|Hezbollah rallies its forces in Lebanon: Coming|
soon to (or may already be in) a neighbourhood
near you [Image Source]
Some key points from the article.
- The terrorists of Hezbollah last carried out mass-casualty bombings against American targets in the 1980s. They have avoided repeats because they are doing so well with their North American fund-raising operations and do not want that interrupted.
- The US counter-terrorism community sees Hezbollah as "the most potent and disciplined" of the Islamic terrorists organizations, "even more so than al Qaeda". And now, with the growing confrontation over Iran’s nuclear activities, the anxiety level has risen sharply.
- Why's that? Well for one thing, Iranian "diplomats" and "possible Hezbollah operatives" have been seen conducting surveillance missions at sensitive targets including New York subways and bridges, public buildings in Las Vegas and Los Angeles, and nuclear power plants and tunnels elsewhere in the United States over a period of ten years. If you're surprised to hear this, you're hardly alone.
- Those surveillance missions, combined with recent attacks and uncovered plots in other countries, have brought the US government to appreciate the danger of "considerable violence directed against U.S. targets". Those include a thwarted plan by Iranian agents to kill the Saudi ambassador in Washington and other Iranian plots uncovered in Thailand, India, Azerbaijan and Georgia this year.
- This might be aimed at American overseas installations or businesses. Or it might be directed at Americans within the borders of the United States. And before we ask "how", the article quotes a congressional report that says "U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials, along with private experts, say there is little doubt Hezbollah has an extensive network of supporters, fund-raisers and potential operatives in the United States."
- The New York Police Department, under severe attention and considerable criticism because of its cautious monitoring of Muslim communities, says there are 200-300 Hezbollah "sympathizers" living in New York City. Ten or more are family members of Hezbollah terrorists killed in action - from the Lebanese towns of Bint Jbeil (the Reuters report erroneously refers to it as two towns: Bint and Jbeil), Yanoun and Yatar.
- Several of these New York residents have undergone military training with Hezbollah in Lebanon. But "pinpointing" the Hezbollah men is difficult because of the group’s operational security. [For us, this is the most alarming statement in the article, unless the resort to the word "difficult" is an attempt at disinformation.]
- The estimates quoted in the report are that Hezbollah has “several thousand sympathetic donors” in the United States and “hundreds” of operatives. Translation: the word operatives, like the words militants and activists and other similar circumlocutions, is media-double-speak for terrorists.