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Report: Iran and Hizbullah Learning from Past Mistakes

Iran and Hizbullah have been escalating their activities, fueling concerns of a growing threat that may reach beyond the Middle East
By Annie Lubin
First Publish: 1/30/2013, 11:07 AM

Lebanon's Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah
Lebanon's Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah
Reuters

A new report warns that after a number of failed terror attacks, Iran and Hizbullah are learning from their past mistakes. 

According to a report by counterterrorism expert Matthew Levitt of the Washington Institute for Near East Studies, Iran's elite Quds Forces and the Hizbullah terror network are becoming increasingly aggressive and have been escalating their activities, fueling concerns abroad that the two pose a growing threat not only in the Middle East but to the U.S. and other Western targets as well. 

Levitt cites two key attacks carried out last year - a foiled plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the U.S. and a bomb placed on a tour bus which killed five Israelis and wounded 30 others in Bulgaria this past summer - as indication that the terror groups are determined to strike Western targets and move beyond the borders of the Middle East. 

More than 20 terror attacks carried out by Hizbullah or Quds Force operatives, who share a deep alliance involving arms, funding and training, were foiled between May 2011 and July 2012, Levitt cited. 

"What is particularly striking is how amateurish the actions of both organizations have been: Targets were poorly chosen and assaults carried out with gross incompetence," Levitt wrote in the report. "But as the groups brush off the cobwebs and professionalize their operations, this sloppy tradecraft could quickly be replaced by operational success."

Last year, U.S. terrorism officials informed Congress that the two terror networks have become "a significant source of concern" for the U.S., particularly amid international disputes over Tehran's nuclear weapons program.