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Freedom fighter or terrorist?
A lead liaison between Palestinian militias and Iran mullah regime died
Anis Al-Naqqash, one of the earliest founders of Iran regime militias in the Middle East, died. He was born in Beirut in 1951, and joined the ranks of the Palestinian militia, Fatah, and its “Force 17.” He also recruited Imad Mughniyah, who would later become the military leader of Hezbollah, to join “Force 17,” then under the command of Fatah’s number two Khalil Al-Wazeer, aka Abu-Jihad.
Naqqash joined operations with the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which at the time employed the famous Carlos the Jackal. Naqqash and Carlos led the OPEC 1975 operation, during which they kidnapped the oil cartel’s ministers during their meeting in Vienna (Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi diplomats facilitated the operation).
After 1975, Naqqash and other Fatahniks were tasked with training Iranian revolutionaries, the nucleus of what later became the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the Iranian paramilitary organization whose notorious leader, Qassem Soleimani, was killed in an American attack in 2020.
Naqqash emerged as one of the liaison figures between the Palestinian militia Fatah and Iranian revolutionaries. After Khomeini’s returned to Iran from his exile in Paris, in 1979. Fatah chief Yasser Arafat visited Tehran and stood on the balcony of the Israeli embassy, proclaiming it the Embassy of Palestine.
Eventually, Naqqash became one of the earliest non-Iranian mercenaries of the Iran mullah regime. In 1980, he was deployed to Paris to assassinate the last Iranian prime minister under the Shah, Shahbur Bakhtiar. The attempt failed and Naqqash was sentenced to life in prison. In 1990, however, Naqqash was released in a “prisoner swap” between Iran and France. (Iran is in the habit of arresting foreign nationals to blackmail their governments).
In 1990, Naqqash returned to Lebanon, but Mughniyah had become the top Hezbollah military chief. Naqqash therefore played mostly non-military roles. In 2005, Iran deployed Naqqash, alongside a Persian-speaking Iranian officials, to meet with one of the top aides of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri, presumably to warn Hariri to change course. Naqqash and the Iranian official told Hariri’s aide that the former prime minister was going down the US-Saudi road, and that he is better advised to correct course. In Feb 2005, Hariri was assassinated. A UN tribunal indicted at least five Hezbollah top military leaders — including Mughniyah’s brother-in-law — on charges of committing the murder.
Naqqash grew up in turbulent times and climbed the ranks of violent non-government organizations. He committed acts of violence in foreign countries, such as in Austria and France. His actions earned him the legal definition of terrorist, but Iran and Hezbollah insist to call such militiamen freedom fighters.