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Funding Hezbollah: The Iranian Connection By: Elias Bejjani
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, August 23, 2006

International and Lebanese news agencies have reported that Hezbollah has began as of last Friday August 18, distributing $12,000 (U.S.) per Shiite (and only Shiite) family whose home was destroyed in the Israeli air strikes on the Southern suburbs, South Lebanon and Beirut, where Hezbollah has erected its three mini-states.

Hezbollah declared that it has reimbursed hundreds of families and indicated that the funds are paid in cash for the purpose of renting a temporary dwelling and furnishings for one year. Hezbollah failed to clarify the source of these enormous funds. The Hezbollah reimbursement program is projected to cost $150,000,000 (U.S.) at a minimum. The "Party of God" also promised to pay later for a new residence for each affected family, and to rebuild the destroyed structures from its "own" funds even though the number of damaged units lies between 15,000 and 25,000 residences.

The availability of these large funds to Hezbollah sheds light into its documented foreign extensions proving irrefutably to the world that such a tremendous missile armada cannot be independently amassed by a private political party - that claims to represent the dispossessed and the disenfranchised - unless financed by a foreign project and an international financial source. This source that financed Hezbollah with billions of dollars for three decades certainly did not do it for purely humanitarian reasons, rather, the support was intended to serve plans and objectives devoid of Lebanese interests.

The tremendous financial capabilities exposed by Hezbollah's leader Nasrallah simply mean that the man will release hundreds of millions of dollars in one wave confirming anew that he possesses political, social, and military means far beyond those of the Lebanese state. It is strange how the Lebanese state observes silently along with the Arab League and the Security Council, this financial expansion of the Iranian-Syrian project whose destructive and belligerent objectives are clearly manifested in the deterioration of the Lebanese people's standard of living. Hezbollah is not only a state within the state, it also dominates through force all the capabilities and decision centers of the Lebanese state.

The nations of the free world must move quickly through the United Nations and the Security Council to enact a new resolution and take global mandatory measures to interdict Hezbollah's funding and aid in all forms. All funds and humanitarian aid should be channeled exclusively through the Lebanese government in transparent and clear channels and laws pertaining to the sources of aid as well as the mechanisms of its distribution including qualification rules and procedures.

The silence of the Lebanese government, the Lebanese political leadership and the public in general, in the face of Hezbollah's scandalous financial practices, in addition to the regional and international nonchalance towards its military and terrorist practices, will undermine and eliminate all what's left of the foundations of the Lebanese political system and its institutions which has become marginalized and absent as proven with no shred of doubt in last month's war.

Today, hezbollah's most dangerous practice that we need to pay attention to, involves its theatrical cash reimbursement program to its Shiite constituency, while at the same time inciting the masses against the government to detract public perspective away from its weapons, thus promoting instability which confuses the internal conditions and obstructs the execution of Security Council Resolution 1701.

The UN and the Security Council must enact the necessary laws obligating Iran and Syria to pay all compensations emanating from their premeditated war.

All peace-loving countries, spearheaded by the US, Canada & Europe should no longer keep a blind eye on the fact that Hezbollah is allowed without any kind of auditing to freely receive from Iran and other secretive sources millions of dollars and pile them in its coffers. This fundamentalist Iranian-Syrian military tool of destruction and terrorism, if not controlled and disarmed by a worldwide joint effort, is not going to limit its destabilizing activities to Lebanon only, but is on the verge of expanding them to the entire Middle East and the world at large.

The other bitter fact that the whole world ought to be fully aware of is that the Lebanese government will remain unable to fulfill its obligations towards the Lebanese people and the international community, despite of Prime Minister Siniora's good intentions and his meek and peaceful attitude. Disarming Hezbollah cannot, and will not, be achieved by the Lebanese, nor will Hezbollah disarm by itself in some vague manner in some vague future.

This is the unambiguous message coming from Hezbollah and the Lebanese government themselves. The failure of the international community at passing a Chapter 7 resolution is the reason why the French government and the world behind it are backtracking on sending peacekeeping forces to Lebanon. The international community must disarm Hezbollah with the same power and authority it used in its intervention to stop the slaughter in Bosnia, Kosovo and East Timor. Nothing short of this will stem Hezbollah's aim at cannibalizing Lebanon and enslaving under people into the Islamic Republic of Lebanon molded on the Iranian model.

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Elias Bejjani is a human rights activist, journalist and political commentator.

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