Did Mirhossein Mousavi play a leading role in the 1983 attack in Lebanon that killed more than 240 US Marines and caused Ronald Reagan to retreat? CQ Politics says yes, calling Mousavi the “Butcher of Beirut”. It serves as a reminder that the man whom the mullahs have suppressed was and perhaps still is of their regime:
He may yet turn out to be the avatar of Iranian democracy, but three decades ago Mir-Hossein Mousavi was waging a terrorist war on the United States that included bloody attacks on the U.S. embassy and Marine Corps barracks in Beirut.
Mousavi, prime minister for most of the 1980s, personally selected his point man for the Beirut terror campaign, Ali Akbar Mohtashemi-pur, and dispatched him to Damascus as Iran’s ambassador, according to former CIA and military officials.
The ambassador in turn hosted several meetings of the cell that would carry out the Beirut attacks, which were overheard by the National Security Agency.
The connection to the attack is direct, according to the man in charge of American operations in the Mediterranean at the time:
“We had a tap on the Iranian ambassador to Lebanon,” retired Navy Admiral James “Ace” Lyons related by telephone Monday. In 1983 Lyons was deputy chief of Naval Operations, and deeply involved in the events in Lebanon.
“The Iranian ambassador received instructions from the foreign minister to have various groups target U.S. personnel in Lebanon, but in particular to carry out a ‘spectacular action’ against the Marines,” said Lyons.
Mousavi and his allies, perhaps cognizant that this history would surface eventually, tried applying a little proactive balm on his reputation earlier this week. In a Guardian article defending himself against criticisms that there were few differences between himself and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Mousavi’s spokesman Mohsen Makhmalbaf said that Mousavi previously “knew only Che Guevara,” but now “he knows Gandhi.” It does confirm that the government of Iran has waged war by proxy against the United States as well as Israel for three decades, and that Mousavi participated in that war.
Does that make the uprising in Iran less legitimate? No. In fact, as I’ve written many times in the past week, it just points out the stupidity of the mullahs in fumbling the rigged election in the first place. Mousavi would have played ball had mullahs allowed him to take office — perhaps somewhat less enthusiastically than Ahmadinejad, but still Mousavi would have worked within the system. They’ve practically forced Mousavi to serve as a beacon for the opposition that wants the mullahs out of power, and in doing so actually make Mousavi less important as a safety valve, a loyal member of the ruling class that could mainstream the opposition so as to make it benign to the real power in Tehran. It’s inexplicably stupid, like deliberately throwing gasoline on a fire.
Still, it’s good to remind people in the West of Mousavi’s actions within that ruling class. Perhaps he regrets his actions, and the Guardian statement seems to suggest that, but we’d need to see a lot more than a reference to Gandhi. We need to focus our support on the people of Iran and not Mousavi, and hope that they can soon choose leaders outside of the mullahcracy that has choked Iran for 30 years.
Update: Yes, this could possibly be an “oppo dump,” but that would require us to question the integrity of Admiral Lyons, which I won’t do. I’d trust that he’s telling the truth, until someone proves him wrong.