“The ghost” Or “Soleimani’s Relative”, Possible Successor to “Hassan Nasrallah”

Incompatible reports have been circulated about the health condition updates of “Hezbollah militia’s leader”. These reports, in addition to his recent appearance in the “cough speech” in which he appeared exhausted, pale and weak, have prompted questions to be raised by a large number of the party’s supporters and opponents. They are puzzled about who could be the possible successor to “Hassan Nasrallah”. While other news have mentioned that ” Nasrallah’s health is improving and has become better than it was during his previous appearance.”

Coma and “pray for Healing”

Faisal Shukr, Hezbollah’s cultural official in Bekaa region, has revealed that “Nasrallah is recovering from the spring allergy that he has recently suffered, and the rumors circulated by some about his infection with the Corona virus and other diseases are not true.” “Shukr” has denied what he called “media fabrications” that talk about both Secretary-General of the Lebanese Hezbollah going into a coma, and the party’s leadership being in a constant search for an alternative figure among the names presented.

In the midst of these conflicting news about Nasrallah’s fate, advocates and followers of the Lebanese “Hezbollah” have been seen distributing free bread and water to passersby in Dahieh (The southern suburb) as a pray his recovery, according to their belief.

Nasrallah’s last appearance on May 25 has raised questions about the nature of his illness, and whether he was infected with Corona virus or had just an allergy as his son has mentioned. “Nasrallah” had intermittent coughing and breathing difficulties throughout the speech.

At the beginning of his speech, the leader of “Hezbollah” militia apologized to his crowd for his absence in the last period due to a health problem that caused him a cough that made it difficult to appear on the screen.

Israeli sources have suggested, “The army believes that Nasrallah has been infected with the Corona virus for a month and a half. but because of his refusal to take a health check, it is not possible to confirm an accurate diagnosis of his health situation.” The sources have also confirmed that “he lives in an underground shelter and is not exposed to the sun enough. For that, it makes sense to assume that he suffers from a vitamin D deficiency, which increases his exposure to respiratory diseases, and widens the chances of him getting infected with the virus.”

The Israeli media has pointed out that “rumors have spread during the past weeks about Nasrallah being transferred to hospital, and it seems that his media appearance was an attempt to refute these rumors. However, his recent appearance not only revealed his weakness and illness but also boosted the rumors further.”

The Caliph and the Iranian Role…

The death or assassination of “Nasrallah” would cause the party to lose part of its dominance over the Shiite community, especially with the decline in Hezbollah’s financial aid since this aid has always been one of the means of reinforcing the party’s influence. Anyway, the mechanism for choosing the Secretary-General of Hezbollah is still unknown, which is the highest leadership position of the party.

in light of the party’s subordination to Wilayat al-Faqih, political observers believe that the Iranian role is the primary one in choosing Nasrallah’s successor. The Iranian do not necessarily stipulate that the person who holds the highest position in the party right now will be the candidate to succeed Nasrallah. For example, Sheikh Naim Qassem, the second-in-command of Hezbollah, was previously overtaken by Nasrallah for the leadership of the party, even though “Qassem” was holding the position he currently occupies.

It is noteworthy that when “Subhi al-Tufayli”, the first Secretary-General of the party, was overthrown, “Abbas al-Mosawi” took the position. And after al-Mosawi’s death , Nasrallah came to succeed him.

The intelligence and military character of Hezbollah is combined with the religious one, as there are hidden positions that are more significant than the declared ones. In addition, the military wings usually conduct a greater role in making crucial decisions than what appears in public.

Moreover, “Ali Haidar”, a political analyst interested in Lebanese political organizations says that “Hezbollah does not adopt a publicly opened mechanism in appointing a Secretary-General. The caliph is always chosen from the party’s jihadist council. This council is nominally headed by Nasrallah. However, it was virtually headed by “Imad Mughniyeh”, and therefore it is widely expected that Nasrallah’s successor will be chosen from jihadist council.”

Soleimani’s relative

The Iranian newspaper Khurshid has reported that “Hashim Safi al-Din” has been chosen to succeed “Hassan Nasrallah” in the event of his assassination. The position of Executive Council’s head occupied by “Safi al-Din” is considered the second leadership position in Hezbollah, as he follows up on the daily details of party work and organizational procedures. As well as, he controls all the joints of the party.

“Safi al-Din” is 57 years old and is called the second man in the party, as he is one of the prominent leaders. He is the head of Executive Council of Hezbollah. Furthermore, he is related to Hassan Nasrallah, “his cousin,” and is married to the daughter of “Mohammed Ali al-Amin,” a member of the Legitimacy  committee in the Supreme Islamic Shiite Council. Safi al-Din studied in Qom in Iran with Nasrallah, and he still has a close relationship with him. Safi al-Din is considered one of the supporters of Wilayat al-Faqih’s philosophy.

Safi al-Din’s supervision of the party’s political affairs and social and economic programs has helped establish strong relationships with leaders in the military wing. He is a great asset for the party as he also manages a collection of enormous investments aimed at securing the financial independence of Hezbollah and providing funds for its massive organizational body.  USA and Saudi Arabia, placed Safi al-Din on the blacklist of terrorism in 2017 due to his responsibility for operations that came in the party’s interest in the Middle East, and for providing advice on carrying out terrorist operations as well.

The marriage of “Zainab Soleimani” about 6 months after the killing of her father, “Qassem Soleimani”, the former commander of the Quds Force, with “Reza Hashim Safi al-Din,” reflects the strong relationship between “Hashim Safi al-Din” and the Iranian leadership. The people who know “Safi al-Din” describe his personality as an extension of Nasrallah’s personality, and that his organizational experience and excellent relations with the military within the party make him an exemplary successor.

The ghost

The media have reported that Talal Hamiyah is one of the most prominent candidates to be Nasrallah’s successor in case the latter is absent. Hamiyah is born on November 27, 1952, his descent is the town of Taria, located in the central Beqaa, and is one of the few members who communicate directly with Nasrallah.

Hamiyah belongs to the party’s military wing, and therefore he is rarely seen and works in secret. He is considered one of the party’s first generation as he joined it in the mid-eighties when he was hold responsible for preparing party members in Bourj el-Barajneh in the southern suburb of Beirut. Hamiyah, in addition, was close to “Imad Mughniyeh”, who was the primary military leader of the party and killed in 2008 in a car bomb in Damascus.

“Hamiyah” has several pseudonyms, including “Talal Hosni”, “Ismat Misarani” and “The Ghost” due to his distance from social life. He is one of the solid and mysterious personalities, as he is said to have sharp mind, and to be commitment to strict security rules. This man does not have any Official papers in Lebanon, although he had worked as an administrative employee, before joining Hezbollah, at Beirut airport until 1982.

Hamiyah leads Unit 910, which is responsible for the party’s secret foreign operations because his coordination mission has given him great experience in this field. Therefore, according to Western intelligence, he took charge as president of the party’s jihadist council in 2016.  He operates “sleeper cells” all over the world, especially in South America and Western Europe. As well as, he has established some of these cells in the Gulf States and Africa anchoring on the Shiite popular incubator that contracts with collaborators and agents to bring financial and logistical support to the party. That is other than his role in recruiting volunteers for operations abroad, most notably sending recruits to Iraq.

According to the “Rewards for Justice” website (which represent a US program that offers rewards to anyone who provides information on wanted leaders and classified as terrorist), the formation led by Hamiyah is responsible for planning, coordinating and carrying out attacks outside Lebanon, especially those that primarily targeted Israelis and Americans. The website has also stated that Hamiyah’s name has been linked to several attacks, and he is accused of participating in the hijacking of the TWA plane in June 1985.

It is worth mentioning that Hamiyah’s props are rising to take over the leadership of the party in view of his advanced positions in the military wing. Regarding that, information indicates that he has been in charge as an assistant to “Nasrallah”, the head of the military council.

Fouad Shukr..

“Fouad Shukr” comes from “Al-Nabi Chit”, a village in the Beqaa Governorate. He was born in 1962. He joined Hezbollah since its founding in the eighties of the last century, and he rose in positions till he became an advisor in military affairs to Nasrallah.

Shukr is a member of the Jihadist Council, which is the party’s highest military body. He took command of Hezbollah forces in Syria succeeding Mustafa Badr al-Din, the former leader, who was killed in 2016.

“Shukr” was placed in July 2015 on the US sanctions list, as well as on the lists of terrorism in Saudi Arabia because he was accused of being involved in spreading chaos, instability and launching terrorist attacks. in October 2017, the US State Department also put a reward up to $5 million for information on “Fouad Shukr,” whether giving his location or information leading to his arrest or condemn him.

Despite of circulating the name “Shukur” as a possible successor to Nasrallah, the chances of him reaching the title remain low compared to ” Hamiyah” who is ahead of him in the party’s military position. To specify, the two men were candidates for the position of second-in-command of the Military Council after “Mughniyeh” had been assassinated. Hamiyah managed to win the title though.

Naim Qassem..

Administratively, “Naim Qassem” is considered the second man in the party, as he holds the position of Deputy Secretary-General.  However, his presence in this position did not make him take over the party’s general secretariat when Abbas al-Mosawi was assassinated in 1992. This would reduce his chances of being Nasrallah’s successor.

“Qassem” is 68 years old, and he studied proficiency in chemistry in French at Lebanese University. His religious studies, on the other hand, coincided with his academic studies. As a result, He obtained the higher stages of Hawza studies.

He has held the position of Deputy Secretary-General of Hezbollah since 1991 for five consecutive terms, and is responsible for parliamentary and ministerial work in the party.

It is noteworthy that “Qassem” worked with “Musa al-Sadr” at the beginning of Harakat al-Mahrumin’s foundation, and he first joined Hezbollah when it was introduced in 1982 as well. But “Qassem” was not one of the founders.

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