Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Big fish fried

He wasn't just another run of the mill terrorist or proverbial revolving "number three" in AQ. He was the Number One or Two of Hizballah. And now he's dead:
Imad Mughniyeh, the militant accused of attacks that left hundreds of Americans and Israelis dead, including a U.S. Navy diver during the infamous 1985 hijacking of a TWA jetliner, has been killed, Hezbollah said Wednesday.

The militant group blamed Israel for the assassination - a charge the Jewish state denied - but it did not say how he died. However, Middle East media reported he was killed in a recent car bomb in Syria.
Allegedly he was a member of the hijacking crew on TWA 847 in 1985 that resulted in the death of Navy diver Robert Stethem. Strangely, the ringleader of that bunch was captured years ago and imprisoned for life in Germany, then recently released for unknown reasons only to go back on the FBI's most wanted list. This should be a reminder to the left that al Qaeda and Afghanistan aren't the only areas sheltering terrorists who've killed Americans.

Mughniyeh's name pops up all over the place regards terrorism, including with Hamas and AQ. The world is officially better off.

MORE 2/13/08

This strike brings back memories of captain John Testrake, who heroically led flight 847 and left a lasting impression on the writer of this blog. He probably would have been in favor of forgiving Mr Mughniyeh. No longer necessary.

MORE 2/13/08

This is coming from the Jerusalem Post, which may require a dash of skepticism, nevertheless:
He also apparently had strong ties with Al Qaida and according to the testimony of Ali Mohammed, a senior Al Qaida operative who was arrested for involvement in the attacks on American embassies in Africa, Mughniyeh met with Bin Laden in Sudan in 1993. Hizbullah, Mohammed said, provided explosives training for Al-Qaida fighters. This relationship and the fact that Mughniyeh was Hizbullah's liaison to Al Qaida, has led western intelligence agencies to raise the possibility that he was also involved in the 9/11 attacks
Yossef Bodansky wrote a book about bin Laden (pre 9/11) that talked about how Sudan's former leader, Hassan Turabi, was trying to get all the Islamic and Arab factions together to fight the west. This included numerous meetings and conferences, some held in Baghdad, some in Tehran.

Mughniyeh had been in the news recently. Back in November I started a post about him after Interpol issued "red letters" against him and several other Hizballah goons but the link disappeared and I shelved it. Here's some context:
Earlier this week Interpol voted overwhelmingly (74-14 with 26 abstentions) to issue a red letter calling for the arrest of five Iranians accused by the Argentine government of orchestrating the 1994 bombing of the Jewish communal offices (known as AMIA) in Buenos Aires.
Got that? An attack in Brazil pulled off by Hizballah. The writer wondered why the Supreme Ayatollah wasn't included in the red letters, and while obvious, the preceding links between Tehran and Hizballah leave no doubt about their state sponsorship. And it's funny, if they could tie this guy to 9/11 that makes the attack on America state sponsored as well. Wonder what messers Kean and Hamilton would say about that?

MORE 2/13/08

Perhaps messers Kean and Hamilton would not think twice, since Mughniyah was mentioned in the 9/11 report along with Iran, but it's interesting they settled on the rootless, stateless definition in their final analysis.

Finally, somebody dug up this morsel from "scary" Larry Johnson right after 9/11. This was about a month after his infamous expose deriding terrorism as no longer a big threat, by the way:
We now know, for example, bin Laden was meeting with Imad Mughniyah, Hezbollah security chief. Mughniyah, until yesterday, had killed more Americans than bin Laden, had wounded more Americans than bin Laden.
Again, a big catch. Now, since WE didn't get him, Bush can't really take credit. He won't care, of course, but politically speaking I wonder if someone will bother to ask Obama about the significance of this man and how he relates to the Obamavision vis a vis the GWoT, since (if conventional wisdom is correct) Mughniyah helped convince bin Laden we were indeed a paper tiger.

MORE 2/14/08

Notice any irony here?
In a fiery, videotaped eulogy broadcast on a giant screen to tens of thousands attending the south Beirut funeral, Nasrallah said Israel had taken the fight outside the "natural battlefield" of Israel and Lebanon.

"You have crossed the borders," he said. "With this murder, its timing, location and method — Zionists, if you want this kind of open war, let the whole world listen: Let this war be open."
Mughniyah was under indictment for his role in bombings in Argentina. Which part of the 'natural battlefield' is South America?

This whole thing sounds kind of like a sleeper story. The world's top Shi'ite terrorist was just turned to splinters--it's almost to the level of the death of Ayman Zawahiri in importance--yet the reaction from the US media has been relatively muted. Part is due to the fact Imad wasn't a household name (though he should have been, killing as many Americans as he did). But I can't help think there's more.

Perhaps there's a fear of dashing the carefully crafted image that Bush has ignored terrorism by dabbling in Iraq (even though Mughniyah was once aligned with Arafat, who was aligned with Saddam). Or perhaps it's a fear that people will suddenly realize that terrorists have been around and killing Americans long before Bushitler spurred them on by attacking Iraq.

Or perhaps it's Imad's inconvenient Syrian/Iranian connections, which gets terrorism a little too close to the states that liberals have been busy defending these past three years (did Kucinich discuss this guy with Assad?). Or, perhaps it's reinvigorates the Hariri/Gemayal murders, all but vaporized from the press of late.

Maybe this story reminds people that the term war on terrorism means ALL terrorism, not just the brand that attacked us on 9/11.

Finally a longshot, but perhaps it has something to do with the current Democrat frontrunner and his stated opinions about terrorism, or perhaps an overall fear of bringing terrorism itself back onto the front burner of the debate.

Or maybe it's just not as sexy as Roger Clemens denying his trainer shoved a needle in his butt, not sure.

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