Hezbollah Gripped by Major Financial Crisis
Hezbollah, the Lebanon-based Islamist terror group aligned with the Iranian and Syrian regimes, may be on the cusp of a financial crisis.
One day after a reported IDF strike in the Golan Heights that killed 12 senior officials from both Hezbollah and the Iranian regime, it would seem that terrorists led by Sheikh Hasan Nasrallah are determined to provoke Israel into further confrontation. However, according to Newsweek journalist Jeff Neumann:
…the good times may now be over for Hezbollah and its supporters. Iranian oil profits, which have lubricated the proxy group with hundreds of millions of dollars a year, appear to be drying up. Western sanctions, imposed on Tehran due to its nuclear program, coupled with falling oil prices, have emptied the coffers of the Islamic Republic. Crude now trades at less than $50 per barrel, down from more than $100 in June, due to lower global demand, oversupply in the Middle East and the rise of the American fracking industry. Meanwhile, Iran has reportedly seen its oil exports fall by 60 percent since 2011, and the country’s budget deficit has climbed to an astounding $9 billion.
Hezbollah’s budget woes come at perhaps the worst possible time for the organization. The group recently uncovered a Mossad spy high in its ranks, and its militant wing has reportedly lost nearly 1,000 fighters in the Syrian civil war. As Hezbollah takes on a growing role in the battle against ISIS and Syrian rebel groups, that conflict further threatens to strain its resources. Which is why Matthew Levitt, an analyst at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy in Washington, D.C., says this oil shock is the most significant that the group has ever felt.
Neumann reported that Hezbollah has already made swingeing cuts in social services, and said that, “with oil forecasters predicting a long run of prices for crude, Hezbollah’s cuts are likely to become extreme.”