February 8, 2021
The American Mideast Coalition for Democracy is sounding the alarm on a string of unsolved murders involving prominent critics of Hezbollah and other terror organizations backed by Iran. Lokman Slim, one of the most prominent anti-Hezbollah activists in Lebanon, was found dead on Friday, February 5th, but this murder is only the latest in a string of assassinations against those critics who linked the terror group to the Beirut port explosion.
A retired customs officer, Mounir Abu Rjeily, was found murdered last December. He was an associate of Colonel Joseph Skaf, who was the first to warn of the danger of the stored ammonium nitrate at the port and who was found dead three years ago. Also in December of 2020, the body of Joseph Bejjani was found. He was a photographer who may have obtained photographic evidence concerning the port explosion.
In July of last year, Iraqi terrorism expert Hisham al-Hashimi was shot dead in Baghdad. He had been threatened by both ISIS and Kataib Hezbollah. No arrests have been made.
Antoine Al-Hayek was killed last March (2020), possibly in retaliation for the release of Amer Al-Fakhoury an American who had been held in Lebanon for the crime of having worked with the Israelis in their security zone in Southern Lebanon during the 1990s. Al Hayek was an assistant to Al-Fakhoury during that time.
“We remember the time after the Cedars Revolution, when there were waves of assassinations of critics of Assad and Hezbollah,” said AMCD co-chair Tom Harb. “It was a campaign of revenge against those who had spoken out against the Syrian occupation. As Hezbollah’s grip on the population loosens, it will undoubtedly intensify its efforts at intimidation.”
“There is no question the Trump administration put the squeeze on Hezbollah by forcing Iran to cut back its support due to sanctions,” added AMCD co-chair John Hajjar. “Now that the Biden Administration is beginning to re-orient US foreign policy in Iran’s favor, Hezbollah will come roaring back in Lebanon and seek to silence anyone who opposes them. We fear the assassinations have just begun.”
Although the Biden Administration has already issued a strong statement in support of freedom and democracy in Lebanon, we believe any re-negotiation of the Iran deal should be pre-conditioned on the full disarming of Hezbollah in accordance with UNSCR 1559 and that Iran must stop supporting both Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations in the Middle East. In addition, Iran should show good faith by stopping the jailing and executions of its own citizens for their political beliefs.