Lebanon’s biggest drug baron has reportedly openly endorsed Hezbollah against the backdrop of the battle for the Syrian city of Aleppo in which the Shi’ite militia plays a role.
The news site Arabi21 reported that Nur Zeeter wrote on Facebook that he had always been, and forever would remain, a fervent Hezbollah supporter.
“This is a message to the emir of the believers, the great leader, his excellency Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah,” Zeeter wrote. “Sir, we have paid a price for our loyalty to you and for our inability to protect ourselves from evil and injustice. But we are honorable men, loyal men, who pledge to continue to fight evil and its doers, the enemies of the nation. We will continue to be loyal to you, with the help of Allah.”
He later added: “Sir, you expect our support, and we say to you: We shall obey. We are at your service, whatever your request may be.”
The site reported that Zeeter, who has been embroiled in criminal activity in Lebanon and enjoyed Hezbollah’s protection, has in the past visited the organization’s militants in Syria.
The paper also cited Lebanese sources saying that Zeeter, who controls several Shi’ite villages in southern Lebanon where he grows marijuana, maintains extensive business ties with Hezbollah, providing them revenues from drug deals that they use to purchase arms.
According to the paper, some of Zeeter’s employees have enlisted with Hezbollah to fight in Syria.
Hezbollah came under fire following Zeeter’s visit to the frontline, where militiamen fend off jihadists, mainly Islamic State and Nusra Front loyalists, who try to cross the Lebanese border in order to carry out attacks against Assad’s regime or Shi’ite targets.
Many criticized Hezbollah’s cooperation with the so-called “drug king of Lebanon” and the immunity that the organization, which is a member of the Lebanese government, has accorded to a man wanted by the police.