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Lebanon News

Hezbollah reorganizes ranks in light of leaks

  • File - Hezbollah members parade in Teffahta during a ceremony commemorating three slain Hezbollah leaders, Imad Mughniyeh, Abbas Musawi and Sheikh Ragheb Harb, Friday, Feb. 14, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mohammed Zaatari)

Information made available to The Daily Star revealed that a high-ranking Iranian lieutenant colonel, identified as Mahmoud A., arrived recently in Lebanon to provide counsel as Hezbollah radically reforms its security apparatus.

The changes are a response to violations committed within party ranks, documented by Israeli as well as Western intelligence, as well as the party’s missteps in dealing with the sensitive security situation in Lebanon – not to mention the conflict in neighboring Syria, where the party has suffered from almost daily information leaks.

The colonel is expected to be involved in a series of changes and new appointments in a number of leading security posts, as well as reorganizing groups and cells in line with amendments relating to the party’s communication structure.

Information made available by reliable sources said that Hezbollah arrested one of its field commanders in Syria, after it was alleged that he was dealing with the Israeli Mossad and played a role in leaking information to agents, leading to the Israeli raid on the Janta area.

The commander has been moved to Haret Hreik and his case – supervised by the Iranian colonel – is being investigated.

The sources also confirmed that Hezbollah’s security apparatus was able to detect a cell within the party working for Israeli agents. The cell included a Lebanese man identified as M.A., who hails from the southern Nabatieh town of Harouf, and is thought to be a notorious Israeli informant within the party’s electronic communications department.

The sources said the detainee’s maternal uncle was assassinated in Germany by jihadist organizations charged with working for Israel after he fled Lebanon following the withdrawal of Israeli forces from south Lebanon in 2000.

His grandfather was also assassinated by a Palestinian resistance faction in 1980.

According to the information available, among those involved with working for Israel is a Hezbollah sheikh who is still being investigated but whose name has not yet been released, because identifying him publicly could have a negative impact on the party’s political, military and social environment.

The sources add that an Iranian intelligence official, known as “Habari,” was the one who first relayed information about these informant cells to the party. Habari also discovered that Russian intelligence had uncovered a Palestinian double agent working for both Mossad and Russian intelligence services.

In the meantime, Hezbollah has worked to reinforce its positions in Yabroud after taking control of the border city, and has placed Burkan rockets and military units in the area.

Additionally, an engineering team is working to clear landmines placed in the area by Syrian rebels. The party has also found tens of stolen cars carrying Lebanese license plates, some of which had already been rigged with explosives and were ready to be detonated by suicide bombers.

Hezbollah has also been able to apprehend Abu Zahraa, a Nusra Front leader whose real name is Mahmoud Abdallah and who is believed by Iran to be in possession of “delicate information.”

Meanwhile, a number of Iranian military officials reached Yabroud to study how the geography of the area can be exploited in the future. Hezbollah sources believe the city could be a valuable launching pad for military operations toward Rankous and Flita, as well as a strategic stronghold vis-a-vis the Lebanese village of Arsal.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on April 01, 2014, on page 3.
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Summary

Information made available to The Daily Star revealed that a high-ranking Iranian lieutenant colonel, identified as Mahmoud A., arrived recently in Lebanon to provide counsel as Hezbollah radically reforms its security apparatus.

The changes are a response to violations committed within party ranks, documented by Israeli as well as Western intelligence, as well as the party's missteps in dealing with the sensitive security situation in Lebanon – not to mention the conflict in neighboring Syria, where the party has suffered from almost daily information leaks.

Information made available by reliable sources said that Hezbollah arrested one of its field commanders in Syria, after it was alleged that he was dealing with the Israeli Mossad and played a role in leaking information to agents, leading to the Israeli raid on the Janta area.


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