Lebanese Hezbollah has enjoyed wide powers in Iraq, extending to more than just
political and military influence.
In 2006, Hezbollah began its investments in Baghdad and other southern cities under the tenure of former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who opened the door for the Lebanese businessmen linked to the party. This granted the party with absolute political and financial powers in addition to a military presence in battlefields along with the Iranian Militias in Iraq and Syria (IMIS).
Observers noted that it is not easy to observe all sectors, which the Lebanese party managed to economically penetrate in such a rich country like Iraq.
They added that the companies, owned by Hezbollah-linked Lebanese businessmen, controlled investment and development contracts within Baghdad’s 2016 plan, including reconstruction projects and contracts for institutions and licenses for the tourism sector.
Moreover, there are some indications that the investments by the party are bigger in other unobserved sectors like tourist restaurants and hotels.
Many Lebanese businessmen exceeded the limit of being an Arab investor or businessman to become people with wide influence in Baghdad through intervention within reconciliation between Iraqi politicians, mediation to appoint and sack officers, and releasing some corrupt officials. It is believed that they get sums of money for the services they render as a result of being close to the decision makers in Iraq.
Among those names, for example, were Adham Tabaja, Mohamed Hussein, Ali Daqdouq, Salim Kouthrani, Karim Selmi and others.
One of the main investments by the party, linked to Iraqi and Iranian Islamic banks, is the four-star Coral Hotel, owned by a company that is registered as a French company by the Iraqi Planning Ministry. However, no data exists for such company among French companies certified by Paris. The company is owned by a French-Lebanese man known as Haj Abu Yassin. It also runs Babel Hotel through Karim Nouri, a prominent Hezbollah member in Baghdad.
Hezbollah also obtained investment contracts within the reconstruction plan of Baghdad, in addition to contracts for furnishing governmental companies and institutions.