Tehran’s master terrorist, Imad Mughniyah and the forgotten road to 9/11 part I of II

By Stephen Hughes 7 Feb 2015 part I of II  

Before Bin Laden and 9/11 Tehran’s master terrorist had killed more Americans than any terrorist in history, Imad Mughniyah was America’s most wanted with a 5 million dollar bounty. With the Islamic Republic of Iran’s help he built a global nexus of militant warfare and terrorist operations.  The road to 9/11, it was Imad who introduced Osama Bin laden to Khomeini’s cult of the Islamic Suicide Bomber.

In late July 1996, American warships, a full complement of military hardware, and nearly 4,000 Marines, sailors and SEALs, were praying they could pull off the mission of their lives. They had been assigned to grab the man, who before the 9/11 attacks, had killed more Americans than any other terrorist. One month earlier, 19 Americans had been killed in the bombing of the Khobar Towers Air Force barracks in Saudi Arabia.  Mughniyah masterminded the Saudi Arabia Khobar towers bombing this were carried out by the Saudi Hezbollah a Sunni terrorist network that has connections with the Lebanese Hezbollah. This attack carried out on June 25, 1996, truck bomb estimated to contain the equivalent of 3,000 to 8,000 pounds of TNT exploded outside the northern perimeter of Khobar Towers, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, a facility housing U.S. and allied forces supporting the coalition air operation over Iraq, Operation Southern Watch. There were 19 fatalities and approximately 500 wounded. This bomb attack marked the second Imad terrorist strike at U.S. forces in Saudi Arabia within eight months. On Nov. 13, 1995, a 220-pound car bomb exploded in a parking lot adjacent to an office building housing the Office of the Program Manager, Saudi Arabian National Guard, in Riyadh, causing five U.S. and two Indian fatalities.  To note one of his most infamous missions was in Lebanon, the 1983 Beirut barracks suicide truck bombing of U.S. Forces.  The death toll was 241 American servicemen: 220 Marines, 18 Navy personnel and three Army soldiers, along with sixty Americans injured, representing the deadliest single-day death toll for the United States Marine Corps since the Battle of Iwo Jima of World War II, the deadliest single-day death toll for the United States military since the first day of the Tet Offensive during the Vietnam War, and the deadliest single attack on Americans overseas since World War II. He also happened to be one of Tehran’s deadliest terrorist.

Shadow Warriors, Dan Rather Reports May 1, 2002 http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/05/01/60II/main507784.shtml

Western intelligence sources point out Mughniyah long left the confines of Hezbollah, where he nominally served as foreign operations chief. Instead, Mughniyah was the top terrorist of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, where he established cells throughout Africa, Europe, North America and Latin America. One of his top assignments was to prepare a terror option that would retaliate against any US strike against Iran's nuclear weapons facilities.

Imad Fayez Mughniyah was born in Tayr Dibbuh, South Lebanon, in July 1962, his family moved to the southern suburbs of Beirut.  At the end of the seventies Imad joined the Force 17, the elite commando unit of Arafat's Fatah group. After the evacuation of the PLO from Beirut, Imad stayed behind with his brothers Jihad and Fuad. With the support of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Imad Mughniyah founded the radical Islamic Jihad Organization, which became the terror unit in the Hezbollah organization. Khomeini developed a personal relationship with Lebanese Shia during his exile period in the holy Shia city Najaf Iraq 1965- 1978. There in addition to his studies, he taught and gave lectures where a large contingent of Lebanese Shia studied. These were to become the seeds for the Lebanese radical Hezbollah.  South Lebanon’s ties to Iran and Khomeini in particular deepened as it became a haven for Iranian dissidents opposed to Iran’s Monarchy, the Shah, and young Iranians even trained with the Palestinian Liberation Army (PLA) while there. Members of Hezbollah mentioned Khomeini’s perception of Velayet-e faqih, hatred of Israel and America on numerous occasions and affirmed his spiritual and political authority over them. In this way, Hezbollah was and remains a distinct Shiite Islamic group because of its proclaimed allegiance to Khomeini, or Supreme Leader of Iran, currently Khamenei.

In 1982, after the Iran-Iraq war, Muhammad-Najar was placed at the head of the Revolutionary Guards Middle East department which controls Iranian intelligence bodies in the region, including Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf emirates, and runs clandestine projects for the “export of the Islamic revolution” to these countries. He quickly proved himself an able organizer and operations chief. He forthwith planted 1,500 Revolutionary Guardsmen in the Lebanese Beqaa Valley. Their transit through Syria was approved by the Damascus government. This Iranian outpost established the first recruiting center for the new Lebanese Shiite terrorist organization calling itself Hezbollah. Right from the start, Muhammad-Najar worked closely with a rising star in the Islamic terrorist firmament, Imad Mughniyeh, who debuted with spectacular abductions of foreigners, mostly American and British hostages. The two became firm friends in this period. In February 1988, the pair organized the kidnapping of Colonel William R (Rich Higgins, the most senior American intelligence officer in Lebanon. He was tortured to death by Iranian Revolutionary Guardsmen and Hezbollah operatives on an unknown date.

Mughniyah was responsible for the personnel security of Hezbollah’s spiritual leader Fadlallah, but because of his operational talents he became soon the head of the special operations. He was responsible for the planning of suicide attacks on the US embassy in Beirut, on April 18th 1983, which cost 67 people their lives. He also masterminded the bomb attack on the Marines (241 killings) and French Multinational Force barracks (56 killings), on October 23 1983.

Tehran’s Imad Mughniyah waged deadly warfare across face of the International community, yet much of this carnage has been relegated to obscurity. The history and the Islamic Republics wars of terror are and continually being buried for the sake of nuclear negotiations with Iran. In addition, President Obama has given a new meaning to the name White House if reality it is a house of white washing injudiciousness.

According to the State Department’s annual Country Reports on Terrorism (previously known as the Patterns of Global Terrorism report), Iran, designated a terrorist sponsor since 1984, remains “the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism” as it “continues to undermine international efforts to promote peace and democracy and threatens stability, especially in the Middle East and South Asia. The emphasis on Islamic Republic from the State Department came on the same day a New York City Federal Court sentenced a 58-year-old naturalized American citizen, Manssor Arbabsiar, to 25 years in prison for participating in an Iranian plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s ambassador on US soil in 2011.

Since 1984 the Islamic Republic of Iran has organized Hezbollah branches in more than 40 countries including the US. Shortly after the September 11th attacks, former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Bob Graham, stated that Hezbollah is "believed to have the largest embedded terrorist network inside the U.S." Today, American law enforcement officials are disturbed the terrorist group, which has so far focused on fund-raising and other support activities inside the United States. Hezbollah could activate its US sleeper cells in solidarity with Iran and rein havoc in this country. References to cooperation between al Qaeda and Hezbollah abound in the September 11th Commission's final report, suggesting that the boundary between Shiite and Sunni not be as pronounced as some analysts and academics might otherwise believe. As the 9/11 Commission noted contextual cooperation between al Qaeda and Iran's Hezbollah: "In late 1991 or 1992, discussions in Sudan between al Qaeda and Iranian operatives led to an informal agreement. This agreement was to cooperate in providing limited mutual support.  In addition to training for actions carried out primarily against Israel and the United States."

Imad Mughniyah paved the road for Osama Bin Laden’s 9/11 attacks, built with the bricks of the radical Islamic Doctrine of Ayatollah Khomeini. Khomeini was the architect of the cult of the Islamic Suicide bomber. He created this out of desperation in the midst of the Iran-Iraq war.

Sunni and Shiites: in Understanding Radical Militant Islam, nothing has caused the greatest bewilderment and confusion was the long held belief of no amalgamations of Sunni and Shiites forces. In many circles today it is still not believed there was never any real unity among these two groups of Islam, let alone work together on joint terrorist operations.

1991: Sudan Sunni Government Unites With the Shiite Government of Tehran

Sudan declared itself an Islamic state in 1990 when General Bashir visited the Islamic Republic and said the two countries shared a common duty to propagate Islam. After a visit in 1991 to Khartoum Sudan  by the then  Iranian President, Hashemi Rafsanjani, Tehran agreed to grant military and economic assistance to Sudan’s Hassan Al-Turabi Government, extending to it the potential not to only consolidate its power at home but also to materially and morally promote Islamic groups.  Under tutelage from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (AKA the Iranian Revolutionary Guard) Sudanese accelerated the training of a paramilitary force of conscripted Government workers and university students, known as the Popular Defense Force December, 1991: Iran, then Iranian President Rafsanjani, along with Iran’s (former) Other Governmental members - Intelligence Minister Al Fallahian, Revolutionary Guard Corps Commander In Chief Mohsen Rezaii, and Defense Minister Al Torkan. In addition to these top Iranian Officials, another 150 Iranian delegates were present. In a speech given in Khartoum, Rafsanjani told his hosts Sudan could play a more important role in the new world order: “During the trip Iran provided 17 million dollars, purchased 300 million dollars’ worth of military equipment for Sudan from China”. Islamic Fundamentalism, The New Global Threat, Mohammad Mohaddessin Seven Locks Press, 2001 Pages, 90 -92

Part I of II – To be continued.