A Jihad al-Bina course in setting up Internet networks given in the village of al-Hermel in the Beqa'a Valley (Jihad al-Bina Telegram channel, September 28, 2022).
Hamas delegation meets with Lebanese parliament member Sheikh Hassan Izz al-Din (Ya Sur [Tyre], October 31, 2022).
Aerial photograph of the al-Set Zaynab facility near the targets which were attacked (SAM Twitter account, October 30, 2022).
- The Israeli Knesset election results caused concern in Lebanon regarding Israel’s abiding by the terms of the maritime border agreement, which could, according to sources, lead to a military confrontation. According to the American ambassador to Lebanon, even after the signing of the agreement the United States would not enter into a discourse with Hezbollah, not even indirectly.
- Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah is working to create a large parliamentary bloc to elect a Lebanese president sympathetic to the Shi’ites. His efforts include trying to persuade Gebran Bassil, head of the National Free Patriotic Movement, to support Suleiman Frangieh, a pro-Syrian Christian and the preferred Hezbollah-Amal candidate.
- With Iranian support, Hezbollah has become a significant Internet and cyber power, part of Iran’s battle for hearts and minds.
- Hamas and Ansar Allah delegations met with senior Hezbollah figures near Tyre to reinforce the “resistance axis” [anti-Israeli terrorist organizations] and the cooperation between the Palestinian terrorist organizations and Hezbollah.
- The Swiss parliament voted not to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, claiming it was a political movement.
- Attacks were allegedly carried out by Israel on Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps and Hezbollah facilities in south Damascus. The facilities are used for the transfer of strategic weapons from Iran to Hezbollah.
Hezbollah and Lebanon
Maritime border agreement signed
- Following the announcement of the results of the Israeli Knesset election, sources in Lebanon expressed concern that the new government, headed by Benjamin Netanyahu, would attempt to delay the implementation of the maritime border agreement between Israel and Lebanon. The Hezbollah-affiliated al-Mayadeen TV station claimed the Israeli security establishment would play an important role in whether or not Israel would abide by the conditions of the agreement if an armed conflict broke out between Israel and Lebanon. Israeli security would, according to the sources, would keep the political leadership from violating the agreement lest Hezbollah carry out its threats to attack the Israeli gas rigs or attack Israel itself (al-Mayadeen, November 4, 2022).
- Dorothy Shea, the American ambassador to Lebanon, said Hezbollah had shown it could be pragmatic by supporting signing the maritime border agreement. However, she added, the United States was not discoursing a discourse with Hezbollah, not even indirectly, though mediators (al-Nashra, November 5, 2022).
- Naguib Mikati, the Lebanese prime minister, also related to concerns Israel would change its mind about the maritime border agreement. He said the United States had given Lebanon guarantees in case Israel did so, and therefore he claimed he was not worried (al-Nabd al-Mamlaka TV, November 2, 2022).
- Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah is attempting to leverage his success in the negotiations for delineating Lebanon’s maritime border into creating a broad front to promote Suleiman Frangieh as the next president when the term of current President Michel Aoun ends. The political stalemate in Lebanon has made it impossible to obtain the necessary parliamentary majority to elect a new president. Nasrallah appealed to Gebran Bassil, Aoun’s son-in-law and head of the National Free Patriotic Movement, to support Suleiman Frangieh as the candidate of the Shi’ite bloc.
- The deal obtained by the Shi’ite bloc to elect Frangieh was brokered in a meeting between Nasrallah and Nabih Berri, head of the Shi’ite Amal movement and speaker of the Lebanese parliament. Nasrallah is now attempting to include Gebran Bassil’s National Free Patriotic Movement in the initiative to create a broad front that will support Frangieh. Although Bassil and Nasrallah cooperated during the negotiations for the maritime border, according to reports Bassil has not yet been persuaded to support Frangieh (al-Akhbar, November 3, 2022).
- The main obstacle to Bassil’s support of Frangieh is his collaboration with Nabih Berri. He is concerned it will prevent a balance between the various factions in Lebanon and give Berri and the Shi’ites power at the expense of the Maronite Christians (al-Akhbar, November 4, 2022). The approaching end of Michel Aoun’s term of office coupled with the Lebanese parliament’s inability to reach a majority vote to elect a Maronite as president has created a sensitive political and administrative vacuum in Lebanon. An interim solution may be the appointing of the commander in chief of the Lebanese army as temporary president until such time as a permanent president can be elected.
Suleiman Antoine Frangieh, Hezbollah-Amal Lebanese presidential candidate
(Wikipedia, November 4, 2022).
Hezbollah: a cyber power
- According to a study in The International Interest, Hezbollah is becoming a significant cyber power.
It isAs part of a broader Iranian policy to face the challenge of digital warfare, it established a “cyber army” in Lebanon, a Shi’ite force that will help Iran deal with the media challenges and influence facing it.
- Iran, which considers media influence as a central component of its political-military effort, has provided Hezbollah with advanced digital capabilities to enable it to make a significant contribution to Iran’s efforts to attain influence and hegemony vis-à-vis Israel and in the Arab world and beyond. The Second Lebanon War in 2006 was a watershed moment when Hezbollah and Iran realized that winning meant victory not only on the battlefield but in hearts and minds to appear as “virtual victors” (The International Interest, October 31, 2022).
- The Jihad al-Bina is one of Hezbollah’s branches working to construct its infrastructure and provides vocational instruction for the Shi’ite population. It gives courses in various fields including setting up Internet networks, repairing computers, and photography and documentation workshops. It cannot be ruled out that graduates of the courses work for Hezbollah’s cyber effort.
A Jihad al-Bina course in setting up Internet networks given in the village of al-Hermel in the Beqa’a Valley (Jihad al-Bina Telegram channel, September 28, 2022).
Switzerland opposes designating Hezbollah as a terrorist organization
- According to a report published in Lebanon, the Swiss federal government voted against a bill designating Hezbollah as a terrorist organization and outlawing it on the grounds that “it is a political entity and not a terrorist organization.” Therefore, it will not be considered a terrorist organization in Switzerland and no sanctions will be imposed on its operations. The vote was taken after an examination was conducted at the request of a number of parliamentarians into the collection of contributions to Hezbollah made by the Lebanese community in Switzerland (al-Akhbar, November 5, 2022).
Lebanon’s political situation is unstable
- Barbara Leaf, assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, said the political system in Lebanon was shaky and would deteriorate before it stabilized and a president could be elected. Regarding the economic situation, she said the agreement for delineating the maritime border was not a magic solution and Lebanon had to meet the demands of the international monetary fund and introduce reforms (Middle East Eye, November 4, 2022).
Lebanese confesses to contact with Israeli intelligence
- A 20 year-old Lebanese named “H. S.” [sic] reportedly turned himself into the police in Baalbek and confessed that since 2018 he had been in contact with Israeli intelligence. According to his confession, he transferred information and telephone numbers and locations of Hezbollah centers to Israeli intelligence (al-Akhbar, November 2, 2022).
Hezbollah and the Palestinians
- A Hamas and Ansar Allah delegation met with senior Hezbollah figures:
- At a meeting with Hajj Abdallah Nasser, responsible for Hezbollah’s “Jabal Amal first region,” they discussed recent developments and the lot of the Palestinians in the refugee camps. Hajj Nasser said Hezbollah supported the Palestinian “struggle,” especially recently after the “escalation” in Judea and Samaria. He also said the Palestinian refugees had the right to live with respect and to have their legal and social rights recognized. He also said the Palestinian organizations had to unite for a solution for the Palestinian problem, which was their common objective. Abd al-Hadi, who headed the Hamas delegation, said the meeting strengthened the “courageous ties” between the organizations, and that the Palestinian “struggle” would continue and grow (Ya Sur [Tyre], October 30, 2022).
- At a meeting with the Palestinians, Sheikh Hassan Izz al-Din, a member of the Lebanese parliament from the “loyalty and resistance” faction, said Hezbollah supported their “struggle” in Judea and Samaria. He also stressed the importance of the recent détente between Hamas and the Syrian regime, claiming the “resistance axis” [Iran, Hezbollah, Syria and the Palestinian terrorist organizations] was strategically important for the Palestinian people (Ya Sur [Tyre], October 31, 2022).
- At a meeting with Hajj Khalil Hussein, second in command of the Jabal Amal region, and Abu Wa’el Zalzali, who holds the refugee camp portfolio in Hezbollah, regional events were discussed. All those present agreed that the recent events in Judea and Samaria were an important part of the “liberation of Palestine.” They agreed that the refugee camps in Lebanon were “the first station on the way to the return” [sic] and therefore it was necessary to support them, adding that the “blockade” imposed on Lebanon was detrimental to the firm stance of the refugee camps. The meeting ended with a blessing sent to the Palestinian youth confronting the “Israeli occupation,” as well as the comment that the election results in Israel were a reflection of Israeli society, which tended to the extreme right (Ya Sur [Tyre], November 4, 2022).
Hamas delegation meets with Lebanese parliament member Sheikh Hassan Izz al-Din
(Ya Sur [Tyre], October 31, 2022)
Iranian Activity in Syria
Alleged Israeli attack on south Damascus
- On October 27, 2022 (the third time in a week) the region near the airport in Damascus was attacked, allegedly by Israel. According to sources in the Syrian department of defense, a number of targets were attacked south of Damascus and Syrian aerial defense intercepted the Israeli missiles. The London-based Syrian Human Rights Observatory reported that at least four missiles hit the shrine of al-Set Zaynab south of Damascus, with no loss of life. According to reports, the objective of the attacks was to keep the Iranians from transferring weapons to Hezbollah. The most recent attack targeted the base of the Lebanese column in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and bases of the Fourth Division commanded by Maher al-Assad, which help the Iranians transfer strategic weapons and dangerous substances to Hezbollah.
- According to several reports, the Iranians operate three avenues of transferring weapons to Syria: by air to airports, by sea to the port of Latakia, and overland through the Iraq-Syria border crossings. According to reports, weapons are transported overland by Unit 190 of the IRGC commanded by Bahnam Shaharirai, and Unit 4400, which belongs to Hezbollah and is commanded by Hajj Fadi. Iran sometimes camouflages shipments of weapons to Syria and Hezbollah as humanitarian aid. The most recent attacks targeted the warehouses of the Fourth Division and Unit 4400 (al-Arabiya, al-Hadath, October 27, 2022).
Aerial photograph of the al-Set Zaynab facility near the targets which were attacked (SAM Twitter account, October 30, 2022).
- Faisal al-Meqdad, the Syrian foreign minister, said Israeli Air Force planes exploit the flights of civilian aircraft near the Damascus airport and launch their missile from above and below the civilian planes, and for that reason Syrian aerial defense cannot attack them (Facebook page of Suweida ANS, November 2, 2022).
 Ansar Allah is the military wing of the Houthis in Yemen and is supported by Iran and Hezbollah. ↑
 For further information see the June 12, 2019 bulletin, "Jihad al-Bina Association in Lebanon: A Hezbollah social foundation engaged in construction and social projects among the Shiite community, being a major component in Hezbollah’s civilian infrastructure." ↑
 The International Monetary Fund demanded Lebanon introduce reforms in supervision and preventing corruption as conditions for aid. ↑
 “Jabal Amal" is how the Lebanese refer to south Lebanon. ↑
 According to Lebanese law, the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon must live in the refugee camps and are forbidden to engage in a number of important public and economic occupations. ↑
 The political party of Shi'ite Amal and Hezbollah in the Lebanese parliament. ↑
 Al-Set Zaynab was the beloved daughter of Imam Ali ibn Talib, the founder of Shi'a. She was Muhammad's granddaughter and her shrine is located south of Damascus. Shi'ites from all over the world go on pilgrimages to it. ↑