Israeli warplanes carried out an air-strike overnight on Syrian territory near the border with Lebanon. Unnamed US and "regional" (presumably Israeli) officials said the target was a weapons convoy with a shipment that included Russian-made SA-17 anti-aircraft missiles bound for Hezbollah, which would be strategically "game-changing" in the hands of the militant group. Damascus called the strikes an act of "Israeli arrogance and aggression" that raised the risks that the two-year-old civil conflict in Syria could spread beyond the country's borders. The regime said a research facility in the Damascus suburbs had been hit, and denied that a convoy had been the target. The attack comes days after Israel expressed concerns that Damascus' stockpile of chemical weapons could fall into the hands of Hezbollah. Israel had no official statement on the air-strikes.
Argentina signed an agreement with Iran on Jan. 27 to create an independent Commission of Truth to investigate the 1994 bombing of the Buenos Aires Jewish community center. Argentinian courts have accused Iran of sponsoring the attack, which killed 85 people, and in 2007 Argentine authorities secured Interpol arrest warrants for five Iranians, including current Defense Minister Gen. Ahmad Vahidi. Despite strong objections by Israel, the US and the Argentine Jewish community, Argentina's Foreign Minister Hector Timerman, who is Jewish, and his Iranian counterpart Ali Akbar Salehi have been involved in a series of bilateral talks that began with their first meeting at the UN headquarters in New York in September.
Israeli news portal YNet on Dec. 29 ran an incredibly irresponsible story entitled "Hezbollah's cocaine Jihad," the introdek reading: "Faced with dwindling Iranian funding, Shiite terror group partners with Mexican drug cartels; uses millions of dollars in drug money to support weapon acquisition habit." Now, this is a quesitonable claim at best, but before the story even gets to the rather sketchy evidence for this assertion it spends a full six paragraphs talking about Chiapas and the Zapatista rebels—complete with a prominent photo of masked Zapatistas marching with their red-and-black flag! The message sent to the uninitiated is that the Zapatistas are mixed up with both drug cartels and Hezbollah. What is the basis for this Hez-bollocks? There is none. The article notes that an Islamic micro-sect called the Murabitun has been converting Indians in Chiapas in recent years, but aside from the fact that they are both in Chiapas, there is no link between the Murabitun and the Zapatistas, and no link between either and the drug cartels. Furthermore, the Murabitun are Sunni not Shi'ite, and based in Spain not Lebanon—so not even remotely linked to Hezbollah.
A top Lebanese security official who was bitterly opposed to Syrian leader Bashar Assad was killed Oct. 19 in a car bomb in Beirut that also claimed the lives of seven others and left 80 more wounded. Gen. Wissam Hasan, head of the Information Branch of the Internal Security Forces, was one of eight killed in the mid-afternoon attack in the Christian district of Ashrafieh. The blast was the first car bombing in Beirut since 2008. Hasan led the investigation that implicated Syria and Hezbollah in the 2005 killing of former prime minister Rafik al-Hariri, and he had also been a close aide to Hariri. Al-Jazeera reported that he was believed to be involved in organizing support for the Syrian insurgents. The opposition March 14 coalition accused Damascus of being behind the attack. "Assad has repeatedly threatened to set fire to the region if the noose tightened on him," March 14 leader Fares Souaid told a television station. (Reuters, Lebanon Daily Star, Daily Star, Al-Jazeera, Oct. 19)
Israeli warplanes swooped low over Lebanese villages Oct. 7 in a menacing show of force apparently aimed at Hezbollah the day after a mysterious incursion by an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The Israeli Air Force shot down the drone shortly after it crossed into southern Israel from the Mediterranean, passing "over settlements and military bases in the Negev," the IAF said. The craft's launch point is unknown. Israeli officials believe the UAV may have been on a mission to perform surveillance of the Dimona nuclear complex. Israeli politicians have been quick to draw their own conclusions. "It is an Iranian drone that was launched by Hezbollah," Knesset member Miri Regev, a former chief spokeswoman for the Israeli military, wrote on her Twitter feed. "Hezbollah and Iran continue to try to collect information in every possible way in order to harm Israel." (Slate, AP, Oct. 7; JP, Oct. 6)
An Iraqi court on Aug. 2 rejected a US extradition request for accused Hezbollah commander Ali Mussa Daqduq. The court also ruled that Daqduq should be released immediately from his house arrest. In May an Iraqi court had cleared all charges against Daqduq. The court stated that Iraq could not extradite someone whose charges were dropped. He had been detained by the US for four years based on allegations that he was involved with Hezbollah and that he was responsible of planning a raid in 2007 which resulted in the deaths of five US soldiers. He had been transferred in December of last year when talks over which country should be responsible for trying him failed. US President Barack Obama considered trying Daqduq on US soil but was unable to reach an agreement with Iraqi authorities resulting in an extradition request pursuant to the 2008 Status of Forces Agreement between the US and Baghdad.