Hizballah’s American Sleeper Agents

Five years ago, the FBI arrested two Hizballah members operating on U.S. soil. The Iran-backed Lebanese group had tasked them not with causing Islamic State-style mayhem, but with carefully surveilling targets, collecting data, and planning attacks so that, when the time was ripe, Tehran could strike in the heart of America. Among the targets they studied were Israelis living in the U.S., locations linked to Israel, and the JFK airport. They also investigated attacks abroad, including against U.S. targets in the Panama Canal. Speaking with Emil Bove, Mitchell Silber, Rebecca Weiner, and Nathan Sales—all current or former counterterrorism professionals—Matthew Levitt tells the story of these operatives, and explains how they fit into Hizballah’s mission. (Audio, 32 minutes. A transcript and other information can be found at the link below.)

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Hizballah, Iran, Lebanon, Terrorism, U.S. Security


Israel Is Courting Saudi Arabia by Confronting Iran

Most likely, it was the Israeli Air Force that attacked eastern Syria Monday night, apparently destroying a convoy carrying Iranian weapons. Yoav Limor comments:

Israel reportedly carried out 32 attacks in Syria in 2022, and since early 2023 it has already struck 25 times in the country—at the very least. . . . The Iranian-Israeli clash stands out in the wake of the dramatic events in the region, chiefly among them is the effort to strike a normalization deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia, and later on with various other Muslim-Sunni states. Iran is trying to torpedo this process and has even publicly warned Saudi Arabia not to “gamble on a losing horse” because Israel’s demise is near. Riyadh is unlikely to heed that demand, for its own reasons.

Despite the thaw in relations between the kingdom and the Islamic Republic—including the exchange of ambassadors—the Saudis remain very suspicious of the Iranians. A strategic manifestation of that is that Riyadh is trying to forge a defense pact with the U.S.; a tactical manifestation took place this week when Saudi soccer players refused to play a match in Iran because of a bust of the former Revolutionary Guard commander Qassem Suleimani, [a master terrorist whose militias have wreaked havoc throughout the Middle East, including within Saudi borders].

Of course, Israel is trying to bring Saudi Arabia into its orbit and to create a strong common front against Iran. The attack in Syria is ostensibly unrelated to the normalization process and is meant to prevent the terrorists on Israel’s northern border from laying their hands on sophisticated arms, but it nevertheless serves as a clear reminder for Riyadh that it must not scale back its fight against the constant danger posed by Iran.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Saudi Arabia, Syria