The Shin Bet and Israel Police’s thwarting of Hezbollah’s plan to carry out terrorist attacks in the North, including in Haifa, was just another manifestation of the ongoing clandestine war between Israel and the Lebanese Shi’ite organization.
It’s a war whose trademark is not to leave behind fingerprints.
Six people, mostly from one family in the Alawite village of Ghajar on the Golan Heights, were arrested on suspicion of severe security offenses. The village is divided between Israel and Lebanon and is considered by Israeli authorities as a hub for drug smuggling and terrorist activity. In the past, some of its residents were arrested and sentenced to long prison terms for both types of offenses.
The unholy world combining drug smuggling, intelligence operations and terrorist plots is neither new nor surprising.
The CIA, Britain’s MI6, French intelligence and other security agencies around the world have used drug dealers as agents or covers for their operations.
Over the years, Israeli military officers have also been suspected, arrested and charged with drug smuggling or dealing from Lebanon and Sinai. In that sense, Hezbollah is walking in the footsteps of well-set precedent.
From its creation, Hezbollah was heavily involved in using drug dealers – some worked with Israel and then double crossed their handlers – to pursue its intelligence and military purposes. Actually, from its inception, taking advantage of its control of the poppy and hashish plants growing in eastern Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, it employed and manipulated drug dealers. This served two purposes: increasing Hezbollah’s financial revenue and reaching deals with the dealers and smugglers – “We’ll let you go about your business, if you help us go about ours.”
In the past, Hezbollah used drug dealers to recruit agents among Israeli Arabs. For letting them go about their business, the Shi’ite group demanded intelligence about Israel and for them to serve as couriers of explosives and recruiters of terrorists, as in the latest incident.
Hezbollah is bogged down in the bloody civil war in Syria. It is bleeding there as an obedient servant of the Iranian regime. As far as Hezbollah is concerned, the civil war is a detour from its ultimate goal to be ready for the next battle against Israel, although for more than 10 years it has been deterred by the Israeli military strength displayed in the 2006 Second Lebanon War.
Since most of its efforts to take the fight against Israel abroad by targeting its embassies and diplomats have failed, Hezbollah tries time and again to bring the violence inside Israel.
Sometimes this is manifested in efforts to establish terrorist cells among Palestinians in the West Bank and sometimes by recruiting Israeli Arabs to serve as its loyal intelligence and terror mules.
Luckily, in most cases, the Israeli security services have the upper hand.