“I am not sorry to see the fact that he was perished from this world.”
— Moshe Dagan, Mossad Chief 2002-2010 on the car bomb killing of Imad Mughniyeh
I have long been fascinated by Imad Mughniyeh. A senior man in Hezbollah, he was a deadly enemy of the U.S. and Israel, deeply involved in operations in Lebanon that included the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983 that killed 241 American military personnel, 58 French military personnel and six civilians. Likewise the bombing of the U.S. embassy in Lebanon, and the kidnapping and torture death of CIA station chief William Buckley.
As Politico reported:
His hand touched Hezbollah plots from Germany to Kuwait and from Argentina to Thailand.
In Argentina, his fingerprints were on the bombings of the Israeli Embassy (1992) and a 1994 bombing of a Jewish cultural center – an especially nasty piece of work.
The Times of Israel notes that:
Before 9/11, Imad Mughniyeh was responsible for killing more Americans than anyone else in the world.
He had a hand in killing Americans after 9/11, too. He facilitated the campaign of IED attacks on American troops in the darkest days of the Iraq War, when Iran was providing Explosively Formed Projectile devices to its proxy militias in Iraq.
U.S. intelligence cooperated with Mossad to take him out with a shaped charge in a vehicle in Damascus, Syria, in 2008. It was a hell of an operation, brilliantly recounted in the excellent Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel’s Targeted Assassinations.
He obviously didn’t have the global reach that Osama bin Laden achieved, but Mughniyeh was far more operationally capable than the Saudi ever hoped to be. Mughniyeh was an enemy of my people, all right, and I salute the operatives who blew him up. But I also recognize him as a real-deal badass, unlike the contemptible pussy that was the “Sheik.”
The team that created Fauda — which I consider a top-flight series — has crafted a limited series on the hunt for Imad Mughniyeh. I’m all in.
The Times of Israel:
A new SHOWTIME miniseries, “Ghosts of Beirut,” tracks Mughniyeh as he rose from the slums of Lebanon to become the most dangerous terrorist in the world, and explores how US and Israeli spies put their differences aside to work together in taking him down.
The show is the brainchild of Israelis Lior Raz and Avi Issacharoff, who first teamed up on the acclaimed TV series “Fauda” and have since worked together on a range of other projects. The duo co-created the show with Greg Barker, who also directed, and the trio co-wrote the series alongside Lebanese screenwriter Joelle Touma.
“Ghosts of Beirut” is a four-part limited series that interweaves dramatic storytelling with archival footage, news broadcasts and interviews with top Middle East experts – including ex-Mossad and CIA officials – to tell the full story of the hunt for Imad Mughniyeh.
The show’s title sequence stresses to viewers that each episode is “a fictional account of deeply researched events.”
“A lot of things are still unknown, and because of this we had to rely on our imaginations to complete the puzzle,” said Raz. “It’s partly documentary, partly fiction.”
I never understood people who are against targeting killings or rather assassinations of terrorists. I’d rather have an assassination than a terrorist attack or a major war like Afghanistan or Iraq.
There’s a Matt Helm novel were Helm is betrayed by an agent of another organization because he’s a nasty assassin. He notes she had no problem giving info to NORAD so they can nuke cities full of civilizations but it’s horrible he goes out a kills an enemy agent with a gun.
Kobus van Coppenhagen says
I would like to think that the ‘original’ exposé on the elimination of terrorists was published in the mid seventies. ‘The Hit Team’ has all the ingredients of intrigue and jealousy spread over an international stage and even though it is more than 40 years since I read it, one name remains vividly in my mind, Ali Hassan Salameh, who is the only target that survived.
This was a time before instant communication etc., a most unlikely scenario today and the dilemna of operating in the ‘shadow’ is vividly described.
Operation Wrath of God. Epic. They finally ended up getting The Red Prince in Beirut. Car bomb.