November 28, 2006

NY Times: Hizbullah Training Mahdi Army

By Abu Kais

After Hamas in the Palestinian territories, and Somalian militias (though some doubt the report), Hizbullah is now said to be training the Mahdi Army militia in Iraq.

A New York Times report today quoted an "intelligence official" as saying Hizbullah, with Iranian guidance, has trained between 1,000 to 2000 Shia fighters who traveled to Lebanon via Syria. These fighters reportedly came to Lebanon learn about "Weapons, bomb-making, intelligence, assassinations, the gambit of skill sets".

In April, Hassan Nasrallah admitted to giving Palestinian militants "financial, political and media support."

The intelligence official said the training was part of a "strategic decision taken sometime over late winter or early spring by Damascus, Tehran, along with their partners in Lebanese Hezbollah, to provide more support to Sadr to increase pressure on the U.S."

The problem with Hizbullah has always been its incompatibility with the Lebanese system. The above report may need stronger evidence, but the fact that this party is working hard against the disengagement of Lebanon from regional struggles is evidence enough. Also, Hizbullah would not be able to refuse an order by their supreme leader in Iran to get involved in Iraq, Somalia or any other part of the world. They can't because they would be violating a religious duty.

I have quoted the following statement a couple of times on my blog. I think it sums up Hizbullah's attitude and mission pretty well.

“Today, the resistance became greater than the Lebanese scene, its influence on the moral and mobilization levels reaching beyond the country,” said Hizbullah MP Mohammad Raad during a Hizbullah "celebration" in Nabatiyeh on Monday.

Ironically, Raad, in the same speech, said his organization was "defending" Lebanon's "sovereign decision".

Posted by Abu Kais at November 28, 2006 07:09 AM
Comments

This is what happens when you have no rule of law and not enough troops to guard the borders. Outside influences are now running rampant through Iraq.

Posted by: PoliticalCritic at November 28, 2006 07:47 AM

What kills me is that HA is training Shiite Iraqis to take part in a Shiite-Sunni civil war in Iraq. How could that make the Lebanese less threatened by HA, mind you the Sunnis of Lebanon?

Posted by: Doha at November 28, 2006 08:05 AM

The intelligence official said the training was part of a "strategic decision taken sometime over late winter or early spring by Damascus, Tehran, along with their partners in Lebanese Hezbollah, to provide more support to Sadr to increase pressure on the U.S."

Hizbullah has been cooperating with Sadr's crew long before last winter- the IEDs that account for most of the US's casualties in Iraq are a hizbullah tactic.

Posted by: rosignol at November 28, 2006 08:15 AM

I have to wonder why Iran would want to train Sadr's army in Lebanon, rather than in Iran proper (much closer) and why not do it themselves (the revolutionary guard) since they're the ones who train HA in the first place.

Not that I doubt the reports, mind you. But that question kinda popped in my mind.

Posted by: bad vilbel at November 28, 2006 09:51 AM

Probably so the Iranians can deny it if they get caught.

On a semi-related tangent, does anyone understand what Assad gets out of being Iran's decoy?

Iran's playing for 'Regional Power' status, Leadership of the Ummah, admission to the Nuclear Club, and de facto control over what passes through the strait of Hormuz.

If they can get all that just by promising a small-minded thug in Damascus that he can have Lebanon as a client state... well, he's what Americans call a 'cheap date'.

Or is there more to it?

Posted by: rosignol at November 28, 2006 12:01 PM

Why is this news now? This has been going on for years.

I mean, seriously: did the NY Times just discover this? If so, they need some new reporters. My guess is that they're making a feeble attempt to influence public opinion against Iran. Maybe they're trying to make up for past sins.

Syria wants Lebanon. Iran will help them get it. Delivering Lebanon to the Hizb makes Lebanon effectively a Shia state, which gives Iran and Syria a base from which to attack Israel. The Hizb, by posing as an indigenous Lebanese movement, gives Iran "plausible deniability" (for willful idiots, anyway) about their role in subverting Lebanon. Syria by itself is weak; its alliance with Iran gives it a powerful patron and protects Assad's minority Alawite government from potential rebellion. The Hizb is training the Mahdi army on the behalf of their Iranian masters so that Iran can use Sadr to control a substantial part of Iraq when the US leaves. Makes perfect sense to me.

It's a win-win for everyone. Except for Lebanon, Iraq, and Israel, of course.

Posted by: Ephraim at November 28, 2006 12:28 PM

Ephraim,
Are you saying that the information reported by the NYTimes is 100% correct and independently viable. If so look at the new consequences.

This means that Hezbollah is training people to kill Americans in iraq and that there is no question about it.

Hence, Hezbollah is now a viable American target. We can request that the UN/French support us in either attacking hezbollah or that they stand aside as our agents do so. We can then make an offical request of Israel to attack Hezbollah in Lebanon. Futhermore, the government of Lebanon is now composed of a group fighting america.
Is the country of lebanon intrested in war with America if not, please arrest and hand over hezbollah.

As you can see tonns of FUN!

Posted by: crazyman in NYC at November 28, 2006 02:14 PM

~~~Posted by bad vilbel at November 28, 2006 09:51 AM~~~

That's what I ask as well. Not so much because of the geographical distance etc. but mostly because the hizb terrorist that got caught during the summer war was interviewed on israeli tv and among other things said that he was taken to Iran for training.

Posted by: tsedek at November 28, 2006 05:00 PM

please arrest and hand over hezbollah.

Wouldn't it be just lovely if this were possible?

Lebanon "handing over" Hezbollah is about as plausible as Iraq "handing over" the Mahdi Army.

You really don't seem to grasp what we're dealing with here.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at November 29, 2006 01:22 AM

I'm not saying that the info is inaccuarate.

I'm saying it's old and that anyone who has been following Hizb with any seriousness has known about it for some time.

The Hizb blew up the US Embassy and the Marine barracks in Beirut way back in '83. They've been killing Americans for years.

Posted by: Ephraim at November 29, 2006 11:47 AM

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– Financial incentives review (Deloitte Touche)
– Discussion, with fruit punch, shortbread, Syrian coffee, Iranian tea, jocular exchanges
– Condi and George’s wrap-up, with brief preview of evening events, adjournment.

Posted by: DemocracyRules at November 29, 2006 12:38 PM

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