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How Is the U.S. Targeted Killing of Qassem Soleimani Likely to Affect Hezbollah’s International Activities and Operations?

Matthew Levitt

Also available in العربية

Middle East Institute

February 2020


Revelations from a recent terrorism trial suggest that the group will be patient in avenging his death, but could eventually use the preoperational surveillance it regularly collects to carry out an attack.

The following is an excerpt from an essay originally published in the Middle East Institute compilation Battered Survivor: Hezbollah at Home and Abroad (ed. Bilal Saab). Download the PDF to read the full text.

In recent years, Hezbollah grew into an expeditionary force deployed throughout the region to further Iranian interests. In the wake of the Soleimani assassination, Hezbollah has already stepped in to help guide Iraq’s various Shi’a militias, at least temporarily. But even as its regional military responsibilities grew and its domestic political position become more complicated, Hezbollah remained engaged in international terrorism, with operational activities detected in recent years in Bolivia, Bulgaria, Canada, Cyprus, Panama, Peru, Thailand, Uganda, the U.S., and more. The New York trial of convicted operative Ali Kourani, a self-described Hezbollah sleeper agent, offers critical insight into the conditions under which Hezbollah might carry out a terrorist attack...