Whodunit: Hezbollah leader killed in Beirut

posted at 1:41 pm on December 4, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Hezbollah blamed Israel for an assassination of one of its top militant leaders in Beirut today, an assassination in which silenced pistols killed Hassan Hawlo al-Lakiss. Little known to outsiders, Lakiss served as one of the top deputies to Hassan Nasrallah.  Hezbollah wasted little time before deciding who ordered the hit:

“The Islamic resistance announces the death of one of its leaders, the martyr Hassan Hawlo al-Lakiss, who was assassinated near his house in the Hadath region” east of Beirut, said Hezbollah.

“Direct accusation is aimed of course against the Israeli enemy which had tried to eliminate our martyred brother again and again and in several places but had failed, until yesterday evening.

“This enemy must bear full responsibility for and all the consequences of this heinous crime,” Hezbollah said on its Al-Manar television channel without elaborating.

Israel denied any involvement in the assassination:

Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor dismissed the allegations as “yet another Pavlovian response from Hezbollah, which makes automatic accusations (against Israel) before even thinking about what’s actually happened.”

“Israel has nothing to do with this,” he said.

Five years ago, Israel might have been the only suspect, but that’s not true at all today.  Thanks to the Iranian intervention in the Syrian civil war by deploying Hezbollah to defend Bashar al-Assad, there are a number of groups targeting the Iranian proxies, both in Syria and in Lebanon.  They are all aligned with al-Qaeda — Sunni extremists playing out the centuries-old conflict with Shi’ites (such as Hezbollah) in the Syrian civil war.  They want to push Iranian hegemony out of the Arab world, and have already made Beirut a battleground with a suicide-bombing attack on the Iranian embassy less than three weeks ago. They have the most to gain by attacking Hezbollah’s top military leadership in Lebanon, not Israel.

Hezbollah knows this, of course, but they’re not going to let a propaganda opportunity escape.  The rest of the region understands the nature of this conflict, too — which is why the Sunni Arab states are so suspicious of the American efforts to normalize relations with Iran. They fear that the US wants to promote Iranian hegemony in the region at their expense:

At the same time, however, a sharp uptick in violence along some of the region’s most pronounced sectarian fault lines, including the beheading of three members of the Shiite Hezbollah movement by al-Qaeda-linked rebels in Syria and a revival of apparent death-squad activity in Iraq, points to the risks inherent in the realignment that is underway.

Although the threat of a war involving Israel and Iran and drawing in the United States has abated for now, many fear that the rapprochement is just as likely to exacerbate existing conflicts as it is to heal them, by putting U.S. allegiance into play and raising the stakes in the long-standing struggle for influence between Shiite Iran and Sunni Arab states.

“There will be small wars,” predicted Mohammed Obeid, a Beirut-­based analyst who is close to Iranian-backed Hezbollah and familiar with the thinking of its leaders. “There won’t be a big war, but there will be more small wars, and they will intensify.”

Sunni Arab states don’t object to a deal that could curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions, but they worry about the ramifications of warming ties between Tehran and Washington, said Mustafa Alani, the Dubai-based director of security and terrorism studies at the Gulf Research Center. The big worry, he said, is that a long-term deal normalizing ties between Iran and the United States would come at the expense of Sunni influence.

“We have concerns about what sort of concessions the Americans will give. Will they anoint Iran as a regional superpower?” Alani asked. “The idea of Iran having hegemonic power is an absolute red line for all the Arab states.”

An agreement might even be worth their wrath in the short term, if it actually prevented Iran from building nuclear weapons.  Jeffrey Goldberg offers six reasons to worry that the agreement won’t do any such thing:

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki was asked a question last week about when the deal might actually take effect. “The next step here is a continuation of technical discussions at a working level so that we can essentially tee up the implementation of the agreement. So that would involve the P5+1 — a commission of the P5+1 experts working with the Iranians and the IAEA,” shesaid, referring to the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany and the International Atomic Energy Agency. “Obviously, once that’s — those technical discussions are worked through, I guess the clock would start.”

Focus on those last words for a second: “I guess the clock would start.” Do words like those make you worried, or is it just me? What this means is that Iran, at this moment, is still not compelled to freeze any of its nuclear program in place. I’m not sure why American negotiators would leave Geneva without having a fully implemented agreement. I understand that the technical hurdles to implementation are daunting. But equally daunting is the realization that the Iranians are going about their business as if they’ve promised nothing. …

The (still unenforced) document agreed upon in Geneva promises Iran an eventual exit from nuclear monitoring. The final (theoretical) deal, the document states, will “have a specified long-term duration to be agreed upon,” after which the Iranian nuclear program “will be treated in the same manner as that of any non-nuclear weapon state” that is part of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. From what I’m told, the U.S. hopes this eventual agreement, should it come to pass, would last 15 years; the Iranians hope to escape this burden in five. After the agreement loses its legal force, Iran could run however many centrifuges it chooses to run. This is not a comforting idea.

Indeed. And shouldn’t the release of Pastor Saeed Abedini be a non-negotiable item for the US?

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Whodunit?

Who cares, unless one wants to send a thank you card.

Red Cloud on December 4, 2013 at 1:44 PM

Hint: The answer probably doesn’t start with an I.

Inigo Montoya?

NotCoach on December 4, 2013 at 1:46 PM

The rest of the region understands the nature of this conflict, too — which is why the Sunni Arab states are so suspicious of the American efforts to normalize relations with Iran. They fear that the US wants to promote Iranian hegemony in the region at their expense:

They’re right.

An agreement might even be worth their wrath in the short term, if it actually prevented Iran from building nuclear weapons.

BS.

kcewa on December 4, 2013 at 1:49 PM

Colonel Mossad, in the conservatory, with the pistol.

Christien on December 4, 2013 at 1:49 PM

Probably the guy who owned the goat.

Ronnie on December 4, 2013 at 1:50 PM

… hezbollah leader killed …

Sweet.

Pork-Chop on December 4, 2013 at 1:52 PM

Yes it does!!!!!!!

I DON’T CARE!

WryTrvllr on December 4, 2013 at 1:55 PM

Well don’t look at me!!!

Shy Guy on December 4, 2013 at 1:55 PM

Israel? No, they would Yassinerate him, and make it a good old fashioned carbecue.

Ward Cleaver on December 4, 2013 at 1:56 PM

Hope he enjoys Hell.

Othniel on December 4, 2013 at 1:56 PM

Here, dude

Schadenfreude on December 4, 2013 at 2:00 PM

Can’t recall any Saudi princes whose names start with “I”, but one of them must be at the heart of it.
Well Done, lad.

Another Drew on December 4, 2013 at 2:01 PM

it could have been two guys out for a walk…a group of protesters

“At this point, what difference does it make!”

DanMan on December 4, 2013 at 2:01 PM

Juuuuuiiiice Juuuuiiiice…

Kuffar on December 4, 2013 at 2:02 PM

Fatah or Hamas. Flip a coin.

The MO is straight Mossad from two decades ago. They’ve gotten a bit more sophisticated since capping Gerald Bull in Brussels in ’90.

With The One pretty much openly acknowledging that he wants Iran as a “balance” to Israel (and covertly urging the mullahs to nuke Tel Aviv and get the 12th Imam out of his damn well, already), the non-Iranian aligned terrorist groups are now positioning themselves to try to maintain their “relevancy”.

Since they run the Middle East the way Capone and Schultz ran Chicago in the Twenties anyway, don’t think of this as an isolated incident. It’s more likely the overture to a full-on “gang war”.

clear ether

eon

eon on December 4, 2013 at 2:10 PM

It’s the Israelis. A discreet assassination by Sunni militants would be raking him with AK-47 fire. A headline grabbing assassination by Sunni militants would have been a suicide car bomber.

Wigglesworth on December 4, 2013 at 2:17 PM

Who cares? I only hope it was painful to the end.

HomeoftheBrave on December 4, 2013 at 2:18 PM

Obama will have to kill a lot more of them to make up for the crap he’s done. King George did less to us.

Cindy Munford on December 4, 2013 at 2:20 PM

Suicide by Bad Choices.

Limerick on December 4, 2013 at 2:21 PM

Israel wouldn’t waste its time with this punk. What does it accomplish for them?

mankai on December 4, 2013 at 2:28 PM

Juuuuuiiiice Juuuuiiiice…

Kuffar on December 4, 2013 at 2:02 PM

I think OJ is still in prison… but a good guess.

mankai on December 4, 2013 at 2:29 PM

Hint: The answer probably doesn’t start with an I.

Yeaaaaaa…Islam gets a pass again. CIA trained Al Q was it?

BL@KBIRD on December 4, 2013 at 2:34 PM

Hint: The answer probably doesn’t start with an I.

But in the Latin alphabet, “Jehovah” begins with an “I”.

pt on December 4, 2013 at 2:34 PM

I did it. What of it?

Akzed on December 4, 2013 at 2:35 PM

With them killing each other at the current rate, won’t even the jihadists themselves laugh at the claim it is Israel? They may be deluded but they aren’t stupid.

thuja on December 4, 2013 at 2:40 PM

They may be deluded but they aren’t stupid.
thuja on December 4, 2013 at 2:40 PM

He who smelt it dealt it. The accusation probably came from the perpetrators. It’s a childish musloid version of the ol’ red herring ruse.

Akzed on December 4, 2013 at 2:45 PM

Who cares who did it, just keep ‘em coming!

GarandFan on December 4, 2013 at 3:11 PM

Suicide by Bad Choices.

Limerick on December 4, 2013 at 2:21 PM

Zappa – Suicide chump

kcewa on December 4, 2013 at 3:19 PM

Islam never understood the belief of “getting along” period. It’s always been about a system that teaches people to murder others for heaven. Just nuts.

MN J on December 4, 2013 at 3:22 PM

Obama’s actions have shaken up longstanding power balances in the region beyond what the simpletons in his incompetent (and malicious, but mainly the former) administration could possibly imagine.

I know it’s Debka, which some people scoff at, but read this if you want to blow your mind at the scope of the mess unfolding across the ocean.

ChicagoJewishGuy on December 4, 2013 at 3:40 PM

Debka can be very good – and sometimes very not.

Zomcon JEM on December 4, 2013 at 3:48 PM

Yeaaaaaa…Islam gets a pass again. CIA trained Al Q was it?

BL@KBIRD on December 4, 2013 at 2:34 PM

Sunni doesn’t start with an I.

Steve Eggleston on December 4, 2013 at 4:04 PM

It was pointed out to me once that when referring to Iran you don’t say Arab. They aren’t. They are Persians and have had an ongoing tribal battle with Arabs for a thousand years.

archer52 on December 4, 2013 at 4:08 PM

I know it’s Debka, which some people scoff at, but read this if you want to blow your mind at the scope of the mess unfolding across the ocean.

ChicagoJewishGuy on December 4, 2013 at 3:40 PM

Interesting article. If Obama thinks that throwing in with Iran in it’s battle to dominate the Islamic crescent is a good idea then G*d help us all.

kcewa on December 4, 2013 at 4:39 PM

…ask Hillary!

KOOLAID2 on December 4, 2013 at 4:46 PM

They got the head of Hezzbollah?

I’m gettin’ misty over here……

BobMbx on December 4, 2013 at 5:03 PM

One more evil scumbag dies to meet God.
.
.
I’m so sad…… *evil grin*

avagreen on December 4, 2013 at 5:26 PM

BobMbx on December 4, 2013 at 5:03 PM

The leader, Hassan Nasrallah, has lived in hiding for decades, afraid of Israeli assassins. The Israelis have been happy to leave him there, at least somewhat isolated from his organization on the ground.

ChicagoJewishGuy on December 4, 2013 at 5:28 PM

Hint: The answer probably doesn’t start with an I.

I’m not sure I agree with the byline on the front.

Iranians, Islamic terrorists, Iraqis, hmm, certainly more likely and possible candidates than the other “I” word.

Mark on December 4, 2013 at 5:32 PM

Had Israel done it, they would have used a far more impressive method. Killing an international criminal with “silenced” guns is so last century. And since muzzies are perpetually stuck in the past…..

TQM38a on December 4, 2013 at 7:42 PM

Gotta be Israeli Mafia. Silencers.

It’s all they got.

BigAlSouth on December 4, 2013 at 7:53 PM

Whodunit: Hezbollah leader killed in Beirut

Alternate headline:

Dirt bag takes dirt nap

Bruno Strozek on December 4, 2013 at 8:20 PM

You like riddles?

Q: What do you call five Hezbollah leaders assassinated in Lebanon in six weeks?

A: A good start!

Adjoran on December 5, 2013 at 12:21 AM

You like riddles?

Q: What do you call five Hezbollah leaders assassinated in Lebanon in six weeks?

A: A good start Shi’ite happens!

Adjoran on December 5, 2013 at 12:21 AM

FIFY

Shy Guy on December 5, 2013 at 1:19 AM