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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

BULLETIN: Mughniyeh- Hezbollah security chief killed In Damascus

Imad Mughniyeh's father was a Lebanese Shia scholar and Mughniyeh himself was raised in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. In the late 1970s, around the time of Israel's first invasion to expel the PLO from Lebanon, Imad Mughiniyeh worked for Arafat's 'Force 17' as a sniper along the Green line that separated Muslim from Christian Beirut. PLO-friendly Druze leader Walid Jumblatt had been killed the year before and the Christian establishment had been reduced to fighting a civil war against the Druzes, the PLO and the Shia, so Israel saw a dangerous power vacuum. Israel formed a DMZ or security zone north of the Lebanese border with Israel. Syria occupied Lebanon an an attempt extend its influence and impose peace. In 1982, after Israel invaded again, driving out the PLO and forcing the withdrawal of Syria, Mughniyah stayed behind to fight for remnants of the PLO. But after falling out with the PLO, Mughniyah joined Hezbollah, a new party and security force founded expressly to serve Lebanese Shia and not just Palestinian interests in Beirut and the south of Lebanon. Mughniyeh soon became Hezbollah's "chief of operations for the external security apparatus". Seeing another power vacuum in the wake of the assassination of Lebanese Christian president Bashir Gemayyel, in September, 1982, Israel occupied Beirut and gave the green light to Christian militias to massacre Palestinian refugees in the camps of Sabra and Shatila. An international contingent of American, French and Italian troops was sent into Beirut to restore order. Hezbollah, angered at western occupying troops, unleashed its security chief, Mughniyah, who arranged the bombing of the US embassy on April 18, 1983, killing 60. President Amin Gemayyel ordered both Israel and Syria out of Lebanon. Israeli troops withdrew to southern Lebanon to block Hezbollah attacks against northern Israel. In the absence of Israel in the rest of Lebanon, Syria moved in. On October 23, Mughaniyeh struck again, arrranging simultaneous suicide truck bombings wich killed 230 in a U.S. marine barracks and 58 paratroopers in a French military base. In December, 1983, 11 Hezbollah-affiliated members of the Iraqi resistance group, Al Dawa, were arrested in a double suicide bombing of the U.S. and French embassies in Kuwait. The freeing of those 11 was to be the goal of Mughniyeh's Hezbollah kidnappings in the mid-1980s. In 1985, with a Christian and Israeli occupation of the Hezbollah heartland in south Lebanon, Mughniyeh brought off the hijacking of a Algiers-bound TWA passenger jet out of Beirut. Around the same time, he is thought to have engineered the kidnapping and murder of Beirut CIA station chief William Buckley. It was around then that Islamic Jihad, under the direction of Mughniyeh, began kidnapping western academics and jounralists to free the 11 Hezbollah-Al Dawa prisoners held in Kuwait. He directed the kidnapping of British Anglican envoy Terry Anderson. It was also Mughniyeh who, on behalf of Iran, directed the release of hostages held by Islamic Jihad so that Iran could buy weapons from the U.S who used the cash to support the Contras in Nicaragua. By this time Mughniyeh worked closely with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and Iran's Intelligence and Security Ministry. In Beiruit, in the late '80s, a long period of anarchy had followed the withdrawal of Israel. The civil war fragmented again and Syria increased its presence, formally re-occupying the country in 1988. That year, in a further attempt to force the release of the Hezbollah prisoners in Kuwait, Mughniyeh directed the hijacking of a Kuwait Airlines jet, killing passengers as it landed in Cyprus before hostages and passengers were finally released in Algeria. The Lebanese war ended more more or less iin 1989 with the Ta'if Accords before Hezbollah finally pushed Israel from southern Lebanon in 1990. Working farther afield in 1992, Mughaniyeh brought off the bombing of the Israeli Empassy in Argentina and of a Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires, killing 95. The came Al Qaeda. A Bin Laden Lieutenant, Ali Mohammed, testified in a US court that Mughaniyeh met with al-Qaeda in Sudan in 1993 after which Hezbollah supplied explosives to al-Qaeda. According to the Debka File, Mughaniyeh was allowed by Syria's Assad to cross through that country in 2003, to help set up a Shia revolt in US-occupied Iraq. Indeed, according to Debka, the insurrection of Iraqi radical Shia leader Moqtada al Sadr of April 3-4th, 2004, was planned long in advance in Iran, with the collaboration of Damascus and Hezbollah, by Mughaniyeh who was alleged by then to have been a member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. Apparently the truck bombings that destroyed the Baghdad UN and assassinated the moderate Iraqi Shia leader, al Hakim in Najaf, both bore the hallmarks of a Mughniyeh operation. In August, 2004 , there were reports that just as Iranian security was about to arrest Mughniyeh, along with Al Qaeda second in command Zawahiri in Iran, they left the country with the help of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and may have gone into Iraq where they are believed to have been in September, 2004. By that time, it was said, Mughniyeh held a position in Hezbollah even higher than that of Hezbollah head, Nasrallah. Mughniyeh's made his last public political appearance in 2006 when he met with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Damascus in 2006. It's probable that Mughniyeh was killed in Damascus by Israeli Mossad agents.
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