“Al Sajjad” Card – Iran is using Hezbollah for its hostile takeover of the Lebanese economy using a new intel gathering method
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Affected Countries: lebanon;
Hezbollah’s new sim card “Al Sajjad” is gaining momentum in Lebanon while compromising its customers’ personal safety and putting the country at a strategic risk.
Background: For the past 18 months, Lebanon has been gripped by economic disaster. From the public sector debt and the bankruptcy of the banking system to the weight of COVID -19 and the explosion at Beirut’s port in August last year, the Lebanese Lira has collapse. Lebanese citizens are struggling to obtain enough food. The Lebanese crisis has reached a boiling point identified by Iran as the opportunity to assert full control of the Lebanese economy. Using its proxy, Hezbollah, as an executor, Iran is launching a hostile economic takeover of Lebanon in various ways:
• Al Nour supermarkets: A few months ago, Hezbollah introduced a new network of supermarkets called “Al Nour,” which is funded by Iranian money that is deposited in several accounts of Hezbollah’s financial system, Al Qard al Hassan. Every shop has variety of products coming from Iran, Syria and Iraq. Its mission is to sell at the cheapest price that can be found in the country, thereby attracting more customers rapidly. Al Nour can offer the cheapest prices because Hezbollah receives the products at an extremely low price and avoids paying taxes since the goods are smuggled through customs. That is possible due to two main reasons:
◦ Hezbollah is de facto controlling the Beirut airport, customs and security.
◦ Hezbollah has Units specializing in smuggling commodities from Syria.
• Al Sajjad: This is a card that gives the client a large discount on a variety of products, depending on the cardholder’s financial status. If the monthly salary of the cardholder is 125 USD or less, he will receive up to 40% discount; if it’s above, he will receive up to 20% discount. The only way to obtain the card is through a home visit by Hezbollah members, in which presentation of ID is mandatory.
Through this method, Hezbollah creates an efficient urban mapping of who lives where, how many members are in each family, details about the card holder’s income, etc.
The danger hidden in “Al Sajjad” card is not known to most users. The secret lies in its sim. In order to reveal the sim capabilities contained in the “Al Sajjad” card, we got our hands on one. The card was examined by the leading lab in this field, equipped with the best, updated technology. The findings prove the scale of the intrigue.
The sim of the card is basically a spyware device that is manufactured in Iran. It has the capability to connect to any smart phone within short proximity, collect all the data about the user who holds it, including pictures, emails, bank accounts passwords and so on. The data is saved and backed up both in Lebanon and Iran for future use, likely for politics and blackmail.
Also, if the person allows the smart phone to access his current location on local apps such as Lebanese banks or even dating apps, the card can collect that information and function as a location tracker.
A critical point for its use would likely be in May of 2022 when there will be voting for general elections. Hezbollah would probably use the information to pressure voters and blackmail people who will not obey to its orders.
Right now, around 12,000 cards are being used, Most of them in the Shiite area but not exclusively. In the following months, more branches of “Al Nour” will open throughout new regions of Lebanon and will be a reasonable alternative for many families.
Hezbollah is planning to do the same with medical drugs in the following months.
By August 2021, there will be around 30,000 cards on the market, while the goal is to have around 100,000 users by January 2022.
Iran has already begun its hostile takeover of Lebanon, part of its strategic plan to conquer the weak countries in the Middle East, as Iraq, Yemen, Syria and Oman, and use their economies for its benefit. Furthermore, its aggressive move of big data collection in these countries, prove yet again, they will do whatever it takes to achieve it, including criminal and terror activity.