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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Hezbullah's secure underground phone network

The Jerusalem Post reports that Hezbullah has set up a wireless, underground phone network in southern Lebanon and around Beirut that is designed to be secure against wiretaps by the Lebanese government and Israeli intelligence. The report is based on 'Lebanese sources,' which I assume means this Naharnet report.
Underground cables were recently discovered running parallel to those of the state phone system near Nabatiya in southern Lebanon, according to the reports. On Wednesday, Lebanese Telecommunications Minister Marwan Hamadeh slammed Hizbullah for installing the network, saying it violated Lebanese law.

An independent phone network system could pose a challenge to any efforts to gather intelligence from the conversations of Hizbullah guerrillas.

Creating an independent phone network is not difficult as long as money is not an issue, according to Yael Shahar, director of the Database and Open Source Intelligence Project at the International Institute for Counter Terrorism at IDC Herzliya. If the reports are true, Shahar said, the new network could, in theory, prevent Israeli eavesdropping, as well as help Hizbullah counterintelligence operations to ensure that no one within its ranks is a spy.

"This is not rocket science," she said. "You can sublease from worldwide networks and build your own network. All you need is money to hire technicians and to buy equipment such as transmitters."
It should be clear to all by now that the Lebanese government does not have the will to reign in Hezbullah's state within a state, just as it did not have the will to do the same with the PLO between 1975 and 1982. The next war is, unfortunately, just a matter of time.


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