Funding of Hezbollah

Funding of Hezbollah

The funding of Hezbollah(meaning party of GOD) partly occurs through donations. Lebanese Shi’ites often make zakat contributions directly after prayers, leaving change in the two-handed Hezbollah collection tins. Also Hezbollah receives financial and political assistance, as well as weapons and training, from the Islamic Republic of Iran. The US estimates that Iran was giving Hezbollah about $60-$100 million per year in financial assistance but that assistance declined as other funding was secured, primarily from South America. Some estimates of Iran's aid are as high as $200-million annually.

Monetary funding

Mohammed Raad, at one time leader of Loyalty to the Resistance Bloc, said money from Iran came only through private charities to be used for health care, education and the support of war widows. Hezbollah's main sources of income, he said, are the party's investment portfolios and wealthy Shiites.

The U.S. Treasury Department has also accused Hezbollah of raising funds by counterfeiting U.S. currency. Researchers at the American Naval War College claimed that Hezbollah raises $10-million annually in Paraguay, which may, in some cases, be extorted. Dr. Matthew Levitt told a committee of the US Senate that Hezbollah engages in a "wide variety of criminal enterprises" worldwide in order to raise funds. Such as illegal sales of cigarettes in America, which amount up to $120 million annually.

Money is also received from supporters abroad. Mohammed Hammoud was convicted in the United States for "violating a ban on material support of groups designated as terrorist organizations". The amount was USD 3,500, which Hammoud claimed was to "support Hezbollah's efforts to distribute books at schools and improve public water systems.

Military funding

Hezbollah has also received Iranian-supplied weaponry, including 11,500 missiles already in place in southern Lebanon. 3,000 Hezbollah militants have undergone training in Iran, which included guerilla warfare, firing missiles and rocket artillery, operating unmanned drones, marine warfare, and conventional war operations.

Mahmoud Ali Suleiman, the Hezbollah operative captured in August 2006 by the IDF for his role in the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid on July 12, admitted during his interrogation that he received weapons-training and religious instruction in Iran. He told his interrogators that he rode in a civilian car to Damascus, from where he flew to Iran. Other than the Russian-made Katyusha, Hezbollah's reported artillery cache is entirely Iranian-made.

On August 4 2006, Jane's Defense Weekly, a defense industry magazine, reported that Hezbollah asked Iran for "a constant supply of weapons to support its operations against Israel" in the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict. The report cited Western diplomatic sources as saying that Iranian authorities promised Hezbollah a steady supply of weapons "for the next stage of the confrontation".

Iran long denied supplying Hezbollah with weapons, despite persistent reports to the contrary. However, "Mohtashami Pur, a one-time ambassador to Lebanon who currently holds the title of secretary-general of the 'Intifada conference,' told an Iranian newspaper that Iran transferred the missiles to the Shi'ite militia, adding that Hezbollah has his country's blessing to use the weapons in defense of Lebanon". The Israel Defence Forces regard Hezbollah as virtually an arm of the Iranian armed forces; a senior Israeli defence official told Jane's Defence Weekly that "we should consider that what we are facing in Lebanon is not a militia but rather a special forces brigade of the Iranian Army. In an interview in 2007, Hezbollah Deputy Secretary-General Naim Kassem told the Iranian Arabic-language TV station al-Qawthar that all terrorist attacks and suicide bombings in Lebanon must be approved by the ayatollahs in Tehran; in 2008 Iran issued a stamp commemorating a recently-killed Hezbollah leader.

Similar claims and denials regarding supply of weapons have been made with respect to Syria Many have accused Syria of funneling the weapons to Hezbollah from its border with Lebanon. Hassan Khalil, a top political adviser to Nasrallah, said that the group "firmly opposes the supervision of the Syrian-Lebanese border," adding that "Hezbollah has enough weapons to defend Lebanon against [an] Israeli aggression, even if borders with Syria are completely closed".

References

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