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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Hezbollah Training in North Korea

Hezbollah is currently re-constituting its resources with support from Iran and North Korea.

According to security service sources in Lebanon, Hezbollah’s secretary-general, Hassan Nasrallah, paid a four-day visit to Tehran starting on April 2. He was accompanied by his political adviser, Hussein Khalil (IOL 537) and Iran’s ambassador to Syria, Hassan Akhtari. Nasrallah met with Iran’s spiritual leader, Ali Khamenei; president Mahmud Ahmadinejad; the commander in chief of the Revolutionary Guards (Pasdarans), gen. Yehia Rahim Safavi; the army chief-of-staff, gen. Hossein Firuzabadi; and Ali Larijani, secretary-general of Iran’s National Security Council.

The talks focussed essentially on a reorganization of Hezbollah’s military wing following the conflict with Israel last summer. Iran reportedly pledged to deliver new medium-range missiles to Hezbollah, such as the Al Fateh 110 (170-200 km), reputed to be more accurate than Zalzal missiles. Sam 7 and a few Stinger missiles recovered in Afghanistan will give Hezbollah some anti-aircraft cover as well.

Elsewhere, the Pasdaran leadership confirmed it had reached an agreement with Pyongyang to allow around 100 Hezbollah field commanders to attend training courses in North Korea. Some Hezbollah personnel arrived in North Korea in February for training in commando tactics with Pyongyang’s special forces and to bone up on intelligence and counter-espionage methods.

Indeed, Hezbollah’s new military format calls for each chief in a military zone to also act as head of security and counter-espionage. During the clash last summer, Hezbollah suffered greatly from a separation of military and intelligence functions.

Relations between Hezbollah and the North Korean regime date back some years. In September, for instance, Intelligence Online (IOL 529) revealed Hezbollah had learned the bunker strategy it used to resist Israeli attacks in North Korea.

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