The American government was very quick to blame Iran for the dispute that occurred between Israel and Hezbollah. It has been argued by many anti-Americans that the United States government was just angered by the independence with which Iran runs its operations and that the United States is always waiting for a conflict in which Iran is involved to blame them since the U.S is scared of Iran.
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On the other hand, some supporters of the U.S and government officials claimed to have evidence of the involvement of Iran in Hezbollah operations. This paper looks into the operations of the Hezbollah and investigates the involvement of Iran in the operations of Hezbollah while at the same time evaluating the threat that Hezbollah poses to Israel and the west, specifically South and Central America.
Although the U.S intelligence does not have tangible evidence about the involvement of the Iranian government in Hezbollah operations, it has viewed Iran as the main financier of the operations of Hezbollah. U.S intelligence also believes that the Iranian government has been providing weapons to the Hezbollah.
Reliable information has also been gathered that shows that the subset of the forces of Iran that are involved in conducting abroad trainings was spotted in Lebanon with the Hezbollah during a training exercise. It is also suspected that Lebanon’s neighboring country, Syria, is also involved in Hezbollah activities.
Before Israeli soldiers were kidnapped by the Hezbollah and the conflict between the Hezbollah and Israel began, a meeting was conducted in Damascus by the Hezbollah leader, Hassan Nasrallah. It is highly suspected that among the parties present at the meeting was Syrian and Iranian intelligence. With this information, it is clear that the Iranian government is actively involved in the activities of the Hezbollah. Reliable information shows that the Hezbollah is used by Iran and Syria as much as it uses them (Levitt, 2005, p. 23).
On the subject of the military support that Iran gives to Hezbollah, it is believed that the level of this support has reduced recently. This is because the Hezbollah have reduced the number of their full-time officers. Most sources also show that the officers that are currently reserved for the Hezbollah are not well trained and thus the current support given to Hezbollah by Iran in terms of military is limited.
Thus it is no longer a usual phenomenon to spot IRGC senor training officials in Lebanon-based training camps for the Hezbollah. Official uniformed Iranian forces have thus been out of these training camps for a long time now.
However, Syrian and Iranian intelligence is always in touch with the Hezbollah and thus they hold a number of meetings with the Hezbollah. It is also highly suspected that some forces in certain cadres of the Hezbollah have been periodically sent for better training in Iran. It is also possible that those cadres of officers have been getting more training from Syria (Levitt, 2007, p. 18).
There have been reports that the Hezbollah receive annual aid from Iran in the tunes of hundred million United States dollars. However, these estimates are overrated since a consideration of the same using U.S prices shows much lower amounts of aid.
Despite the fact that the aid suspected to be given to Hezbollah by Iran, the United States Intelligence is almost certain that the Hezbollah receives $ 25-50 million from the Iranian government. This estimate is arrived at using real world terms. It is also highly suspected that the Iranian government gave the Hezbollah a number of rockets in a bid to empower them for an attack directed at Israel.
This is because Israel has many barriers at the Iran-Israel border and attacking Israel would not be that easy without the use of rockets. Some of these rockets include short range rockets of the type Katyusha. It is suspected that the Katyusha that were transferred to Hezbollah are about 10000 (Miryekta, 2010, p. 13). It has also been reported that these types of rockets were fired in the aforementioned dispute between Israel and the Hezbollah.
Among the most significant support that Iran is suspected to have given the Hezbollah is the long-range rockets that have almost certainly been given to the Hezbollah. These types of rockets can be fired over long distances and thus they can be used to attack cities like Haifa. This means that more people will be killed and property of more value will be destroyed.
The Hezbollah used them too in its fight with Israel. One such rocket was reported by the LA Times during the time of the fight. It was reported to have hit the proximities of Haifa and struck several miles into Israel. Israel intelligence’s analysis of the attack made them believe that Hezbollah had rockets that could cover 40 to 70 Kilometers (Pipes, 2002, p. 11).
In a nutshell, Iran has given the Hazbollah a lot of support to help it in its conflict with Israel. This support is in terms of financial support, rockets, rocket launcher systems, heavy trucks and expert military training.
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I addition to these, it is unknown if Iran played a part in the development of advanced motion detectors, charge plates and triggers. It has also developed other systems that help Hezbollah in their fights. For instance, the Hezbollah were provided with UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) used for remote surveillance. They were also given technical aid to teach them how to use the UAV. The UAVs were particularly of using in obtaining surveillance information from northern Israel.
They started using the UAVs in the year 2004. It is also suspected that Iran has supplied Hezbollah with missiles. There is reliable information to believe that Iran has supplied Hezbollah with the radar-guided C-801 missile. It is also suspected that the same was used in an attack against Israel (Cordesman, 2006, p. 5).
The links of Iran and Syria to Hezbollah have given Iran substantial influence in Lebanon. With the help of Iran, Hezbollah has not only acquired political and military capabilities but it has also become a stronghold of Iran. The capabilities of Hezbollah as a terrorist group and the opportunities it has for Iran are a great threat to Israelites. With Hezbollah, Iran is able to attack Israel in a variety of ways without an evidenced involvement in attacks. Iran has also influenced Lebanon in a variety of ways.
This influence has touched the culture and politics of Lebanon and thus Lebanon is likely to be initiated in nuclear activity in the future. This will strengthen Iran’s nuclear capabilities further making it a time bomb for its enemies. Among these enemies are Israel and the west. Israel will of course be under greater threat mainly due to the geographical position and the animosity that has persisted between the Iranian government and the Israeli government (Cordesman, 2006, p. 7).
The view of the Israeli government in this issue is that the Iranian Islamic regime poses a great threat to the existence of Israel. The regime operates under the principle that the fact that its advocacy for the destruction of Israel ought to be no secret. The regime has also made relentless efforts to achieve unconventional nuclear capabilities to the disapproval of the international community.
This nuclear activity of the Iranian government is the reason why the country has gained negative popularity in the international front, making enemies with the world’s most powerful countries. Their status as a security threat is magnified by the fact that some members of the Muslim community acknowledge the fact that Iran is a security threat (Miryekta, 2010, p. 18).
The negative aspects of the association between Iran and Hezbollah have been highlighted in the discussion above. The discussion was also centered on the benefits that Hezbollah gets from Iran. Let us now have a look at how this association of Iran and Hezbollah has benefited Iran and how the benefits should get the international community worried.
Iran is bound to benefit from its association with Hezbollah. For instance, during the Hezbollah strikes, attention was shifted from Iran’s nuclear activity and thus Iran got some time to engage in more nuclear activity. This is, of course, beneficial to the Iranian Muslim regime since the regime puts a lot of value to military capability. On the other hand, the association gave Iran a bad name in the international community and thus it is receiving a lot of opposition from key stakeholders in safeguarding the international security.
The United States is specifically on the forefront in the fight against the nuclear activity of Iran. This has led to a great animosity between the United States and the Islamic regime of Iran. The matter is aggravated by the fact that the United States has a history of conflicts with the Muslim community.
Another benefit that Iran gets from its association with Hezbollah is the fact that by helping Hezbollah fight with Israel, it gains the approval of the Muslim community and the Arab community since it helps the Muslim fight their enemies even though it is not Muslim.
By getting the approval of the Muslim and Arab community, it also wins the latter in the anger against Israeli allies, specifically the United States (Carter, 2009, p. 15). This makes Iran win support in its nuclear activity and thus its supporters perceive it as a supporter of war for freedom.
Hezbollah has laid down sufficient and worrying operational and logistic infrastructure in the international front. This kind of infrastructure empowers the group to undertake spontaneous attacks without the need to carry out lengthy preparations. The group is thus able to accept a given terrorist activity and perform it effectively without giving intelligence much time to identify the plan or even carry out preventive or mitigation actions if it is already aware of the activity.
Hezbollah has remained a potential security threat for the United States since its inception. Its founder and leader, Hammoud was given a mission to infiltrate the United States of America and take advantage of the resources in the Unites States to create a network for future attacks. This preplanning for action is meant to ensure that they safeguard the interests of Iran and Hezbollah (Steinitz, 2003, p. 8).
One of the reasons why the U.S should be deeply concerned about the threats that Hezbollah poses to its security is the fact that the Hezbollah are present in America. The group has utilized the loopholes in the law of the South American countries. There are currently a lot of Hezbollah forces in South and Central America who gain entry to America through South America.
There is a serious lack of enforcement of law in the South American Tri-Border area. This makes it a haven for terrorists and criminals from all parts of the globe. Hezbollah is thus among the criminal groups that have taken advantage of the freedom of movement in Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina (Carter, 2009, p. 21). They have thus established a very extensive network in South and Central America which will be very useful in case they decide to strike the United States.
With this realization, the United States government should be very vigilant to destroy the entire infrastructure laid down by the Hezbollah in South and Central America. The United States should work with the South American governments as much as it can in order to put in place control measures that will help prevent further entry of members of Hezbollah in America (Steinitz, 2003, p. 17).
As it has been evidenced in the discussion above, the accusation about Iran are based on information that cannot be evidenced. However, the numeracy of these accusations is enough proof that most, if not all of, the accusations are true. The knowledge that Iran is actively involved in Hezbollah operations is a potential justification for resistance and opposition from the European community.
The country also risks future attacks from the affected parties if it does not change its policies for involvement in Hezbollah strikes. These strikes may come from either the United States of Israel which have been a victim of Islamic activity and have also suffered from Iran’s involvement in Hezbollah activities. The U.S was affected in that it was an ally of Israel during the conflict and also because the conflict gave Iran time to build nuclear weapons.
Carter, S. (2009). Exclusive: Hezbollah uses Mexican drug routes into U.S., Washington Times.
Cordesman, S. (2006). Iran’s Support of the Hezbollah in Lebanon. Center for Strategic and International Studies, pp. 2- 10
Levitt. M. (2005). Financing Terror Through Criminal Enterprise (Herzilya: ICT, testimony.
Levitt. M. (2007). Shutting Hizballah’s ‘Construction Jihad, Policy Watch/Peace Watch (Washington, DC: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy).
Miryekta, C. (2010). Hezbollah in the Tri-Border Area of South America. Small Wars Journal, pp. 3-19
Pipes , D. (2002). Terror Alliance Has U.S. Worried, Washington Post.
Steinitz , M. (2003). Middle East Terrorist Activity in Latin America. (Washington, DC: CSIS)