This is not just an espionage affair. In Hizbullah’s written war doctrine this is referred to as the “indirect war.”
In other words: The way to bring down the State of Israel not through fire and slaughter, but rather, by flooding Israeli society with drugs. This is not paranoia. This Hizbullah strategy is well known in Israel for two decades at least.
In the past, the indirect war included another area: Forging foreign currency, and particularly dollars, for the purpose of distributing it in Israel and using it to acquire weapons in the West. The forgeries were of relatively poor quality and therefore they died away. The drugs, on the other hand, are a matter of stable and ancient tradition on this front that has been enabling several clans to make a living for hundreds of years now.
Hizbullah took over the smuggling rings and routes and enlisted the drugs for the purpose of its “indirect war” on Israel.
It is no coincidence that the person orchestrating this project from Beirut is a former Arab-Israeli, senior Hizbullah figure Kais Obeid. He started his career as a drug dealer in Israel who escaped to Lebanon. He was also the man who managed to lay the trap for former captive Elchanan Tannenbaum through a scheme that involved drug deals.
It is for good reason that Hizbullah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah adopted Obeid’s ideas and turned them into a part of the organization’s operational doctrine. This effort is profitable, it pushes Israel into a black market economy, and it poisons Israelis. In any case, Nasrallah perceives Israel to be a rotten and weak society whose days are numbered. Flood it with drugs, and it will be lost in the drug-induced high.
And so, for years now Hizbullah has maintained poppy fields in Lebanon’s Beqaa region and producing opium and heroin in labs. Nasrallah also has business connections with drug cartels in South America, where some of the organization’s funds come from.
Hizbullah members themselves do not deal with drug smuggling directly. They take advantage of existing rings. Therefore, anyone who gets close to drugs in Lebanon knows that it is operating under Hizbullah’s patronage. Initially, about 15 years ago, the dealers required passage permits from Hizbullah, which controlled the roads. Today we are talking about operational ties in the full sense of the word. By the way, this is why the IDF fires at drug smugglers as if they were terrorists.
Rift is deepeningIn order to improve the drug smuggling into Israel, drug dealers from Lebanon recruited Israeli collaborators, mostly non-Jews. Some of them serve in the army and the clans they come from are related to the drug trade; and the road from drugs to treason and espionage is short. For example, before the IDF withdrew from Lebanon, Arab Israelis assisted Hizbullah members in hiding weapons inside Israeli territory. The weapons awaited infiltrators who were supposed to come into Israel in order to carry out terror attacks (as was the case in the Metzuba attack in 2003.)
In fact, almost every year we see one kind of such drug-related espionage ring or another being uncovered, along with the involvement of Arab Israelis. This time around the story is apparently more severe than the previous one, because several Arabs are suspected of involvement. The information handed over to Hizbullah is not necessarily strategic, yet Hizbullah doesn’t look for such information. It seeks information that would expose vulnerable points in the system so that it can carry out a terror attack or abduction.
To that end, even traitors who are not motivated by fundamentalist ideological zeal, but rather, by greed, are effective enough.
In the wake of the latest affair, the IDF Northern Command engaged in a process of self-examination in relation to the non-Jewish career officers operating in this sector. This is apparently not enough. After all, it is impossible for soldiers to be operating on the border without being able to trust their non-commissioned officer and fearing that he will sell them out to the enemy. This rift with Israel’s minority groups is deepening, and goes beyond the confines of the Northern Command and IDF.