CST Blog

New report: "Hizb Allah Resurrected: The Party of God’s Return to Tradecraft"

30 April 2013

CST Blog has written before about the evidence of Hizbollah's involvement in terrorism against Jews outside Israel, after details emerged from the trial in Cyprus of Hizbollah member Hossam Yaacoub who was convicted last month of helping to plan terrorist attacks against Israeli tourists on the island. Yaacoub denied this, and told Cypriot police:

I don’t believe that the missions I executed in Cyprus were connected with the preparation of a terrorist attack in Cyprus. It was just collecting information about the Jews, and this is what my organization is doing everywhere in the world.

A new report in CTC Sentinel, written by Matthew Levitt of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, reveals in detail the training and missions that Yaacoub undertook for Hizbollah. Titled Hizb Allah Resurrected: The Party of God’s Return to Tradecraft, the report explains the strategic decision taken by Hizbollah and Iran to return to the overseas terrorism that they deployed during the 1980s and 1990s (based in part on an earlier Washington Institute report); failed plots in Azerbaijan, Bulgaria and Turkey; and some details about Hizbollah's operations in Europe. This included missions by Yaacoub  to deliver and accept packages from Hizbollah operatives in France, Holland and Turkey.

The evidence in the report of Hizbollah's terrorist activities in Europe further underlines why the European Union should proscribe the organisation. Levitt concludes:

Taken together, the Bulgarian and Cypriot cases present compelling evidence of Hizb Allah’s return to traditional tradecraft. As the Yaacoub case makes clear, several years before the Qods Force instructed Hizb Allah to rejuvenate its IJO terrorist wing in January 2010, the group had already been recruiting operatives with foreign passports, and providing new recruits with military training and surveillance skills. Yaacoub was recruited in 2007, while Mughniyyeh was still alive. Indeed, while Mughniyyeh’s assassination prompted the group to resume international operations in a way they had not since before 9/11, Hizb Allah never stopped identifying and recruiting new operatives for a variety of different types of missions at home and around the world.

There is no question, however, that the operational failures that followed Mughniyyeh’s assassination demonstrated that the group’s foreign operational capabilities had weakened over time. When Mughniyyeh was killed, and later when Iran wanted Hizb Allah to play a role in its “shadow war” with the West, Hizb Allah was not yet fully prepared to do so. Yet the Bulgaria and Cyprus cases suggest that this may no longer be the case. Yaacoub was no anomaly, as the Burgas attacks made clear. Like Yaacoub and the Burgas operatives, some of those new recruits are Western citizens. During one of his training sessions, Yaacoub heard another trainee speaking fluent Arabic with some English words mixed in. According to Yaacoub, the trainee spoke with a distinctly American accent.

Read it all here.

Read More