Hizbullah quietly rearms in Lebanon, storing thousands of rockets in private buildings
Hizbullah is concealing its military build-up in Lebanon by storing thousands of rockets from Iran and Syria in homes and buildings owned by allies.
Western diplomatic sources said Hizbullah's supporters have been accepting shipments of short-range rockets for storage in southern Lebanon. The lion's share of weapons from neighboring Syria reach their destinations despite efforts by the Lebanese army and UN peacekeepers. "Hizbullah has a huge support network in the south, so smuggling is not a big deal," a diplomat said. "The Lebanese army has also been cautious in dealing with suspected arsenals."
On Jan. 19, the Lebanese army captured 75 BM-21 Grad rockets from a Hizbullah ally, identified as Al Jamaa Al Islamiya. Al Jamaa confirmed the seizure from the village of Biri and demanded the weapons be returned.
Weapon-smuggling by Shi'ite Iraq officials tied to Iran network
Iraqi officials have been identified and detained on charges of smuggling weapons from neighboring Iran.
Officials said the smuggling was financed and facilitated by the Teheran government with support from Shi'ite politicians in Baghdad.
"Iran has significant influence in both the national and regional government," an official said. "Iranian agents know exactly who to approach for what."
On Jan. 16, two Iraqi officials in the Wasit Province were charged with smuggling weapons. The weapons were believed to have stemmed from Iran.
A U.S. military statement said the two officials were arrested in Al Kut. The two detainees were identified as members of the Iranian-financed Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, headed by Abdul Aziz Al Hakim.