continues ramp-up to war
W. Thomas Smith Jr.
Published: May 6, 2008
Reporting from Lebanon
for NRO on October 9, 2007, I wrote:
is monitoring and jamming cell-phone communications, and tracking
phone signals. They also have their own private telephone comm lines
running from the south to the Bekaa Valley, and from both regions to
Dahiyeh (in Beirut) and who knows where else. The very Internet
service provider I am using to post this entry is a subsidiary of a
or affiliated company.
“Worse: Many of the Lebanese ‘leaders’ here
are afraid to go on the record about these issues or anything else
related to Hezbollah.”
nearly seven months ago; during which time a series of widely spread
attacks were launched against my Lebanon reporting by that
terrorist-friendly propaganda sheet, The Huffington Post (the attacks
have since been debunked on a number of fronts by experts in the
business of counterterrorism.).
comes a piece in Israel’s
Haaretz, reporting on Monday of this week:
“An official Lebanese government report reveals that Iran is setting
up an illegal telecommunication network across Lebanon, capable of
intercepting all telephone conversations in the country, the
Saudi-owned daily al-Sharq al-Awsat reported Sunday.
“… Iran has set up this network to
aid the Lebanon-based guerilla group Hezbollah.”
According to Lebanese telecommunications minister Marwan Hamadeh,
Hezbollah’s goal is to link all the militias in Lebanon, Syria (which
provides operational support to Hezbollah), and Iran (which trains and
finances Hezbollah to the tune of $1-billion annually) by way of this
vast telecommunications network.
“Their goal is not security resistance,” Hamadeh said in an interview
with al-Sharq al-Awsat.
“They want to
connect between all the Iranian and Syrian militias and they want to
eavesdrop on everyone.”
“The Iranian communications network has been completed in southern
Lebanon, the Lebanon Valley, southern Beirut and several Christian
areas in Mount Lebanon [where much of my reporting originated from in
September and October]. Work is currently underway to complete the
infrastructure in the northern Lebanon Valley.
“… the network is capable of tracking
100,000 numbers using a digital format in which each number is five
“… the Hezbollah hardware can hook up to Lebanon's
main telephone network.”
actually discussed these things in great detail – again, seven months
ago – at NRO, The Washington Times, and elsewhere.
Within hours of this
writing, a demonstration – under the pretext of a Labor protest – is
slated to begin in Lebanon. The demonstration, engineered by Hezbollah
and its allies (according to my sources), will enable members of the
Lebanon-based terrorist group to physically confront and attempt to
provoke legitimate Lebanese security forces into action against them.
They’ve done this before.
The Lebanese army (having
been heavily infiltrated by Hezbollah and with an officer corps that
continues to promote pro-Syrian commanders) and national police forces
are presently incapable of disarming – much less defeating in a
pitched battle – Hezbollah and its allies in Lebanon. Nor apparently
are the multinational troops of the United Nations Interim Force in
All of this comes on
the heels of the following reports this week and last:
The wire services
are reporting that Hezbollah is training Shiia extremists for
operations against American and allied forces in Iraq. We’ve been
reporting this for months (along with the facts that Hezbollah’s
worldwide operations are increasing, as are their strategic
collaborations with unlikely groups like Al Qaeda).
Walid Jumblatt has accused Hezbollah of setting up special cameras
at the Beirut airport to monitor incoming and outgoing aircraft.
Jumblatt says the terrorist group – whose stronghold Dahiyeh (the
Hezbollah-controlled southern suburbs of Beirut) is adjacent to the
airport – is planning to assassinate senior political leaders.
Brig. Gen. Wafiq
Shoukair was just dismissed from his post as airport security chief
because of his ties to Hezbollah. But guess what? He will retain his
post in the Lebanese Army.
in Lebanon have in recent days reportedly called for the “toppling”
of the Lebanese government (Lebanon, by the way, has been unable to
elect a president in months, and many parliamentarians and their
families are forced to travel and reside under constant military or
paramilitary police protection.)
In late April, a
French diplomat was detained for several hours by Hezbollah after he
was caught photographing areas in Dahiyeh. Amazingly, this barely
registered a blip in the American press.
Hezbollah-friendly reporters and bloggers will argue – and have done
so with little to no criticism of the veracity of their reporting –
that anyone can freely move in-and-out of Dahiyeh and any other
Hezbollah controlled zones in Lebanon.
But in a piece
yesterday, regarding the detention of the French diplomat, noted
columnist and television journalist Diana Mukkaled writes:
“The Lebanese media is incapable of obtaining
information about the crisis in the suburbs [Dahiyeh] because of the
imposed media blockade, which has extended to include the inability to
access or observe any movements in Hezbollah’s general surroundings.
“The area is strictly off-limits to the media.
“The recent incident involving the French Socialist
delegate could have passed without much ado had the delegate not
hailed from a prominent state. It is likely that dozens have been
subjected to similar treatment without it causing any uproar or
All of this plays to
Hezbollah’s multi-faceted quest to seize power in Lebanon; continue to
revamp its defenses in Dahiyeh, the Bekaa Valley, and multiple regions
south of the Litani River; prepare for a ground war with Israel; and
continue its asymmetrical terrorist operations against America and the
But then what do Ms.
Mukkaled, Mr. Hamadeh, Mr. Jumblatt, or I
Apparently a lot more
than Hezbollah, its allies, and its sympathizers want us to know … or
W. Thomas Smith Jr. is director of the
Counterterrorism Research Center of the Family Security Foundation. A
former U.S. Marine infantry leader and shipboard counterterrorism
instructor, Smith writes about military/defense issues and has covered
conflict in the Balkans, on the West Bank, in Iraq and Lebanon. He is
the author of six books, and his articles have appeared in USA Today,
George, U.S. News & World Report, BusinessWeek, National Review
Online, CBS News, Townhall.com, The Washington Times, and others.