Iran-Allied Hezbollah’s Hashem Saffiedine Blacklisted

Saffiedine is one of Hezbollah’s leaders and earliest members, but not much is known about him. He was born in 1964, in the village of Deir Qanoun al-Nahr, South Lebanon’s governorate, according to Saudi news source MzMz. He married the daughter of Sayyed Muhammad Ali al-Amin, a member of the Legislative Assembly of Lebanon’s High Islamic Shiite Council. He is Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah’s maternal cousin, and both were taken under the wing of Imad Mughniyeh, who facilitated their tripl to the Iranian holy city of Qom for religious studies.

According to Asharq Al-Awsat, Saffiedine was studying in Qom until Nasrallah recalled him to Lebanon in 1994. In his book, Hizbullah’s Identity Construction, Joseph Alagha writes that in 1995, the Shiite organization held its fourth conclave and promoted Saffiedine to its highest council, its governing Consultative Assembly (Majlis al-Shura), and he was the single new appointee that year. This conclave created the Jihadi Council (al-Majlis al-Jihadi), to control all of Hezbollah’s military activities. Saffiedine was appointed as its head. Saffiedine continued his rise within the party and in 1998, during Hezbollah’s fifth conclave, he was elected as the head of the party’s Executive Council, according to Hezbollah’s website, a position he has held since, being reelected in subsequent conclaves held in 2001, 2004 and 2009.

David Daoud writes in an article for Track Persia, a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, that, “In fact, according to a study by the National Defense University’s Center for Complex Operations – Saffiedine is Nasrallah’s heir apparent and de facto second-in-command, despite Sheikh Naim Qassem having the title of Deputy Secretary General. Asharq Al-Awsat says Saffiedine was chosen as Nasrallah’s successor due to his political and military experience within Hezbollah, as well as his strong ties with Tehran established during his religious studies in Qom. The paper claims being told by a high-ranking former member of the organization that Saffiedine was chosen as Nasrallah’s successor as far back as 1994.”

According to Daoud, party officials\ described him to Asharq Al-Awsat as a “true leader, simultaneously firm and flexible.” They also described his personality as an “extension of sayyed Nasrallah’s,” and a perfect successor to the Secretary General.
Saffiedine wields considerable power within Hezbollah as head of the influential Executive Council. As stated by Asharq Al-Awsat, he controls all daily sensitive issues, such as managing the party’s organizations, its funds, and its domestic and foreign investments.