The tangled web of Hezbollah's drug cartel

The weapons smuggled from Iran are small potatoes compared to the drugs that serve both as weapons and as a source of income.Op-ed.

IDF Maj. (res.) Sarit Zehavi ,

Drugs
Drugs
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The radical Shiite axis is working tirelessly to strengthen and increase its offensive power from Syria and Lebanon. The Iranians, through their Quds Force, are working closely with Shiite militias and Hezbollah to place advanced weapons of war on Syrian and Lebanese soil. Precision guided surface-to-surface missiles, cruise missiles and UAVs constitute a weapons arsenal that is an increasing challenge for the enemies of the Shiite axis.

In the arsenal of the Shiite axis, there is another weapon of attack, and this is the "weapon" of drugs. Drugs are a valid weapon for all intents and purposes, from which Hezbollah and the other proxies of the Axis benefit in three main respects: first, as a direct weapon against the population of enemy countries and against a local hostile population. The second, as an economic source of income, and the third aspect as a platform that supports terrorist activity in the target countries (smuggling of weapons based on drug smuggling routes and the drugs themselves are an economic incentive and a substitute for money).

Recently we have witnessed many publications (some more detailed than others) about the thriving drug manufacturing and smuggling industry in Syria. An industry that operates under the auspices of the Syrian regime, the radical Shiite axis in general and Hezbollah in particular. Sometimes the production processes take place in Lebanon and Syrian territory is only a geographical platform for smuggling and sometimes Syrian territory is both a production platform and a smuggling platform.

In any case, the raw materials come mostly from Lebanon’s Bekaa area near the Syrian border and sometimes the raw materials even come from Iran itself through Iraq.

Following the many publications on the subject, we decided to focus on researching the drug industry of Iran and Hezbollah in southern Syria. The territory of southern Syria, which borders Israel and Jordan, is an exclusive geographical platform for smuggling drugs by land to Jordan and from there to Saudi Arabia, to the Gulf, and even to Israel. Some of the drugs even continue on their way to the Far East, to Africa, to Europe and more.

The study focused on, among other things, the geographical interface between Lebanon and southern Syria. This is reflected in a land smuggling corridor that includes a number of specific smuggling routes, production sites in southern Syria, dozens of Lebanese and Syrian figures related to the southern Syrian drug industry, Syrian transportation companies and Underground Roads (tunnels).

In our ongoing monitoring of what is happening in the region, we are able to monitor at least one large drug smuggling event every month that is thwarted on the common border with Syria and Jordan. Now, imagine how successful and unsuccessful such smuggling is ...

This week we published our full report on the drug industry of Iran and Hezbollah in southern Syria. Feel free to read and share.

Iran and Hezbollah Drug Industry in Southern Syria

Nasrallah neglected to mention that religious rulings by Shi’ite clerics allow dealing with narcotics intended for other nations which are considered hostile. As far as Hezbollah is concerned, the drug industry is also a vital economic business that contributes to the organization’s budget, as well as a religious decree against various peoples, religions, and communities.

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Sarit Zehavi, a major in the IDF reserves, served for 15 years in the military specializing in intelligence and holds an MA in Middle East Studies from Ben-Gurion University. She is the founder and CEO of ALMA, an organization specializing in research and analysis of Israel’s security challenges on the northern border. (http://israel-alma.com/)



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