They dwell among us. They are all over the word. They want to end Western society and culture as we know it and replace it with a militant and maniacal form of Shi’a Islamism. They have killed and maimed hundreds, including U.S. servicemen. They are Hezbollah. They believe that it is their religious obligation to export the revolution. This book by Matthew Levitt exposes the world-wide threat posed by Hezbollah by tracing the movement’s origins from the 1979 mullah-led revolt in Iran to the development of their terrorist networks all over the globe. The book follows Hezbollah’s geographic and chronological expansion into violence against Western interests starting in Lebanon and thence to the rest of the world. Europe, the Balkans, the Middle East, the Persian Gulf, Southeast Asia, Africa, South and North America have all experienced Hezbollah’s terrorist activities. Levitt carefully documents Hezbollah’s clandestine shadow war as Iran’s proxy.
Hezbollah is not just a political party and a social and religious movement. It is a well armed and well-financed militia intent on imposing radical Shi’a ideology on the Western “imperialists,” especially those sympathetic to America and Israel. The U.S. has designated them as a terrorist group. They have successfully targeted and carried out bombings, assassinations, kidnappings, hijackings, and other acts of terror in their global quest for domination. They receive over $350 million annually from Tehran to support their activities. Levitt names names, including Iranian “diplomats” who have ordered and carried out these acts of violence.
Although there may be many knowledgeable terrorism experts, Levitt is primus inter pares. His credentials include experience as an FBI counterterrorism analyst, advisor to the State Department on Middle East regional security, other similar appointments, as well as teaching at West Point on how to combat terrorism. He is currently a senior fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy and advises governments and consults with the military and intelligence services of many countries.
In order for Hezbollah to carry out their campaign against the West, they are engaged in multiple areas of illegal activities to support their network of cells, sleeper agents, training camps, recruitment of agents, the purchase of explosives and weapons, etc. Their criminal activities include blood diamonds, drug trafficking, weapons trafficking, counterfeiting of documents and currency, counterfeit Viagra pills, phony food stamps, bank robberies, car theft, product forgery, money laundering, cigarette smuggling, counterfeit cigarette paper, credit card and insurance fraud, etc. These activities are supported by networks of Lebanese expatriots, airport employees, import-export businesses, legitimate businesses, Iranian consular offices, and sympathizers.
This is not a work of fiction. Levitt painstakingly documents every fact and incident. He has access to many sources and uses them effectively. His connections to the intelligence communities around the world provide for an inside look into the workings of Hezbollah. Aside from dissecting the successful terrorist events that were actually carried out, there is a plethora of information about the many plots that were foiled. The details of all of these events and the cooperation and sharing of information between various government agencies all over the world is revealed in a very readable format. If you combine the detective work of an N.C.I.S. episode and the excitement of a Daniel Silva novel with the Mission Impossible theme in the background, you can approximate the narrative provided in this important book. What is fascinating is how easily the arrested terrorists give up their handlers and co-conspirators.
Violence and extremism, and belief in the valayat – e‑faqih of the Imamate popularized by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini is at the heart of Hezbollah’s philosophy. To this end, Iran, through its proxy Hezbollah, targets Israeli citizens and diplomats, representatives of the Jewish community, Israel, the U.S., the U.K., and others who espouse Western values and democracy. Given that Hezbollah’s international campaign has brought them unwanted attention, it has also provided the world with an opportunity to counter their degenerate capabilities. Their history of violence and extremism, criminal activities, and international terrorism is fully and irrefutably documented in this important book. It is must reading for every columnist, legislator, and head of state.