Merchant of Death
Money, Guns, Planes, and the Man Who Makes War Possible

Blood from Stones

Visit Douglas Farah's
author page at

Press Releases

Is Hezbollah Now the Greatest Threat?
There is some serious re-evaluation of priorities in parts of the U.S. and European intelligence communities as to the who now poses the greatest strategic threat to the West-al Qaeda or Hezbollah.

Hezbollah has publicly emerged in recent days the premier military force in Lebanon, able to act with relative impunity while the army stands by.

But perhaps more importantly, Hezbollah has now become a public target of al Qaeda, as Osama bin Laden has explicitly stated in his most recent audio tape.

Bin Laden singled out by name Hassan Nasrallah, leader of Hezbollah, whose 2006 war against Israel boosted the group's popularity among Shiites and Sunnis.

Bin Laden said Nasrallah claimed he had enough resources, such as money and combatants, to fight Israel.

"But the truth is the opposite," he said. "If he was honest and has enough (resources), why then he did not support the fight to liberate Palestine."

He also attacked Nasrallah for allowing the deployment of U.N. peacekeepers in southern Lebanon "to protect the Jews."

Why the animosity? Perhaps because, for the first time in many years, the Sunni world-and the radical Sunni world in particular-are noticing how much more willing and able Hezbollah and its Shite government backers are to project a strength that at least rivals, and likely surpasses, that of its own fighting forces.

What makes Hezbollah particularly interesting and dangerous now is its hybrid status-a non-state armed actor, operating with access to state resources (Iran and Syria).

This means that, while nominally outside state control and the reach of sanctions available in the international sphere, it has access to state intelligence, arsenals and financial backing.

Hezbollah also has access to funds generated by the diamond trade in West and Central Africa, a host of other smuggling activities on that continent, as well as the criminal activities in Latin America and elsewhere.

If al Qaeda central or Al Qaeda in Iraq, lose $500,000, it is a serious blow to their structure. If Hezbollah were to lose that amount, it would be damaging, but they would have numerous options of where to turn to replenish their coffers in a very short time.

Because of the scope of Hezbollah's rapidly-increasing activities, both at home and abroad (particularly Latin America), its strong internal structure and high-level training, some in the intelligence communities are now arguing for a shift of at least some resources to tackle the Hezbollah issue more forcefully.

The argument is that Iran is increasingly desirous of extending its sphere of influence and that of Shite Muslims on a global scale. In order to do this, and perhaps to also detract from the worsening economic situation at home, the government is seeking to enter new arenas of conflict where the cost is relatively low but the payoff, in terms of prestige and financial gain, could be high.

One such areas is the northern tier of Latin America. Another, where action has already taken place, is in Lebanon itself.

Given the financing, training and documented ability and willingness to carry out terrorist attacks (Beirut, Buenos Aires etc.) Hezbollah is a growing force to be reckoned with.

Good News on the Libel Front
A Further Blurring of the Terrorist-Criminal Lines, and the Emerging Role of DEA
Maintained by Winter Tree Media, LLC