Now for the big post of today, what are the consequences of Mugneyeh’s death? Who will be affected and what is the supposed link between him, Iran and 9/11? FrontPage Magazine has decided to get Kenneth R. Timmerman, the New York Times bestselling author of Countdown to Crisis, The French Betrayal of America, Preachers of Hate: Islam and the War on America, and Death Lobby: How the West Armed Iraq to answer these questions.
Kenneth R. Timmerman
You can view the whole article here, as I will only be adding my comments to part of it.
FP: So who do you think is responsible for Mugniyeh’s killing? What is their motive?
KT: The list of Mugniyeh’s enemies is long. Hizbullah, of course, has accused the Israelis [edit: naturally]. It won’t be long before they accuse us, too. One of my sources who grew up with Mugniyeh and remains close to his family in Lebanon, told me yesterday morning that Hizbullah surveillance teams picked up the arrival at Beirut airport of an 8-man U.S. paramilitary team just two days before Mugniyeh was killed.
Now that is interesting, lately, the U.S. hasn’t really given a damn about a Hizbullah, pretty much leaving them for the Israelis to deal with. More involvement with Lebanon perhaps? Or it could be a desire for the U.S. to get more involved in Syria (or Iran), considering that Hizbullah is an important tool of both Syria and Iran. Keep in mind that it would be wise to take this with a grain of salt, the reliablilty on that statement above would not be good in my opinion.
I saw a report just yesterday suggesting that the Rev. Guards lured Mugniyeh into a trap into Damascus, to make sure that he never revealed the extent of his involvement with al Qaeda in the 9//11 plot. This was a secret the Iranians would have liked to ensure that Mugniyeh carried to his grave.
I’ve got news for them, though: the word is out. Just take a look at pages 240-241 of the 9/11 commission report, which describes in elusive terms the travel of eight to ten of the “muscle” hijackers in and out of Iran in the company of a “senior Hizbullah operative.” That operative was none other than Imad Mugniyeh.
So this is an alternate explanation. This seems more plausible as it would make sense from an Iranian point of view, however there is some possible doubt over it simply because I am sure the Iranians would have read the 9/11 commission report. If their guy was already blamed then why bother to hide their connection if the U.S. government already knew of it. I mean sure they would have liked Mugniyeh to carry his secrets to the grave, but to me it seems like killing the patient to cure the disease. Mugnieyh would still be very useful despite the risks in keeping him alive and away from U.S. hands, the Iranians would still be able to do this, that’s why this interests me.
FP: In other words, you are saying that Mugniyeh was involved with the 9/11 terror attack and so was Iran – and the Iranians might have very well killed him so that the full extent of their own involvement would not become known.
KT: There is absolutely no doubt that Mugniyeh and his masters in Iran were directly and materially involved in the 9/11 plot.
First, there is the evidence discovered very late in the day by the 9/11 Commission, which I describe in detail in Countdown to Crisis. What is astonishing is that this information has not been widely publicized. I spoke again just yesterday with one of the top investigators involved in reviewing the highly-classified U.S. intelligence reports on Mugniyeh’s involvement in convoying 9/11 hijackers in and out of Iran prior to 9/11. He was astonished when I told him that few people were yet aware of this. “That’s like saying you didn’t know that Jesse James was a crook,” he said.
That’s why it doesn’t make sense to me for the Iranians to kill off a very good and respected operative (terrorist), because like it says above, everyone in the U.S. intelligence community already knows about the link. It would make sense to kill him off straight after 9/11, but not now 7 years later when America is bogged down in Iraq and there is no chance of a military invasion.
The Iranians were TERRIFIED on the day of 9/11 and for the next month that the United States would “connect the dots” and discover their involvement to the 9/11 plot, as I reported in Countdown to Crisis. Senior Iranian government officials were making desperate phone calls to relatives in the United States, asking them to rent apartments for family members so they could get out of Tehran before what they assumed would be a massive retaliatory U.S. military strike.
As I said earlier, it would make sense then but not now. I don’t think that the Iranians actually had a hand in this (as crazy as that may sound), I personally think that either it was Israel, regardless of whether they are denying it or not (that goes for the U.S. as well) or one of the anti-Syrian groups in Lebanon. Of course, we can’t rule out the possibility of an unknown player, but I think that is less likely.
Of course, as we know now, that U.S. retaliatory strike never occurred – because the CIA and other U.S. government agencies succeeded in burying the information they had collected (or the case of our technical agencies, that they had siphoned up).
I believe when Americans realize the full extent of the Iranian government involvement in the 9/11 plot, they will demand action from their president – no matter what party affiliation that president may have.
And I really hope they do.
FP: What ramifications does this assassination have for Hezbollah? For Lebanon? For the terror war in general? There will be retaliation won’t there?
KT: Hezbollah is no longer a small gang of bang-men and two-bit thugs, but a world class terror operation with extraordinarily good intelligence, state-of-the-art communications, and networks spanning the globe. Hizbullah always retaliates when one of their men gets whacked. And with the exception of their top leader, Hassan Nasrallah, no one was more important than Mugniyeh to their organization.
One of my sources, who is close to the top Hizbullah leadership, told me recently that Mugniyeh won the personal loyalty of Hizbullah fighters and the leadership in the early 1990s when he almost single-handedly financed Hizbullah’s operations through drug-smuggling in the tri-state border zone in South America. When Hizbullah would send their fighters to train in Revolutionary Guards camps in Iran, it was Mugniyeh who personally shook their hands and congratulated them on graduation day.
This is just another reason why I don’t believe that Iran or Syria would knock off a top operative like that. It just doesn’t make any sense.
Today, February 14, is the third anniversary of the assassination of Lebanese prime minister Rafic Hariri, and his supporters are planning a huge demonstration in Beirut. Hizbullah is also planning a huge demonstration, to bury Mugniyeh. The possibility that the two groups could clash is very great. Just the morning of Mugniyeh’s death, a leader of the anti-Syrian coalition, Walid Jumblatt, warned Hizbullah that the coalition would disarm Hizbullah. “If you want war, then we’ll have war,” he said. Things are not going well in Lebanon, and this has just turned up the heat on a pressure-cooker already about to explode.
That is the main reason why I believe it was an anti-Syrian group that may have done this. They have much more to gain by knocking him off then anyone else in the region. Why should America and Israel get their hands dirty when they already have these groups in Lebanon and Syria already set up and good to go? America has enough problems in Afghanistan and Iraq, while Israel has its hands full dealing with the PA and Hamas.
FP: This is a great day of celebration and joy for Americans, Israelis and all those on the side of freedom, right?
KT: Without any doubt. State Department spokesman Sean Mccormack said it nicely on Wednesday. “The world is a better place without this man in it. One way or the other he was brought to justice.” Other U.S. government officials have made similar comments. This is a man who prided himself on never carrying out two terrorist operations that were identical to each other.