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Dangerous liaisons: covert "love affair" between Russia and Hezbollah
AIA ^ | Michel Elbaz

Posted on 01/09/2006 5:20:47 PM PST by Tailgunner Joe

The relations between Russia and the Shiite's religious leadership in Lebanon started to develop in the beginning of the seventies. The spiritual leader of the Lebanese Shia community, Imam Moussa Al-Sadr, visited Moscow in 1972 and asked Soviet authorities to issue humanitarian aid to his people.

At the same time cooperation between the Marxist factions of the PLO that were active in Lebanon and Soviet military intelligence – GRU, intensified greatly. Several soviet officers (speaking fluent Arabic) even visited Palestinian terrorist training camps in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon between 1972-1975. Using their connections in PLO they managed to establish contact with Iranian opposition members and radical Lebanese Shiite groups, which also were training in Palestinian camps at that time.

Later, these contacts between Shiite extremists and GRU officers, allowed access of the Soviet intelligence to the AMAL and the Hezbollah leaders. In the beginning of the eighties, after Al- Sadr`s disappearance (1978) Moscow established tight relations with Nabih Berri, following the strengthening of his position as AMAL`s leader. The head of the KGB branch in Beirut, Yuri Perfiliev, and GRU officers acting in Syria and Lebanon, conducted links with Berri. On the contrary, Hezbollah in the beginning tried to avoid any direct contact with Moscow representatives at that time. Its spiritual leaders even expressed hostility towards the USSR because of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and oppression of the Muslim nations in the Soviet Union.

In September 1985 Imad Mughnieh`s (the head of the special operations unit of Hezbollah) militants abducted four employees of the Russian Embassy in Beirut. In exchange for setting them free the abductors demanded to cease all Syrian Army actions against Hezbollah, FATAH, Sunni radicals and left wing militia bases in Beirut and Tripoli. Moscow accepted these terms and put pressure on Syria, stopping the fighting. Concurrently, the head of the KGB in Beirut Perfiliev, using the sources of Walid Jumblatt`s intelligence services made a direct contact with Hezbollah`s spiritual leader Sheikh Muhammad Fadlallah. A day after they have met for the second time, three of the kidnapped employees of the Russian embassy were set free. The fourth one – a senior officer of the KGB, was murdered, but the main reason of his death was more in the power rivalry between the KGB and Soviet military intelligence in Lebanon and less in Hezbollah`s intentions to harm Soviet representatives. After that incident there was no substantial data on contacts between Moscow and Hezbollah for at least a decade. But, according to the testimony of GRU agent in Sweden Stig Berling, Soviet military intelligence continued to cooperate with terrorist organizations in Lebanon until 1993.

Azerbaijani Defense Minister's deputy and the head of the Azerbaijani secret service Department of operations (until April 2005) Taufik Babayev, claims that in 1994 the Russian intelligence SVR (ex-Foreign Department of the KGB in the Soviet era) tried to renew contacts with Hezbollah. Babayev was responsible for keeping an eye on Iranian activities directed against his country and Tehran's connections with Islamic extremist organizations.

According to Israeli sources Babayev discovered that at the end of 1994 the head of SVR, Evgeny Primakov, using his close relations with Syria and Iran, found a channel to contact Hezbollah.

By the way, the same Yuri Perfiliev, who managed relations with Fadlallah during the eighties, worked for the SVR in 1994.

Diplomats on a Secret Service

Primakov`s appointment to the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry in January, 1996, brought drastic changes in Moscow's foreign policy. The pro-western orientation of his predecessor gave way to the revival of traditional Soviet diplomacy. The main manifestation of the change was the process of rapprochement between Russia and the Arab world, India and Iran.

Concurrently, Primakov continued to define the goals of the Russian intelligence services. His close confidant, Vyacheslav Trubnikov, was appointed to lead the SVR (Sluzhba Vnesnei Razvedki), and coordinated all actions with his patron throughout his tenure in the office. Primakov has continued nurturing all of the initiatives and projects that he started as head of the SVR. Several months after he had replaced the previous Foreign Minister, he started to seek contacts with Hezbollah. In December, 1997, the Russian ambassador to Israel, Michail Bogdanov, admitted during an interview that Moscow constantly keeps in touch with Sheikh Nasralla`s subordinates. According to him, the contacts are kept primarily through the Russian embassy in Beirut. Bogdanov noted: "our cooperation with the organization is meant to encourage restraint. Less then a month before this interview, Primakov had visited Beirut. While he was conducting official meetings with Lebanese government figures, his attendant, Viktor Posovaluk, secretly met with the leaders of Hezbollah, including its General Secretary's deputy, Naim Kassem. Later in Moscow, during his meeting with journalists, Posovaluk called Hezbollah a "national liberation organization".

He came back to Lebanon in May, 1998, and again unofficially met with Naim Kassem., Posovaluk was conducting the contacts with Hezbollah on behalf of the Russian Foreign Office until he died in the summer of 1999. All this time he was the Russian President's special envoy to the Middle East and a deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs. Incidentally, he also managed contacts with representatives of the Taliban.

After his death, several meetings between representatives of the Russian Foreign Office and Hezbollah took place in 2000-2001. During his conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Sharon in November, 2003, President Putin admitted the existence of such contacts, but claimed that they were conducted solely for the sake of receiving information on three abducted Israeli soldiers.

Envoys of the Ummah or…

Russian communication with Hezbollah is not reserved for diplomats only. Official Islamic leaders of Russia also take part in these liaisons. The majority of Muslims in Russia belong to the Sunni branch of Islam. After the USSR collapsed, they were marked by extremist Sunni preachers from Arab counties as a preferable objective for the expansion of their influence. Following the war in Chechnya, their activity was forbidden, and most of the foreign charity organizations and institutes for the propagation of Islam were declared to be supporters of terrorism. But such a harsh attitude is not applied to Shia fundamentalist organizations, such as Hezbollah. They do not constitute a threat to the Russian regime, they are not forbidden, and there are no laws against contacting their representatives abroad. The first official delegation of high ranking Russian Muslim leaders came to Beirut to meet with the representatives of Hezbollah in January, 2002. Mufti Nafigulla Ashirov, the leader of the Muslims living in Russia's Asian regions, led the delegation. To describe Nafigulla`s status and level of influence in Russia, it is enough to note that during the elections of 1999 his main assistant, Abed Al- Vahked Niyazov, led the party list of the Unity block in voting districts located in the Urals regions, accumulating more than 20 million Muslim votes to support Putin.

During the visit to Lebanon, Nafigulla, together with representatives of Hezbollah, took part in the summit of Islamic religious leaders. In the farewell speeches Russian Muslims- called for strengthening Moscow's relations with Sheikh Nasrallah`s organization.

Since then, the interactions between the Russian Muslim leadership and the leaders of Hezbollah have become regular.

The Institute of Oriental Studies` expert, Vladimir Akhmadov, has written a lengthy article devoted to the importance of contacts with Hezbollah for the promotion of the Russian interests in the Middle East. He claims that relations with the Shia organization strengthen Russia's position in the region, particularly regarding the issue of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

If this is really so, Putin`s ambitions to rehabilitate Russian influence in the area expressed through tightening of relations with Syria, Iran and Turkey will lead to the strengthening of relations with Hezbollah. The current occurrences in Lebanon encourage this tendency.

Legitimizing Terrorism

Before the Israeli army's departure from Lebanon in Spring, 2000, Russia accepted, to a certain extent, the legitimacy of Hezbollah`s terrorist actions against Israel. The most blunt expression this attitude came during Evgeny Primakov`s visit as a Minister of Foreign Affairs to the countries of the region in April, 1996. Before visiting Israel, he said that "all the tension in Southern Lebanon may not be blamed on Hezbollah, while Israel is still occupying part of this country". Simultaneously with this statement, Moscow offered to mediate the negotiations between Israel, Syria and Iran regarding the issue of Hezbollah. Primakov also claimed that Israel is not striving sufficiently to find - political solution for the problem of South Lebanon. One can ascertain the Russian attitude towards Hezbollah after the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon by looking at the way in which the Russian state news agency, RIAN, covered accidents on the Lebanese border since May, 2000. Most of the reports are based on information from the Hezbollah-owned Al-Manar channel. RIAN`s reporters are fond of reminding their audience that all the terrorist actions of Hezbollah on the border are efforts to "regain the Shaaba Farms – Lebanese territory, occupied by the Israeli forces".

"The Hezbollah must receive proper representation in Lebanese governmental institutions," announced the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov one month after Rafik Hariri`s assassination. The official speaker of the Russian Foreign Ministry added that this Shia organization plays an important role in the country's political, economic and social life. He pointed out that Hezbollah is represented in the Parliament and acts within the limits of the Lebanese Constitution.

Fadlallah Calls for Russian Involvement

In the beginning of Hezbollah`s rise, its leaders expressed hostility towards Moscow. At that time, such a position was backed by Hezbollah`s external policy, well explained by one of its leaders, Hussein Al-Musaui (who established AMAL al-Islami, which later merged with Hezbollah). "We are fighting against East and West as one – against the USSR and against the USA" he said in his interview to the Arabic paper "Al-Kifah Al-Arabi" in January, 1984. His words closely corresponded to the Iranian policy at that time. But since the end of the eighties and particularly after the USSR`s collapse, ayatollahs' attitudes towards Moscow have changed. Russia and Iran have abandoned mutual suspicions and tension, and moved towards strategic cooperation. Iranian influence and the new world order affected Hezbollah, driving its official leaders to alter their policy towards Russia. Not, however, the spiritual leaders – they occasionally criticized Moscow's policies as harshly as their Iranian colleagues did. For example, in February, 1995, Sheikh Fadlallah condemned the Russian authority for unleashing war in Chechnya. Moscow's struggle to return to its traditional policy in the Middle East and to become again an opponent of American hegemony in the region was realized noted by Sheikh Nasrallah and his environs during the second half of the nineties. These Russian intentions serve Hezbollah`s interest, and its leadership plans to use Moscow to strengthen their organization's regional and international position. This is why representatives of Hezbollah, since the second half of the nineties, have called for tightening relations with Russia and assisting in the growth of its involvement in the area. Russian sources reported that in May, 1998, the General Secretary of the organization, Sheikh Nasrallah, talked about cooperation between Moscow and Hezbollah on regional issues during his meeting with Victor Posovaluk. A year and a half before that, Sheikh Fadlallah had even agreed to give an interview to the Russian conservative newspaper, "Zavtra". The spiritual leader of Shia terrorists suddenly proved to be a supporter of increasing interaction with Moscow. Fadlallah stated that "Russia has to give priority to the relations with Eastern countries, especially Arab and Muslim ones. This is the area where Russia can play an important role and fully exercise its potential, including the economical sphere, to be the counterbalancing power to the West". With the expansion of Russian involvement in the Middle East, the growing role of Hezbollah in Lebanese internal policy and the exacerbation of the contradictions on the issue of its military wing, the interest of Hezbollah`s leadership in promoting connections with Russia undoubtedly will grow.

Moscow Base for Recruiting "Shahids`"

With the collapse of Soviet rule, hundreds of Islamic extremists from all over the Muslim world spread across Russia. Emissaries of the different Sunni organizations started to compete for influence among the ex-Soviet Muslims. They also encouraged a religious "renaissance" in the North Caucasus, accompanied by separatist ambitions with an Islamic tint.

Hezbollah`s agents were also among the extremists flooding the country, yet in the beginning the Shia emissaries did not show any special interest in local population. They strived to expand their influence and "guardianship" among thousands of students, immigrants and merchants who came to Russia from the UAE, Lebanon, Jordan and Palestinian authority. Hezbollah`s humanitarian aid and preaching of Islam was meant mostly for Palestinians and Arabs – Shiites that constituted a pool of potential terrorists after their return to the Middle East. Hezbollah`s agents had one more interest. The military plants, which were unable to pay their workers, poverty and corruption at all levels of the local authorities and army, had turned Russia into the source of cheap modern weaponry for the Shia terrorist organization.

The first reports in the Russian media of Hezbollah`s presence in the country started in September, 1993. One of the stories noted that Russia had become a bridgehead for militant Shiite agents' infiltration into Western and Central Europe. Several years later, Hezbollah`s branches appeared in major cities, such as Moscow, Saint Petersburg and Voronezh. The central branch – in Moscow – controlled the other branches in Russia, additional ex-Soviet states (Kazakhstan, Ukraine Belorussia and Moldova) and in several countries of Eastern Europe. The Russian infrastructure of the Shia organization finally formed in the late nineties and was headed by Dr. Hassan Allek. He resided in Moscow, keeping in constant touch with high-ranking representatives of the Iranian and Lebanese embassies. Hadj Hassan Salame was second in command of the local organization's hierarchy, as he was a representative of its special operations unit ("Muntamat al-Jihad al-Islami" - MJI or "Islamic Jihad Organization"). His responsibilities were as follows: recruiting of activists to the military wing, purchasing of weaponry and its transfer to Lebanon. Dr. Muhammad Haidar headed the second branch in size in Saint Petersburg. To cover up the dealings in Russia, the "Ahl al-Beit" ("The Prophet's Family") association for open cultural and religious activities was created by Hezbollah`s representatives. Through its first phase, it worked with Lebanese students only. Later it became open to Shiites from Iraq, UAE, Yemen, and African countries (and not just students). Today it unites thousands of the local Muslims, migrants and immigrants from Middle Eastern countries, Azerbaijan and Central Asia. The association also initiated several years ago an intensive campaign of conversion to Islam, directed at the Russian atheist population of Christian-orthodox origin. As a result of this campaign, the number of converts to Islam is rising progressively, and many of the recent converts became prominent activists in Russian Shia community. "The Prophet's Family" maintain close relations with the Shia leaders of Iran and Lebanon. Delegations on behalf of the association visit Kum and Tehran every year.

The major centers of the association's activities are Moscow and Saint Petersburg (there are 600 thousand Shiites in this city alone).

In the end of November, 1999, the head of the Israeli Security Service (SHABAQ) at the time, Ami Ayalon, announced that he had incontrovertible evidence of military activity of Hezbollah in the territory of Russia. He claimed that this organization recruited Palestinian students who were being sent to training camps in the North Caucasus, where they acquire "knowledge" which they use to commit terrorist acts after returning to the Palestinian Authority. Ayalon added that Hezbollah in Russia conducted meetings with representatives of Palestinian Islamic Jihad's different branches and Islamic extremists from Hizb Ut-Tahrir. The announcement of the head of SHABAQ was substantiated by testimonies of captured Islamic Jihad activists, who had been trained in Russia and were arrested by Israeli security forces upon their return to the Palestinian Authority. In their reply, representatives of the Russian embassy in Israel denied having any information on Hezbollah`s actions in Russia. However, in April, 2002, the heads of FSB in Moscow admitted that the Shia organization was acting in the Russian capital and its outskirts.

The Kremlin Prefers to Ignore

Before the Israeli army's departure from Lebanon in Spring, 2000, Russia accepted, to a certain extent, the legitimacy of Hezbollah`s terrorist actions against Israel. The most blunt expression this attitude came during Evgeny Primakov`s visit as a Minister of Foreign Affairs to the countries of the region in April, 1996. Before visiting Israel, he said that "all the tension in Southern Lebanon may not be blamed on Hezbollah, while Israel is still occupying part of this country". Simultaneously with this statement, Moscow offered to mediate the negotiations between Israel, Syria and Iran regarding the issue of Hezbollah. Primakov also claimed that Israel is not striving sufficiently to find - political solution for the problem of South Lebanon. One can ascertain the Russian attitude towards Hezbollah after the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon by looking at the way in which the Russian state news agency, RIAN, covered accidents on the Lebanese border since May, 2000. Most of the reports are based on information from the Hezbollah-owned Al-Manar channel. RIAN`s reporters are fond of reminding their audience that all the terrorist actions of Hezbollah on the border are efforts to "regain the Shaaba Farms – Lebanese territory, occupied by the Israeli forces".

"The Hezbollah must receive proper representation in Lebanese governmental institutions," announced the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov one month after Rafik Hariri`s assassination. The official speaker of the Russian Foreign Ministry added that this Shia organization plays an important role in the country's political, economic and social life. He pointed out that Hezbollah is represented in the Parliament and acts within the limits of the Lebanese Constitution.

Fadlallah Calls for Russian Involvement

FSB has conducted surveillance on Hezbollah`s activities in Russia since the middle of the nineties. From the very beginning, Russian security officers met with representatives of the organization and explained the "rules of play" to them. Similar meetings took place at the outset of each visit of Israeli officials (Minister or Prime Minister) to Moscow, and the Russians have warned Hezbollah to "stay cool". However, the Russian authorities never have banned the activity of the organization in the country. In 2003, the Russian Supreme Court published a list of 15 terrorist organizations whose activities in the country were forbidden, based on the data provided by FSB. Hezbollah was not among them. At the end of November, 2003, Israeli Prime Minister Sharon visited Moscow and personally asked Putin to include the Shia terrorists on the abovementioned list. The Russian President promised to "find a legal way to this problem". But nothing changed. On April 14, 2005, deputy of the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alexander Saltanov, even claimed during his visit to Israel that he knew nothing about Putin promising something to Sharon. Saltanov added that if any legal proof of Hezbollah`s involvement in terrorist acts in Russia would be found, the organization would appear on the black list.

Russian Weapons to "Free Jerusalem"

Hezbollah`s special operations unit ("Muntamat al-Jihad al-Islami" - MJI or "Islamic Jihad Organization") emissaries have been active in Russia since the middle of the nineties. Residing in Moscow, Imad Hadj Hassan Salame heads this special operations unit. His men were an integral part of Hezbollah`s international network for smuggling weapons to Lebanon. Salame, coordinating these activities in Russia, was also responsible for assisting the emissaries of MJI in Ukraine, Belorussia, Moldova, Kazakhstan and Georgia. Sometimes he even provided the logistic support to his colleagues in Eastern European countries, such as Bulgaria, Romania, Czech Republic and Slovakia. In his turn, Salame was backed up by certain arms and diamonds dealers of Lebanese origin working in Africa, who had close relations with Russian arms dealers. Imad Kabir (also known as Imad Bakri), Talal ad-Din and Muhammad Darbakh were among them. As key figures in Hezbollah`s weapons smuggling network in Western and Central Africa, these three play an important role in equipping and financing the organization. Imad Bakri, for example, started his career as a diamond merchant. In 1995, with the assistance of Iranian intelligence, he managed to establish good personal relations with the President of Zaire (Mobutu Sese Seko) and his ally – the leader of UNITA - Angola rebel movement (Jonas Savimbi). The same year, Bakri started smuggling to Angolan rebels large quantities of weaponry from the countries of the former Warsaw Pact. His major partner in this business was an ex-GRU officer, arms trafficker Viktor Bout. His responsibility was to purchase the weapons throughout the CIS countries and Eastern Europe, and to deliver them by planes to Africa. Angolan militants were paying for guns with diamonds. Precious stones were sold to Lebanese merchants residing in Belgium, who cooperated with MJI (Aziz Naser was the head of the Belgian diamond dealers network).

Immense profits allowed Bakri to expand his activity into additional African countries. In 1997, he and his Russian partner started to sell not only light arms but also heavy weaponry, such as APC`s and surface-to-air missile systems. From each deal, Hezbollah received its share of revenues. Later Bakri started also to transfer part of the Russian and Eastern European weaponry to Lebanon via several routes. The shortest route was through Armenia – the weapons arrived there by planes and by trucks traveled over Iranian and Syrian territory to Lebanon. The other way was more tangled. Weapons were flown from Europe to one of the West African states, and from there transported via Sudanese ports on board merchant ships to Lebanon. The Iranian intelligence and African MJI backed up transfers of arms. Ali Akhbar Mohtashemi, ex- ambassador of Iran to Damascus and Khartoum and one of the initiators of Hezbollah, played a major role in the beginning of these arms deliveries. Additionally, the Moscow-based MJI branch was authorized to seek new "sources of weapons" in Russia to be purchased for the Shia terrorists and the Iranian intelligence service. One of its most daring operations was the attempt in the summer of 1995 to purchase, for the paltry sum of $600 thousand, elements for the construction of atomic warheads. Abu-Harif and Abu-Madjid – two MJI agents – were involved in this mission, which included smuggling of the components out of the Russian military plant in the city of Elektrostal, situated not far from Moscow.

The Hezbollah`s Honorary Consul

The Russian MJI branch was also responsible for providing assistance to Hezbollah`s infrastructure in CIS and Eastern European countries. Depending on geographic size and "military resources", one or several emissaries of the organization were sent to reside in some of these states. They worked undercover as Lebanese, Iranian or French "merchants", conducting legal trading activity. In some states, the agents of Hezbollah even married local women to acquire citizenship. This helped them to carry out their main role – provide assistance in logistics and in mediating the contacts between local dealers, authorities, etc. and Hezbollah`s envoys arriving in the country to purchase specific equipment or for other purposes. Lebanese businessman Mahmud Hamoud stands out among such agents residing in CIS. He came to Rumania in 1992 and for five years conducted trading activity successfully. Assisted by his business contacts, he even became the Lebanese consul in Bucharest. Due to this official status and his wealth, he gained access to the highest officials, high ranking officers and, of course, leading businessmen – not only in Rumania, but also in Moldova, which he used to visit frequently. Over the course of the years, information about his secret mission on behalf of the Shia terrorist organization started to pile up in Bucharest. The Rumanian intelligence SRI initiated surveillance, observing and acuminating data on his travels and meetings. In the beginning of 1997, he was forced to leave Bucharest for Kishinev. He quickly became the Lebanese consul to Moldova. A year later, the President of the country even appoints him Moldova`s official representative in some Arab states. Hamoud became an exclusive economic mediator on cooperation between this ex-Soviet republic and the Arab world. In the beginning of 2000, he received citizenship in Moldova. A year later, he married Olesya Diakova - daughter of the ex-chairman of the state Parliament. Yet again, at the end of 2001, Moldavian intelligence received proof of his involvement with Hezbollah and activities on behalf of this organization in the region. This led to Hamoud`s expulsion from Moldova, shortly after his wedding. However, his job was already done – while he was staying in Kishinev, undercover cells of Hezbollah were organizing among the Arab students studying in the city. The ULIM University was the center of this activity. In 2001 (shortly before Hamoud`s expulsion), 2245 students, mostly from Muslim countries, studied in Moldova (427 from Jordan, 569 from Syria, 107 from Sudan and 31 from the Palestinian Authority). More then 600 of them were involved in the activities of different Islamic cells, mainly in Hezbollah`s.

Bazaar in Pridnestrovie

Shortly after Hamoud`s arrival in Moldova, commercial relations were established between the Shia agents and arms traffickers in the area of the conflict in Pridnestrovie. Following the collapse of the USSR, the local Russian leaders declared the independence of the republic, counting on becoming a part of Russia. Moscow's covert support of the separatists led to the armed confrontation with the Moldavians. When the war ended, Russia's position and influence on local leaders remained, as did the deployed Russian forces in the region. Yet as a result of the battles, all the economic infrastructure in the Republic of Pridnestrovie was demolished, except the military industry built in the Soviet era, which became the main source of profit for this separatist district.

A high-ranking MJI delegation came to Pridnestrovie in 1997 in the guise of "Lebanese merchants". They visited the "Elektromash" plant in Tiraspol and the "Pribor" factory, being accompanied by the representatives of the "Sheriff" – the exclusive local arms company, which belongs to the son of Vladimir Smirnov - the President of Pridnestrovie at that time. He personally authorized the deal selling light arms, machine guns, ammunition, anti-tank missiles and portable anti-aircraft rockets to Hezbollah`s emissaries. The MJI network provided logistical support for transfers of this weaponry via Bulgaria, Armenia and Abkhazia (another Moscow- backed separatist region in Caucasus).

The Iranian Trail

Besides the transfers of weapons purchased by MJI operatives in Russia, there was another way to arm Hezbollah with Russian weapons – by means of the military cooperation between Moscow and Tehran. In several cases, the data substantiating these transfers has became known to the Western media and was published as part of an effort to stop the transaction. For example, on April 16,s 1997, Bill Gertz wrote in The Washington Times: "Russia is selling advanced air- defense systems to Iran, including the latest version of a hand-held anti-aircraft missile that Tehran intends to provide to Hezbollah terrorists. Such transactions would violate a pledge Russian President Boris Yeltsin made during the 1994 summit with President Clinton to block all new conventional arms sales to Iran. The missile sales talks took place in February and last month between Iranian intelligence agents and Russian arms brokers in Moscow, who offered two S-300 series anti-aircraft missiles launchers (SA-10 and SA-12) for sale at discount prices, Pentagon intelligence officials said." The newspaper also learned that this deal worth $180 million includes, besides 96 missiles for SA-10 and SA-12, 500 shoulder launched "Igla" missiles, part of which Iran planned to hand over to Hezbollah.

History repeated itself three and a half years later. On October 24, 2000, American sources reported, "Since yesterday 325 Russian missiles are being loaded into freight train and a ship to be transferred to Iran. The deal between Moscow and Tehran on purchasing of 700 "Igla" missiles and other weapons worth $1.75 billion was signed three weeks ago." The deal came about, even despite President Clinton's personal appeal to President Putin to cancel it. Israeli sources reported that part of the missile shipment later fell to Hezbollah`s lot. In January, 2005, Israeli security sources expressed anxiety following the upcoming deal between Russia and Syria on delivery of "Igla" missiles to Damascus. The Israelis fear that the missiles will be transferred from Syria to Hezbollah and may even fall into the hands of the Palestinian terrorist organizations.

Russian Instructors Return to Lebanon

In the second half of the nineties, agents of MJI started to recruit Russian ex-officers from elite and special units for training missions in Lebanese bases of Hezbollah. Initially, several dozen ex-"military advisers" who had trained the Syrian Army in the eighties in Lebanon were hired. As mercenaries they came back and taught Hezbollah`s terrorists in the Bekaa Valley how to plant mines, sharp shoot and collect intelligence. An interview with one of them was published in the Russian newspaper "Evreyskii Mir" (Saint-Petersburg) in June, 2000.


TOPICS: Editorial; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Israel; News/Current Events; Russia; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: 1972; 1978; 1995; abuharif; abumadjid; alsadr; amal; ashirov; babayev; bakri; bekaa; bekaavalley; berri; bogdanov; coldwar2; coldwarbyproxy; congo; diamonds; elektrostal; evgenyprimakov; fadlallah; fatah; gru; hamoud; harif; hizbollah; hizbullah; hizbuttahrir; igla; ij; imadbakri; imadmughnieh; imadmugniya; imadmugniyah; imadmugniyeh; iran; islamicjihad; jonassavimbi; jumblatt; kassem; lebanon; madjid; mahmoudhammoud; mahmudhamoud; michailbogdanov; missiles; mji; mohtashemi; moldova; moussaalsadr; mughnieh; mugniya; mugniyah; mugniyeh; muhammadfadlallah; nabihberri; naeemkassem; nafigullaashirov; naimkassem; nasralla; nasrallah; niyazov; nukes; perfiliev; plo; posovaluk; pridnestrovie; primakov; redjihad; romania; savimbi; svr; taufikbabayev; trubnikov; unita; ussr; viktorposovaluk; vyacheslavtrubnikov; walidjumblatt; yuriperfiliev; zaire

1 posted on 01/09/2006 5:20:52 PM PST by Tailgunner Joe
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To: Tailgunner Joe; nativeRussian

Ping!

Great article, Tailgunner.


2 posted on 01/09/2006 5:58:35 PM PST by GodGunsGuts
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To: Tailgunner Joe

The Cold War never ended. The USSR needed western capital in order to rebuild and played dead for a decade in order to get it. In the mean time, they have rebuilt their submarine capability and their ballistic missile capability and whenever there is an opportunity to take a pound of flesh from the US or the west, they do so, most often by proxy.


3 posted on 01/09/2006 6:18:18 PM PST by Rockitz (After all these years, it's still rocket science.)
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To: Tailgunner Joe

bump for later


4 posted on 01/09/2006 6:19:18 PM PST by lesser_satan
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To: Rockitz

As good an explanation for why Russia is not behaving like our friend as any I have seen.


5 posted on 01/09/2006 6:23:36 PM PST by GodGunsGuts
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To: Tailgunner Joe

Thanks, Joe.
Some of our Jewish Freepers who are so in love with Uncle Joe's descendants aren't even likely to have a major problem with this post.


6 posted on 01/09/2006 9:31:52 PM PST by Spirited
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To: Tailgunner Joe

Thanks, Joe.
Some of our Jewish Freepers who are so in love with Uncle Joe's descendants aren't even likely to have a major problem with this post.


7 posted on 01/09/2006 9:31:53 PM PST by Spirited
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To: GodGunsGuts

bump


8 posted on 07/13/2006 4:59:13 PM PDT by Tailgunner Joe
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To: Tailgunner Joe

What exactly does a "bump" do???


9 posted on 07/14/2006 9:06:11 AM PDT by GodGunsGuts
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