Hezbollah’s dual-citizen pose serious threat to the West


Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant group, has long been a concern for Western governments due to its involvement in regional conflicts and terrorist activities. The recent case of Ali Ahmad Bazzi, an Australian national killed in an Israeli strike near the Israel-Lebanon border, highlights the evolving nature of the threat posed by Hezbollah.

Hezbollah’s history of recruiting Lebanese Shia expatriates for its cause is not new. The group has been known to leverage its diaspora community, estimated to include over 15 million people worldwide, with a substantial presence in South America. While previous cases have primarily involved individuals implicated in terror plots or financial schemes, the emergence of foreign nationals actively participating in Hezbollah’s military activities presents a new and concerning dimension.

Ali Ahmad Bazzi’s case stands out for several reasons. Unlike individuals involved in terror plots or financial activities, Ali and his brother Ibrahim were recruited to join Hezbollah’s military ranks while residing in Australia. This not only underscores Hezbollah’s ability to extend its influence beyond Lebanon but also emphasizes the increasing radicalization of individuals living in the West who choose to join the group’s ranks.

The US Department of Treasury has taken action against individuals linked to Hezbollah who were involved in recruiting Lebanese expatriates. These actions reveal ongoing efforts by Hezbollah to recruit fighters from its foreign cohorts. The sheer size of the Lebanese diaspora – particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, where hundreds of thousands of Lebanese Shia expatriates reside – necessitates vigilant monitoring of recruitment networks and associated institutions.

The recruitment of foreign nationals for military roles in Hezbollah poses both immediate and long-term challenges. While immediate concerns include the risk of more foreign nationals dying in Hezbollah’s uniform, it also underscores a deeper problem – the radicalization of individuals living in the West who choose to join the group’s ranks. The potential consequences of ignoring this issue are significant and could result in individuals returning to Western countries with the potential to bring Hezbollah’s violence to local communities.

Previous cases involving dual nationals engaged in terror activities, such as the 2012 Burgas bus bombing in Bulgaria, have raised concerns. The perpetrators of that attack – Meliad Farah, Hassan el-Haji Hassan, and Mohamad Hassan El Husseini – were dual nationals of Lebanon and, respectively, Australia, Canada, and France. Similar incidents have occurred in Cyprus, where Hossam Yaakoub, a dual national of Lebanon and Sweden, plotted to strike Israeli tourists.

Hezbollah’s money laundering and drug trafficking activities have also heavily relied on Lebanese expatriates. Several cases, including those of US-sanctioned individuals like Kassem Tajideen and Mohammed Ibrahim Bazzi, highlight the group’s financial networks. The involvement of dual nationals in such illicit activities poses a direct threat to global security and necessitates international cooperation in combating Hezbollah’s financial infrastructure.

To avert a potential crisis, Western governments must recognize Hezbollah’s penetration of diaspora communities and focus on preventive measures. Instead of stigmatizing entire communities, intelligence services should target Hezbollah agents involved in radicalization. Monitoring clerics, teachers, and instructors disseminating Hezbollah’s ideology is crucial. Educational materials must be vetted to identify and eliminate radicalizing themes and indoctrination messages.

Hezbollah has strategically utilized communal institutions within diaspora communities to disseminate its ideology. These include mosques, schools, cultural associations, and scout movements. Relying on clerics, scout leaders, teachers, and community organizers dispatched from Lebanon, Hezbollah uses these institutions to indoctrinate local youth. Monitoring and regulating the activities of these institutions is vital in curbing the spread of radical ideologies.

The threat posed by Hezbollah’s recruitment of dual-citizen members in the West is real and demands comprehensive action. Western governments must address the issue through targeted efforts against radicalization, focusing on individuals involved in spreading Hezbollah’s ideology. Ignoring this growing threat could lead to individuals returning to Western countries with the potential to bring Hezbollah’s violence to our communities, posing a risk that cannot be ignored. International cooperation, intelligence-sharing, and robust preventive measures are essential to mitigate this evolving security challenge.


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