For several months, I, along with a select group of colleagues have been in “closed door” dialogue questioning the international community and their understanding towards the militant wing of Hezbollah. After weeks of extensive research, a depressing conclusion has been made. Very few have a clear understanding of Hezbollah’s militant wing, let alone Iran’s military organizational structure.
For the next couple of weeks or possibly even months, I will do my best to gather in-depth knowledge on Hezbollah’s mysterious militant wing. It is understood that this task will be more than difficult considering everything written must come from open sources–nothing used here is classified.
Prior to moving forward with our discoveries, it is critical to point out that while many proclaimed counterterrorist and intelligence experts believe Hezbollah was structured identically as Iran’s Al Quds Force, this belief is based on assumptions supported with zero facts. The IRGC created Al Quds and later created Hezbollah as an additive to Al Quds. Both, Al Quds and Hezbollah, two entities falling within the IRGC, have very different structures. To gain a better understanding of the IRGC layout, please see below.
Figure 1. As Hard-Liners Rise, Shadowy Revolutionary Guard Muscles In on Airport And Nabs Energy Deals; Dawn Clash Over a Drilling Rig in The Persian Gulf. Andrew Higgins. Revolutionary Guard Inc. http://www.crethiplethi.com/revolutionary-guard-inc/islamic-countries/iran-islamic-countries/2010/ (Accessed 20 Jan 20112)
To gain a better appreciation of why we claim very few within the international community understands Hezbollah’s organizational structure let alone the players of Hezbollah’s militant wing, below are a few examples of different perceived Hezbollah organizational flow charts. Visually, observers will specifically find that these examples outline Hezbollah’s militant wing differently.
Figure 2. Hezbollah’s Organizational Structure. Source: Hezbollah: Profile of the Shiite Terrorist Organization of Global Reach Sponsored by Iran and Supported by Syria, Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, Center for Special Studies, Special Information Bulletin, June 2003. http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/English/eng_n/html/hezbollah.htm (Accessed 21 Jan 2012)
Figure 3. Hezbollah’s Organizational Structure. Original Source: STRATFOR (2008). Taken from the article British Double Vision on Hezbollah written by Dr. Walid Phares published at CedarsRevolution.net http://www.cedarsrevolution.net/jtphp/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2673&Itemid=2 (Accessed 11 Dec 2011)
Needless to say, those concerned about a future imminent war between Iran and the western free world have every right to be concerned. While the United States and partnering nations have tirelessly fought against Al Qaeda for well over ten years, we have lost sight on one rogue regime–Iran. It is obvious that intelligence lacks pertaining Iran’s military structure.
Knowing that Iran has engaged in acts of war against the United States and our allies utilizing its militant proxies for well over 30 years, one would believe U.S. and foreign nation states would have a handle on understanding Iran’s militant organizational structure. Regrettably, this is not the case based off the aforementioned flow charts exemplifying numerous differences between them.
Hopefully, in due time, capabilities unfolding a greater depth of knowledge pertaining Iran’s militant organizational structures will come to fruition–first by identifying Hezbollah’s mysterious militant wing. It is believed that exposing Hezbollah’s militant wing must priority number one due to the group’s strategic position. Tactically, it is believed that any Iranian threat posed against the United States homeland comes from Hezbollah more than any other Iranian militant entity. They have operators positioned throughout Asia, Latin America, Africa, and even inside the United States patiently waiting for their Supreme Leader’s call to action.
Kerry Patton, a combat service disabled veteran, is a senior analyst for WIKISTRAT and owner of IranWarMonitor.com. He has worked in South America, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Europe, focusing on intelligence and security and interviewing current and former terrorists, including members of the Taliban. He is the author of Sociocultural Intelligence: The New Discipline of Intelligence Studies and the children’s book American Patriotism. You can follow him on Facebook.