February 6, 2020 | The Arena

Stop Iran funding? Hezbollah’s Financial Activities Should be Israel’s Top Priority

February 6, 2020 | The Arena

Stop Iran funding? Hezbollah’s Financial Activities Should be Israel’s Top Priority

Excerpt

The radical Shi’ite organization’s criminal networks in Latin America generate hundreds of millions of dollars of annual revenue, with near impunity. Israel must commit more diplomatic, law enforcement, and intelligence resources to this region if it wishes to block Hezbollah’s primary source of income

With more than one hundred thousand rockets deployed in South Lebanon, a well-oiled supply line of increasingly sophisticated weapons that connects Tehran to Beirut, and dominance over Lebanon’s political system, Hezbollah is understandably one of Israel’s top national security concerns, with intelligence resources laser-focused on its northern border.

Yet Israel’s security and diplomatic establishment should also pay attention to what the radical Shi’ite organization is doing in faraway places such as Latin America and West Africa, where its terror-financing networks are raising hundreds of millions of dollars a year to fund its military buildup and regional adventurism in the Middle East. These networks, which extend into Europe, have been used over the years to move drugs from Latin America to remote markets and launder the proceeds back to the cartels, minus the hefty commission retained by Hezbollah for its own financial needs.

Emanuele Ottolenghi (PhD, Hebrew University) is a senior researcher at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) in Washington, D.C. 

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Issues:

Hezbollah Iran Iran Global Threat Network Iran in Latin America Iran Sanctions Iran-backed Terrorism Israel Lebanon Sanctions and Illicit Finance