Imagine a man highly trained in infiltration and insurgency who is licensed by his government to kill; one who, through his government's embassies and diplomatic missions, has a global reach; who has extensive contacts among the intelligence services of many foreign powers; who is backed by the wealth of his nation; and who is charged with performing surgical interventions in foreign lands in order to tip history in favor of his government's geopolitical aims. In the world of fictitious espionage, Ian Fleming's character, James Bond, is such a man. But in the real Middle East, the true-to-life antihero who fits this description is Imad Fayez Mugniyeh.
In this posting, we will give an overview of how Iran has used its Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) to conduct murderous foreign intrigues throughout the past 23 years. Simultaneously, we will show how Iran has used Imad Fayez Mugniyeh to cover its tracks.
Mugniyeh as a Terrorist
Mugniyeh has a long history of successful bombings, hijackings, abductions, and assassinations. Here is a partial list of his accomplishments: (Attacks upon Americans are highlighted in blue.)
1. On April 18, 1983, Mugniyeh blew up the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, killing 17 Americans.
2. On October, 23, 1983, he bombed the American Marine barracks in Beirut, killing 241 U.S. Marines.
3. On the same day, he bombed the French barracks in Beirut, killing 58 Frenchmen.
4. On September 20, 1984, he attacked the annex building of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut.
5. On March 7, 1984, he kidnapped CNN journalist Jeremy Levin.
6. On March 16, 1984, he kidnapped CIA Beirut Station Chief William Buckley, and after torturing him for 14 months, killed him.
7. In 1984, he hijacked a Kuwaiti airliner.
8. In March 1985, he kidnapped two French diplomats in Beirut.
9. In May, 1985, he kidnapped American University of Beirut hospital administrator David Jacobsen.
10. On June 14, 1985, he hijacked TWA Flight 847, and the next day, one of his accomplices murdered U.S. Navy diver, Robert Dean Stethem.
11. On March 17, 1992, he leveled the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina, killing 29 people.
12. By 1993, he was meeting with al-Qaeda. (Al-Qaeda was not operational until 1989.)
13. In July 1994, he led an attack on the Argentine Israeli Mutual Association in Buenos Aires, killing 86.
14. In 1994 and 1995, he met bin Laden in Sudan to cement the partnership between Iran and al-Qaeda.
15. On June 25, 1996, he acted as a staff commander for the Khobar Towers bombing that killed 19 American airmen.
16. In October 2000, he abducted three Israeli soldiers in southern Lebanon.
17. In the same month, he abducted former Israeli Colonel Elchanan Tenenbaum.
18. By 2001, he was training Chechan rebels for attacks on Russian forces.
19. In January, 2001, he participated in a meeting with high-ranking al-Qaeda and Iranian leaders to plan the forthcoming attacks of September 11;
20. On May 14, 2001, Mugniyeh was officially designated to be Iran’s sole interface with al-Qaeda for the attacks;
21. During the summer of 2001, he transported 15 Saudi nationals from Saudi Arabia, through Beirut, through Iran, and into Dubayy in the United Arab Emirates (UAE.) From there, they flew to America to join four other Moslems who had recently trained as pilots. All 19 died in the suicide attacks of 9/11.
22. In early 2006, Mugniyeh met in Syria with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. It is possible that he also participated in a Damascus "terror summit" attended by leaders of Hezbollah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad. (All three are funded by Iran.)
23. Most recently, Mugniyeh has been given the task of retaliating against the West if President Bush orders a strike on Iranian nuclear sites.
Mugniyeh is well-known to the intelligence agencies of many European and Middle Eastern nations. And he is widely feared. The United States has been trying to apprehend him since 1985. Three times our intelligence agencies had him cornered: twice in France and once in Saudi Arabia. But the governments of those countries let him escape for fear of future reprisals from Mugniyeh and his associates. Unless the American press wakes up and notices him, Mugniyeh can probably travel with impunity throughout America to prepare his next attack.
Mugniyeh as an Iranian Officer
Mugniyeh's home is in Qom, Iran. He is married and has three children. He is an officer in the Qods Force of the IRGC; but he is also a member of Hezbollah, and is probably associated with Islamic Amal and several other Iranian proxy armies. The world considers Mugniyeh a terrorist, but actually he is a semi-autonomous employee of the government of Iran. It is important for you to keep this in mind; otherwise you will tend to dismiss Mugniyeh as just one more Muslim fanatic. He is not: he is a well-honed instrument of Iranian state policy.