Nasrallah: "As Long as Iran Has Money, Hizbullah Has Money"

(Washington Institute for Near East Policy) Hanin Ghaddar - On June 24, Hizbullah secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah declared: "As long as Iran has money, Hizbullah has money....Our allocated money is coming to us in the same way we receive our rockets with which we threaten Israel." Today, Hizbullah has transformed itself into Iran's regional military arm and most of the money coming from Iran is funding the group's military operations in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and wherever else Iran seeks to field proxy forces. Most of Hizbullah's service institutions, such as health centers, are still in place, but they are not well-enough funded to serve the whole community and therefore cater to fighters and their families. Earlier this year, one former member of parliament told the Financial Times that Hizbullah had a basic payroll of 80,000, and 400,000 when family members were included. This means that about a quarter of Lebanese Shiites are receiving Hizbullah salaries. When Hizbullah offers to fighters a two-year contract of $500-$1,200 in monthly salary plus benefits, impoverished young men with few prospects see a handsome opportunity, with the potential for advancement. However, many fighters return in body bags, and many more come back permanently incapacitated. The Lebanese Shiite community is paralyzed by fear: fear of the Sunni Islamists around them who, as Hizbullah continually asserts, are trying to kill them all, and fear of Hizbullah itself, which is acting more violently inside Shiite neighborhoods. The writer, a veteran Lebanese journalist, is a visiting fellow at The Washington Institute.

2016-10-19 00:00:00

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