Global Affairs

Hezbollah-Linked Operative Convicted by Thai Court Claims Mossad Set Him Up

A Thai court today convicted a Lebanese national allegedly linked to Hezbollah for possessing bomb-making materials. The conviction comes a month after a different Thai court sentenced two Iranians to lengthy jail sentences for their roles in the attempted February 2012 attack on Israeli diplomats.

The convict blames Israel for setting him up:

Atris Hussein was arrested Jan 12, 2012, at Bangkok’s main airport after a tip-off from Israeli police who claimed he was going to stage a terrorist attack in Thailand. After being questioned, the 49-year-old led police to a warehouse that contained more than 2,800 kilograms (6,200 pounds) of liquid ammonium nitrate and 8,800 pounds (4,000 kilograms) of urea fertilizer, both of which can be used to make explosives… Hussein has claimed innocence in the case and denies any links to pro-Iranian Hezbollah militants. He has said he was probably framed by Israel’s Mossad spy agency.

Iran and Hezbollah have been linked to terror plots staged in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Thailand, Georgia, India, Azerbaijan, Nigeria, Singapore, and Turkey.

A State Department report published this summer noted that “Iran and Hezbollah’s terrorist activity has reached a tempo unseen since the 1990s.” It echoed a report published this year by the Washington Institute’s Matthew Levitt, where Levitt concluded that Iran’s global terror operations have “climbed back up the list of immediate threats facing the United States and its allies.

Some foreign policy analysts have suggested that the administration of Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, described variously as a relative pragmatist or relative moderate in Iran’s political establishment, may see Tehran soften its support of Hezbollah’s global terror network. Iranian officials who spoke to Al-Monitor last month ridiculed the idea:

Iranian officials smile when asked about Hezbollah: “Whoever the president is, whoever the ministers are, Hezbollah will still be the same Hezbollah to Iran,” said an official in Tehran on condition of anonymity. The source, an official who has visited Lebanon on several occasions, believes that those who think Iran will change its view and ties with Hezbollah because of presidential change are “either naive or daydreamers — Hezbollah to Iran isn’t a card to play with.” The source added, “Hezbollah today is the crown jewel of the resistance bloc; presidential moderation doesn’t mean giving up the nation’s strengths.” According to the source, “Hezbollah is defending the resistance bloc against Israel and the takfiris (radicals) — this means there should be more support for it.” The source added that Iran’s “main enemy in the region is Israel, and Hezbollah defeated Israel in 2006, and is capable of defeating it once again if a war sparked.”

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