Sunday, October 14, 2007
An Assassination Attempt [W. Thomas Smith Jr.]
AL BATROUN (San Stephano Resort) – Had a marvelous dinner last evening. Also enjoyed drinks, music, dancing, a Lebanese dance troupe, and some great company with my friend, Toni Nissi, his lovely wife, Hayat, and other members of the 1559 team. But as I arrived here at the San Stephano, I was informed that earlier in the day, assassins attempted to take the life of a man I've been working with closely here for the past couple of weeks.
Al Sayed Mohammad Ali El Hussien is a high-ranking Shiia cleric, who some here say was being groomed to take over the position of Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah. Al Sayed was Hezbollah to be sure: He and Nasrallah butted heads on one too many issues. The competition between the two men increased. Sayed, who actually outranks Nasrallah in the Islamic hierarchy, became disillusioned with Hezbollah – particularly because the terrorist organization was implementing an Iranian agenda and not a Lebanese one — and left HezB (if you can ever really leave).
In recent months, Sayed has been on a tireless campaign, lobbying Shiia groups in Europe and the Middle East to reject the violence and distorted teachings of Nasrallah and his crowd. And his success thus far has been viewed by Hezbollah as a serious threat.
I interviewed Sayed once. Had coffee and sweets with him in his office. Conducted a reconnaissance mission with one of his armed men and two of mine in one of Sayed's cars. I rode with him during a second recon in another of his cars. And yesterday, members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (here in Lebanon) attempted to kill Sayed and his family by sabotaging his vehicle (the first one I rode in). They planted a delayed acid-weapon on his car's undercarriage, which ate through the chassis and caused the vehicle to basically break in half while he was driving.
Sayed and his family survived the attempt, barely. But the terrorists have killed others like this before.
More to come on this.
UPDATE: Please see this editor's note.
Editor’s note: Please see this note.
10/14 05:40 AMShare