The Mahdi Scouts, affiliated with Hezbollah, was established in 1985 after the Israeli Army withdrew from the “security zone.” The Scouts include thousands of members and has branches in various areas such as Beirut and its southern suburbs, Bekaa and south Lebanon. This association got a license to operate from the Lebanese Interior Ministry in 1992, seven years after its establishment.
They inherited the “Scouts of the Islamic message” of the Amal movement in the Shiite environment and the Amal Scouts’ work became limited to civil Scout work only, while the Mahdi Scouts prepare boys to become armed jihadists when they grow up.
Hezbollah’s Scout Movement includes almost 50,000 member and affiliates, between the age of 8 years and even 18 years, distributed to more than 500 Regiment.
The aim of Hezbollah’s Scout Movement, as stated explicitly in the annual calendar issued by the movement in 2006, is the establishment of an Islamic generation according to the perception of “Welayat al-Faqih,” which means commitment to the teachings of the religious authority in Iran Leader Ali Khamenei.
Thus, the community is becoming a nation in their opinion, and its president is the political and religious leader of Iran who enjoys an aura of holiness as “deputy of Imam Mahdi,” and that makes them see him as a secular Divine Savior and inspiring leader who cannot be equaled to any other creature in the world.
A western study published by a website about Hezbollah says: “The establishment of Imam Mahdi Scouts’ movement by Hezbollah aims to attract children and youngsters from the Shiite sect, and to shape their awareness and the preparation of new generations of youngsters who support the radical thinking of the Shiite party Hezbollah.”
On the other hand, the Mahdi Scouts constitute a main element to the military body of Hezbollah, as the majority of the scouts’ members engage in the Jihadi work after the age 16. At this age, the members get into their first military course called “combatting literacy”, in which teens recognize the principles knowledge of the weapon, and how to shoot at fixed targets. They then get intensive summer courses and in two years these youngsters graduate as experienced fighters in various types of weapons and are ready to get engaged in the bloodiest battles at the orders of the Secretary General of Hezbollah. All this is in preparation for the real battles when they reach adulthood.
According to well-informed sources, Hezbollah Scout movement started a new branch for the association in Syria in the wake of the Syria crisis. One of the opposition sources said that the Syria branch is organizing activities and exhibitions, and is participating in rallies supporting the regime, and the Information Office of the Scouts Association recently issued new patrol Scouts in Syria under the name “Tawasol.”
The Syria branch of the Mahdi Scouts Association provides children with military training similar to training in military units, as well as instilling religious education, especially in the minds of children through attending religious classes in Shiite mosques, where they are introduced to the Shiite ideology, and where the ideas of revenge and Shiism are implanted in their minds.