to U.S. military command in Africa and instructor to U.S. Special Forces told AP at the time he believed Al Qaeda had fighters who already knew how to use the SAMs effectively.

Moreover, the Libya-based Al Qaeda group was not the first to have MANPADS. It was also believed there were Al Qaeda groups in Iraq and Afghanistan who also had MANPADS, as well as a Somalian terror cell who boasted at the time about its SA-7 in a video message.

This Saturday, a second source told The Independent, “Al Qaeda has confiscated huge amounts of weapons from bases in Yemen.” The SA-7s in this case are believed to have been sold to Al Qaeda, or to Yemen by Bulgarian arms dealers who acquired them when the Soviet Union broke apart.

The source added, “Al Qaeda are smarter than Islamic State (ISIS); They speak with the tribal elders, they co-opt people, get them on their side. Islamic State uses fear and coercion. It’s flashy and seeks a lot of attention but Al Qaeda is laying low and playing the long game.”

The source claimed that fighters from both sides of the conflict in Yemen are selling arms to AQAP.

Hana Levi Julian

Hezbollah Chief Nasrallah Rules Out War With Israel, For Now

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

Hezbollah terrorist chief Hassan Nasrallah ruled out a war with Israel, at least imminently, in an interview Monday on al-Mayadeen television.

“I rule out an Israeli attack or war against Lebanon in the near future,” he said.

“Through its readiness, expertise, military skills and stance, the resistance has made the Israelis realize that any war on Lebanon will be very costly,” he warned. Hezbollah possesses a “full list of targets in occupied Palestine, including nuclear reactors and biological research centers.

“Some think that Hezbollah is preoccupied in Syria, but we have a team that is dedicated to the Israeli issue and everything the Israelis say,” he said.

“If anyone in the enemy’s entity is thinking of waging a limited military operation, I tell them that they are mistaken … We will not allow the Israelis to impose a new equation and any step by them will be an uncalculated adventure. We will respond to any attack in a manner that protects our country and the Israelis must expect anything from us,” Nasrallah warned.

However, he added, Israel “weighs its interest and seeks U.S. approval” for any military venture it might consider.

Nasrallah added that Hezbollah would not withdraw from Syria in the near future. “Our presence there is linked to a goal. We are contributing to preventing the fall of Syria into the hands of Da’esh (ISIS), al-Nusra (Al Qaeda) and the takfiri groups,” he said.

The Hezbollah chief also denied claims the group armed, trained or formed any terrorist cells in Bahrain. “All accusations against Hezbollah are baseless and if the Arab League’s decision was based on this issue then it is invalid,” he said. “I call on the Arab foreign and interior ministers to reevaluate these accusations.”

Hana Levi Julian

Arab League Declares Hezbollah a Terrorist Group

Sunday, March 13th, 2016

Lebanon-based Hezbollah is paying an increasingly high price for its loyalty to Iran; on Friday, the Arab League joined other world leaders in a formal vote declaring the Iranian proxy a terrorist entity.

 

“We decided to label Hezbollah a terrorist group in accordance with a project submitted by the United Arab Emirates regarding Iranian interference in the Arab region,” Arab League Deputy Secretary-General Ahmad Bin Hali said in a statement. Only Lebanon and Iraq abstained in the vote.

The tiny island kingdom of Bahrain, a member of the GCC and the Arab League, was the first Arab nation to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist entity in March 2013.

The vote followed a similar move by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) earlier this month, prompted by Bahrain. The six-member Council was led by Saudi Arabia in blacklisting Hezbollah on March 2. Among the offenses listed by the GCC were attempts to recruit new terrorists and smuggling weapons and explosives. In particular, Hezbollah’s support for the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen is of great concern to the Saudis and its Gulf partners.

The United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman had all joined Saudi Arabia in pulling their staff members from embassies in Beirut. They also issued warnings against travel to Lebanon.

Hezbollah is listed as a terrorist organization in the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Canada and Israel. However, the EU and UK make a distinction between the group’s military and “political” wings.

Shortly after the GCC’s decision to label the Lebanese organization a terrorist group, Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah slammed the Gulf Arab countries’ decision.

He accused the GCC of indifference or outright collaboration with the Israeli state, according to a report in the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency.

“The Lebanese resistance is the only one that regains Arab dignity and fights for the Palestinian people,” Nasrallah said.

“Arab regimes led by Saudi Arabia side with Israel against our struggle. They do so because the defense of Israel is the guarantee to their survival.”

Hana Levi Julian

US Lawmakers Call on EU to Put All of Hezbollah on Terrorist List

Friday, March 11th, 2016

In a letter to the European Union’s Ambassador to the United States, David O’Sullivan, U.S. Representatives took the EU to task for pretending there is a legitimate “political” wing of Hezbollah. The EU has labeled Hezbollah’s “military arm” as a terrorist organization, distinguishing it from the group’s political wing, which is not so designated.

Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL-06) and Grace Meng (D-NY-06) sent the letter to O’Sullivan following the recent decision by an organization of Gulf States (GCC) to designate the entire Hezbollah enterprise as a terrorist organization.

Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.)

Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.)

Queens. New York City Rep. Grace Meng.

Queens. New York City Rep. Grace Meng.

“While the 2013 EU designation of Hezbollah’s military wing was a step in the right direction, distinguishing between Hezbollah’s military and political arms is a distinction without a difference,” Roskam and Meng wrote. “Hezbollah can easily transfer money within its organization, rendering EU attempts to effectively sanction its terrorist activities meaningless. The entire organization is implicated in Hezbollah’s nefarious activities.”

The U.S. lawmakers made no bones about the extent of mayhem Hezbollah has unleashed on the world:

Since its founding, Hezbollah, funded in part by Iran, has been responsible for thousands of deaths in Lebanon, Turkey, Bulgaria, Argentina, Saudi Arabia, and many more. There is no indication that Hezbollah has slowed its terrorist activities. In recent years, Hezbollah has been implicated in plots in Cyprus, Thailand, Nigeria, Uruguay, the U.S. and more.

Roskam and Meng then turned to the dangers posed to Israel by Hezbollah.

Hezbollah is also in possession of approximately 150,000 rockets and missiles, some of which are capable of precision targeting nearly anywhere in Israel. In February, Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah declared his intention to target an ammonia plant in Haifa and boasted that such an action will ‘lead to the deaths of tens of thousands of inhabitants.’ This type of action goes against international law, all recognized norms of armed conflict, and basic morality. We are inching closer to another Hezbollah-initiated war against Israel that would be disastrous for all involved.

“The European Union is a vital partner to the United States in addressing global issues,” the two Members of Congress added. “Given our collective importance to the global financial system, a unified approach to countering terrorist financing would be a formidable obstacle for terrorist organizations like Hezbollah. We urge the European Union to immediately designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization and work to oppose their global terrorist ambitions.”

The letter was sent to O’Sullivan on March 9.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/us-lawmakers-call-on-eu-to-put-all-of-hezbollah-on-terrorist-list/2016/03/11/

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