Iran-Lebanese Hezbollah Relationship Tracker 2012
The Critical Threats Project’s Iran Tracker will be providing updates on Hezbollah’s relationship with Iran. Iran Tracker will document Hezbollah’s interactions with Iranian officials, information regarding the organization’s funding transfers of arms and materiel, militant operations, meetings and relations with groups and countries, and Hezbollah’s official statements.
The most recent tracker data points appear below. To see a full list of 2012 data points for each category click the header titles.
UPDATES: June 13, 2012 - July 31, 2012
July 3: Secretary General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command (PFLP-GC) Ahmed Jibril asserted on Syrian television that the PFLP-GC, Hezbollah, and Iran will fight with al-Assad against any foreign aggression into Syrian territory. Jibril also stated that he has personally discussed the issue with Hezbollah Secretary Genereal Hassan Nasrallah, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and that all parties are in agreement that “what is happening in Syria will be a decisive battle.”
June 23: Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah met with an Iranian delegation headed by Representative to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei for Hajj Affairs Ali Qazi Askar. Iran’s Ambassador to Lebanon Ghazanfar Roknabadi was also present. The parties discussed the “general situation.”
June 20: The head of Iran’s Islamic Culture and Relations Organization Mohammed Baqer Khorramshad led an Iranian delegation to the tomb of former Hezbollah Commander Imad Mughniyeh. “His blood and the blood of martyrs have given pride and victory to Islam,” said Khorramshad.
June 1: Former Revolutionary Guards commander and current adviser to the Supreme Leader Yahya Rahim Safavi stated that, “Should the Israelis desire to hit us, Hezbollah would most likely operate against them. I consider Mr. Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah a soldier of the Supreme Leader of the Revolution.”
June 27: The U.S. Treasury Department designated several Hezbollah-linked individuals under the Kingpin Act for their role in money laundering in connection with the Ayman Joumaa network. “The Joumaa network is a sophisticated multinational money laundering ring, which launders the proceeds of drug trafficking for the benefit of criminals and the terrorist group Hezbollah,” said Undersecretary of Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence David Cohen.
July 31: Lebanese Kataeb Bloc MP Nadim Gemayel accused Hezbollah of providing military training to members of the Lebanese Free Patriotic Movement. “There are FPM groups receiving military and field training by Hezbollah trainers in case any [security incidents] occur in Christian areas,” said Gemayel.
July 19: Anonymous American officials disclosed to the New York Times that a member of a Hezbollah cell operating in Bulgaria was responsible for the bomb attack on a group of Israeli tourists in Burgas.
July 15: The Israeli Government announced that an Iranian-Hezbollah plot to target Israeli tourists in Cyprus was foiled after the arrest of a Swedish national of Lebanese decent in the port town of Limassol. "This terror is conducted under Iran's auspices. It is part of the Iranian plan," said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
July 14: Hezbollah denied that a crashed drone in northeastern Lebanon belonged to the group. Following the crash, Hezbollah officials reportedly cordoned off the area and moved the wreckage to an unknown location.
July 13: Canadian Muslim rights activist Mouna Diab was arrested by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in connection with a plot to smuggle weapons to Hezbollah.
July 31: The Special Tribunal for Lebanon is expected to announce five new indictments in the investigation into the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. It is anticipated that the additional indictments will target Hezbollah.
July 30: The Special Tribunal for Lebanon rejected a motion from the four defendants arguing that the court has no jurisdiction over Lebanese citizens.
July 30: The head of Tunisia’s Ennahda movement Rashid al-Ghannushi issued an apology to the Syrian people for inviting members of Hezbollah to the ninth conference of the Ennahda movement.
July 27: Lebanese Shias who have been held in Syria for more than two months denied that they are members of Hezbollah. “Not all Shiites in Lebanon are members of Hezbollah, you know,” said Awad Ibrahim, one of the hostages.
July 26: Lebanese Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) member Alain Aoun denied comments made by Progressive Socialist Party Leader Walid Jumblatt asserting that Aoun traveled to Syria, and added that the FPM does not take orders from Hezbollah. “Since I have never had the chance to visit Damascus, I promise Jumblatt to visit Syria for the first time with him, given his accurate knowledge of its streets, castles, intelligence offices and officials,” said Aoun.
July 25: Lebanese Progressive Socialist Party Leader Walid Jumblatt claimed that Free Patriotic Movement member Alain Aoun traveled to Syria where he was instructed by Syrian security officials to mend rifts between the FPM and Hezbollah.
July 25: Lebanese March 14 Alliance argued that Hezbollah’s weapons offer a pretext for Israeli aggression against Lebanon.
July 25: Lebanese daily An-Nahar reported that Hezbollah has detained two party members on suspicion of spying. Hezbollah would not comment on the story.
July 24: The European Union rejected Israel’s call to place Hezbollah on the organization’s terrorist list. “[There is] no consensus among the EU member states for putting Hezbollah on the terrorist list of the organization,” said Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman.
July 23: Lebanese Progressive Socialist Party Leader Walid Jumblatt criticized Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah’s remarks concerning the assassination of senior Syrian official Asef Shawkat in Damascus. “It would have been better had he [Nasrallah] not turned one of the symbols of killing, oppression and maltreatment of the Syrian people [into] a comrade in arms,” said Jumblatt.
July 22: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed concern that Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons may come under the control of Hezbollah. "We certainly don't want to be exposed to chemical weapons falling into the hands of Hezbollah or some other terror groups. ... It's a great threat," said Netanyahu.
July 20: Lebanese March 14 MP Boutros Harb accused Hezbollah of protecting his would-be assassin who planted an explosive charge in an elevator used by Harb. “We are asking Hezbollah to lift its cover from this person who is a high-ranking party member,” said Harb.
July 18: Hezbollah MP Nawwaf Moussawi accused the Lebanese March 14 Alliance of leading Lebanon to the brink of civil war.
July 17: The Lebanese Future Bloc slammed the statements made by Hezbollah MP Mohammad Raad concerning Hezbollah’s arsenal. “Hezbollah has decided in this case to bring down the efforts made by President Michel Suleiman and a number of other parties participating in National Dialogue sessions discussing the remaining differences,” said a Future Bloc statement.
July 16: Loyalty to the Resistance Bloc Leader Mohammad Raad stated that it is too early for Lebanese parties to discuss a united national defense strategy while the resistance to Israeli occupation is ongoing. “We don’t want a national defense strategy at the present time,” said Raad.
July 16: Sunni Sheikh Ahmad Assir once again called on Hezbollah to disarm. “Integrate your arms, which are dominating the state, in a defense strategy in which we all take part,” said Assir. The prominent Sunni leader has led a Sidon based sit-in against Hezbollah’s weapons since June 28.
July 27: Hezbollah accused Israeli forces of “storming” the al-Aqsa Mosque and arresting an Imam. “This crime is not the first targeting al-Aqsa Mosque, and it will not be the last if Muslims remain silent and continue to neglect the dangers imposed on this holy mosque, be it the judaization of al-Aqsa, threats of collapse due to the underground excavations, or Zionist enemy practices on ground,” said a statement released by Hezbollah.
July 24: Hezbollah issued a statement denying involvement in the failed assassination attempt on March 14 MP Boutros Harb. “Despite our policy not to respond to fabrications and allegations against [the party], its leadership and its cadres, we completely deny any involvement [of the party] or any of its members in the so-called assassination attempt against Harb.”
July 23: Hezbollah condemned the series of deadly explosions which struck several Iraqi cities. “These criminal bombings translate to the bloody practices of some armed groups that satisfy the desires of the nation’s enemies through the intimidation of its citizens, killing of innocent people, and the dissemination of sectarian strife, regionalism and the destruction of state institutions,” read a Hezbollah statement.
July 18: Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah announced that, "The most important weapons with which we fought Israel in the July war came from Syria." Nasrallah also stated that international sanctions against the Iran regime have only served to make it “100 times stronger than 30 years ago.”