Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Accounts of Robert Fisk

Part 2. Genesis of Hezbollah of Lebanon: Accounts of Robert Fisk

It is recommended, in order to appreciate the facts, eye-witness accounts, and reports of Robert Fisk, which points to the creation of Hezbollah and how it started to resist Israel occupation of Lebanon from 1982 to 2000, to read

Robert Fisk wrote the book “Affliction of a Nation” and I am reading the Arabic translated version. Fisk was the correspondent to the British The Times in Beirut and covered Lebanon civil war for nine years.

“The Moslem Shias in south Lebanon believed the claims and pledges of Israel that Israel invasion was meant to “liberate the south from Palestinian occupation”.  Very quickly, the claims didn’t match what they inflicted on the Shias on the ground.  During the siege of West Beirut, most of the casualties were Shias living in the suburbs of Bourj Barajneh, Shiyah, and Hai Selum.

Sheikh Ali Mahdi Ibrahim (64 year-old) of the town of Adlun knew Ayatollah Khomeini intimately:  He studied in the Iraqi city of Najaf, where Khomeini spent 15 years of his exile. Sheikh Ibrahim said: “It is the Iranian revolutionary clerics who learned from us in Tyr…”  Many of Ibrahim students presented themselves as members of Hezbollah.  This was in 1984, and most of the kidnapping were claimed by “Islamic Jihad” before they adopted the name of Hezbollah.

When the Shia inhabitants in the south asked me “Are you a spy?”, it was less of their animosity against the western States behaviors, but rather relevant to their endemic isolation:  The successive Lebanese governments ignored the regions in the south and totally forgot to budget in any development resources.  It was incumbent on the “citizens” to shoulder the central State responsibilities in building schools, and hospitals…, even before the total collapse of the government in the civil war that started in April 1975 to 1991.

Before the Lebanese resistance got organized and spread to the south, most of the attacks and ambushes targeted the Israeli brigade 162, stationed in the Druze Chouf district, and commanded by Brigadier General Amnon Lifkin (39 year-old).  Ten years earlier, Lifkin commanded a terrorist team of the Mossad:  This team entered Beirut and assassinated three Palestinian officials; two Israeli soldiers were killed in this infiltration (Read “Searching for the red prince” by Barzhar Whitan Haber).

As of February 1983, this brigade was ambushed eight times.  I arrived in March to a headquarter located in a villa.  The Israeli soldiers were celebrating their Jewish Easter.  One soldier told me “There is no future to Lebanon”. Suddenly, a detonation like a thunder-clap shook the villa.  The second detonation got the soldiers scrambling for their guns and running outside.  Two Jeeps were ambushed and a rocket missile killed two soldiers and injured many others.  The spirit in the villa had changed: Up until now, it didn’t yet sink in the Israelis that they were an occupation force, and unwanted in the land.

By mid May, all hopes had evaporated to staying in the Chouf. Lifkin was making plans to withdraw his troops to north Saida.  Already, brigade 162 had lost 118 soldiers in 6 months (one-fourth the total loss during the invasion). In the south, the Israeli defense line extended from the Awali River, crossing the valley of Bisry River, all the way to the Baruk Mountain. Israel had built helicopter fields, radar stations, and depots for tanks…

In June 1983, Israel Shin Beth secret agents, in civilian cloths, and backed up by soldiers rounded-up 60 young men in the city of Tyr Palestinian camps.  In one month, the Lebanese resistance ambushed the occupation troops 35 times on the regular roads lounging the Karawon artificial lake.  Israel started constructing a highway to avoid old roads.

Israel adopted blackmail tactics:  Mayors of towns and villages had to cough up $5,000 per month in order to hire Israeli appointed “guards” to secure “law and order”.  Otherwise, the sons of the village will not be released from the Ansar prison, and the militias will barge into town, ransack it and round-up more people to prison…

Mayor (mokhtar) Ahmad Shebli of Beit Leef wrote to the UN Netherlands peace force contingent saying: “Are we living within the State of Israel?”  The mokhtar of Yater disbursed the first installment and refused to pay more. Consequently, Israel set up check points at the exit of the town and levied fees on every car and truck leaving town.

In June 10, an Israeli convoy was ambushed by 10 resistance fighters and three soldiers killed.  The town of Gebsheet was stormed and its religious cleric sheikh Ragheb Harb arrested and detained in Tyr.  Gebsheet was thus on the resistance path. When I visited Gebsheet the next day, a banner said “Death is part of our attributes. Martyrdom is a grace from God”.  The Mosque displayed large photos of Khomeini and Imam Moussa Sadr.  A bearded young man named Jihad, a member of Islamic Jihad, was talking of “America the greatest Satan”  Jihad said: “For months, Israel secret service agent, code-named Abu Nour, tried hard to meet sheikh Ragheb, who refused any communication with this occupation officer.  On March 17, sheikh Ragheb was arrested.

A week later after the arrest of Ragheb, ten militia “guards” drove to the Shin Beth headquarter in Nabatieh and returned their guns:  They refused to be part of Israel watch dogs.  Israel appointed Lebanese to head selected associations in order to facilitate communications; for example, requesting the freeing of prisoners in exchange of favors…

On September 4, Israel withdrew its forces from Chouf to north of Saida.  It re-organized the 25,000 occupation forces, and maintained 300 tanks, and 100 field guns in 5 brigades.

In November 4, a Lebanese kamikaze blew up his car, packed with explosive, in the Israel military headquarter in Tyr; over 75 people were killed instantly.  It was time for Israel to regroup its troops and shrink its occupation territory.  (to be continued)

Genesis of Hezbollah in Lebanon: The background and Accounts of Robert Fisk

My knowledge of my country and the reports and field accounts of Robert Fisk in his book “Affliction of a Nation” permitted me to join the dot of how the Moslem Shias resistance movement of Hezbollah in Lebanon emerged, and developed to becoming the main resistance force to the Israel occupation of the land.

Robert Fisk was a correspondent to the British “The Times” in Beirut for nine years during Lebanon civil war,

This part of the post will lay the background of the political and social conditions in Lebanon so that the follow-up article could be dedicated to strictly the chronological reports and accounts of the development of the Lebanese resistance movement to Israel occupation, after the preemptive war of 1982.

Background: Imam Moussa Sadr was born in the town of Qom (Iran) and was dispatched by the Iranian clergy (Ayatollah Khomeini, residing in Iraq) to Lebanon in the early 70’s to head the clergy of the Moslem Shias.  Sadr settled in Tyr and his sister Rabab married to a prominent family in the south.

The Shias in Lebanon were majority in the south and in the Bekaa Valley, but were under represented in the public services.  South Lebanon was almost forgotten in the allocation of budget for development, infrastructure, and public services such as schooling and health facilities.

Tacitly, the successive Lebanese governments, since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948,  estimated that Israel is intent on occupying south Lebanon, and that Israel had the tacit support of the US and the western European States for implicitly reaping the water resources and rich fertile land of South Lebanon.

South Lebanon was firmly ruled by the feudal landlords such as the Sharaf el Dine, the Baydun, the Solh...and particularly the Al Asaad clan, called the Beiks… Many of these feudal landlords sold their properties in Palestine to Israeli Jews, and settled in Beirut to run for political offices…

Sadr was in fact the link between the opposition forces in Iran and Khomeini, and the city of Tyr became the hotbed of Shia religious teaching , beside al Najaf in Iraq.

In fact, most leaders of the Iranian Islamic revolution, before the success of the Khomeini revolution in 1979, studied and taught in the city of Tyr in Lebanon and its neighborhoods.  For example, Mahdi Bazerkan (a later prime minister to Khomeini) followed religious courses and taught at the religious clerical school of Jabal Aamel (3amel) , which was established by Moussa Sadr.

Also, studied in Tyr Sadek Tabtabai (a later vice PM to Bazerkan and one of the closest right hands of Khomeini); Ayatollah Mohammad Baheshti (later minister of Justice and the head of the Islamic Republic Party); Sadek Kotb Zadah (later minister of foreign affairs and who was the first counselor to Khomeini while the latter was residing in Paris); Mustafa Shomran (later minister of defense, and one of the members who instituted the Jabal Amel clerical school).  All these leaders visited Tyr, at least once a year, after the success of the Iranian revolution.

As Imam Moussa Sadr landed in Lebanon, the inhabitants in South Lebanon were flocking to the southern suburbs of Beirut called Dahiya, quickly becoming a shantytown suburbs of “belt of poverty“.  These neighborhoods were adjacent to many Palestinian camps of Borj al Barajneh, Sabra, Chatila

The Shia of the south were fleeing the constant shelling of Israel on their towns and villages, under the smokescreen of retaliating to Palestinian missile Katyusha or infiltrations across the borders…

Before 1968, the Lebanese army was in control of the south, and then the Palestinian Resistance Organization (PLO) in Jordan was defeated militarily by King Hussein in 1970, and a political agreement was struck by the Lebanese government with Egypt Gamal Abdel Nasser and many Arab leaders to allocate the south-east region of Arkoub to the PLO.

Explicitly, preventing the Lebanese army from harassing the PLO training camps in that region.  The PLO was not to launch attacks from the Arkoub or fire missiles, but implicitly, the Lebanese army had to have prior consent from the government for any intervention in the Arkoub, consents that were never given.

Slowly but surely, the PLO, headed by Yasser Arafat, became the main military power in Lebanon and effectively controlled and ruled in West Beirut and South Lebanon. Moussa Sadr created the Shias political party called AMAL for the “disinherited of south Lebanon” and in West Beirut, and encouraged the Shias to own arms as “symbol of manhood” and protect their properties and villages…

By the time the civil war broke out in Lebanon in 1975, the Amal movement and militias were a substantial power to reckon to in Beirut and in the south.

Qadhafi assassinated Moussa Sadr in August 1978 while on visit to Libya, after Algeria President Boumedien pressured him to visit Qadhafi during his visit to Algeria.  It is known that the Shah of Iran and Israel were keeping close watch on Sadr movement: The Shah knew the direct link of Sadr to Khomeini, and the Shah was the most powerful ally to Israel in the region…

The goal of the leaders of Iran revolution was to overthrow the absolute Shah who ended considering the treasury of the State as his own and for his megalomania aggrandizement. Besides the implicit purpose of Khomeini, although religion was a fundamental sources of inspiration, the political objective of the leaders of the revolution was not the imposition of a theocratic State.

In fact, the source and origin of the Khomeini revolution didn’t start in Qom or Iran, but in South Lebanon and Tyr, since the early 70’s.

In 1980, at the instigation of the US, France, and Saudi Arabia, Saddam Hussein of Iraq found the opportunity of “recapturing” lands in Iran that he claimed was “Arabic” and belonged to the “Arab Nation”.  Saudi Arabia and the US goal was to incite the Iranians to deposing Khomeini, and as a revenge for taking American hostages at the US Embassy in Tehran…

Within a year, Iraqi troops were withdrawing to Iraqi borders, but Khomeini had decided to resume the war of liberation by occupying portions of Iraq and get done with Saddam.

Khomeini decision was a strategic shift in the doctrine of the Iranian revolution: It was to become Islamic and no longer a Republic with Islamic sources of how to rule and to instituting justice (Sharia).  Consequently, this extended state of war, which lasted 8 more years, was an excuse to eliminate all power leaders who begged to differ with Khomeini’s ideology.

All the aforementioned leaders who visited Tyr of Lebanon every years were assassinated and disappeared from the political scene (See note 3).

The factions of the new theocratic regime in Iran won the internal war and had to implement that success in Lebanon.  The US, France, and Israel were the “axe of evil” and the “US the great Satan”. It is in that perspective that the wave of abduction of foreign journalists, correspondent, and personalities is to be understood.

The prisoners were for the keep until negotiations with Iran are undertaken.  The kidnappers were known as “Islamic Jihad” and Fisk had no idea who they were until much later.  It is reported that Sheikh Muhammad Hussein Fadl Allah was the spiritual leader of that Shia faction, and the CIA attempted to assassinate him in March 9, 1985, but the bomb killed 80 civilians instead.

The Shias “Islamic Jihad” faction was re-baptized Hezbollah and the Moslem extremist Sunnis, under the leadership of Osama Bin Laden or Al Qaeda, and funded by Saudi Arabia, adopted the name of “Islamic Jihad”

Consequently, the new theocratic factions in Iran created a new movement among the Shias in Lebanon in order to replace Nabih Berri, leader of AMAL, after the disappearance of Moussa Sadr in Libya. The new movement, first called “Jihad Islamic”, focused on military resistance against the Israeli occupation forces in Lebanon.

The Amal movement (and militias) under Nabih Berri was stooges force to Syria and attacked Palestinian camps, under the excuse of preventing the return of the military wing of Yasser Arafat and their establishment in the camps. Berri militias also attacked the militias of the Druze leader Walid Jumblat in Beirut for dominance of West Beirut.  However, Berri comprehended that, unless he joins forces in resisting Israel, he will lose the leadership of the Shias.

Note 1: A cease-fire in the Iran/Iraq war took hold in 1989, shortly before Khomeini died.  It is reported that Khomeini, knowing he is to die shortly, he decided to put an end to the war while still alive.  Otherwise, the war of attrition would go on indefinitely and ultimately defeat the theocratic regime.

Note 2: By 1984, after Imam Moussa Sadr disappeared on a visit to Qadhafi of Libya in 1982, Nabih Berry became the leader of AMAL, and a formidable militia leader, totally backed by Syria of Hafez Assad,  and holding the ministry of Justice in the Lebanese government.

After the civil war in 1993, Berri will head the successive Lebanese Parliaments, till today.  Actually, all militia leaders will be members in governments and the deputies in the Parliament, in recompense for devastating Lebanon and killing over 200,000 and three-fold that numbers in injured casualties.

Note 3: Kotb Zada was condemned and executed.  Shomran was accounted dead on the Iraqi front. The headquarter of the political party of Mohammad Baheshti was blown up during a general convention: All the leaders of the party died.

Rafsanjani (one of the richest, and later President of Iran) was 15 minutes late for the start of the convention (Was he participating in the plot? Had he been forewarned of the bombing?). Baheshti was next in line to succeed Khomeini in the Wilayat Fakih, but he opposed Khomeini decisions to eradicate the communist Tudeh party, as well as the two left leaning political parties of Mujahedeen and Fidaiyee Khalq.

I had witnessed the activist Iranian students at the University of Oklahoma at Norman in 1978: They were mostly constituted of Mujahedeen and Fidaiyee Khalq parties, and kept the pressure with frequent demonstrations, marches and public meetings on campus… And the bloody leaders who didn’t plan and work for the revolution at its beginning came to power.

Note 4: You may read my article




March 2023

Blog Stats

  • 1,518,865 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by

Join 764 other subscribers
%d bloggers like this: