Tag Archives: Hezbollah

Hezbollah’s Mahdi Scouts and their road to martyrdom

Hezbollah al-Mahdi boy scouts shout slogans as they march at an anti-US protest in Beirut’s southern suburbs September 17, 2012. (Reuters)

As long as there are terror entities in the shape of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its proxy Hezbollah, using the state system to brainwash youngsters into carrying out acts of terror in foreign lands, there will never be an end to terrorism.

As far as Hezbollah is concerned, it will never run out of cannon fodder, as thousands of child conscripts are being trained within its scouting groups, and are always waiting in the pipeline, ready to take up the challenge of becoming a suicide bomber or proxy warrior within the Shiite militia’s ever-diminishing ranks. The conflict in Syria has certainly taken a toll, as Hezbollah warriors die dutifully in droves for their Iranian paymasters.

Children as young as eight, who have joined the ranks of Hezbollah’s Imam al-Mahdi Scouts, are being brain-washed into learning the concepts of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s radical Shiite ideology, ready to be unleashed across the globe as part of Iran’s terror machine. As far as Hezbollah is concerned, they like to catch their conscripts at the earliest of age, and one of their favoured methods is to sign them up as Imam al-Mahdi Scouts, the youth wing of their fighting machine.

The whole point of this exercise is to program a child’s developing brain, through teaching it the concept of martyrdom, while influencing their hearts and minds, with the use of an intense program of brain washing. At summer camps, which are designed to accommodate children under the age of 10, and youths up to the age of 20, the scouts undergo military training, as well as taking part in various sporting activities.

Dehumanized through indoctrination

On a much darker side, while being dehumanized through indoctrination of radical Shiite ideology, the young novices are taught hatred of Israel, a loathing for Western culture, reverence to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, and at the same time, those attending these camps are expected to swear allegiance to Hassan Nasrallah, the current Secretary General of the Lebanese political and paramilitary party Hezbollah.

Whilst taking part in parades, which come as part of the scouting curriculum, the youngsters are often seen attired in military-style uniforms, they also wear berets, and at times, headbands emblazon their foreheads bearing slogans such as “Oh Jerusalem, we are coming”, while on other occasions, scouts have been seen to wear combat paint streaked on their faces, and carry plastic rifles.

The fleur-de-lis is the internationally recognized emblem of the scout movement, a badge containing this emblem is worn by the Imam al-Mahdi Scouts, and just like all other scout troops worldwide, their emblem contains an element of their own distinction, which in the case of the Hezbollah troop contains two swords either side of it, a hand raised as if taking an oath, and it also displays an inscription beneath it reading “Obey!”

As a fighting unit, Hezbollah is no more than a proxy wing of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). It’s function to carry out terror attacks, as well as fight in conflicts in foreign countries on behalf of the group.

With the IRGC Qods Force having moulded the Lebanese militia since its inception, having now found itself entangled in the Syrian Civil War, the IRGC finds it needs Hezbollah more than ever, and adding this to the war against ISIS that has broken out in Iraq, both military campaigns have drawn the Iranian regime ever deeper into a conflict that seems to have no end in sight.

Avoiding body count

To avoid a heavy body count, which would impact on public opinion back home, the Iranian regime has been using Hezbollah, and other foreign militias, to take on the heavy end of the fighting, in a bid to keep their own casualties to a minimum, which has left Hezbollah desperate for recruits.

Having suffered heavy losses on the battlefield over recent years, Hezbollah has been working hard to bring young recruits into its ranks, needing to create a new generation of operatives with which to replenish its battle-scarred units.

So, at a network of Imam al-Mahdi Scout camps, said to be set up in the Shiite districts of Beirut, the Beqaa Valley and South Lebanon, potential conscripts are put through rigorous military training, as well as heavy indoctrination, preparing them to take on the role of “resistance” fighters.

Hezbollah al-Mahdi scouts ride their motorcycle as they parade during an event for Jerusalem day or Al-Quds day, at the southern town of Nabatiyeh, Lebanon, Aug. 1, 2013. (AP)

As they progress in their training, in the minds of many of these raw recruits, they see themselves in pursuit of the “greater jihad”, and that by sacrificing their lives for Khamenei, they are convinced they will undergo a spiritual transformation that transports them straight to heaven.

One method of indoctrination used to influence these isolated youngsters, are books and magazines extolling the virtues of Khamenei, plus all other aspects of Iranian Shiite doctrine, and once the indoctrinated child reaches seventeen years-old, if the young scout excels in his training, his trainer approaches him with an offer to join the ranks of Hezbollah’s armed resistance group.

As far as Hezbollah is concerned, its president is the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei, who is held in an aura of godliness by the faithful, who look upon him as the delegate of Imam Mahdi, or God’s representative on earth, and as such, they emulate him to the status of being the most divine individual alive, who cannot be equalled among mankind.

With Hezbollah being a dutiful proxy of Iran, the values of Iranian radical Shiite doctrine are brought into play throughout the training of the Imam al-Mahdi recruits, nurturing the child on terrorist culture, whilst glorifying the terror group’s past martyrs, most of whom have died due to their connection to Hezbollah’s terrorist activities.

Revered ‘martyrs’

The most prominent of those revered “martyrs” come in the form of its co-founder and Secretary General Abbas Mussawi, who was assassinated in 1992, and its military commander Imad Mughniya, who was assassinated in 2008, whose faces can be seen across Lebanon’s Shiite areas, staring down from huge posters.

Established in 1985, the Imam al-Mahdi Scouts is believed to have around 50,000 members, who are distributed amongst more than 500 regiments, many of whom will eventually enter Hezbollah’s armed wing, or will go on to become ardent activists of the group. Even the remainder who do not take up a vocation within the organisation, will still have become heavily indoctrinated as to radical Shiite ideology, passing it on to family and friends.

The main topic on the curriculum of the al-Mahdi scouts has always been the destruction of Israel, they are also taught that becoming a martyr to protect their land is the highest of virtues, and during these intensive summer courses, scouts are also taught weapons skills, and take part in target practice. But there is also a lighter side to lessons, where youngsters are taught to read and write, they are also taught computer skills, and lessons in administration.

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Iran and Hezbollah, hijackers of planes

Turki Al-Dakhil/// Saudi Arabia is confronting several schemes plotted by Iran. A few days ago, the Manila Times reported that it saw confidential documents confirming that a team of 10 people – including six Yemenis – have left Iran in separate flights via Turkey and arrived in several countries in South East Asia in an attempt to execute their plan to blow up and hijack Saudi airplanes.

Kuwait
Iran and its affiliates, primarily the terrorist group Hezbollah, have a history of targeting passenger planes. On April 29, 1986, Kuwait said it had thwarted an attempt by a group of 12 people to hijack a Kuwaiti Airways plane and take it to an unknown location in East Asia.
The investigation accused Imad Mughniyeh, then-Hezbollah’s leader of security apparatuses. In 1988, he hijacked the Kuwaiti Al-Jaberiya jet and forced it to alter its route toward Mashhad in Iran and then to Larnaca in Cyprus. Kuwaiti passengers Abdullah Khalidi and Khaled Ayoub were shot dead by Mughniyeh and dumped off the plane.

Back then, Mughniyeh – upon direct orders from Hezbollah leaders – demanded the release of 17 prisoners held by Kuwait for their role in the 1983 bombings that in one day targeted the country’s major power plant, international airport, the American and French embassies, a petrochemical plant and a residential compound. Iran, Hezbollah and hijacked planes are a never-ending story of criminality that knows no limits or mercy.

Iran has won Lebanon

 Hezbollah fighters, holding up Lebanese flags and the yellow flag of the militant Shiite Muslim group, parade through the southern suburbs of Beirut in November 2009. (AFP)

Hezbollah’s chief Hassan Nasrallah declared his victory in Lebanon in his last speech and he’s right. Hezbollah won Lebanon and no one seems to care.
March 14 dissolved long before its leaders nominated March 8 figures for presidency. Political opponents to the Party of God and its hegemony over Lebanon lost the battle a long time ago, when they compromised values for political gains. The state is increasingly weakened by the void in its institutions, corruption of its spearheads, and petty individual interests.

Regional powers are busy in Syria and Yemen while the international community seems to have given up on Lebanon. As long as Hezbollah’s involvement in Syria is not challenged by the international community, it means only one thing for Lebanon; that Iran has been given a free hand to take over. The release of a criminal and terrorist of Michel Samaha’s caliber is nothing but a sign of who runs the show, and how weak we are to even protest it.

Iran won Lebanon! And Iran can do anything it wants in Lebanon without any political opposition or challenges. And now Iran can focus to win what it needs in Syria, while everyone is busy making business deals with the “new Iran.” Lebanon, on the other hand, is going to pay a very high price for all these deals and compromises, more so as Iran, Russia and the Assad regime are scoring more gains in Syria.

Iran’s plan for Lebanon

To protect Hezbollah’s arms, Iran will do anything; whatever it takes and no matter how many people and lives are sacrificed. The arms are above all. The sacredness of these arms was justified by fighting Israeli aggression and occupation, and is justified today by fighting terrorism and takfiris. However, the real purpose and ultimate goal of Hezbollah’s arms is their mere existence.

Hezbollah’s arms are a symbol of its power and authority over Lebanon and the Lebanese. So without them, Hezbollah has nothing, and Iran will lose influence in Lebanon and the region. Even if they’re not in use, arms are the backbone of this power. With the changing dynamics in the region, Iran’s deal with the West and the escalating Sunni-Shiite conflict in the region, Hezbollah wants to make sure nothing changes the status quo of its arsenal. Today, there is no one to challenge Hezbollah’s arms in Lebanon. To guarantee that for the longest time possible, Hezbollah will need more void and the disintegration of state institutions, which will intensify and become worse.

The Sunni community will have to remain headless. Former PM Saad Hariri has been out of the country for years, and there’s no one else to challenge his popularity yet. The Saudi money stopped coming to the Sunni community, through Hariri’s institutions, as it used to, which left them in urgent need of leadership and financial support.

Meanwhile, Hezbollah is taking advantage of the situation by recruitingmore Sunnis into the Resistance Brigade [Saraya al-Moqawama]. For a mere $400 a month, Sunnis are joining the Brigade – not to fight in Syria – but only to receive training and stay on hold until further notice.

This “further notice” is probably a local moment, similar to the May 7 events of 2008, or the Black Shirts of 2010. “What the Sunnis are used for, however, are reconnaissance missions in Syria, as they have access to rebel areas and make good informants,” a Sunni activist in the Bekaa told NOW a few months ago. “They offer some money, but more than that, they offer weapons, and, most of all, protection and the illusion that they are powerful.”

In any case, Hezbollah prefers this community to stay leaderless because it simply gives them more power and sway over Lebanon, its state, and its communities.

But the most significant part of this plan is the Shiites in Lebanon. They are the ones providing fighters for the war and protecting the party and its weapons. The supporters will die for Hezbollah and Iran, but they won’t die for Lebanon. This loyalty and dedication needs to endure. Without it, Hezbollah loses a lot, but it requires a lot as well; that is, money, for services, media, and compensations. The money is coming, despite the recent US sanctions. But the challenges are elsewhere.

Containing discontent

Hezbollah’s support-base is increasingly complaining. It started with the parents of the kids who died fighting in Syria, but it seems even the fighters themselves are complaining now.
Sources in the southern suburbs tell NOW that the increasing number of young men coming back in coffins – and sometimes not even coming back – without any benefit or victory felt, has intensified discontent. “When Hezbollah was resisting Israeli occupation, its victories were felt by the people. For example, they could go back to their occupied towns and villages in the South. Today, their victories have no practical repercussion on the community, but their losses do; it the death of our children, brothers and fathers,” she said.

On a different level, many businessmen in Lebanon are panicking after the US Treasury sanctions started targeting more people. Hezbollah’s economic support-base has never been targeted as it is today. Any businessman dealing with any of Hezbollah’s institutions is today reconsidering their deals – even if it is the selling of office supplies or catering services. This is not going to hurt Hezbollah significantly, but it will certainly increase the level of discontent by a community suffering more and more of isolation.

Hezbollah is trying to fight this discontent by increasing the funding for propaganda and services. For example, Iran is trying to take advantage of the severe financial crisis in Lebanon’s media sector – mainly due to the ceasing of Saudi funding for Lebanon’s media – to increase its support to its own media. For instance, recent reports show that Iran is spending millions of US dollars on media institutions, mostly located around the Iranian embassy in Beirut. Houthis, Iraqis and Hezbollah share a lot of these spaces and editorial operations. While Lebanese media – newspapers and TV channels – are closing or downsizing, Iranian-funded media outlets are prospering, expanding and hiring more than ever.

The whole point is to expand the propaganda rhetoric in order to contain the increasing discontent. Despite the challenges, the Party of God is steadily moving to take whatever is left of Lebanon. If no one stops it, Lebanon will be a state-within-Hezbollah’s-state, not the other way around. And we are not far from it.

Hanin Ghaddar is the managing editor of NOW and a nonresident fellow at the Atlantic Council. She tweets @haningdr.