Iran’s proxy in Lebanon Hezbollah works hard to promote itself as the Lebanese resistance against Israeli encroachment and as a political organization representing all Lebanese citizens. In reality, it is anything but. It began life as an Iranian arm on the Mediterranean operating under the pretence of standing against Israel to justify its terrorist activities against Arab and Western interests.
Hezbollah’s concern for Palestinian interests is nothing but a front to attract recruits. The conflict it unwittingly unleashed with Israel in 2006 with its kidnapping and killing of Israeli soldiers caught its Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah by surprise. He was later to admit the if he had known the abductions would result in a full-scale conflict, he would not have given the orders.
Hezbollah’s terror operations, hostage-taking and assassinations going back as far as the 1980s are well known, but the fact that a US District Judge has ruled that Hezbollah colluded with the perpetrators of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the twin towers and the Pentagon is not deemed worthy of front page news in the United States or Europe.
The story has been picked-up by Asharq Al-Awsat and the Jerusalem Post but has almost been ignored by the Western media whose governments are actively pursuing lucrative deals with Tehran now that its coffers overflow with more than $100 billion following the lifting of sanctions.
Given the emotional trauma experienced by the American people on that fateful day which still haunts many, especially the victims’ loved ones, the relative silence of the Western media on the case is peculiar – and that is an understatement. Even stranger is that the US has erased both Iran and Hezbollah from its terror threat list in spite of overwhelmingly evidence to the contrary. If the American people were polled as to their knowledge of this, I predict there would be very few who have any inkling at all.
Moreover, President Barack Obama has displayed his displeasure at measures taken by Saudi Arabia and other GCC states to brand Hezbollah terrorist, to halt aid to the Hezbollah infiltrated Lebanese Army and to issue travel advisories warning citizens not to visit Lebanon.
On 15 December 2011, Judge George Daniels ruled that Iran and Hezbollah materially and directly colluded with al-Qaeda to attack America on its own soil and, thus, they are responsible to pay compensation to the families of victims.
He did not pick his findings out of thin air. His judgment against Iran’s supreme leader, its former president Ali Rafsanjani, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and Hezbollah was supported by 53 pages of evidence as well as testimony given by three Iranian defectors, three members of the 9/11 Commission, CIA operatives and investigative journalists.
Summary of findings
* Iran assisted the al-Qaeda terrorists by permitting them to travel freely from Afghanistan to other countries via Iran where their passports weren’t stamped to permit ease of entry into the United States.
* Terrorists fleeing the US-led invasion were given sanctuary in Iran along with their families.
* A witness testified that Iran procured a Boeing 757-767-777 flight simulator using front companies to facilitate the training of the hijackers’ pilots.
* An Iranian government memorandum proves that Iran’s Supreme Leader knew in advance of the impending attacks.
* The official 9/11 Commission states that “a senior Hezbollah operative” identified as Imad Mughniyah, coordinated al-Qaeda’s activities and either he or one of his henchmen were on the same Beirut to Tehran flights taken by the hijackers.
* Hezbollah aided the hijackers in planning and advised them on the mechanics of the attacks.
Hezbollah likes to take a back seat in a futile attempt to prove to the Lebanese people and the world its eschewed terrorism, which is why it partners with other groups behind the curtain.
President Obama may not wish to acknowledge how dangerous Hezbollah is to Lebanon, the region and the world, but with the clock ticking on his tenure, I can only hope that the eyes of America’s next president are open wide.Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor
However, that curtain has opened to expose Hezbollah’s collaboration with its Saudi affiliate to strike the Khobar Towers residential complex and with al-Qaeda to bomb US embassies in Africa as well as the USS Cole. In 1992, Hezbollah instructed Islamic Jihad to bomb the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires in retaliation for the killing of its former Secretary General Abbas al-Moussawi.
More recently, an Egyptian court has indicted Hezbollah operatives for illegally entering Egypt for the purpose of colluding with other groups to release their terrorist buddies from prisons during the 2011 revolution.
Last week, the US court ordered Iran to pay $11 billion to the victims’ families who were plaintiffs in the case as well as $3 billion to various insurance companies. The families concerned are delighted but without the support of the Obama administration, which has refrained from pointing any finger at either Iran or Hezbollah for 9/11, their chances of receiving damages for their pain and suffering are close to nil.
As reported by Asharq Al-Awsat, intelligence from Argentina, Mexico and Canada has revealed that Hezbollah is expanding its nefarious activities with support from Iran are being expanded in Venezuela, Mexico, Nicaragua, Chile, Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador and the area between Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil.
An individual, linked to Hezbollah who was arrested by Mexican authorities after being caught with fake papers and drugs at the border with the US, has exposed the presence of Hezbollah units around the world under orders to pinpoint potential targets.
An intelligence report compiled by Sid Blumenthal, a close friend of Hillary Clinton, is particularly revealing. Upon information drawn from Israeli intelligence sources, it accuses Hezbollah of setting up a base in Cuba to master mind terrorist attacks throughout Latin America.
In the meantime, even as the US government is soft on Iran and Hezbollah, on Thursday, Saudi Arabia announced it will freeze the bank accounts and seize properties of anyone suspected of belong to Hezbollah or of being a sympathizer. Other GCC countries are deporting Lebanese expatriates with known links to the organization.
Whatever cloak of innocence Hezbollah wraps around itself it can never be big enough to hide its criminal acts. President Obama may not wish to acknowledge how dangerous Hezbollah is to Lebanon, the region and the world, but with the clock ticking on his tenure, I can only hope that the eyes of America’s next president are open wide.
Khalaf Ahmad al-Habtoor is a prominent UAE businessman and public figure. He is Chairman of the Al Habtoor Group - one of the most successful conglomerates in the Gulf. Al Habtoor is renowned for his knowledge and views on international political affairs; his philanthropic activity; his efforts to promote peace; and he has long acted as an unofficial ambassador for his country abroad. Writing extensively on both local and international politics, he publishes regular articles in the media and has released a number of books. Al-Habtoor began his career as an employee of a local UAE construction firm and in 1970 established his own company, Al Habtoor Engineering. The UAE Federation, which united the seven emirates under the one flag for the first time, was founded in 1971 and this inspired him to undertake a series of innovative construction projects – all of which proved highly successful.