The unholy alliance of Hezb'allah and the Taliban
Whether in Lebanon, where Hezb'allah operates, or in Afghanistan, where the Taliban is brutally regaining territory, they have the same operating methods and the same devastating plans for the world.
It is hard to believe, but a year has passed since the massive explosion at Beirut's port caused by a rusting chemical container destroyed parts of Beirut. It was a metaphor for the perilous state of the Lebanese economy.
The maintenance of Lebanon, like the maintenance of the port, has been ruined by mismanagement and malfeasance. The collapse of the government and the selection of a billionaire to be the new president at a time when Lebanese do not know how to put food on their table or when they will have electricity speaks to the problem of a country in ruin.
Hovering malevolently over it all is Hezb'allah, the Iranian terror proxy. Its not so covert hand controls Lebanon.
The Lebanese economy is officially bankrupt, but Hezb'allah bank accounts, at home and abroad, are in good shape, for this organization has its own sources of income that it refuses to share with the Lebanese people, except in salaries to the young men who join its military ranks. Not the Lebanese army — the ranks of Sheikh Nasrallah's terror militia.
The international drug trade is one of Hezb'allah's prime sources of income.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) established a Counter-Narcoterrorism Operations Center and designated twenty-five terror organizations that were active in international drug trafficking. Hezb'allah was top on the list, as was the Taliban in Afghanistan.
The DEA puts special emphasis on Hezb'allah for several reasons. Before 9/11, Hezb'allah had killed more Americans than any other terror organization. But in the last few years, it has shown a higher degree of sophistication than other terror groups. It has a unique hierarchical, compartmentalized structure. It also has widespread political, military, criminal, and social interactions with other countries and terror groups.
Apart from its financial, intelligence, and military support from the Islamic Republic of Iran, Hezb'allah relies on the criminal revenue streams from sources in the Middle East, Europe, Africa, South America, and even the United States.
Two main sources of income, apart from donations from worldwide supporters, are money-laundering and drugs. Today, this criminal terror organization is controlling the country of Lebanon.
Within days of the U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Taliban rapidly seized five provincial capitals. At the time of writing, they are massacring anyone who served or assisted with the American presence in that country. It will, inevitably, capture and control the capital, Kabul.
One of the first things the Taliban will do will be to spread the red carpet of poppy fields throughout Afghanistan because from this pretty flower, it will finance its own covert economy.
You can be sure that the Taliban and Hezb'allah will not be contracting pharmaceutical companies into a shared partnership for medical opium and morphine needs that would economically benefit the people of Afghanistan and Lebanon. The Taliban and Hezb'allah already have a lucrative partnership operating the criminal industry and marketing of heroin, the end-product of the Afghan poppy.
In August 2020, the Washington Post ran an article headed "Hezbollah operatives seen behind spike in drug trafficking." This article details how Hezb'allah operates drug-manufacturing plants in Syria, giving Assad his payment for hosting the criminal operation.
It is certain that, with U.S. forces out of Afghanistan, and with the Taliban playing a similar role to Hezb'allah in Lebanon, the two malevolent forces will partner, and we will see the growth of criminal drug factories on a massive scale sprouting up throughout abandoned Afghanistan, richly rewarding and empowering these two major terror organizations.
Despite the fact that Hezb'allah is hard-line Shia and the Taliban represents a hard-line Sunni faith, they will put their differences aside in their shared goal of destroying the West and their need to expand their financial lifelines in order to expand their operations.
Just as Hezb'allah prefers to play a hybrid role behind a weak government in Beirut, so will the Taliban effectively set up a dummy government rather than be front and center in Kabul. Both have played a devious role by appearing to represent the people while expanding their military capabilities outside the national armies of their countries.
This is how many in the international diplomatic community, particularly the Europeans, mistakenly differentiate between "the military wing" of Hezb'allah and its "political movement." This confusion has hampered the war on terrorism for decades. They will do the same with the Taliban after they take Kabul.
This confused diplomatic groupthink has held back the war against terrorism for decades. It is not only the poor people of Lebanon and Afghanistan who will be negatively impacted by this lethal partnership in drugs, crime, and terrorism. It will also be much of the Western world as well.
Barry Shaw is the senior associate at the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies.
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