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Report: Iran Leads Hezbollah Shake-Up After Massive Security Failures

Iran dispatched a high-ranking military officer to Lebanon to lead a cleanup of Hezbollah after feared leaks to the West and Israel and mistakes made in Lebanon and Syria, according to the April 1 edition of The Daily Star Lebanon.

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 lieutenant colonel, referred to by the newspaper only as Mahmoud A, will help reorganize the cell structure of the terrorist organization and oversee a round of new appointments.

Those believed to be informers for Israel and other Western nations will be dealt with as part of the procedure.

Hezbollah’s own notoriously tight security has been brought into question in recent weeks after a series of bombings rocked the movement’s power bases in southern Beirut and the Bekaa Valley.

Meanwhile, the organization has tried in vain to keep the media from reporting on the convoys of coffins of Hezbollah fighters killed in neighboring Syria.

There is tremendous domestic pressure on Hezbollah to withdraw from Syria. Even presidential hopeful Michel Aoun from the pro-Iranian March 8 political bloc that is led by Hezbollah urged the group to pull its men back.

Official Lebanese statements have suggested Hezbollah should bring its “resistance” under the umbrella of the state, with the focus just being on Israel. However, organization leader Hassan Nasrallah is unrepentant, insisting on military independence and a full role in Syria.

He justified sending his forces to a foreign war by saying that Sunni rebel groups would “eliminate everyone in Lebanon” if they won in Syria.

“The problem in Lebanon is not that Hezbollah went to Syria, but that we were late in doing so,” he said. “This resistance will remain solid, with its head hung high, protecting its people and its nation.”

The Iranian officer is not understood to be in town to end Hezbollah’s role in Syria but rather to make it more effective. Likewise he hopes to cut all leaks to “the enemy” to ensure the success of the “resistance” against Israel.

The Israel Project’s Defense Analyst Stephane Cohen said there is also a financial element to be taken into consideration.

“After the 2006 war with Israel, Iran poured a huge amount of money into Hezbollah to compensate the fighters and to the Shiites who lost their homes in the fighting. That money led to corruption. With Hezbollah’s incredible growth since then the corruption has grown too. With corruption come leaks and incompetence.”

[Photo:  Sodahead (Ceative Commons license)]