15 YEARS OF TERROR, AN ANIMATED TIME-LAPSE

Hezbollah

 

Annual turnover: $500 million

Region: Lebanon

Main sources of income: financial assistance and donations (especially Iran), production and trafficking of drugs
Purpose: militant struggle against the state of Israel and establishing an Islamic state in Lebanon

Established as a militant group fighting for the Shi’ite population in Lebanon and against Israel, Hezbollah, like Hamas, has a strong political arm that became one of the major powers in Lebanon. Hezbollah has a network of nursing institutes, which provides relief, welfare, education and livelihood to large segments of the Shi’ite population in need.

Over the years, Hezbollah became a dominant factor in southern Lebanon, the ongoing effect is the creation of a state within a state, a major force in national politics, and a key component in the government and military force.

Hezbollah’s main sponsor is the Iranian regime, which donates an estimated  $250 million a year to the organization. But Hezbollah made ​​sure to diversify its sources of capital – from donations of private businessmen, through fundraising by charities in disguise, spread all over the world, to the real estate and tourism. However, the highlight of Hezbollah’s business portfolio is undoubtedly its organized criminal activity, and the jewel is a network of drug manufacturers and smugglers built and refined over the years. Hezbollah is involved in criminal activities around the world, from South America through Africa, Europe, the Far East, Australia and the Middle East. Its cells are involved in money laundering, counterfeiting, arms trade, smuggling and of course the production and trade of drugs, especially heroin and cocaine. Despite denials, senior DEA agents presented evidence linking the drug trafficking organization of Argentina-Brazil-Paraguay to a radical Islamist group led by Hezbollah.

Hezbollah’s drug activities in South America began in the early 80′s, and gained significant momentum in recent years. With the help of local Lebanese Shiite expatriates, and close cooperation with local cartels, the small “side-business” has grown hugely, and become professional and efficient. What was a relatively minor source of income swelled to huge proportions over the years and it is now estimated that the organization generates hundreds of millions of dollars a year from this operation. Experts had recently estimated that Hezbollah will soon generate more money from its drug activities than from all of its other income sources put together, including the hundreds of millions of dollars deposited in its account every year courtesy of Ali H’minai of Iran.

Hamas

Annual turnover: $1 billion

Region: West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Main funding sources: taxes and fees, financial aid and donations (especially Qatar).

Purpose: militant struggle against the state of Israel and the establishment of a Palestinian Islamic state from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River

Hamas’s militant coup and its taking over of the Gaza strip, back in 2007, ushered this organization into the big league.

In less than a decade, Hamas managed to turn the organization – which used to rely on donations from countries and charities – to a huge conglomerate. About 15% of Gaza’s economy ends up in this organizations pocket, through taxes and levies on goods and consumer goods entering the Gaza Strip, such as cigarettes and gasoline, and licensing fees for cars, motorcycles and even carts. Taxes that once went to the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah now go to Hamas.
Contrary to common belief, Hamas does not make money from the smuggling tunnels underneath the Egyptian border. Those were dried out quite effectively by the army of Egypt’s General al-Sisi. The donations from Qatar and Iran are also as not as significant as they used to be. Hamas makes most of it money from a sophisticated tax system, aimed at, among other things, pocketing large portions of the international aid that flows into Gaza. For example, Hamas taxes money changers that convert foreign currency to shekels, and gains tens of millions by doing so.

In addition, Hamas runs hundreds of businesses which control a variety of areas – from real estate, insurance, banking, hotels and tourism, to fish farms and banquet halls. Conducting its business, Hamas uses various Mafia methods to maximize its income. For example, after purchasing a banquet hall – a lucrative business in Gaza – a string of miss-fortunes befell Hamas’s competition. Hamas also took over several banks, and everyone that wishes to do business with the government in Gaza need to certify they are working with the right bank

Hamas’s total income from taxes, fees and duties, and from the businesses it runs – both directly and through straw men – is estimated at half a billion dollars. Hamas also enjoys private donations from businesses and organizations all over the world. Hamas’s principal backer in recent years is Qatar, which donates hundreds of millions of dollars to the organization annually.

Kata’ib Hezbollah

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Kata’ib Hezbollah
Participant in Iraq War
Kata'ib Hezbollah logo.svg
Kata'ib Hezbollah flag.svg

Hezbollah Brigades logo (and flag) based on Hezbollah andIRGC logos
Active October 2003–present
Leaders Unknown
Headquarters Middle and Southern Iraq
Strength 2,000 (at most)[1]
Part of Iraqi Insurgency
Originated as Special Groups
Allies Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq
Promised Day Brigades
Other Special Groups

Liwa Abu al-Fadhal al-Abbas

Opponents  United States
Coalition
Islamic State

Kata’ib Hezbollah (KH)
or Hezbollah Battalions is a Shi’a Iraqi Insurgent group which has been active since 4 months before the beginning of the Iraq War (although their first attack was on October 2003), not to be confused with the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah. It is said to be an offshoot of the “Special Groups“, which are the Iranian backed elements of the Mahdi Army. Katai’b Hezbollah is a separate and independent organization and not part of the Mahdi Army and its Special Groups. According to the American forces it receives funding, training, logistics, and material from Iran’s Quds Force, claims which are denied by Iran.[2] Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, an adviser to Iran’s Quds Force is known to be a senior adviser to Kata’ib Hezbollah. The US state department has also claimed Hezbollah provided weapons and training for the group.[3] The group is known for uploading its videos of attacks on American forces on the internet.[4]For other uses of Hezbollah, see Hezbollah (disambiguation).

In Summer 2008 US and Iraqi Forces launched a crackdown against Kata’ib Hezbollah (and the Special Groups). At least 30 of its members were captured during those months. Many of the group’s leaders were captured and us officials claim that “as result much of the leadership fled to Iran”.[5][6]

On 2 July 2009 the group was added to the “U.S. State Department list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations“. The group is held responsible for numerous IED bombings, mortar, rocket and RPG attacks as well assniper operations, targeting US and Iraqi Forces and the Green Zone, including a November 2008 rocket attack that killed two U.N. workers.[7]

In December, 2009, the group intercepted the unencrypted video feed ofMQ-1 Predator UAVs above Iraq.[8]

February 12, 2010 a firefight with suspected members of Kata’ib Hizballah, a group that the U.S. State Department says has ties to Lebanon’s Hezbollah, occurred 265 km (165 mi) southeast of Baghdad in a village near the Iranian border, the U.S. military said. Twelve people were arrested, it said. “The joint security team was fired upon by individuals dispersed in multiple residential buildings … members of the security team returned fire, killing individuals assessed to be enemy combatants,” the military said in a statement. Although the Provincial Iraqi officials said many of the dead were innocent bystanders, and demanded compensation. They said eight people were killed.[9]

On July 13, 2010 General Ray Odierno named the Shi’ite militia Kata’ib Hizballah, which the U.S. State Department says has ties to Lebanon’s Hezbollah, as the group behind the threats. “In the last couple weeks there’s been an increased threat … and so we’ve increased our security on some of our bases,” Odierno told reporters at a briefing in Baghdad.[10]

On July 21, 2010 Iran is supporting three Shiite groups in Iraq that have been attempting to attack US bases, General Ray Odierno said. Kata’ib Hezbollah is one of these groups and the other groups are Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq (League of the Righteous), and the Promised Day Brigades.[11]

An Iraqi intelligence official estimated the group’s size at 1,000 fighters and said the militants were paid between $300 to $500 per month.[12][13]

Recent activity[edit]

Wathiq al-Batat, a former Kata’ib Hezbollah leader, announced the creation of a new Shia milita, Mukhtar Army, on February 4, 2013, saying its aim is to defend Shiites and help the government combat terrorism.[14]

Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq (AAH)
عصائب أهل الحق
Participant in the Iraq War
Asaib-ahl-alhaq logo.jpg
Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq flag.svg

Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq’s logo and flag.
Active July 2006 – present
Leaders Qais al-Khazali
Akram al-Kabi
Headquarters Sadr City, Baghdad, Iraq
Area of
operations
Mainly Baghdad and Southern Iraq; also active in Iraq’s Central regions and Syria
Strength 3,000 (March 2007)[1]
Less than 10,000 (July 2013)[2]
Part of Special Groups
Originated as Mahdi Army
Allies  Syria
 Iran
Kata’ib Hezbollah
Promised Day Brigades
Other Special Groups
Liwa Abu al-Fadhal al-Abbas
Shabiha
Opponents Iraq War:
Iraq Iraq
Multi-National Force – Iraq
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
Syrian Civil War:
Free Syrian Army
Islamic Front
al-Nusrah Front
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
Battles
and wars
Iraq War

Syrian Civil War

Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq (AAH; Arabic: عصائب أهل الحق ‘Aṣayib Ahl al-Haq, “League of the Righteous”) also known as the Khazali Network is an Iraqi Shi’a Islamist paramilitary group operating in Iraq and Syria. It is known as Iraq’s largest “Special Group“, the Americans’ term for Iran-backed Shia paramilitaries in Iraq. According to a March 2014 report byThe Guardian newspaper, Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq is controlled by Iran and operates under the patronage of General Qassem Suleimani of Iran’sQuds Force.[3] The group has claimed responsibility for over 6,000 attacks on American, coalition, and Iraqi forces.[4]

History[edit]

Qais al-Khazali split from Muqtada al-Sadr‘s Mahdi Army after Shi’a uprising in 2004 to create his own Khazali network. When the Mahdi Army signed a cease-fire with the government and the Americans and the fighting stopped, Qais al-Khazali‘s faction continued fighting, during the battle Khazali was already issuing his own orders to militiamen without Muqtada al-Sadr’s approval. The group’s leadership which includes Qais Khazali, Abd al-Hadi al-Darraji (a politician in Muqtada al-Sadr’s Sadr Movement) and Akram al-Kabi, however, reconciled with Muqtada al-Sadr in mid-2005. In July 2006 Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq was founded and became one of the Special Groups which operated more independently from the rest of the Mahdi Army. It became a completely independent organisation after the Mahdi Army’s disbanding after the2008 Shi’a uprising.[5] In November 2008 when Sadr created a new group to succeed the Mahdi Army, named the Promised Day Brigade, he asked Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq (and other Special Groups) to join, however they declined.[6]

The group has claimed responsibility for over 6,000 attacks in Iraq[4]including the October 10, 2006 attack on Camp Falcon, the assassination of the American military commander in Najaf, the May 6, 2006 downing of a British Lynx helicopter and the October 3, 2007 attack on the Polish ambassador.[7] Their most known attack however, is the January 20, 2007 Karbala provincial headquarters raid where they infiltrated the U.S. Army’s offices at Karbala, killed one soldier, then abducted and killed four more American soldiers. After the raid, the U.S. military launched a crackdown on the group and the raid’s mastermindAzhar al-Dulaimi was killed in Baghdad, while much of the group’s leadership including the brothers Qais and Laith al-Khazali and Lebanese Hezbollah member Ali Musa Daqduq who was Khazali’s advisor was in charge of their relations with Hezbollah. After these arrests in 2007, Akram al-Kabi who had been the military commander of the Mahdi Army until May 2007, led the organisation.[5] In 2008 many of the groups fighters and leaders fled to Iran after the Iraqi Army was allowed to re-take control of Sadr City and the Mahdi Army was disbanded. Here most fighters were re-trained in new tactics. It resulted in a major lull in the group’s activity from May to July 2008.[5]

In February 2010 the group kidnapped DoD civilian Issa T. Salomi a naturalized American from Iraq. The first high-profile kidnapping of a foreigner in Iraq since the kidnapping of British IT expert Peter Moore and his four bodyguards (which was also done by Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq). The group demanded release of all their fighters being imprisoned by the Iraqi authorities and US military in return for his release.[8] In Peter Moore’s case, his four bodyguards were killed but Moore himself was released when the group’s leader Qais al-Khazali was released in January 2010.[9] Prior to Qazali’s release, security forces had already released over 100 of the group’s members including Laith al-Khazali.[10] Salomi was released in March 2010 return for the release of 4 of their fighters, being held in Iraqi custody.[11] In total 450 members of the group have been handed over from US to Iraqi custody since the kidnapping of Peter Moore, over 250 of which have been released by the Iraqi authorities.[12]

On July 21, 2010 General Ray Odierno said Iran was supporting three Shiite extremist groups in Iraq that had been attempting to attack US bases. One of the groups was Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq and the other two were the Promised Day Brigade and Ketaib Hezbollah.[13]

In December 2010 it was reported that notorious Shi’a militia commanders such as Abu Deraa and Mustafa al-Sheibani were returning from Iran to work with Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq.[14] Iranian Grand Ayatollah Kazem al-Haeri was identified as the group’s spiritual leader.[15]

On Friday, August 10, 2012, Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq militia men stormed a Sunni mosque in Baghdad’s Al-Amin al-Thaniyah district, converting it into a Shi’a mosque and banning Sunnis from entering it.[16]

In August and September 2012, Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq started a poster campaign in which they distributed over 20,000 posters of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei throughout Iraq. A senior official in Baghdad’s local government said municipal workers were afraid to take the posters down in fear of retribution by Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq militiamen.[17]

The group earned the respect of the Shia-dominated Iraqi government for some of their actions in Lebanon.[18]

Haidar al-Karar Brigades[edit]

The group’s Syrian branch is called the Haidar al-Karar Brigades and is led by Akram al-Kabi, who is Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq’s military leader and is stationed in Aleppo.[19]

According to a 2014 report by the Guardian on Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq’s intervention in the Syrian civil war: “Hezbollah also claims its widespread intervention in Syria on the side of Assad is in defence of the [Sayyidah Zainab] shrine. So too does Kata’ib Hezbollah, another Iranian-backed Iraqi proxy, whose members are often buried alongside Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq fighters. Both Iraqi groups fight across Syria under the banner of Abu al-Fadl al-Abbas, which has been at the vanguard of attacks against the almost exclusively Sunni opposition across Syria.

They, along with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, are helping turn the tide in favour of the Assad regime, which in late 2012 was losing control of Damascus to rebel groups who were finding serious cracks in the regime’s inner cordon. “Then came a strategic decision by all the Shia groups to defend Assad whatever the cost,” said a regional ambassador previously based in the Syrian capital. “You could see the turnaround in Assad almost immediately. Even in his speeches, it was like ‘we can do this.'”

Estimates of the numbers of Shia fighters in Syria range between 8,000 and 15,000. Whatever the true figure, the involvement of large numbers of Iraqis is not the secret it was in the early months of Syria’s civil war, which is now being fought along a sectarian faultline.”[20]

2014 Iraq elections[edit]

Main article: Al-Sadiqoun Bloc

The organization had candidates running in the 2014 Iraqi parliamentary election[21] under the banner of Al-Sadiqoun Bloc. However an electoral meeting of estimated 100,000 supporters of Al-Sadiqoun was marred by violence as a series of bombs exploded at the campaign rally held at the Industrial Stadium in eastern Baghdad killing at least 37 people and wounding scores others, according to Iraqi police said. The Shia group organizers had planned to announce at the rally the names of its candidates for the parliamentary election. The Al-Sadiquun Bloc ended up winning just one seat out of 328 seats in the Iraqi Parliament.

Strength[edit]

The group’s strength was estimated at some 3,000 fighters in March 2007.[1] In July 2011, however, officials estimated there were less than 1,000 Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq militiamen left in Iraq. The group is alleged to receive some $5 million worth of cash and weapons every month from Iran.[2] In January 2012, following the American withdrawal from Iraq in December 2011, Qais al-Khazali declared the United States was defeated and that now the group was prepared to disarm and join the political process.[22]

Funding[edit]

The Organisation is alleged to receive training and weapons from Iran‘s Revolutionary GuardsQuds Force as well as Iranian-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah. By March 2007, Iran was providing the network between $750,000 and $3 million in arms and financial support each month. Abu Mustafa al-Sheibani, a former Badr Brigades member who ran an important smuggling network known as the Sheibani Network played a key role in supplying the group. The group was also supplied by a smuggling network headed by Ahmad Sajad al-Gharawi[23] a former Mahdi Army commander, mostly active in Maysan Governorate.[24]

Organisational structure[edit]

As of 2006 Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq had at least four major operational branches:[5]

Promised Day Brigade

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Promised Day Brigade (PDB)
Participant in the Iraq War
Flag of Promised Day Brigades.svg

Flag of the Promised Day Brigade
Active November 2008–present
Leaders Muqtada al-Sadr
Headquarters Sadr City, Baghdad
Area of
operations
Iraq and Syria
Strength 15,000 (2008)[1]

5,000 (2011)[2]

Part of Special Groups
Originated as Mahdi Army
Allies  Syria
 Iran
Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq
Kata’ib Hezbollah

Other Special Groups

Opponents United States-Iraq
MNF–I

Syria Free Syrian Army

Battles
and wars
Iraq War
Syrian Civil War

The Promised Day Brigade (PDB) (Arabic: لواء اليوم الموعود Liwa al-Youm al-Mawud), originally called the Muqawimun[3] is a Shi’a organization and was an insurgent group operating in Iraq during the war. In 2010 it was one of the largest and most powerful of what the US military call“Special Groups” in Iraq.[4] The group was created as successor toMuqtada al-Sadr‘s Mahdi Army, which was Iraq’s largest Shi’a militia until its disbanding in 2008, he also called on other Special Groups to join the brigade. Sadr had earlier already talked about the creation of a smaller guerrilla unit which would continue the Mahdi Army’s armed activities but for the first time gave the organisation a name in November 2008 when he declared the creation of the Promised Day Brigade.[5] Its activities have particularly increased since May 2009.[3] The group is alleged[by whom?] to receive Iranian support. A crackdown against the group in end 2009 led to the arrest of 18 of its members including several commanders.[6] On November 29, 2009, the group’s Basra leader was arrested in al-Amarah.[7]

In October 2009 the Promised Day Brigade fought a battle with rival Special Group Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq for influence in Sadr City. The Promised Day Brigade reportedly won the battle and even managed to destroy the house of Abdul Hadi al-Darraji, a senior Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq leader. Since then the PDB has been the most powerful Special Group in the ex-Mahdi Army stronghold of Sadr City and has increased its activity there.[8]

On July 21, 2010 General Ray Odierno said Iran supports three Shiite groups in Iraq that had attempted to attack US bases:[9] US officials believe that of these three groups, the Promised Day Brigades poses the greatest threat to Iraq’s long-term security.[2]

  1. the Promised Day Brigades
  2. Ketaib Hezbollah (Hezbollah Brigades)
  3. Asaib Ahl al-Haq (League of the Righteous)

France and Saudis ‘Finalizing’ $3bn Arms Deal, Hollande Says Lebanon is ‘Vulnerable’

W460

France and Saudi Arabia are close to signing a $3 billion arms deal for Lebanon, the Elysee Palace said Monday following talks between President Francois Hollande and the Saudi crown prince.

“It will not be signed Monday but it is being finalized,” an aide to the president said.

The deal is for military equipment and arms to be supplied to Lebanon’s army.

Hollande told an official dinner at the Elysee presidential palace attended by Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz, who is also the Saudi deputy prime minister and defense minister, that Lebanon was a “great but vulnerable country” which “needs security.”

“We have come together, Saudi Arabia and France, to help Lebanon on the condition that it also helps itself, for its own security,” Hollande added, without commenting directly on the joint contract.

The deal comes as Beirut faces the threat of jihadists on its border with Syria. More than a million refugees have fled the war in Syria by escaping to Lebanon, according to figures from the United Nations.

Hollande added that France and Saudi Arabia have a “shared priority of peace and security in the Middle East.”

Salman is due to hold talks with French Prime Minister Manuel Valls on Tuesday.

He is also due to meet Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Wednesday for talks over the situation in Iraq and Syria, where jihadists have seized swathes of territory and are terrorizing Christians and other minorities.

Last week, Hollande rejected any cooperation with Syrian President Bashar Assad whom he accused of being a “de-facto ally” of Islamic State militants, after the regime said it was willing to work with the international community to tackle the jihadists.

And in comments carried on national TV at the weekend, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah warned the West would be the next target of the jihadists sweeping through Syria and Iraq, unless there is “rapid” action.

“If we ignore them, I am sure they will reach Europe in a month and America in another month,” he said in remarks quoted on Saturday by the Asharq al-Awsat newspaper and Saudi-backed al-Arabiya television station.