Hezbollah Alleged to Hold Key Role in Global Drug Trade

Israel’s former Ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor is calling on European authorities to “open their eyes” and take action against Hezbollah activity in their nations. Prosor now heads the Abba Eban Institute for International Diplomacy, which just released the findings of a study documenting the Lebanon-based group’s involvement as a key middleman along the global narcotics route from South America to West Africa and onto Europe.

In an interview with TV7, Ambassador Prosor said most European countries make an “artificial differentiation” between Hezbollah’s military and political wings – which he maintains is “non-existent.” Unlike the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, other western countries and “even the Arab League, which knows what it’s dealing with,” Prosor explained that because the European Union has only designated Hezbollah’s military arm as a terror organization, its “so-called political arm is able to operate freely on European soil and serve as the organization’s lifeline” in the acquisition of money necessary to fund its activities on the continent as well as the Middle East.

Following two years of meticulous research, the Abba Eban Institute has documented Hezbollah’s funding, which stems from three sources: what Prosor referred to as the “creation of a façade” to elicit charitable donations from unsuspecting Europeans, in addition to major involvement in drug trafficking and money laundering  to finance its terror activities.

One of the report’s authors Daniel Cohen told TV7 that “Hezbollah networks continue to use Europe as a base to recruit members, raise funds and criminal financing,” and that its “criminal network is spread deep into Germany and France, generating  hundreds of millions of dollars of illegal trade to support Hezbollah’s procurement of weapons.” He estimated the terror group was reaping $250- 300 million dollars in its joint-schemes of drug-trafficking and money laundering each year.   In addition to the procurement of arms, Cohen said the 20%-25% cut pocketed by Hezbollah is also used to pay salaries and support families of military causalities from the Syrian civil war.

The study shows demonstrable ties between Hezbollah’s political and military wings, and the researchers went down to the field level to reveal how the drug trafficking system supports the money laundering. Cohen also said “the findings connect between the funding schemes of local activity in the EU to key Hezbollah members, who are also connected to the Quds forces” of Hezbollah’s sponsor Iran.

Ambassador Prosor told TV7 the European Union can no longer plead ignorance of Hezbollah activities on its soil, saying “they know, and they’re still not doing anything about it, which I connect to the fact that they feel uncomfortable because of the connections between Iran and Hezbollah, and that connection is problematic for them politically.”

When asked by TV7 if that hesitation is over the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal with Iran, Ambassador Prosor responded: “Absolutely.”

He then stressed that the time for the European Union to prevent its own soil from serving as “an oxygen pipeline for terror activity” is now, concluding “if they don’t act today, they will cry tomorrow.”

Hezbollah was not immediately available for TV7’s request for comment.

— By Erin Viner