Hezbollah in world’s court

Hezbollah in world’s court

As Lebanese get beaten up in streets by Hezbollah and Amal militants, including fellow Shiite demonstrators, they find out more and more about the true nature of Iran’s militias.

The problem with the Arab mindset is that we tend to forget and forgive too often. Hezbollah is a case in point.

When the “Party of God” raised the resistance flag and achieved some victories against Israel that forced it to withdraw from South Lebanon in 2000, we celebrated the achievement and forgot and forgave the party’s crimes since its inception in 1982.

Since then, they built their reputation on plain terrorism: Mass murdering Palestinian refugees during the Civil War; bombing public places in Kuwait and attempting to assassinate its Emir (1983); hijacking TWA (1985), and Kuwait airliner (1988), and killing 21 in AC Flight, Panama (1994).

There is also the bombing of an American compound in Alkhobar (1996); providing "direct assistance" to Al Qaeda, including training and explosives, in US Embassy bombings (1998); the assassination of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri (2005) and many of his allies; and the kidnapping of Westerners (1982 to 1992). The party refused to hand any of its assassins over to international or local courts.

In addition, there were many cases of drug trafficking and money laundering in USA, South America, Mexico, Europe and the Middle East. Add this to the uncovered terrorist cells and acts in Singapore, Lebanon, Egypt, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain. Just between 1982 and 1986, there were 36 suicide attacks in Lebanon directed against American and French forces, killing 659.

All these well-documented crimes do not include the ongoing investigation of terrorist acts and cells in Arab and African countries.

Our Alzheimer could go so far, however. We woke up and finally regained our collective memory when the party “ninjas” (Black Shirt troopers) occupied Beirut and the Druze Mountain (2008) to punish the government for dismantling its spy network on government and public communication networks.

During the Beirut occupation, the “Ninjas” killed over 100 Lebanese, and no case was ever investigated or went to court, to-date.

With virtual control over the capital, a “unity government” was formed with 11 ministers loyal to the party, giving it a paralyzing veto power, which it used to force its choice of president, officials and policies.

Worse, the new Cabinet approved a policy that secures Hezbollah's existence as an armed organization and guarantees its right to "liberate or recover occupied lands." No other group, party or nongovernmental organization, was given the same right.

With Iran’s support, Hezbollah's military has grown so much that it is now considered more powerful than the Army. The party became a “state within a state” with a radio and a satellite TV station, social services and large-scale military deployment abroad, supporting pro-Iran regimes, such as Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

Today, the party is involved in training Iran’s terrorists in Arab countries. As a recent Alarabiya TV documentary showed, Hezbollah mercenaries were helping Houthis in Yemen to conduct terrorist operations in the Saudi capital and to blindly shell Saudi villages and towns.

In Kuwait, Bahrain and United Arab Emirates, cells, operatives, guns and explosives were uncovered. Networks laundering money, and involved in drug trafficking and covert financial operations were exposed. Companies that supply weapons and military materials and spare parts to the party were blacklisted and arms confiscated.

All the above had badly affected Lebanon’s relations with its Arab neighbors and Lebanese abroad.

According to “Russia Today,” Saudi Arabia had provided $70 billion since 1980 to the Lebanese government, while Iran aid was directed exclusively to the party they sponsored.

Half a million Lebanese working in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States send $7 billion a year home (80% of total expatriate remittance worldwide). Lebanon’s industrial and agricultural exports to Saudi alone makes 50% and 75% (respectively) of its total exports, according to Beirut Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

On the other hand, Iran, receives 20% religious tax on the income of its Shiite followers in Lebanon, imports none of Lebanese products, and hosts no working expatriates. Its promises of aid in the last 35 years amounted to nothing, according to a Russia Today report.

However, Tehran provides the party with an annual $200 million in military aid, and has trained thousands in guerrilla warfare and Shiite propagation.

Since all religious income tax from “Alwali Alfaqeeh” followers goes to Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei became one of richest men in the world, with $90 billion fortune, according to Forbes Magazine.

Other senior religious leaders made huge, if lesser, fortunes, and the clergy business dominates Iran’s economy.

So what we are facing here is an international mafia, dealing in arms, drug, terrorism, mercenaries and money laundering, in addition to war crimes and ethnic cleansing in Syria and Iraq.

It is a case of clear and present danger to world peace and human rights that should be presented to the United Nations, Security Council, and World Criminal Court.

The party, the masters in Iran, and its global affiliates, must be thoroughly investigated and tried. If convicted, the world community should stand together to punish them, eradicate their ugly and dirty business, and dry up their resources.

Dr. Khaled M. Batarfi is a Saudi writer based in Jeddah. He can be reached at kbatarfi@gmail.com. Follow him at Twitter:@kbatarfi