Who's Playing with the Imam Sadr Case and Why?
Is Kuwait Trying to Scapegoat the Palestinians?
by FRANKLIN LAMB
The Imam Musa Sadr, Sheik Mohammad Yaacoub, and journalist Abbas Badreddine case, like the Tell Tale Heart in Edgar Allen's Poe novel, will not stop crying out for justice despite more than three decades of political efforts to close the file.
Recent visits to Egypt and Libya as well as common knowledge here in Lebanon, make plain that there is still much interest in finally solving this mystery. But while the fall of the Gadaffi regime initially led to much speculation that the Sadr-Yaacoub case would finally be solved new factor's including Egyptian-Libya-Lebanese economics and political relations, among other factors are slowing the investigation.
Against this backdrop comes the most recent speculation about the Lebanese trio's fate, this time from Kuwaits Al Rai newspaper. Without revealing its claimed source for the sensational story, which has been denied by former Gaddafi operatives in both Cairo and Tripoli, including investigators at the Libyan Justice and Interior ministries, Al Rai weaves a most improbable story, that Sunni Palestinians murdered the Shia delegation.
At first glance the tale does lead one to at least take notice because for years, Libyan intelligence was closely involved with Abu Nidal and funded his "Fatah: The Revolutionary Council", commonly known as the Abu Nidal Organization (ANO).
Following the US bombing of Gadaffi's residence on April 15, 1986, when U.S. warplanes launched a series of bombing raids from British bases against Tripoli and Benghazi, killing 45 Libyan soldiers and 15 civilians in claimed retaliation for the bombing, ten days earlier, of a Berlin nightclub used by U.S. service personnel, that relationship solidified fast, with Abu Nidal becoming the recently appointed head of Libyan intelligence, Abdullah Senussi's "favorite mercenary."
In June of 1986 this observers visited Abu Nidal's office which was being set up in an apartment building four blocks from Green Square. The visit was arranged by former Libyan Ambassador Omar el Hamdi now laying low in Cairo. Omar served as Secretary-General of the Sennusi-created "International Secretariat For Solidarity With The Arab People And Their Central Cause Palestine" on which this observer served five years as North American Representative while working at the US Congress.
The ANO, along with other Palestinian "radical-rejectionist" groups, who favored armed struggle over what they considered, fake negotiations with the Occupiers of Palestine, had a representative on the International Secretariat so we were welcomed to their new office. While the seriously paranoid Abu Nidal was "not available" at the time, we visited with three of his taciturn aids as they unpacked cardboard boxes containing office and kitchen supplies.
Again with Omar, this observer visited the bomb site which included Gaddafi's private residence. After viewing the canisters of 14 CBU/58 A/B cluster bombs that the US dropped on Gadaffi's Bab al-Azizia (The Splendid Gate) compound we were shown damaged home including his bedroom with its huge heart shaped bed with silk sheets, his, also huge, bathroom with gold fixtures and a large bathtub as well as his bedside safe where he kept cash, a pearl handled pistol, and a stash of drugs.
Two of Gaddafi's biological children were injured. Gaddafi himself was reportedly so shocked he was unable to appear in public for two days, but he did survive, to the dismay of the United States government. The story released by Gaddafi that Hanna Gaddafi, a baby girl who he and his wife adopted, was killed by the American attack was false. This observer met Dr. Hanna Gaddafi in Tripoli during July of 2011. She is very much alive, appeared fine and is no doubt a skilled pediatrician which she discretely trained for in Europe. Unlike her older sister Aisha, Hanna seems nearly oblivious to politics and is devoted to her patients.
As explained to this observer by one former Libyan official with detailed knowledge of what Abu Nidal did for the Gaddafi regime, shortly after the bombing of his home, they plotted revenge and more than one Palestinian faction was invited to Tripoli by Senussi. Guests were booked into the Grand Hotel near Green Square for consultations. Several projects were reportedly discussed and groups were judged and rewarded depending on their success.
In early June, 1986, Abu Nidal started his move from Syria to Libya. Some of the initial ANO projects included the murder of two British school teachers, Leigh Douglas and Philip Padfield, plus an American, Peter Kilburn who was kidnapped in Lebanon by Abu Nidal associates. Their bodies were found in a village east of Beirut on April 17, 1986. While not made public before, this date was chosen, according to a former Gadaffi official now in Cairo, to send a message from Gadaffi to Reagan. It was three years to the day following the bombing of the US Embassy in Beirut on April 17, 1983.
Ironically, on that day, this observer was in Athens, Greece with Omar el Hamdi and thirty or so delegates from the International Secretariat including two from the ANO. One of the 63 victims of the Embassy bombing was Janet Lee Stevens, an American journalist and brilliant advocate for the liberation of Palestine with whom this observer had spoken the night before. British journalist John McCarthy was kidnapped the same day and another British journalist Alec Collett, kidnapped in Beirut on March 25, 1986, was hanged by Abu Nidal operatives in response to the Tripoli bombing. And that was just the beginning. Pan Am 103 (the ANO's only direct role in the Pan Am operation was to put together the bomb, a skill they excelled in) while Senussi's contractors did the rest.
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