ATbar The Iraqi Hizballah: Dangerous implications for allied forces in Iraq

The Iraqi Hizballah: Dangerous implications for allied forces in Iraq

29/08/2003 | by Marzuk, Moshe (Lt. Col. Res.)  
On 28 August, Al-Jazeera’s web site reported that Italian forces in Iraq had arrested the passengers of a vehicle carrying a load of weapons and hand grenades in the city of al-Nasseria.

An Italian spokesman announced that the vehicle belonged to the Iraqi Hizballah organization and that Italian forces would conduct a search for weapons in al-Nasseria.

To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report that Hizballah has joined in the armed campaign against allied forces, although the organization’s leadership is an outspoken supporter of the “Iraqi resistance.”

Previous information provided by Shiite elements in Iraq’s Supreme Shiite Council indicated that Hizballah’s leader in Lebanon, Sheik Hassan Nassrallah, was attempting to incite Iraqi Shiites to resist the US presence in Iraq. Nasrallah urged Iraqi Shiites to model their Jihad against the American’s on Hizballah’s armed campaign against Israel. The same sources indicated at the time, that the Supreme Shiite Council had rejected Nassrallah’s call to oppose the Americans.

It should be emphasized that Hizballah, continues to incite the Iraqi people to engage in an armed struggle against the occupiers, claiming this is “the only option available to them”.

There is every possibility that Nasrallah’s urgings have fallen on fertile soil among the more radical Shiite elements in Iraq. These people may well be behind the establishment of Hizballah’s Iraqi branch. Such an organization would join the ranks of the existing radical Islamic elements, such as al-Qaida fighters and foreign Jihadis that are fighting U.S. forces in Iraq.

Hizballah’s appearance on the Iraqi arena could lead to a further escalation in terror attacks within the country. Moreover, fighters belonging to the group could make effective use of the Lebanese Hizballah’s vast experience in assembling explosive devices and perpetrating “quality” attacks.

Even more forebding is the recent report that two top terrorists have left Iran for an unknown destination—possibly Iraq. According to security forces, the recent manhunt by Iranian security forces for various terror activists hiding on Iranian soil, led Revolutionary Guard members to arrange the escape of al-Qaida’s second in command, Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri, and Hizballah terrorist mastermind, Imad Mughniyah. Mughniyah is believed to be behind a long series of attacks against Americans and Israeli forces in Lebanon, which claimed hundreds of lives.

The possibility that Imad Mughniyah is now operating in Iraq in the framework of the establishment of the Iraqi Hizballah should not be discounted. In our assessment, Mughniyah’s activity in Iraq would lead to a considerable upgrading of terror capabilities against allied forces in the country.