Hezbollah’s Billion Petrodollars  
By Walid Phares 
This is a MUST READ!

  A few weeks ago, articles published  around the world reported that Hezbollah is undergoing two major changes.  Both portend greater violence from the Iranian-sponsored global terrorist  network.
  The first change is a shift in  leadership responsibilities. A report published initially in the Saudi  owned Sharq al Awsat said the office of Ayatollah Khomenei appointed  deputy secretary general Sheikh Naim Qassim as the new supreme commander  of Hezbollah forces and the personal representative of the Ayatollah in  Lebanon. Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, according to this report remains as  secretary general of the organization. Sources said this change in control  and command is because of “differences in opinions” between Narsrallah and  Qassim.   The Hezbollah media arm rushed to deny  the veracity of this shift. But observers with direct knowledge of the  organization’s inside structure said Khamenei indeed ordered changes in  Hezbollah’s structures, but not because of differences between its  leaders. They said it was in preparation for a potential massive move by  Hezbollah to seize more power in Lebanon and before a possible clash with  the Lebanese Government and the United Nations over the disarmament  process. Sources believe the assassination of  Brigadier General Francois Hajj, director of operations in the Lebanese  Army was another preemptive measure ordered by the Pasdaran command in  Lebanon. Hajj was slated to become the next commander of the Lebanese  Army. The latter was to deploy across Lebanon and eventually begin the  collection of weapons. Hence, believe the observers, a Syro-Iranian order  was issued to preempt and eliminate a man who could have become the  military commander to force Hezbollah to disarm. This would have been  compared to the al Qaeda elimination of Masoud Shah in September 2001 just  before the 9/11 strikes. Hence, the concerns that the assassination and  the reshuffling within the organization may be a prelude to dramatic move  by the Iranian funded Terror group. Which lead to the other important  information revealed by al Shaq al Awsat and published in the leading Lebanese Newspaper al  Nahar <http://www.naharnet.com/domino/tn/NewsDesk.nsf/getstory?openform&amp;576B9C4AC9E60D41C22573B0004FB522> .
The second major change according to these reports  Hezbollah is a huge increase in annual budget funded by Tehran.  Hezbollah’s funding was elevated from $400 million US to $1 billion. This  ballistic leap would enable the organization to crush any opponent inside  Lebanon and engage in worldwide operations against Western Democracies and  Arab moderates. According to experts in Lebanon, the $400 millions figure  was enough to pay for hundreds of social centers and thousands of salaries  enough to insure a full control over the Shia community, its  representatives in Parliament and buy significant influence inside the  Sunni, Druze and particularly Christian community. One hundred million  dollars alone, could pay for the activities of movements opposed to the  Cedars Revolution and the democratically elected Government of Seniora. Hezbollah obtained support in the  Christian districts and launched media outlets across the country. Another  thirty millions can put enormous pressures on soldiers and officers of the  various sectors of defense and security. In return the Government branches  and the military have been deprived from solid financial support coming  from outside the country. Those who rose against the Syrian occupation  were mostly from the deprived and oppressed segments of civil society. And  those who dared opposing Hezbollah’s domination of the country lacked the  basic means of NGOs. The confrontation was totally unbalanced. Iran was  pouring 400 millions of Petrodollars to roll back the Cedars Revolution  while the latter was highly praised overseas but wasn’t a recipient of  freedom funds. But if $400 million can buy Hezbollah  a magic place under Lebanon’s sun, what would a $1 billion do? Observers  in Lebanon say: “anything anywhere.” Indeed the Moguls of the so-called  “resistance” have been able to create alternative TV and radio stations,  launch multiple dailies, pay for a nonstop sit-in across Downtown Beirut,  and more importantly leap to hyper international power. Over the past year  the Iranian-funded hydra is said to have hired PR companies from Beirut to  major capitals to wage the mother of all wars of ideas not just against  the vulnerable Cedars Revolution in Lebanon but also in defense of  Ahmedinijad’s nuclear strategy. Indeed, stories filed out of Tehran can’t  be credible. But reports and analysis sprayed from dozens of apparently  neutral web sites or forwarded from credible journalistic sources can do  devastation in the West. And what better launching pad than Beirut,  cultural capital of the Arab world, to use? All what the Iranian funded  organization has to do is to “double” if not “triple” the income of any  person of interest in any sector of choice: media, academia, military,  consulting, intelligence, etc. both in Lebanon but also around the world,  including if needed in the United States. One Billion dollars spent on Hezbollah  in Lebanon can have ripple effects as far as Detroit and Argentina. There  is no native force in Lebanon that can match this tidal wave nor even one  tenth of it. This is Iran’s Petro power deployed on the Eastern  Mediterranean not a local social movement building orphanages. A month ago  as I was participating in a cross fire program on al Jazeera facing off  with a coordinator of Iranian propaganda in the Arab world, I was asked  why the US maintains a Navy in the Middle East. “Where are Iran’s fleets,”  he asked. I replied that the Iranian regime maintains land fleets.  “Hezbollah’s 30,000 rockets and its millions of dollars is an Iranian  fleet” I answered. Dr Walid Phares is the Director of Future Terrorism Project at  the Foundation for the Defense for Democracies and the author of The War  of Ideas: Jihadism against Democracies. Professor Phares taught at St  Joseph University, Florida Atlantic University and the National Defense  University


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