Hezbollah militant killed in a car bomb in Damascus or targeted Killings as a war tactic for the impotent state

Click on the picture to see ex-Mossad agent and Beyrouth bureau chief in 1982 surrounded by the pictures of Bachir Gemayel, ex president of lebanon during the Israeli occupation, and brother of Amine, now part of March 14th and Hariri's coalition in Lebanon. Read here the related article.
Mughniyeh, 45, was Hezbollah's security chief in the 1980s. He was believed to have directed a group that held Westerners hostage in Lebanon. Among them was journalist Terry Anderson, a former Associated Press chief Middle East correspondent who was held captive for six years.

Mughniyeh, who had been in hiding for years, was one of the fugitives indicted in the United States for the 1985 hijacking of a TWA airliner in which a U.S. Navy diver was killed. He is on an FBI wanted list with a $25 million bounty on his head. The bounty is equal to that the U.S. has put for al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden

Official declarations from all parties involved and accusations put aside, my little thumb is telling me that the Syrian regime is ready to stray away from its old alliance with Hezbollah. We might not see the implications of this shift quickly unless the current US administration is preparing, with current Israeli prime minister Olmert, a last minute operation or showdown in the ME, being on the war front or on the peace negociations front.

Now, Israeli experts, and not the state, have been boasting about the targeted killing of Mughniyeh while denying it:
The Israeli killing men are trying to contain their grins. The government issued a non-denial denial "Israel rejects the attempt by terror groups to attribute to it any involvement in this incident. We have nothing further to add" -- i.e. they reject terror groups saying they were involved, but do not say that they were not involved.

Both the US and Israel, USrael, claim that it was a 'just' killing and that it might have been done by Israel as a way of sending a message to Hezbollah about Israel's ability, and also the US - Yes, Yes, despite its faltering everywhere from Afghanistan to Iraq - to reach ennemies everywhere. Well, there is no doubt in my mind that Israel can do that. As a matter of fact, Israel has proved it can do only that. It cannot win wars against organised guerrilas in Lebanon like those it won against weak and underequipped armies in the Arab world and against Palestinian civilian population. So all what Israel can do is targeted killing as a way of delivering 'justice'. 'Justice' for what? For its failure of course, this is justice as a revenge. The US approves this way of chasing the ennemy because in our world 'justice' equals, not only targeted killings, but also unlawful wars, Torture, and everything that makes us feel good and stems from a sense of entitlment to kill, an entitlemnt not given to others.
Former Mossad chief Danny Yatom on Wednesday welcomed Mughniyah's death, calling it "a great achievement for the free world in its fight on terror."
"Mughniyah was one of the most dangerous and cruel terrorists of all time," said the Labor MK. "There are numerous intelligence agencies and countries that have been pursuing him, and the one that was successful in reaching him [has proven itself] - to have a high intelligence and operational capability."
Yatom called Mughniyah's death a serious blow to Hezbollah, both in terms of morale and in terms of its operational capabilities, saying the assassination could only have been made possible by penetrating deep into the organization.
"Whoever can take him out can take out anyone in Hezbollah," he said. "It will take Hezbollah a long time to find an heir."

Why is it that Israel didn't find Mughniyeh before ? Well, despite its might, having to operate for this killing in the strongly police state that is Syria, Israel must have had some local collaboration at some level. On the same day of Mughniyeh's killing, vague threats from Bush against Syrian officials might have helped, as the present Syrian regime is known mostly for its acute sense of survival. It might be also that Israel, having had to listen to Hezbollah's leader recent challenge to collect its dead soldiers' bodies that were left behind on the battle scene of July 2006,impotent as it is, wanted a quick revenge through a high profile action to restore its mighty image. And Mughniyeh's killing was the 'best' thing Israel could do to show its strenght; killing a Hezbollah member in an ennemy's capital, even though its importance in the movement is now way exagereted by all parties, and for different reasons. And it might be also that Israel is trying to drive Hezbollah to similar actions, like conducting terrorist operations outside Lebanon against Israel. But this is definitely the last thing Hezbollah will be willing to do. And it might be also that, even though Hezbollah will not be willing to conduct terror operations against Israel or the US, Israel could always do some operations that might appear as coming from Hezbollah and attribute them to the movement, as a retaliation. Israel did attribute the Argentina synaguogue bombing to Hezbollah despite many doubts (why on earth Hezbollah would chase Israel in Argentina?) and despite the fact that there never was a solid proof that the bombing was the doing of Hezbollah.
Israel is behaving as always; when it is defeated on the war front or on the diplomatic front, it resorts to high profile operations like the Entebbe raid to guard its image as a state that must be feared, while attributing the aftermath of these operations and their dramatic consequences to its opponents.
Assassination is a two-edged Sword: this analysis by one of Israel's intelligence epxerts proves that one of the goals of this assassination id to push Hezbollah and Iran to the edge and maybe to adopt the same tactic, therefore fueling accusations of terrorism. Because, never forget, for western minds, when Israel assassinates, it is an accomplishement for its own security and when Israel's ennemies assassinate, it is called terrorism.

News and Comments: Big Killer Takes Out Smaller One. "Wipe Out a Neighborhood." Life By Mafia Rules in the Israeli - US Domain.
Angry Arab:What role did the Syrian government play, if any, to facilitate the assassination?
UrShalim: Winograd Lamentation.
Alan Dershowitz (OJ Simpson's lawyer): Targeting Mughniyeh was the right thing to do.
And look how the Jeru Post has inflated Mughniyeh's role beyond any reasonable limit in order to present his killing as a smart coup by Israel.

Global Voices has some interesting links to the Arab blogosphere on Mughniyeh's assassination:
A reaction from Egypt
From Bahrain
From Syria
And I am still waiting for Moussa Bashir to give us a synthesis from the Lebanese blogosphere...


Wolfie said...

I too thought this an interesting development as I can't see how it could have happened after all this time without some Syrian collusion, so the question is "what do they want in return?"

Its hard to gauge but this is more likely to be connected with regional politics than impending regime change in America or Israel. My money is on power shifts in Iran.

Sophia said...


Thanks for the comment. I did not mention Iran and you are right. I don't know what the elections in Iran will give us but AhmadiNejad seems alienated among the Mullahs who do not want war with the US. So Syria's move could be to position itself along the US line before 'regime change' in Iran and collect the benefits.
However, knowing how the US administration behaved ungratefully vis-à-vis the Syrian collaboration in the first Iraq war and then against Al_Qaida in 2001 up until the second Iraq war in 2003. And knowing the intransigeance and arrogance of Israel, I don't think that Syria will receive a fair return on this.

Ted said...

How can any killing be "Just"?

Our leaders have their priorities wrong.

Number of Operations Iraq Freedom and Enduring Freedom casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 4423

Amre El-Abyad said...

Wel it is a myth to say that Israel won wars against underarmed weak Arab armies except for 1948 were the combined Arab troops mounted to 40,000 up against 100,000 Israeli troops who faught side by side with Brits and Russians. yet still Egyptians held ground in the first round. 1967 was the natural outcome of the alienation of Nasser from the military instiution by the powerful-but-hip- and hash-loving Marshal Amer. That, however, was the last war won by Israel. Egypt won the war of attrition which emded by Israel pressing for a sieze fire( Roger's initiative). In 1973 Egypt gained more lan than Israel:)).

That said, it is totally unfair to the innocnet and highly creative Lebanese civilians to bear the burden of an uneven war against the advanced American air-craft carrier aka Israel. That battle , if it would ever be, must be faught by the entire Arab world.

It is unfair to kill Lebanese so as to serve the Irani encroachement into the Arab world

annie said...

Ne me dis pas que la Syrie a trempé dans ce complot. Là, je perdrais toutes mes illusions.

Sophia said...


Ce n'est absolument pas ce que j'insinue. Il est naif de croire que 'La Syrie' c'est quelque chose de monolithique du point de vue politique. Il y a des factions et des tensions à l'intérieur du pays. Je ne crois pas que ce soit l'intérêt du régime actuel d'avoir contribué à cela. Mais des factions désireuses de plaire à USrael peut-être.
Certaines hypothèses portent vers des Libanais, anciens collaborateurs du régime Syrien (comme tu le sais, les anciens collabo du régime Syrien sont ceux qui se déclarent anti-Syriens maintenant au Liban).
S'il y a eu collaboration à l'intérieur de la Syrie cela ne veut dire en aucun cas que ce pays est impliqué ou que le gouvernment Syrien fut impliqué.

Since March 29th 2006