Bush to Nasrallah: An Offer Hezbollah Cannot Refuse?
Part I: Historical context and current posturing
by Franklin Lamb,
...The Israeli Mossad, the CIA, and the Shah's intelligence service, Savak, worked closely to end the Iranian revolt from its earliest beginnings. In June of 1963 a crowd of unarmed Iranian men, women and children peacefully demonstrating in Tehran were attacked by government forces and more than 5,000 were killed. This demonstration of savagery shocked the Kennedy administration, and revealed the weakness of the Shah's tyranny which eventually led to its collapse. ...
Casey won approval for NSDD-166, a secret directive that inaugurated a new era of direct infusions of advanced U.S. military technology into the Middle East, which was to become the greatest technology transfer of terrorist techniques in history.
By January of 1985, according to the Washington Post's Bob Woodward in Veil, his book on Casey's career, he worked out with the Saudis a plan to use a car bomb to eliminate an Israeli recommended 'liability'. Lebanese agents led by a former British SAS officer and financed by $15 million arranged by Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar, were activated.
According to Woodward, Casey told his staff: "I'm going to solve the big problem by essentially getting tougher than or as tough as the terrorists in using their weapon, the car bomb."
With its new authority, the CIA set up 'counterterrorism units' similar to those Bush authorized in 2007. Casey quickly funded the "Foreign Work and Analysis Unit" (FWAU) inside Lebanon which had the assassination of Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah as its first priority. Others targeted for death were Lebanese former Prime Minister Salim al-Hoss, Imad Mughniyeh and Walid Jumblatt, then supporting the PLO. The FWAU conducted a car bombing campaign in Muslim areas of Beirut and targeted the Cinema Salwa, Beirut's Raouche Market, Sabra Street, the Abu Nawwas restaurant, and the Druze Social Centre, among others, killing at least 280 civilians and wounding nearly 1,150. This mayhem was designed to ignite further internal strife and to send the Lebanese Resistance a message and offer: 'Support a new May 17 agreement with Israel and we can help you.' When this 'offer' was unanswered, and on the Mossad's recommendation to Casey, Fadlallah was targeted on March 8, 1985.
The Bir Abed Massacre was caused by an enormous car bomb outside Fadlallah's home as he was conducting a religious studies class for women. Had a neighborhood woman not detained him with questions, Fadallah would have been at nearly the exact spot where the rigged vehicle exploded according to Hezbollah investigators. The blast killed 83 people, mainly school girls, women and children, and wounded 283. The attempted assassination of Fadlallah, who is to this day Lebanon's most respected senior Shi'ite cleric and social worker, enraged Lebanon, including Dahiyeh's two century old Christian community, long beneficiaries of his social services and respectful of his calls for religious dialogue and tolerance. Six months later, on September 12, in what appeared to be a tit for tat operation, the supposedly impregnable perimeter defenses of the new U.S. embassy in eastern Beirut was attacked killing 23 employees and visitors.
Eleven local individuals confessed to various roles in the Bir Abed bombing. The terrorist attack was based on now admitted faulty Israeli supplied "intelligence". Israel had advised the Reagan administration that Fadlallah was the founder, spiritual leader, and chief of operations for Hezbollah and was behind attacks on the US Embassy and the Marine barracks as well as the kidnappings of western hostages. Not one of the claims was true as the White House was later to learn. But at the time, CIA Director William Casey was beside himself that the US had, less than a year earlier, been forced out of Lebanon by what he told the President were "third rate rabble-rousers".
President Reagan, by way of acknowledging the US error and American regrets, signed off on a reported nearly $20 million dollar secret "offer" to Sayeed Fadlallah, conveyed through a current Lebanese political leader, who was not at the time a member of Parliament, to help support the Senior cleric's orphanages and social service centers. A US condition of the cash was that there was to be no paper trail. Fadallah rejected the offer stating he would not be part of a private arrangement which he could not disclose to his community.
Despite the Fadlallah fiasco, Casey remained an enthusiast for using urban terrorism to advance American goals. A year after the Bir Abed massacre, U.S. Special Forces experts started a five year program focusing on high-tech explosives and taught state-of-the-art sabotage techniques, distributed sabotage training manuals in different languages, offered instruction on how to make cheap electronic bomb detonators including the fabrication of ANFO (ammonium nitrate-fuel oil) and car bombs. Huge quantities of CIA-supplied plastic explosives as well as thousands of advanced E-cell delay detonators (some CIA knockoffs) still flow around the Middle East.
The US educational initiative, in contrast to Bekaa Valley 'extension courses' which did train motivated Lebanese anxious to resist the Israeli occupation, opened full scholarship bomb makers "Graduate Schools" and trained thousands of mujahidin and future al Qaeda cadres. Some of the 'graduates' drove the Soviets from Afghanistan. More recently, others supplied salafists for Nahr al Bared and Ein el Helwe and are today setting up networks in Lebanon.
The Bush administration has clearly lost control of this blowback and some officials think engaging Hezbollah offers a solution.
It isn't as if that was the first time the U.S. had used such tactics. The U.S. didn't turn to these tactics only in reaction. Anglo-Saxons were fighting with no-holds-barred (all is fair in war; total war) long before they even invaded the North American continent of course. Total war — take no prisoners, leave no one alive including women and children goes back as far as human memory. It's what we are supposed to overcome and rise above. We are supposed to bring to the fore only our better and best qualities and leave all the evil behind.