Drugs and money laundering ... Hizballah's dirty tasks in African countriesEnglish - منذ 15 يوم و 17 ساعة و 44 دقيقة
A few days ago, the Niger authorities managed to seize and destroy 17 tons of hashish coming from Lebanon, with a value of about $ 37 million.
While a report issued by the "National Interest" announced, weeks ago, that the Moroccan authorities had arrested a Lebanese man in his fifties, belonging to the Lebanese Hezbollah, who had entered its territory, using forged passports, and that was at the beginning of this year, which indicates the increasing activities of Hezbollah in the west and north Africa.
The activities of the pro-Iranian military militia vary between drug trafficking and money laundering, in addition to fueling terrorism and separatist projects, due to what observers see as a complication of the problems in the region and a weakness in the capabilities of West African countries to enforce the law, which is what the party uses to expand its movements.
Overlapping belief and interest
The Nigerian researcher, Idris Ayat, said in a statement to "Sky News Arabia" that Hezbollah's activity in the African continent began in the early 1980's, when it planted its network, which he called "the ambassadors of the external relations department of Hezbollah."
He added that the network had relied on "Hezbollah's Shiite merchants who are active in the illegal trade of precious stones, money laundering, drug trafficking and ideological extortion."
He explained that the illegal trade in diamonds had been active in Sierra Leone since the mid-1980s, and it strengthened after the end of the civil war in Sierra Leone in 2002, until the crash of a Africans UTA plane in 2003, in which a Hezbollah courier was in possession of $ 20 million in trade proceeds other than Legitimacy for diamonds, according to Ayat.
According to observers, the party is circumventing the financial transfer systems "SWIFT" and "IBAN" to transfer money from West African countries, where its businessmen are active, to a number of European countries that are not strict in monitoring the sources of funds, before they end up with the Lebanese-owned banks. For businessmen loyal to the party, such as "Al Jamal Trust Bank" and the Lebanese Canadian Bank.
Hezbollah relies in its activities on Africans who adopt the Shiite doctrine in several countries, so the Triangle of Nigeria, Niger and Chad has become the most concentrated area of these activities that overlook the North African region, where the necessary passage for the party to transfer the money it earns to European banks and then to Beirut And Tehran.
A weakening factor for states
For her part, a researcher at the University of Grenoble, Abeer Abboudi, said that "the increasing infiltration of Hezbollah in West Africa is very worrying," stressing that "this region has become a new base for the Shiite organization, and a place for criminal activity, especially after it was narrowed in its original environment due to repercussions." His internal problems with the Lebanese factions. "
It pointed out that "Hezbollah's grip on West Africa is part of an international trend characterized by increased cooperation between criminal and terrorist organizations," considering that the party’s activities, which revolve around smuggling of weapons and drugs, "have become threats to all parts of the region, and extend to Latin America and Europe." What makes these movements factors for devoting more vulnerability to the countries in which they are spread.
The researcher interested in Middle East affairs stated, "The party's escalation in West Africa began in 2006, following the confrontation that took place between it and Israel, when it resorted to Africa and the drug trade, to cover up its financial problems after the war."
The Lebanese "party" faces many obstacles, as its hand has become tied, due to the restrictions it was exposed to in the recent period of its activities and financial income, especially after the United States of America took a number of steps that would restrict the movements of the party classified by it within Blacklists.
Feeding secession and terror
Lebanese sources told Sky News Arabia, "Hezbollah represents a separate case from the Lebanese state, and therefore its activities in Africa and Latin America are not strange for them to follow the same path."
It added, "The mere fact that the party has this nature, its presence anywhere can feed all separatist tendencies, as is the case with its suspicious relationship with the Polisario organization that seeks the secession of the Moroccan Sahara, as well as the fact that its mere presence in a place is considered a nourishment for other terrorist organizations," she added. And an incentive for it to continue, as happened after his intervention in Syria. "
Those sources affirmed that "the party, as it relies on taqiyya in its doctrinal activity, given its Shiite background, it does the same thing with drug and weapons trade and money laundering, as it declares that it forbids these activities, but it does so purely."
And Morocco cut off diplomatic relations with Iran, two years ago, due to its support for the Polisario, through elements of Hezbollah, which is likely to seek to transfer the party's expertise to the separatist front with regard to guerrilla warfare.
And this tension in the relations between the two countries had begun its chapters, according to Moroccan sources, since the arrest of the Lebanese businessman close to Hezbollah, Qassem Taj al-Din, in March of 2017.