The Hezbollah terror organization is contending with the worst financial crisis in its history, and has engaged in a broad fundraising campaign, dubbed “financial Jihad.”
The Lebanon-based organization has cut back it communal services to the Shiites, has called back fighters from Syria to cut back on salaries and has fired employees, and has scaled back its communications and educational operations.
Many of Hezbollah’s terrorists are receiving only 50-60 percent of their paychecks.
The organization has begun to rent out its offices, which have become coffee houses, clubs and arcades.
The terror organization has no alternative financial plan and is hoping that President Donald Trump will be voted out of office in 2020 and that the next president will ease the sanctions on Iran, which will, in turn, bring financial reprieve for its proxy Hezbollah.
Trump set in motion a set of tough sanctions on Iran which has hindered its economy, as well as its ability to fund terror organizations around the globe, including Hezbollah in Lebanon.
The Shiite community in Lebanon has criticized Hezbollah for its priorities, which set its military buildup ahead of other programs. With no conflict with the IDF on Lebanese soil, Hezbollah should invest its funds in other realms, the critics say.
Hezbollah is also hoping that contracts signed between Iran and Iraq will generate a source of funding for them. Iran has signed an MOU with Iraq on oil, trade, health construction and other investments.
Seeking to generate other sources of revenue, Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah has appealed to the Shiite community around the world in a recorded request and has called on them to join the “financial Jihad.” In the appeal, Nasrallah thanked the donors for their support of the “Islamic struggle” and attributed a religious significance to the contributions.
However, Arab sources report that Shiites are reluctant to support Hezbollah, which is a designated terror organization in many countries.
Furthermore, the funds raised are far from what Hezbollah requires to run all its operations.
Iran has been transferring $1 billion annually to Hezbollah. Due to budget difficulties, this figure was reduced to $800 million in the past year.
The Israeli security establishment estimates that 90 percent of Hezbollah’s funds are provided by Tehran, and this source of revenue is dwindling.
Similarly, the Houthi rebels in Yemen, which are also backed by Iran, are also asking for a large budget, possibly at Hezbollah’s expense.
Lebanon’s banks have rejected requests by Hezbollah for loans out of fear of US sanctions.
Arab analysts estimate that the Hamas terror organization in the Gaza Strip will face a similar financial crisis in the near future.