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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
03BEIRUT3697 2003-09-10 14:29:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Beirut
Cable title:  

FORMER HIZBALLAH LEADER RESURFACES TO DENOUNCE ...

Tags:   PTER PINR KISL IR LE SY 
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O 101429Z SEP 03
FM AMEMBASSY BEIRUT
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7318
INFO ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L BEIRUT 003697 


DEPT FOR NEA/ARN, S/CT AND INR

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/10/2013
TAGS: PTER PINR KISL IR LE SY
SUBJECT: FORMER HIZBALLAH LEADER RESURFACES TO DENOUNCE ...
ALMOST EVERYONE

CLASSIFIED BY: AMBASSADOR VINCENT M. BATTLE; REASONS 1.5 (B), (D).



1. (C) SUMMARY: SPEAKING AT THE FUNERAL OF HIS FATHER,
FORMER HIZBALLAH SECRETARY GENERAL SHAYKH SUBHI TUFAYLI
DENOUNCED GOL OFFICIALS AS "MONSTERS," HIZBALLAH AS "BORDER
GUARDS FOR ISRAEL," AND IRAN AS AN ALLY OF THE UNITED STATES.
THIS WAS THE FIRST PUBLIC APPEARANCE IN TWO YEARS BY
TUFAYLI, FOR WHOM THE GOL HAS ISSUED SEVERAL ARREST WARRANTS.
HOWEVER, HE IS EXPECTED TO EXIT THE LEBANESE POLITICAL STAGE
AS QUICKLY AS HE REAPPEARED LAST WEEK. END SUMMARY.

BACKGROUND


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2. (U) SHAYKH TUFAYLI, WHO SERVED FROM 1987 TO 1989 AS
HIZBALLAH'S FIRST SECRETARY GENERAL, WAS STRIPPED OF HIS
OFFICIAL POSITION WITHIN THE PARTY AFTER OPPOSING ITS
DECISION TO TAKE PART IN THE 1992 PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS.
AFTER BEING FURTHER DISTANCED, AND THEN EXPELLED FROM THE
PARTY IN JANUARY 1998, TUFAYLI AND HIS SUPPORTERS SEIZED
CONTROL OF A HIZBALLAH RELIGIOUS SCHOOL ON THE OUTSKIRTS OF
BAALBEK. LAF TROOPS ATTEMPTED TO STORM THE BUILDING AND AT
LEAST EIGHT PEOPLE WERE KILLED, INCLUDING AN LAF OFFICER AND
A FORMER MP, SHAYKH KHODR TLEISS, TUFAYLI'S CLOSEST AIDE.
SINCE THEN, SEVERAL ARREST WARRANTS HAVE BEEN ISSUED FOR
TUFAYLI; HOWEVER, THERE HAVE BEEN NO SERIOUS ATTEMPTS TO
ARREST HIM AND HE IS KNOWN TO CONTINUE TO RESIDE IN HIS HOME
VILLAGE OF BRITAL (NEAR BAALBEK) -- VIRTUALLY A NO-GO ZONE
FOR THE GOVERNMENT.

DENOUNCES IRAN'S ROLE IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN


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3. (U) FOLLOWING THE DEATH OF HIS FATHER, TUFAYLI RESURFACED
ON SEPTEMBER 8 TO SPEAK AT A BRITAL MOSQUE. THERE, HE LASHED
OUT AT IRAN (AND THE U.S.), SAYING "THE PARTICIPATION OF
IRAN'S IRAQI SUPPORTERS IN IRAQ'S INTERIM GOVERNING COUNCIL
IS AN ENDORSEMENT OF AMERICAN PRESENCE THERE." TUFAYLI HELD
HE U.S. RESPONSIBLE FOR THE AUGUST 31 ASSASSINATION OF
MOHAMMAD BAQR AL-HAKIM, SAYING "THE ONLY BENEFICIARY OF THIS
CRIME IS AMERICA." HE ADDED THAT "AMERICA'S DEFEAT IN IRAQ
IS MUCH EASIER THAN ITS DEFEAT IN LEBANON." TURNING TO
AFGHANISTAN, TUFAYLI SAID, "THERE ARE COUNTRIES BORDERING
AFGHANISTAN WHO CLAIM THEY ARE MUSLIM NATIONS AT A TIME THEY
ARE HELPING THE AMERICANS."

CHALLENGES HIZBALLAH AND GOL LEADERSHIP


--------------------------





4. (U) CHALLENGING HIZBALLAH'S CURRENT LEADERSHIP, TUFAYLI
CALLED FOR OPENING LEBANESE BORDERS TO DEFEND PALESTINIANS,
SAYING THE PROPER DUTY OF THE "ISLAMIC RESISTANCE" IS TO
FIGHT ISRAEL. TUFAYLI SAID HIZBALLAH HAS TURNED INTO A
"BORDER GUARD FOR ISRAEL." TUFAYLI ALSO DENOUNCED GOL
OFFICIALS, SAYING "WE DO NOT HAVE A GOVERNMENT, BUT RATHER
MONSTERS," AND WARNING "EVERY THIEF TO RETURN TO THE TREASURY
WHAT HE HAS STOLEN."

COMMENT


--------------------------





5. (C) TUFAYLI IS A TRUE DEAD-ENDER, REPRESENTING THE MOST
EXTREME, RETROGRADE STRAIN OF KHOMEINI-ISM WITHIN HIZBALLAH.
HIS UNEXPECTED, HIGH-PROFILE REAPPEARANCE CALLS INTO QUESTION
THE CREDIBILITY OF THE GOL, WHICH HAS NEVER MADE ANY SERIOUS
ATTEMPT TO ARREST HIM. HIS INFLAMMATORY REMARKS ABOUT
HIZBALLAH AND IRAN COULD REIGNITE FRICTIONS BETWEEN THE
HIZBALLAH LEADERSHIP AND TUFAYLI'S SUPPORTERS, ESPECIALLY IN
THE BAALBEK-HIRMIL REGION, WHOSE SUPPORTERS THERE MAY
INTERPRET TUFAYLI'S REAPPEARANCE AS A SIGN OF SYRIAN BACKING
FOR HIS CAUSE. (NOTE: WE DO NOT BELIEVE THIS IS THE CASE.)
PARLIAMENT SPEAKER NABIH BERRI TOLD AMBASSADOR SEPTEMBER 9
THAT, WHILE THE EVERYONE KNOWS THAT TUFAYLI LIVES IN BRITAL,
THE "DEAL" HAS BEEN THAT HE WILL BE LEFT ALONE AS LONG AS HE
REMAINS OUTSIDE THE POLITICAL DISCOURSE. IN THIS INSTANCE,
BERRI EXPLAINED, THE SYRIANS "CLOSED THEIR EYES" BECAUSE OF
THE DEATH OF TUFAYLI'S FATHER. BERRI ASSURED US THAT TUFAYLI
WILL FADE BACK INTO THE WOODWORK -- AND IN FACT, MAY ALREADY
HAVE DONE SO. END COMMENT.


BATTLE