After months of interviewing officials, fighters, commanders and analysts from nine countries, as well as conversations with members of Hezbollah itself, the New York Times has gather fa great amount of information on this organization that Iranian leaders increasingly rely on it to pursue their goals.
In fact, the article in the New York Times calls the Lebanese Hezbollah “one of the most important instruments in the drive for regional supremacy by its sponsor” Iran.
According to the report by the New York Times, “Hezbollah is involved in nearly every fight that matters to Iran and, more significantly, has helped recruit, train and arm an array of new militant groups that are also advancing Iran’s agenda.”
Hezbollah had a major role in the six year war against the Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, an ally the regime in Tehran, who “rely on it to pursue their goals.”
Hamza Mohammed, an Iraqi militiaman who was trained by Hezbollah and fought in Aleppo said, “On the front lines, there were lots of nationalities,” and added, “Hezbollah was there, Afghans, Pakistanis, Iraqis – everyone was there, with Iranian participation to lead the battle.”
“Iran and Hezbollah complement each other. For Iran, a Persian nation in a mostly Arab region, Hezbollah lends not just military prowess but also Arabic-speaking leaders and operatives who can work more easily in the Arab world. And for Hezbollah, the alliance means money for running an extensive social services network in Lebanon, with schools, hospitals and scout troops — as well as for weapons, technology and salaries for its tens of thousands of fighters,” writes the NYT.
Hezbollah helped build a network that has changed conflicts across the region, such as in Iraq, where the Iranian regime’s interests are promoted, and in Yemen, where the capital city has been taken over, and Saudi Arabia has been dragged into war.
The roots of the network goes back “to the American invasion of Iraq in 2003, when Iran called on Hezbollah to help organize Iraqi Shiite militias that in the coming years killed hundreds of American troops and many more Iraqis,” according to the report. “After the American invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003, Hezbollah operatives went to Iraq to help organize militias to fight the Americans with roadside bombs and other insurgency tactics.”
“Some of those militiamen now lead forces that have made common cause with Hezbollah again, this time in Syria.”
The report adds, “Hezbollah has become active in so many places and against so many enemies that detractors have mocked it as ‘the Blackwater of Iran’, after the infamous American mercenary firm.”
Hezbollah’s leaders have acknowledged that most of the group’s budget comes as cash from Iran.
Hezbollah’s name is Arabic for Party of God, and it has deep ideological ties to Iran. It endorses vilayat-e-faqih, under which Iran’s supreme leader is both the highest political power in the country and the paramount religious authority. Their stated goal is combating American and Israeli interests.
What will these tens of thousands of experienced fighters do after the wars in Syria and Iraq wind down? The New York Times reports this chilling message, “Hezbollah leaders have said they could be deployed in future wars against Israel.”