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Headquarters of the Russian Federal Security Service

The Russian intelligence service may be providing valuable information to Hezbollah about Israeli activities, prompting concern in Tel Aviv that any future military initiative against the group may not come as a surprise, according to a report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

Russia’s Federal Security Service, or FSB, may be providing intelligence based on intercepts it is acquiring from its enlarged presence in the Middle East, especially at a new base in Tartus, Syria, according to informed sources. The Syrians have allowed Russia to enlarge facilities at Tartus to increase its naval presence. Tartus is only 25 miles from Lebanon’s northern border with Syria.

Russia’s increased presence in Syria is meant to dampen any notion to attack either Syria or Lebanon. At the same time, it has permitted the Russians to introduce sophisticated surveillance systems capable of blanketing all of Lebanon and Syria.

For Hezbollah, such coverage comes at a time when Israel has warned Hezbollah that it will launch attacks on its positions in Lebanon should there be any provocations into Israel launched from there.

To date, Israeli officials have not officially commented on reports of FSB-Hezbollah cooperation. However, sources say that without the intelligence provided by the Israeli spy network in Lebanon, the Israeli Air Force would not have knocked out Hezbollah medium-range missile launchers during the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah.

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The prospect of cooperation between the FSB and Hezbollah has led to one unconfirmed report from the Israeli website DEBKAfile claiming that the Russian intelligence service assisted Hezbollah in uncovering an alleged Israeli spy ring in Lebanon. Called the Al-Alam spy ring, it reportedly operated primarily in southern Lebanon, leading to the arrest of some 70 people of varying national origins.

In addition to Lebanese, the alleged spies also were said to be Palestinian and Egyptian citizens.

The spy ring reportedly developed following the 2006 failed Israeli military effort in Lebanon to eliminate Hezbollah.

To date, the Russians have not commented on providing information to Hezbollah. Nevertheless, the relationship between the Russians and Hezbollah has a long history.

It began between the then–Soviet Union and the Shiite religious leadership in Lebanon as far back as 1972 when Soviet authorities were asked to provide humanitarian aid. Between 1972 and 1975, Soviet military officers were in contact with Iranian opposition members and radical Lebanese Shiite groups who were undergoing training in Palestinian camps which the Soviet officers visited.

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