Archive for April 2017

MKO Seeking to Provoke US to Attack Iran: Ex-CIA Officer

April 30, 2017

MKO Seeking to Provoke US to Attack Iran: Ex-CIA Officer, Tasnim News Agency, May 1, 2017

(Please see also, Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Program: On Course, Underground, Uninspected. — DM

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – A former military intelligence officer with the CIA said MKO works closely with the Israeli spy agency Mossad, noting that the terror group is seeking to create a “false narrative” about Tehran’s nuclear program in a bid to provoke the US to attack Iran.

“MKO (Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization, also known as MEK) works closely with the Israeli intelligence service Mossad and is also supported by many pro-Israel American former and current officials as well as congressmen. It has frequently surfaced documents, laptops and false information produced by the Israelis to convince the public that Iran is seeking a nuclear weapon and is cheating on the agreement to limit its nuclear research program. Its ultimate objective is to create a false narrative that would encourage the United States to attack Iran, killing Americans and Iranians but serving Israeli foreign policy objectives…,” Philip Giraldi told the Tasnim news agency.

Philip Giraldi is a former counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer of the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and a columnist and television commentator who is the Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a group that advocates for more even handed policies by the US government in the Middle East.

Following is the full text of the interview.

Tasnim: The terrorist group Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) recently claimed that the Islamic Republic is violating the 2015 nuclear agreement between Tehran and world powers by secretly conducting research on nuclear weapons components at the Parchin military site in Iran. The spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) strongly dismissed the allegations by the terrorist group against Tehran’s nuclear program, saying the claims are of no value for the Islamic Republic. What is your take on this? What is behind such allegations?

Giraldi: MKO works closely with the Israeli intelligence service Mossad and is also supported by many pro-Israel American former and current officials as well as congressmen. It has frequently surfaced documents, laptops and false information produced by the Israelis to convince the public that Iran is seeking a nuclear weapon and is cheating on the agreement to limit its nuclear research program. Its ultimate objective is to create a false narrative that would encourage the United States to attack Iran, killing Americans and Iranians but serving Israeli foreign policy objectives. Iran does not, in fact, threaten either Israel or the United States.

Tasnim: It seems that the new US administration has breathed new life into the terrorist group. Republican US Senator John McCain praised the head of the MKO, in a recent meeting in the Albanian capital, Tirana. What do you think? What is terror group looking for under Trump?

Giraldi: I fear that the Trump administration, which has already warned Iran several times and is currently undertaking a policy review, will prove to be extremely hostile to Iran. Some congressmen like McCain and Lindsey Graham will be part of this process, using fabricated information provided by MKO to make a case that Iran must be treated as an enemy and dealt with accordingly. This propaganda is also coming directly to Washington from Saudi Arabia as well as Israel.

Tasnim: As you know, more than 17,000 Iranians, many of them civilians, have been killed at the hands of the MKO in different acts of terrorism including bombings in public places, and targeted killings. Why do Saudi Arabia, US, and certain European countries continue to support the anti-Iran terror group despite its heinous crimes?

Giraldi: MKO has also killed Americans and was until four years ago on the list of US recognized terrorist organizations. That MKO has killed many thousands of innocent Iranians is not reported in the western media, so no one knows about it. Those who support MKO do so because they believe it to be a legitimate opposition group to the Iranian government, which is a cause that they support. They fail to recognize that it continues to use terror as a weapon and that it operates as a cult that actually brainwashes and even kills its followers when they step out of line. It is a useful tool for the Iran haters.

Mosul quietly fills with Iran-backed Shiite militias using battle for revenge on Sunnis

April 30, 2017

Mosul quietly fills with Iran-backed Shiite militias using battle for revenge on Sunnis, Washington Times, Seth J. Frantzman, April 30, 2017

An Iraqi Special Forces vehicle displays a Shiite flag bearing the likeness of Imam Hussein and Imam Ali with Arabic words reading “At your service Hussein” in Mosul, Iraq. State

HAMAM AL-ALIL, Iraq — The road to Mosul is littered with the detritus from almost three years of war: burned M1117 armored vehicles, sandbagged berms and trenches from defensive positions once manned against Islamic State fighters, houses pancaked by airstrikes. The long supply line of the Iraqi army stretches through villages, with bulldozers, camouflaged trucks and temporary base camps.

Particularly noticeable are the frequent checkpoints manned by young armed men. But the fighters often aren’t from the Iraqi army or the Federal Police, but are members of various Iran-supported Shiite militias in the Hashd al-Shaabi, or Popular Mobilization Units.

While taking part in the U.S.-backed assault on the Islamic State group’s last major stronghold in Iraq, many of these units fly flags celebrating Shiite religious figures such as the Imam Hussein, and some have posters of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Life in those areas under control of the Shiite militias provides a window into Iran’s influence and the sectarian tensions that still dog Iraq as the campaign for Mosul enters its seventh grinding month.

A tour of these areas shows that Shiite militias and Iran have been empowered in the fight and that Iraq remains a state even more divided along religious and ethnic lines.

The battle for Mosul, once a city of more than 2 million residents, began in mid-October. In a lightning assault in 2014, the Islamic State, a radical Sunni Muslim group, took the city, expelled Christians and massacred Shiite and other minorities, and dynamited shrines and archaeological sites as part of its Salafi policy. When the Iraqi army began its campaign last fall, Mosul’s population had been reduced to around 1 million people.

Complicating the battle has been the presence of thousands of fighters allied with the Popular Mobilization Units. Composed of numerous militias that answered a 2014 fatwa by Iraqi Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani to fight the Islamic State, the units have many leaders with shadowy pro-Iranian pasts.

Qais Khazali was a follower of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who attacked U.S. troops in Karbala in 2007 and now runs the Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq militia. Hadi al-Amiri, leader of the Badr Organization, fought alongside Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps during the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s. Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, leader of the Kata’ib Hezbollah militia, also fought with the Iranians in the 1980s.

In December, the PMU was incorporated as an official paramilitary force of the Iraqi government. But fears remain that its role in northern Iraq will inflame tensions with Sunni Arabs and the Kurdish population.

In an October speech, Mr. Khazali called the battle for Mosul the “revenge for the killing of Hussein.” He was referring to a historic killing that Shiites blame on Sunnis and tying it to the modern sectarian war with the Islamic State.

“If they exact widespread revenge against the Sunnis and expel them, this might create a conducive environment for ISIS to come back,” Kawa Hassan, director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at the Brussels-based EastWest Institute, told a European Parliament hearing in November.

Quietly expanding

The worst fears of mass revenge killings and expulsions have not been realized in or around Mosul to date. Instead, Shiite militias are more quietly extending their presence and visible control in a new part of the country, as a tour of the region repeatedly demonstrates.

Driving out of the Kurdish autonomous region from Irbil, the closest major city to Mosul, one leaves the Kurdish flags behind and immediately enters the uncertain terrain of militias. In the Christian town of Hamdaniyeh, the Nineveh Plains Protection Units, a Christian militia paid by and affiliated with the PMU, guards the entrance and exit. Its members are relaxed and friendly. Most of them live in the Kurdish region, where they fled the Islamic State and have only recently returned.

After Hamdaniyeh, the road crosses hillocks and fields with long-dilapidated chicken coops and the militias are from a Shabak unit. The Shabak are a local minority, some of whom are Shiite and recently joined the PMU’s Badr Organization.

For some Shabak and Iraqi Christians, the PMU are liberators. Last year, the PMU released a video showing the church bells of Mosul ringing again, sending the message that they would liberate the city from the Islamic State and make it safe for Christians. Militia members hand out “Imam Hussein” flags to children in local hamlets.

But in some Sunni Arab villages, there is obvious fear of the militia members who wander the streets, rifles over their shoulders, peering into mud-caked compounds.

Leaving the Shabak behind, the road skirts the ruins of the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud, which Islamic State fighters blew up in 2015. A floating pontoon bridge over the Tigris is all that connects the western and eastern sides today. Airstrikes have demolished the old bridges.

The pontoon bridge is in such bad shape that it washed out during flooding in April and took days to repair. Civilians trod this road, and Iraqi nongovernmental organizations bring food to some of the estimated 160,000 civilians who have fled the battle of Mosul for refugee camps.

One car flying a white flag drove by with a corpse in the back, transported for burial across the river.

But each civilian vehicle, often packed with people, must pass a strict checkpoint on both sides. The checkpoint stops are tense. Soldiers and militia members ask where the Arab passengers are from and check the cargo. They are looking for Islamic State fighters. A Shiite flag with the sketch of a sword dripping blood flutters on the bridge.

As the road from the Tigris nears Mosul, it merges with a large highway that runs to Baghdad and the presence of the militias appears to thin out. The Iraqi army and Federal Police take the lead at checkpoints. Many vehicles of the Iraqi armed forces display Shiite flags, but the militias are not playing an official role in the battle for the city — only in rural areas around it.

A massive new United Nations camp at Hamam al-Alil is largely unoccupied. A giant sign by the PMU indicates that Shiite militias control access to the camp and claim they are “confirming the [safety]” of the camps and will provide aid equally.

The Shiite militias know that they are viewed by many with suspicion and are accused of discrimination and sectarianism. When a reporter tries to enter an older part of the Hamam al-Alil camp, militia members wearing black balaclavas and masks with skulls on them block the way.

Civilians in these neighborhoods have transitioned from Islamic State rule to another form of religious rule, with militarized checkpoints controlling their movements. A young man who fled one of these villages when the Shiite arrived and now lives in a reformatory in Irbil said the Shiite militias don’t belong in his Sunni village or northern Iraq.

In many ways, civilian life has an air of normalcy — even in Mosul with the sound of gunfire in the background. Women in black abayas wait for food to be distributed. Men stand around smoking, observing. Children play, some with visible burns from the war.

Most of these people have lived with years of war. Since the 1980s and particularly since 2003, they have witnessed rounds of violence. In January 2008, for instance, the city was hit by more than a dozen attacks a day, including improvised explosive devices, car bombs and shootings.

By contrast, life under the Islamic State was relatively peaceful for many pious Sunnis, many of whom greeted the takeover warmly in 2014.

“This too shall pass,” seemed to be the overall feeling in and around Mosul. Saddam came and went, then the Americans, the jihadis, the Americans, the Islamic State and now the Shiite militias. If Shiite militias continue to hoist flags over Sunni mosques in the city and the militias continue to man dozens of checkpoints in the rural countryside, then it is likely only a matter of time before insurgent attacks begin again.

How Trump turned media’s hatred of him into an asset

April 30, 2017

How Trump turned media’s hatred of him into an asset, American Thinker, Thomas Lifson, April 30, 2017

Last night’s White House Correspondents Association Dinner may have marked the end of an era.  The plaintive claim of the president of the group, “We are not fake news,” revealed the sadness and fear that underlie the mainstream media’s precarious position.

President Trump has largely eroded America’s trust in the national political media during his first few months in the White House, according to a new poll.

On the eve of Trump’s 100th day in office, a new national poll by Morning Consult finds that more voters trust the president than the reporters covering his administration on a daily basis.

Thirty-seven percent of voters believe the White House has been more forthright than the media, versus 29 percent who favor the press. Another 34 percent were unsure or had no opinion.

This comes after more than a year of sustained attacks on Trump. It has come to the point that the viciousness of the attacks on the sitting POTUS are counterproductive, weakening trust in the media, instead of the object of their scorn. Sadness is one response, but another one is escalation. Consider the viciousness of the remarks of the chosen headliner of the WHCA dinner: a purported comedian named Hassan Minaj, who is said to be a celebrity on Comedy Central.

During his monologue, comedian and “The Daily Show” correspondent Hasan Minhaj said that he was explicitly told not to go after the absent President Trump or the administration – but if true, he certainly ignored the marching order. (“You were not told that,” White House Correspondents’ Association president Jeff Mason appeared to say off-screen.)

“I would say it’s an honor to be here, but that would be an alternative fact. No one wanted to do this, so of course it lands in the hands of an immigrant. No one wanted this gig,” said Minhaj. “Don Rickles died just so you wouldn’t ask him to do this gig.”

There were jokes about Russia: “The leader of our country is not here. That’s because he lives in Moscow, it’s a very long flight.” Jokes about how the press should hope Trump keeps golfing: “The longer you keep him distracted, the longer we’re not at war with North Korea.” Jokes about how it’s a good thing Trump didn’t attend the dinner: “He’s done far too much bombing this month.”

He also took some shots at the Trump administration, including Sean Spicer, whose “go-to move when you ask him a tough question is denying the Holocaust.” And Mike Pence, who wasn’t there because there were women in attendance who were ovulating. “Good job ladies, because of you, we couldn’t hang out with Mike Pence,” he said. He noted that Jeff Sessions RSVP’d “no,” which is “his second-favorite ‘n’ word.”There were also the requisite jokes about the media – how CNN calls everything “breaking news”; how if he bombs his monologue, MSNBC’s Brian Williams will say he did a stunning job; how Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly’s $25 million exit package is the “only package he won’t force a woman to touch.”

Toward the end, Minhaj’s tone changed – he reflected on the surreal feeling of the entire evening (“I feel like I’m a tribute in ‘The Hunger Games,’ and if this goes poorly, Steve Bannon gets to eat me.”) and turned serious, marveling that because we live in a democracy, a first generation Indian-American Muslim can get on the White House correspondents’ dinner stage and make fun of the president.

“Surreal” doesn’t begin to describe what was going on. With the glittery assemblage alternately praising itself and accusing the Trump administration of hideous behavior (N-words, living in Moscow), while President Trump was with a huge crowd of supporters in a distinctly non-glamorous setting, there was an element of Versailles as the sans coulottes were building their barricades in the streets of Paris. Except that the sans coulottes and their leader hold the reins of power, and the media has only their diminished (and still shrinking) level of trust among the citizenry.

I think that once again Salena Zito has captured a reality that eludes most of her colleagues in the media:

 Dennis Dixon didn’t vote for Donald J. Trump. For the first time in his 46 years, the self-described “moderate Midwestern Republican” sat out a presidential election because he was less than thrilled with both major candidates. “I wrote in John Kasich,” he says, with a trace of humor. (snip)

“If he [Trump] continues to stick to his guns and do what he is doing, I’d vote for him if he ran again,” Dixon says.

He may not have liked the candidate but he is “enjoying the heck out of his presidency.”

What he likes about Trump is his determination on certain issues, “but he is also willing to show flexibility when it counts. That is the kind of outside non-politician behavior that attracted a lot of voters to him.”

He also is frustrated by the way the national press treats Trump in comparison to President Obama: “They really do not give him a fair shake.”

In fact, some of that perceived bias impacts how Dixon views Trump: Instead of pushing him away from the president, he is more intrigued by him.

Dixon’s opinion defies the conventional wisdom of national news outlets, which still seem unable to grasp that Trump’s supporters aren’t going anywhere for the moment and that they view his approach to the presidency as successful.

The media certainly couldn’t believe there are Dennis Dixons out there — voters who didn’t support candidate Trump but are now pleased by his outsider approach to governing. Enough to even consider voting for him in the future. The idea that someone could go from a Trump skeptic to having an open mind about his presidency is unheard-of in their circles.

Certainly they have done enough to make every newscast, written report, blog post or tweet a breathless condemnation of every step he takes. They are shocked at how unconventional he is, while people who voted for him are shocked the political class still doesn’t understand that’s exactly why they voted for him.

Like the driver of a car stuck in snow, the Trump-hating media are spinning their tires, which is melting the snow next to the treads, and thereby diminishing any traction available. The faster the wheels spin, the more water is generated, preventing any traction at all.

The media does not know how to ease off the accelerator. To extend the metaphor of a carin snow, they need some grit to place under their wheels. Salena Zito knows where such grit may be found: outside the glitter of New York, Washington, Los Angeles and San Francisco.  And the only way to put that grit under the tires would be to understand the thoughts and feelings in flyover country well enough to have actual empathy for the proles who don’t get to hobnob with bejeweled and begowned celebrities that hate people who don’t share their views.

Ethnic Slaughter in Bangladesh

April 30, 2017

Ethnic Slaughter in Bangladesh, Gatestone InstituteArnab Goswami, April 30, 2017

(According to Wikipedia, ” Bangladeshis include people of different ethnic groups and religions. Bengalis, who speak the official Bengali language, make up 98% of the population.[2][3] The politically dominant Bengali Muslims make the nation the world’s third largest Muslim-majority country.” — DM)

 

Last year, the police themselves set fire to about 3,000 houses of minority people.

Most recently, the Bangladesh Army killed Romel Chakma, an indigenous student leader. He was only 18 and had one eye. The government forced the media to bury the news.

What is most perplexing is the silence of the international media and so-called humanitarian organisations.

The Bangladesh government at present is carrying out atrocities against religious and ethnic minorities. Some foreign organisations helped me to flee to safety in Germany after nine of my colleagues were hacked to death by extremists.

Unfortunately, all the minorities of the country are not as fortunate. Last year, the police themselves set fire to about 3,000 houses of minority people. Most recently, the Bangladesh Army killed Romel Chakma, an indigenous student leader. He was only 18 and had one eye. The army decided to pour Kerosene over his dead body and set it on fire.

Romel Chakma. (Image source: Arnab Goswami’s Blog)

The government forced the media to bury the news. It is different in Bangladesh; nobody cares about minority people anyway.

What is most perplexing is the silence of the international media and so-called humanitarian organisations. Please let the world know about the realities in Bangladesh.

This is an article on the murder. It contains the links to the murder news covered.

I know this will not be a popular news, but it is important news. People need to know it.

Arnab Goswami is a Bangladeshi blogger in exile in Germany.

US Marines in Syria to defend Kurds against Turkey

April 30, 2017

US Marines in Syria to defend Kurds against Turkey, DEBKAfile, April 30, 2017

Pentagon spokesman Army Capt. Jeff Davis said – President Donald Trump made a fateful choice:  In the face of Turkish President Tayyip Edrogan’s threats of all-out war on the Kurds, he decided to commit US military forces to keeping the Kurdish militia safe under the US military wing and fully focused on the main objective of defeating ISIS.

The potential of a rare military run-in between two members of NATO may now be in store for the US president. And pretty soon, there may be fireworks when he sits down opposite Erdogan at the NATO summit in Brussels on May 25.

**********************

The US has sent a group of US Marines armed with eight-wheeled Stryker armored carriers to northern Syria as a buffer between Syrian Kurds and Turkish forces, after Turkish air strikes killed 20 members of the US-backed Kurdish YPG (People’s Protection Units) militia, injured 18 and destroyed the local Kurdish command headquarters. Clashes broke out between Turkish and Kurdish forces after the air strikes.

The convoy of US armored vehicles took up positions at the village of Darbasiyah in the northeastern Hasakah province, a few hundred meters from the Turkey border.

It was the second time American armored troops had stepped in to separate Turkish and the Kurdish YPG militia that leads the Syrian Democratic Force (SDF), to which the Americans assign a major role in the offensive to capture Raqqa from ISIS. On March 17, US Marines advanced towards the northern Syrian town of Manbij when the Turkish army was on the point of fighting the Kurdish militia for control of the town.

However, on April 24, the Turkish air force went into action against the PKK (Kurdish Workers Party) base near Sinjar on Mount Karachok in Iraq, wiping out ammunition dumps and weapons store – but also against a YPG command center in northeastern Syria, claiming they were both hubs of a conjoined terrorist entity.

By its twin operation, Ankara emphasized that Turkey was very much present in the Syrian and Iraqi arenas and informed Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin that Turkey’s view of its national security interests in those arenas took precedence over helping to promote the two powers’ objectives.

The Pentagon responded Friday, April 28, that the US wants the SDF to focus on liberating the ISIS-held town of Tabqa and the ISIS capital of Raqqa “and not be drawn into conflicts elsewhere.”

The movements of Turkish jets in Syrian air space are routinely reported and coordinated in advance with Russian and American air force command centers in Syria. The YPG commanders therefore took note that neither the Russians nor the Americans chose to warn Turkey off its plans to hammer the US-aligned Kurdish militia. They feared this would happen when they threw in their lot with the American forces. But the US command in Syria promised them protection under an American ground and aerial umbrella.

After the Turkish attack, the Trump administration, seeing the Kurdish militia had one foot out of the door of the alliance versus ISIS, was forced to choose between losing the operation’s spearhead or spreading the American umbrella to avert more Turkish attacks.

By sending another contingent of marines over to Syria – “We have US forces that are there throughout the entire northern Syria that operate with our Syrian Democratic Force partners,” Pentagon spokesman Army Capt. Jeff Davis said – President Donald Trump made a fateful choice:  In the face of Turkish President Tayyip Edrogan’s threats of all-out war on the Kurds, he decided to commit US military forces to keeping the Kurdish militia safe under the US military wing and fully focused on the main objective of defeating ISIS.

The potential of a rare military run-in between two members of NATO may now be in store for the US president. And pretty soon, there may be fireworks when he sits down opposite Erdogan at the NATO summit in Brussels on May 25.

Israeli ‘Sex Mania’ A Global Threat, Says PA TV

April 29, 2017

Israeli ‘Sex Mania’ A Global Threat, Says PA TV, Jerusalem PostAriane Mandell, April 29, 2017

According to a Palestinian Authority broadcast, Israel is using sex as a weapon and the CIA is controlling global moods through hallucinogens.

Bar Refaeli in a commercial for the Hoodies chain. (photo credit:screenshot)

According to Palestinian Authority TV host Imad Hamato, Israel is waging war against the Muslim world via “sex mania.”

In a broadcast translated by the Palestinian Media Watch, Hamato, who was appointed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as dean of Gaza’s Al-Azhar institutes in October 2016, can be seen denouncing Israel’s threats to Muslim modesty protocols.

“Our conflict today between us and Israel is the conflict between spirit and body,” Hamato says with a green screen of Temple Mount behind him. “Israel’s global media has expanded, and its war against the Arabs and Muslims is through sex mania which it distributes globally. Israel had to use this sex mania, as we mentioned in a previous lesson, in order to destroy the spirit of Arabs and Muslims. Everything among the Muslims has died, except for their lust.”

Hamato goes on to specify exactly what kind of immodesty was spreading: “Therefore we see filth and immodesty on many satellite channels, pictures and ads for penis enlargement and for all sorts of things. All of these are contrary to modesty.”

Why does Hamato suppose Jews would do such a thing? Because, he says, “The Jews, as it is said in the Quran, believe only in the body, not in the spirit. What has Israel given to the world in our times, aside from moral corruption and corrupt values, aside from the use of drugs and pills?”

Hamato then turns on long-standing ally of Israel, the United States, who he claims has been controlling the moods of citizens of the Middle East using drugs in Brave New World fashion: “I said in a previous lesson that the CIA has a unit called the Unit for Creating the Global Mood. They look at a map: ‘What is appropriate for Gaza, or Jordan, or Syria? Tramadol pills [pain killers]? Mood enhancers? Hallucinatory substances? They are produced in India, sent to Israel, and distributed in Sinai. Afterwards, they are spread in the region in order to destroy what remains of our children’s values.'”

The program was broadcast this month as a rerun from 2015. Hamato has long been a controversial character on the topic of Israel and religion in general. In 2006, he called on the pope to “repent and ask for forgiveness,” and added: “We want to use the words of the Prophet Muhammad and tell the pope: ‘Aslim Taslam.'”

Aslim Taslam is a phrase that was taken from the letters sent by the Prophet Muhammad to the chiefs of tribes in his times in which he reportedly urged them to convert to Islam to spare their lives.

While there is no evidence of Israel exporting sex mania, as a weapon or otherwise, here are a list of seven other contributions Israel has made to the world.

EXCLUSIVE – Arab Intelligence Source: Jihadists Are Wearing Down Hezbollah on Syria-Lebanon Border

April 29, 2017

EXCLUSIVE – Arab Intelligence Source: Jihadists Are Wearing Down Hezbollah on Syria-Lebanon Border, BreitbartAaron Klein and Ali Waked, April 29, 2017

ANWAR AMRO/AFP/Getty

Fighters of the Al Nusra Front, Al Qaida’s affiliate in Syria, or as the group now calls itself, Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, have recently been posing a serious challenge to Hezbollah in the border area between Lebanon and Syria, a senior Arab intelligence official told Breitbart Jerusalem.

“Dozens of Hezbollah fighters have been wounded in engagements over the last few weeks between the two sides,” the official stated. “The jihadists decided to switch their offensive from Syria to Lebanon. “

“In the area of Arsal and in other regions, they’ve continued to surprise Hezbollah and force the group to send many soldiers to the area.”

The challenge presented by the jihadists has forced Hezbollah to reconsider the positions of their troops in Syria and at home in Lebanon, according to the intelligence source. “According to intelligence reports, Hezbollah is taking the most recent engagements very seriously,” said the intelligence source.

“The slow stream of jihadists into Lebanon represents a disruption of the relative stability within the country’s borders, especially just before the beginning of the fasting month of Ramadan next month,” said the source.

“Hezbollah understands that Al Nusra and the jihadists are trying to turn the month of Ramadan into a bloody month for the Shi’ite organization and the communities supporting it, and so, we are witnessing the reduction in age of volunteers and fighters being recruited by the organization and they’re continuing to go down and even now we can see that 16-year-olds are among the fighters.”

The intelligence source also said that, as far as Hezbollah is concerned, “The threat from Al-Nusra isn’t nearing its strongholds in Lebanon. The increased troop presence on the border comes at a direct cost to troop numbers in Syria.

“In any case, Hezbollah already conducted a new assessment of the deployment of its forces in Syria due to the American airstrike, but now the fear is double.”

According to the source, “Hezbollah’s fundraisers and recruiters are investing far more effort than in the past.  If Ramadan passes without any special attacks, it should be a month of fundraising that will help the organization deal with the need to expand its recruitment of volunteers.”

The source added that “the main deliberation within Hezbollah concerns the need to prepare for a direct attack on the organization from Israel or even the U.S. The organization understands that Hezbollah is in the cross hairs of the American government as a source of disruption of U.S. interests in the area.”

“Hezbollah is fundraising, recruiting volunteers and fighting for public opinion. The organization is preparing for a very difficult summer.”