Hezbollah is often referred to as the “A” team of terrorist organizations, with capabilities, support and financing unsurpassed in the world of jihad. In fact, many analysts in the US military, intelligence and law enforcement communities worry more about Hezbollah than they do about Al Qaeda.
It has been known for decades that Hezbollah works hand in glove with the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and receives training, arms, equipment, support and financing from Iran. But as the article linked below explains, Hezbollah also receives money in the form of donations from Shia Muslims around the world and it also raises money from a variety of activities, ranging from legitimate investments to drug running.
Here are some highlights from an important report by Ana Maria Luca:
Brazil, Paraguay, Mexico, Sierra Leone, Angola, Congo, Uganda, South Africa, Southeast Asia and the United States of America. This is not a list of vacation destinations, but locations where large numbers of Lebanese Shia Hezbollah supporters have settled, causing US government agencies to keep a close eye on them to see if they are sending money to the party, which America has considered a terrorist organization since 1999.
For over a decade US anti-terrorism agencies have been trying to connect Hezbollah to drug smuggling rings in Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela; the illegal weapons trade in the US, Southeast Asia and Europe; blood diamond smuggling in Africa; and even with al Qaida’s international activities.
Tens of Lebanese Shia have been arrested in the past decade for illegal activities, and several businessmen were blacklisted by the US Department of Treasury and authorities in West Africa and Latin America.
“After 2006 it became clear that Hezbollah has been running its businesses and has its clients in the Shia community who contribute financially,” said Hares Sleiman, professor at the Lebanese University and an expert in the Shia community. “They invest and manage these investments, but they also have partnerships with businessmen who have their own fixed businesses,” he said.