Secret Iranian team in Beirut to counter suicide attacks and upgrade Hizballah intelligence
debkafile Exclusive: Iran has embarked on an urgent project for rebuilding Hizballah’s intelligence and security mechanisms from scratch, to repair the ravages inflicted by the spate of suicide attacks on its strongholds in Beirut and other parts of Lebanon, since the Shiite militia joined the Syrian war.
A top team of senior officials from Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Al Qods Brigades intelligence and Ministry of Intelligence and Security, landed secretly in Beirut last week. They arrived under cover of a delegation, headed by Deputy Justice Minister Abdol-Ali Mirkoohi, which came to collect information from the interrogation of Majid al Majid, the Saudi Arabian leader of the Abdallah Azzam Brigades terrorist group, who died in a Lebanese prison on Jan. 4.
That group claimed some of the attacks on Hizballah targets.
On its arrival, the secret Al Qods-led team separated from the delegation and got down to what is clearly a long-term project for reconstructing its Lebanese surrogate’s intelligence and security bodies.
It was armed with guidelines from an emergency conference, held among the Al Qods commander Gen. Qassem Soleimani, Hizballah secretary general Hassan Nasrallah and his two top lieutenants, Mustafa Badr al-Din, military chief, and Wafiq Safat, head of Hizballah’s security directorate.
This conference decided to retain a permanent team of Iranian experts in the Lebanese capital for the task of rebuilding Hizballah’s intelligence and security mechanisms on the same structural lines as Iran’s clandestine and security services.
It was obvious that those mechanisms would not stand the present rate of bombing attacks and other violence without caving in.
The Iranian-Hizballah conference selected three areas for remolding and fortifying Hizballah’s intelligence and security capabilities:
1. The East Lebanese Beqaa. Hizballah has worked hard to conceal its loss of security control in this area, traditional site of its most important command centers, military facilities and arms dumps. Security there is so enfeebled that Hizballah units can’t move from place to place, night or day, without coming under missile or artillery barrages from across the Syrian border. These attacks are targeted precisely by Syrian rebels, al Qaeda, Syrian and/or Lebanese Sunni Salafists aided by Saudi intelligence, whose intelligence and mobility are clearly superior to those of Hizballah.
Its commanders were shocked to discover how far they had fallen when on Dec. 12, when their Baalbek command centers were struck by suicide bombers. The locations of those command centers were a close secret. The planners of that particular attack were intent on showing Hizballah that it was vulnerable to attack everywhere, even in its most secret lairs.
2. Hizballah’s strongholds in the Shiite Dahya district of southern Beirut. The frequent deadly suicide bombing attacks in the past three months were facilitated by the breakdown of Hizballah’s early warning system in the Lebanese capital and its dminished capacity to fight them off. The organization’s military and political stronghold in Beirut is currently wide open to hostile penetration.
3. Hizballah’s field intelligence on the Syrian battlefield. In the course of the fighting, the Lebanese group turned out to be woefully deficient in field intelligence and forced to rely on Syria, whose capabilities are not much better. The Iranian expert team has undertaken to build and operate a new field intelligence arm for Hizballah combatants in Syria.