Tag Archives: Hezbollah

Israel Killed A Very Important Member Of Iran’s Foreign Operations

Brigadier General Mohammad Ali Allah-Dadi ian

A senior general in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps – Qods Force was among six Iranians and six Hezbollah operatives who were killed in yesterday’s airstrike in southern Syria that is thought to have been launched by the Israeli military.

Sepah News, the official online news outlet of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), confirmed that Brigadier General Mohammad Ali Allah-Dadi was killed in the airstrike in Quneitra, Syria. Both Hezbollah and the IRGC claimed that Israeli attack helicopters carried out the attack.

Brigadier General Allah-Dadi is the latest high-ranking Iranian military casualty in the wars in Syria and Iraq.

The combined Hezbollah and Qods Force unit is thought to have been scouting jihadist groups, including the Al Nusrah Front and the Islamic Front, two organizations that are known to operate in Quneitra. Iran has supported the Syrian government and Hezbollah against rebel forces since civil war broke out in 2011.

Hezbollah confirmed on Jan 18. that Jihad Imad Mughniyah, the son of the notorious Hezbollah military and intelligence chief who helped found the group, and five other commanders were killed while conducting a reconnaissance operation in Quneitra.

The Iranian media has described Jihad, a rising star in Hezbollah who is said to have commanded the group’s units in the Syrian Golan, as the adopted son of Major General Suleimani, the leader of Qods Force. Jihad’s father, Imad, who was closely tied to Iran, is thought to have been assassinated by Israeli intelligence in a car bombing in Damascus, Syria in 2008.

Also reported killed was Mohammad Issa, who is also known as Abu Issa al Eqlim. He has been identified as a member of Hezbollah’s military intelligence branch.

An Islamic State sniper killed Hamid Taqavi, an IRGC brigadier general who was advising Iranian-backed Shiite militias in Samarra, Iraq in late December 2014.

In October 2014, General Jabar Drisawi, a general in Iran’s Basij militia, was killed during fighting near Aleppo, Syria. And in February 2013, Hassan Shateri, a top commander in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps who is also said to have served on Hezbollah’s advisory council, was killed in an ambushwhile traveling from Damascus to Beirut.

Brigadier General Allah-Dadi may provide clues to Qods Force’s leadership structure

The material released in the Persian and Arabic language material since Allah-Dadi’s death not only provides interesting insight into his career, but also to Qods Force’s recruitment pattern.

According to the IRGC Public Relations Department, Allah-Dadi was a veteran of the Iran- Iraq War, which was fought from 1980 to 1988. He had served as the commander of the Al Ghadir IRGC Ground Forces in Yazd province in eastern Iran. The most detailed biography however, was released by Mashregh News.

According to the news agency, Allah-Dadi, a native of Pariz, Sirjan in Kerman province, volunteered for the war effort in 1980 and initially served in the irregular forces of Mostafa Chamran (1932-1981). However, as the IRGC’s 41st Sarallah Division, based in Kerman, was established under the command of Qassem Suleimani, Allah-Dadi joined him and participated in most major operations up to the end of the war with Iraq in 1988.

The ceasefire between Iran and Iraq did not put an end to Allah-Dadi’s military career. For a time, he continued serving under Suleimani in Kerman, but later served for three years as Ramazan Brigade chief of the 27th Mohammad Rasoul-Allah Force based in Tehran. In 2006, he was appointed Al Ghadir Force chief based in Yazd, where he served until June 20, 2011.

Systematic references to Allah-Dadi’s work in the local press in Yazd came to an abrupt end after the end of his tenure. This can only be explained by a piece of information released by Mashregh News: “A few years ago, invited by Major General Qassem Suleimani, IRGC QF commander, he joined the Quds Force to fight the Zionist regime in Lebanon and Syria.”

Very little information about Allah-Dadi’s work in Syria has been released to the public. According to the Jan. 19 press release by the IRGC Public Relations Department, Allah-Dadi was deployed to Syria as a military adviser in order to “assist the government and nation of Syria against the takfiri-salafi terrorists [a reference to the Sunni opposition to the Baath regime in Syria].”

israel iran hezbollah

He was allegedly killed while inspecting Quneitra in Syria, as “a group of fighters of the Islamic Resistance [reference to Lebanese Hezbollah]” were attacked by a “military helicopter of the Zionist regime.”

The last recorded instance of Allah-Dadi’s whereabouts before his death appears in a report by journalist Hassan Shemshadi in the Central News Unit. Shemshadi allegedly met the Iranian general at a Shiite shrine in Damascus.

The most important information released about the late Allah-Dadi is the long history of his friendship and service under Suleimani, the current Qods Force commander.

A single case does not provide enough material for drawing conclusions concerning Suleimani’s pattern of appointments in his command, but should other former Suleimani associates and friends be identified as current Qods Force officers, that would provide important parts of the puzzle of the unit’s command structure.

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‘Israel strike’ kills Hezbollah men in Syria’s Golan Heights

Map of Golan Heights

An Israeli air strike has killed several Hezbollah fighters in the Syrian sector of the Golan Heights, the Lebanese militant movement says.

Hezbollah’s al-Manar television said the fighters were killed in Quneitra province “during a field reconnaissance mission”. It did not give details.

Israel said it would not comment.

Hezbollah militants have been supporting President Bashar al-Assad. The four-year conflict has left some 76,000 people dead, activists say.

Al-Manar TV said the names of the fighters would be released after their families had been informed.

Israel has conducted several air strikes inside Syria since the conflict began.

They were said to be aimed at preventing the transfer of stockpiles of rockets from the Syrian government to Hezbollah.

Israel fought a 34-day war with Hezbollah in 2006.

The Golan Heights, a rocky plateau in south-western Syria, was seized by Israel from Syria in the closing stages of the 1967 Middle East War.

The two countries remain technically in a state of war, and UN observers are deployed to monitor a 70km-long (45-mile) demilitarised zone.

Who are Hezbollah?

• Name means “Party of God”

• Political and military organisation made up mainly of Shia Muslims

• One of the biggest blocs in Lebanon’s governing coalition

• Strongly backed by Iran, a close ally of Syrian President Assad

• Mr Assad’s minority Alawite sect is an offshoot of Shia Islam

Israeli spy allegedly infiltrated Hezbollah and passed information on terrorist group to Mossad

Hezbollah commander Imad Mughnieh on Feb. 13, 2008. Israel is also believed to have been involved in the assassination of Mughniyeh, who was killed by a car bomb in Damascus in 2008.

BEIRUT – An agent of Israel’s Mossad spy agency infiltrated the upper echelons of Hezbollah’s security apparatus and leaked information about the Lebanese-Shiite group for several years before being discovered and arrested recently, according to security officials and people in Lebanon familiar with the incident.

The espionage activities of the man, identified as Mohammed Shawraba, would represent one of the most significant security breaches of the highly secretive organization, which is a mortal enemy of Israel and classified as a terrorist organization by the United States.

The incident, which could not be independently verified, has been widely reported in the Lebanese and Arabic media as having helped Israel thwart numerous Hezbollah operations.

Hezbollah refuses to deny or confirm the reports that say Mr. Shawraba had fed the Mossad with intelligence on the Lebanese group’s foreign-operations unit, which he headed since 2008.

“Hezbollah uncovered and arrested Mohammed Shawraba, and they consider his arrest a significant achievement despite the blows that his activities dealt to their operations,” said one official familiar with the incident.

Mr. Shawraba was apprehended with assistance from Iranian intelligence, said the official, who added Hezbollah had become increasingly suspicious of a mole within its highest ranks. Iran, also an enemy of Israel, is the Shiite group’s foremost ally.

Hezbollah and Israel fought a devastating 34-day war in 2006, and they also have spent years countering each other through acts of espionage. That has involved activities such as Israel planting listening devices on Hezbollah’s telecommunication networks, including one that exploded and killed a member of the group in September who was attempting to dismantle it, the group said.

Israel is also believed to have been involved in the assassination of Imad Mughniyeh, a senior Hezbollah operative who was killed by a car bomb in Damascus in 2008.

AFP/Getty Images

AFP/Getty ImagesA wrecked car sits at the site of a car bomb attack in Damascus late Feb.12, 2008 that killed one of Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah’s top commanders, Imad Mughnieh.

The Bulgarian government formally accused Hezbollah of bombing a bus carrying Israeli tourists two years ago in the resort city of Burgas. Hezbollah denies involvement in the attack, which killed six people.

Citing an unnamed security source, the Lebanese English-language Daily Star reported Mr. Shawraba was being tried in a Hezbollah court. He was arrested with four other people who worked for him in the foreign-operations unit, which works against Israeli interests in foreign countries.

Hezbollah had become suspicious of him after five attempted retaliations against Israel over the Mughniyeh killing had failed, the newspaper said.

Lebanon’s Elnashranews website also reported Mr. Shawraba, who is believed to come from a village in southern Lebanon, once even headed the security detail for Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah.

Hezbollah’s response is basically an admission that this happened

Hilal Khashan, professor of political science at the American University of Beirut, said Hezbollah appears to have been caught off-guard by the flurry of news reports about Mr. Shawraba. Its response indicates it wants to reassure supporters the problem has been resolved, he said.

“Hezbollah’s response to this is very deliberate, and it’s a response that was certainly decided on by the senior leaders, even Hassan Nasrallah himself,” he said.

“The public is now entirely aware of this, and Hezbollah’s response is basically an admission that this happened.”

Mark Heller, a research associate at the Tel Aviv-based Institute for National Security Studies, expressed doubt Hezbollah would retaliate over the issue of an Israeli agent in its organization. The group is too focused on its military operations in Syria, which involve fighting the armed opposition to the regime of President Bashar Al-Assad.

“I doubt that at this point they’re interested in an escalation with Israel,” he said.

Hezbollah has previously said publicly it has been infiltrated by foreign intelligence agencies. In 2011, Mr. Nasrallah announced that two Hezbollah members had confessed to working as agents for the Central Intelligence Agency.

World Intelligence Agencies Must Cooperate to Combat IS

A Kurdish fighter hold a position overlooking IS-controlled territory in Iraq

Israeli Defense Minister says Islamic State can only be defeated if intelligence agencies learn the lessons of 9/11 and cooperate.

 

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon on Tuesday called for world intelligence agencies to work together against the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group.

“In order to stop and overcome the Islamic State, we have learnt since 9/11 that there must be cooperation between intelligence agencies from across the free world, a sharing of experience and operational cooperation,” he told public radio.

Ya’alon’s comments follow a speech he made Monday night, in which he criticized the international community for focusing on criticizing Israel instead of targeting state sponsors of terrorism – naming Qatar and Turkey as two of the most prominent such states, along with Iran.

The Islamic State (IS) group, formerly known as ISIS, is at the forefront of a sweeping militant assault that has overrun swathes of Iraq and holds significant areas of territory in neighboring Syria.

The ultra-violent group has imposed strict Islamic law on areas under its control, and has embarked on a campaign of mass-killings of non-Muslims and rival Muslim sects which Amnesty International recently described as ethnic-cleansing on an “historic scale”.  

US President Barack Obama on Friday called for a broad coalition to defeat the IS jihadists and he is to chair a key UN Security Council session on the threat on September 24.

The US has carried out over 130 airstrikes in Iraq, backing Kurdish and pro-government ground forces who are battling Islamic State jihadis.

Asked about the proposed international coalition, former military intelligence chief Amos Yadlin indicated Israel would likely share its intelligence with its allies.

“The intelligence that we gather in the Middle East – which deals with threats from Iran, (Lebanon’s Shiite) Hezbollah, what’s happening in Syria, terrorist organisations in Sinai and the Gaza Strip – is of very good quality and we share it with our allies,” he told the radio.

Israeli intelligence services have already reportedly been providing their foreign counterparts with intelligence, including satellite imagery, on IS positions in Iraq.

Last week, Ya’alon adopted a recommendation by the Shin Bet internal security agency (also known as the Shabak or Israel Security Agency) and designated both the Islamic State and Al Qaeda affiliated Abdullah Azzam Brigades as an “illegal organisation” under Israeli law.

The move allows for legal measures to be taken against both organisations as well as anyone found to be supporting or financing them.

Last week, IS released a video showing the beheading of US journalist Steven Sotloff, who also reportedly held Israeli nationality, in the second such execution of a US journalist within a fortnight.

The Abdullah Azzam Brigades is a Lebanese jihadist group linked to Al Qaeda which periodically claims rocket fire on Israel.

Israel Bombed Suspected Weapons Sites At Syria’s Main International Airport

Israeli_F 16s_at_Red_Flag

Israeli fighter jets on Sunday afternoon hit targets outside Damascus in a brazen day-time raid that most likely targeted a Hezbollah-bound weapon shipment

Israel struck an area near the Damascus International Airport—south of the capital—as well as Dimas, a town near the Lebanese border along the international highway leading to Damascus, Syrian state TV reported.

The report added that there were no casualties in the attack, while Hezbollah’s Al-Manar and Syrian outlets said that Syria had fired surface-to-air missiles at the Israeli jets.

The General Command of the Syrian armed forces linked the Israeli attacks to the insurgent campaign against the regime, saying the strikes followed “Syrian army victories in Deir Ezzor and Aleppo.”

“The Israeli attacks will not deter us from our fight against terrorism.”

Meanwhile, Israeli state authorities did not comment on the raid, as per their normal policy, with an Israel Defense Force spokesperson telling Reuters he wouldn’t comment on “foreign reports.”

Bombing run

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that Israeli warplanes conducted a raid on import and export warehouses storing weapons in the military zone of the Damascus International Airport.

Another raid targeted military zones in Dimas outside Damascus, with at least 10 explosions being heard in the area, the monitoring NGO added.

Lebanon’s pro-Hezbollah Al-Akhbar cited security sources as saying that “eight Israeli enemy planes raided two sites, one of which is close to Damascus International Airport and the other close to the Dimas sailplane airport to the northwest of Damascus.

The sources said that the targeted Dimas site consists of “a group of hangars inside a military facility.”

However, the daily did not elaborate on whether there were any weapons in the facilities.

“Weapon shipment”

Israeli leaders have publicly said they would strike any shipment of “advanced weapons” from Syria to Hezbollah, calling such a move a red line, indicating the current strike probably hit a weapon consignment.

The Washington Post reported that the strike most probably hit a weapon shipment.

“This is part of an Israeli pattern where, when they see a shipment of destabilizing arms going to Hezbollah, they strike,” Washington Institute for Near East Policy fellow Jeff White told the US daily.

Haaretz said that the “air strike was probably aimed at warehouses where arms shipments that arrive by air from Iran are stored, while the border area was bombed to prevent an arms convoy from moving toward Lebanon.”

The London-based Al-Quds al-Arabi cited Syrian sources as saying that the raids “probably targeted advanced Russian [S-300 missiles] intended for transfer to Hezbollah in Lebanon.”

The sources added that the airport in Dimas is a warehouse for sophisticated Russian-manufactured air defense systems.

Meanwhile, Israeli media outlets speculated that the weapon shipment consisted of advanced Fateh-110 surface-to-surface missiles.

Despite past Israeli warnings to strike weapon shipments headed for Lebanon, Hezbollah has boasted that it would continue to receive advanced arms.

In May 2013, following Israel airstrikes in Syria, Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah boasted in a televised speech that “Syria will give the resistance qualitative weapons, which the resistance has never received before.”

 We, the resistance in Lebanon, announce that we are ready to receive any sort of qualitative weapons even if it is going to disrupt the [regional] balance,”

Israel on alert

Israeli forces went on alert along its northern borders with Lebanon and Syria following the raid, with heavy drone and surveillance plane overflights reported across southern Lebanon on Sunday evening.

“The Israeli army increased its level of alert along the border, especially in the Shebaa area, in anticipation of any developments that could occur after the raid in Syria,” Lebanon’s state National News Agency reported Monday morning.

The previous day, blasts could be heard along the border as IDF troops conducted extensive military drills.

Hezbollah has retaliated twice in the past year to Israeli actions. In mid-March, the Shiite group planted an IED to target an Israeli patrol along the border, in a move Nasrallah described as retaliation for Israel targeting a purported weapon shipment from Syria that had crossed into Lebanese territory.

On October 7, the militant group once again detonated an IED targeting an Israeli border patrol, this time in retaliation for the death of a Hezbollah operative after Israel remotely detonated an espionage device he had been inspecting.

Hezbollah did not make any public statements on the latest Israeli attack in Syria.

Legendary Marine General James Mattis: ISIS Is A Combination Of Al Qaeda And Hezbollah On Steroids

General Mattis USS Ponce

Retired Marine Gen. James Mattis will describe the threat posed by militants of the Islamic State as “a combined al Qaeda and Lebanese Hezbollah on steroids” in a hearing for the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday morning.

The legendary general, who currently splits his time between teaching at Dartmouth and Stanford, has firsthand knowledge of the group formerly named Al Qaeda in Iraq from his time as the commander of U.S. Central Command. Also giving testimony at 8 a.m. in Washington, D.C. is former Ambassador Ryan Crocker and Dafna H. Rand of the Center for a New American Security.

In Mattis’ opening statement, which Business Insider obtained ahead of his testimony, he offers a brief history of terrorism and terror groups, how IS formed and what he believes the militant group will do next, and offers advice — along with a critique of some of Obama’s moves — for what the US should do next.

ISIS US rifle

Much of the blame for ISIS’ rise is due to ex-Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki

Mattis says the Iraq of 2010 was in a “post-combat, pre-reconciliation phase” after Al Qaeda in Iraq was largely defeated due to a U.S. troop surge and the locals’ rejection of violence in what was dubbed “the Sunni Awakening.” But the success was squandered by the Iraqi leader’s sectarian tendencies.

“Prime Minister Maliki, released from American restraint, acted on his worst instincts, creating enormous distrust in Iraq’s Kurdish population and deeply embittering Sunnis in western Iraq’s Al Anbar who lost any confidence in a Baghdad government they saw as adversarial.”

dempsey

The other strain of terrorism declared war on us in the mid-1990s, and is well known to this committee as al Qaeda (AQ) and its associated violent Sunni movements.

Having attacked our east African embassies and USS Cole in a neutral port, the dramatic events of 9-11 earned them a strong U.S. response.

We have shredded much of their senior leadership in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region yet the movement has franchised:

  • Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in Yemen;
  • Al Shabaab in Somalia;
  • Al Nusra in Syria; and
  • Boko Haram in the Maghreb to name several.

Iran’s Military Mastermind Was Reportedly Present During Iraq’s Biggest Victory So Far Against ISIS

View image on Twitter
Qassem Suleimani in Amerli pic.twitter.com/Tfpl3Ju1fR Meanwhile NCTC’s Olsen took a huge pass when asked about Iran’s role vs ISIS.

The fight over Amerli in eastern Iraq has been one of the most important battles against ISIS, and a coalition of unlikely partners successfully defended the strategically located town.

The response to ISIS’s push against the town was likely formulated by Qassem Suleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps’ Qods Force and probably the Middle East’s most effective operative.

Suleimani leads the Guards’ operations outside of Iran’s borders, and has raked in a number of major strategic victories over the years.

Suleimani has never been content with hanging back in Tehran. He is a field commander, and his successes stem from his apparent willingness to be physically present in the midst of regional crises — as analyst Emile Hokayem tweeted,

“Suleimani is effective partly [because] he is a professional fighter who lives like one and shows up on battlefield.”

Amerli iraq

He frequently traveled to Iraq during the most violent years of the U.S. campaign in the country, and coordinated the country’s Shiite militias even during a time when the U.S. would likely have arrested him if given the chance. And he keeps close watch over battlefield dynamics from afar as well.

Suleimani was responsible for Hezbollah’s strategy at the Battle of Qusayr, which kept a strategically crucial border city under the Assad regime’s control and is perhaps the definitive confrontation of Syria’s civil war, according to Dexter Filkins’ 2013 profile of Suleimani.

Amerli could be a similarly decisive flash point in the fight against ISIS, and Iraq’s army is hailing it as a “big achievement and an important victory.” It’s a mostly Shiite town about 100 miles to the north of Baghdad, just outside the borders of the Kurdish-administered section of Iraq and not far from the border with Iran.

ISIS would likely have cleansed the city of its ethnic Turkmen, Shiite population, pushing its self-declared caliphate further to the south and east and establishing a beachhead in its fight against the Kurds and the Iranians — and the Baghdad government.

The town was secured thanks to “an unusual partnership of Iraqi and Kurdish soldiers, Iranian-backed Shiite militias and U.S. warplanes,” according to The Los Angeles Times, which reported that Amerli was the first town to successfully withstand an ISIS invasion. 

Suleimani’s presence underscores the town’s potential importance — and might hint at the degree to which Iran and the U.S. are coordinating their response to ISIS’s advance through Iraq.

As this map from the Institute for the Study of War demonstrates, Iranian-supported Iraqi militias, the Iraqi military, and the Kurdish Peshmerga broke the ISIS assault with the help of U.S. airstrikes. The U.S. acted as a force multiplier for a number of Iranian-backed arm groups — at the same time that the head of the Revolutionary Guard’s foreign operations was present on the battlefield.

Suleimani understands the potential significance of his presence during perhaps the biggest success that any of the region’s militaries have had against ISIS. As University of Maryland researcher Philip Smyth notes, photos of Suleimani in Amerli were circulated by a web page affiliated with Hezobllah, the Lebanese Shiite militia, and one of Iran’s most important proxy groups.

The photos reinforce Tehran’s image as the one power capable of stanching ISIS’s advance — something the U.S. may eventually be forced to acknowledge.

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