Hizballah Is Weak. Now Is the Time to Crack Down on Its Criminal Empire

June 22 2021

In southern Lebanon, the Iran-backed terrorist group Hizballah has at least 150,000 missiles—on the whole more powerful and sophisticated than those used by Hamas—pointed at Israel, along with well-trained troops prepared to make cross-border raids and defend against any counterattack by the IDF. And that’s not to mention its troops and military installations in Syria, or the network of global criminal enterprises that funds its war-making abilities. The Shiite organization is also vulnerable, however, and Danny Citrinowicz argues that the U.S. and its allies can take advantage of that:

Over the course of the past few years, Hizballah saw its popularity in Lebanon increasingly wane, [especially] following the Beirut blast in August 2020—even among segments of the local Shiite population. Hizballah’s draconian grip on the country’s failing political system has pitted the Lebanese against it. They have rightfully blamed the group for the abysmal state of affairs in the country, including an unprecedented economic crisis.

Hizballah itself is feeling the economic pinch because of effective international sanctions against Iran—the group’s primary financial backer—as well as the fact that the nearly decade-long Syria war drained Iran’s coffers. As a result of financial problems and its diminished credibility, the group is finding it very difficult to maintain its grip on power.

Several countries around the world have already designated Hizballah as a terrorist organization due to its track record of committing acts of terror worldwide. . . . Most measures countries have taken against Hizballah, [however], have been directed at the group’s operations in Lebanon. Internationally, while there are attempts to thwart terrorist attacks, there is very little action taken to combat the group’s illicit and criminal activities.

Therefore, it is important to step up international efforts to combat [these] illicit activities around the world. This is the opportune time to go after the group.

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Read more at European Eye on Radicalization

More about: Hizballah, Iran sanctions, U.S. Foreign policy

 

How European Fecklessness Encourages the Islamic Republic’s Assassination Campaign

In September, Cypriot police narrowly foiled a plot by an Iranian agent to murder five Jewish businessman. This was but one of roughly a dozen similar operations that Tehran has conducted in Europe since 2015—on both Israeli or Jewish and American targets—which have left three dead. Matthew Karnitschnig traces the use of assassination as a strategic tool to the very beginning of the Islamic Republic, and explains its appeal:

In the West, assassination remains a last resort (think Osama bin Laden); in authoritarian states, it’s the first (who can forget the 2017 assassination by nerve agent of Kim Jong-nam, the playboy half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, upon his arrival in Kuala Lumpur?). For rogue states, even if the murder plots are thwarted, the regimes still win by instilling fear in their enemies’ hearts and minds. That helps explain the recent frequency. Over the course of a few months last year, Iran undertook a flurry of attacks from Latin America to Africa.

Whether such operations succeed or not, the countries behind them can be sure of one thing: they won’t be made to pay for trying. Over the years, the Russian and Iranian regimes have eliminated countless dissidents, traitors, and assorted other enemies (real and perceived) on the streets of Paris, Berlin, and even Washington, often in broad daylight. Others have been quietly abducted and sent home, where they faced sham trials and were then hanged for treason.

While there’s no shortage of criticism in the West in the wake of these crimes, there are rarely real consequences. That’s especially true in Europe, where leaders have looked the other way in the face of a variety of abuses in the hopes of reviving a deal to rein in Tehran’s nuclear-weapons program and renewing business ties.

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Read more at Politico

More about: Europe, Iran, Israeli Security, Terrorism