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Mughniyeh…The Unasked Questions - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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I have been monitoring the way in which the Arab media, particularly that of Lebanon, is dealing with the assassination of Imad Mughniyeh, one of the most important leaders of the Lebanese Hezbollah movement that took place in Damascus and I must admit that I am completely bewildered.

There are many questions that have been deliberately avoided and a large part of Mughniyeh’s history has been left out. The issue has been reduced to granting Mughniyeh the status of “martyr”!

What was Mughniyeh, a dangerous man who was responsible for the deaths of Americans, Israelis as well as Arabs beforehand, doing in Syria? There is no doubt that he was behind the hijacking of the Kuwaiti Jabriya plane [1988] and the mastermind behind the assassination attempt on the late Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Jaber al Sabah, may he rest in peace. Mughniyeh was also embroiled in the events that took place in Saudi Arabia during the Iraq-Iran war. Furthermore, he arranged for Tehran to shelter Al Qaeda figures after the fall of Afghanistan. Mughniyeh was a wanted figure in approximately 42 countries all over the world.

This beckons the question, how did he find refuge in Damascus travelling between Syria and Iran? Moreover, how did he maintain contact with Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal? The strange thing is that Hamas described him as a hero and let us not forget that condolences for Mughniyeh’s death were offered from Bahrain…yes, Bahrain, from the Wefaq movement. He was a man who trained fighters in Iraq, the victims of which was Iraq itself and its people in a battle that inflamed sectarianism in that country.

These are valid questions especially that the Syrians and their allies in Lebanon continuously state that Hezbollah is independent of Syria. Syria also claims that it is not affiliated to the Lebanese opposition and its figures. These are valid questions because it is clear that some parties in Lebanon decided to adopt the approach of “assassination diplomacy” so as to declare their stances. I still do not understand the statements made by [Fouad] Siniora and [Saad] Hariri following Mughniyeh’s assassination.

As I followed the media coverage of this event, the first question that came to mind was what example do we want to set for our youth and our legitimate causes? What if Bin Laden decided to dedicate the rest of his life to fighting the Israelis; would this mean that those who mention his crimes and the atrocities that he has committed and remind people of them will be doomed? Is fighting against Israelis a good enough reason to erase his past actions? Saddam Hussein had launched a tiny rocket towards Israel and some still perceive this as one of his crowning achievements, ignoring the consequences that Saddam Hussein had inflicted upon Iraq and its people.

The perplexing and valid question is: What was Mughniyeh doing in Syria and who was protecting him? How was he murdered so easily at a late hour and in a tight security zone? With whom was he meeting that night and what links him to Hamas? The answer to these questions, as well as others, will constitute the missing pieces of the puzzle that has caused victims in Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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