6 April 1961|
Al Ghobeiry, Lebanon
13 May 2016 (aged 55)|
Damascus International Airport, Syria
Mustafa Badreddine (Arabic: مصطفى بدر الدين; 6 April 1961 – c. 13 May 2016), also known as Mustafa Badr Al Din, Mustafa Amine Badreddine, Mustafa Youssef Badreddine, Sami Issa, and Elias Fouad Saab, was a military leader of Hezbollah and both the cousin and brother-in-law of Imad Mughniyah. He was nicknamed "Dhu al-Fiqar" referring to the legendary sword of Imam Ali. Badreddine was killed by shelling at Damascus International Airport and Hezbollah announced the attack was launched by Takfiri groups. His death is seen as one of the biggest blows in the Hezbollah leadership.
Badreddine was a member of the Shura council for Hezbollah and the head of the unit for overseas operations, Hezbollah's external operations branch. His aide in this post was Abdul Hadi Hammade, who previously commanded Hezbollah's secret Position 71. Prior to his appointment to this post in 2009, replacing Imad Mughniyah, Badreddine served as the commander of Hezbollah's military arm and an advisor to Hezbollah's Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah. Badreddine's appointment as the head of overseas operation was not supported by deputy general secretary of Hezbollah, Naim Qassem. He was also Nasrallah's chief of intelligence.
Following the beginning of the Syrian Civil War in 2011 Badreddine went to Syria as one of the Hezbollah commanders to defend the government of Bashar Assad. He joined the war in 2013. He was fighting with opposition groups in Aleppo's countryside.
1983 Kuwait bombings
He was arrested in Kuwait together with 17 suspects one month after seven blasts in the country in a single day on 13 December 1983, including the truck bombings of the US and French embassies in Kuwait City. The attacks left nearly five people dead and 86 injured. However, it is also argued that the use of the group's name in these events was a deception to hide the real groups that perpetrated these attacks. In 1985, Badreddine allegedly ordered the assassination of Kuwait emir, but the attempt failed.
As a result of the 16-week trials, he was sentenced to death for masterminding the attacks. Since his leg had been amputated, he was with a wooden leg in the jail. In the court, Badreddine told the prosecutor that he did not recognize the sovereignty of Kuwait.
In order to force the authorities to release Badreddine and others, Hezbollah members headed by Imad Mugniyed kidnapped at least four Western citizens in Lebanon. Mugniyeh also hijacked a Kuwait Airways Corporation (KAC) plane in Bangkok in 1988, demanding the release of him and other detainees.
In June 2011 Badreddine and other three people were indicted for charges related to the assassination of former Lebanon prime minister Rafiq Hariri by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL). The indictment was unsealed on 29 July 2011.
Badreddine was specifically accused of planning and supervising the assassination by the tribunal. In addition, he was described by the STL as the main organizator of the operation. Accusations about him and other three Hezbollah members were based on mobile phone evidence. Hasan Nasrallah threatened the tribunal upon its declaration. Since then, Badreddine and the others have disappeared and allegedly fled to Iran. On 1 February 2012, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon decided to try him in absentia. The trial would begin in March 2013, but it was postponed and no date was specified. It began in January 2014.
Badreddine and Talal Hamiyah were put on the list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists by the US Treasury Department on 13 September 2012 due to his alleged role as top military commander, replacing Mugniyah who died in 2008. The basis for their designation was E.O. 13224 for providing support to Hezbollah's terrorist activities in the Middle East and around the world.
On 13 May 2016, it was reported that Badreddine had been killed by an explosion near the Damascus International Airport, the cause and timing of which remained unclear. At the funeral, Nasrallah, Secretary General of Hezbollah, said: "they would soon announce conclusions about the perpetrators". His corpse was taken to Ghobeiry, Beirut, where it was buried in Rawdat Shahidayn cemetery on 13 May.
Al Manar TV announced Badreddin's death and mentioned that he was the target in a huge blast near the airport and that other Hezbollah fighters were wounded. The station stated that the Hezbollah did not immediately point a finger at Israel and they would investigate whether the blast was from an airstrike, rocket attack or other cause. Then Hezbollah stated in what many consider an unconvincing communiqué that an attack was launched by "Takfiri groups" and said: "Investigations have showed that the explosion, which targeted one of our bases near Damascus International Airport, and which led to the martyrdom of commander Mustafa Badreddine, was the result of artillery bombardment" carried out by Takfiri groups."
This claim is disputed by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, who pointed out that no artillery fire had been heard in the area in the past three days and announced that “There is no truth about what have been published by Hezbollah about the assassination of its military commander in Syria ‘Mustafa Bader’ by rebel shells near the international airport of Damascus”. Later aerial images of the site where Badreddine was killed were released that showed that the site did not show any artillery damage.
Furthermore, it was noted that the killing of Badreddine has not been claimed by any of the various jihadist and rebel groups in and around Damascus. It is felt extremely unlikely that the Syrian rebels would have had the information and weaponry as the Middle East Eye reported that “the nearest opposition artillery positions… were 20 kilometres away, and there are doubts that their shells could achieve pinpoint accuracy from that distance.” to carry out what seems to be a surgical strike as he was killed in a room and “nobody else was hurt. The conclusion: somebody followed him and knew exactly when he would arrive and when he would be in the room.” If it was artillery as claimed, it shows that the security breach could only have come from Hezbollah.
The Saudi-owned Al Arabiya reported that Badreddine was killed by his former bodyguard, a man he trusted completely and one of Hezbollah's top operatives, Ibrahim Hussein Jazini and bodyguard of leader Hassan Nasrallah, by order of Nasrallah and Iranian general Qasem Soleimani. This was confirmed on 21 March 2017 by the head of the Israel Defense Forces, Gadi Eizenkot, who stated that Badreddine was killed by his own men due to internal rivalries, and the order to kill Badreddine was given by Hassan Nasrallah.
- "Mustafa Amine Badreddine". Special Tribune for Lebanon. Archived from the original on 20 October 2012. Retrieved 15 September 2012.
- Bill Roggio (14 September 2012). "US adds 2 senior Hezbollah military leaders to terror list". Long War Journal. Retrieved 15 September 2012.
- Erich Follath (23 May 2009). "New Evidence Points to Hezbollah in Hariri Murder". Der Spiegel. Retrieved 15 September 2012.
- "Mustafa Badreddine, Salim Ayyash, Hassan Aneissy, Assad Sabra among Accused in Hariri Arrest Warrants". Naharnet. 30 June 2011. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
- "Obituary: Hezbollah military commander Mustafa Badreddine". BBC. 13 May 2013. Retrieved 13 May 2016.
- Kareem Shaheen (14 May 2016). "Hezbollah blames Sunni militants for commander's death". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 May 2016.
- Sharif Nashashibi (20 May 2016). "Hezbollah is leaving itself exposed to Israel". Middle East Eye. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
- "Who Is Martyr Badreddine?". Al Manar. 13 May 2013. Retrieved 13 May 2016.
- "Hezbollah: Portrait of a Terrorist Organization" (PDF). The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center. 18 December 2012. Retrieved 12 January 2013.
- Steven O'Hern (31 October 2012). Iran's Revolutionary Guard: The Threat that Grows While America Sleeps. Potomac Books, Inc. p. 213. ISBN 978-1-59797-701-2. Retrieved 15 January 2013.
- "Mustafa Badr Al Din". All Voices. Archived from the original on 18 March 2013. Retrieved 15 September 2012.
- Samuel Segev (5 July 2011). "Lebanese factions form battle lines". Winnipeg Free Press. Tel Aviv. Retrieved 24 October 2012.
- Yossi Melman (18 June 2009). "Inside Intel / Why sell arms when you can play golf?". Haaretz. Retrieved 24 October 2012.
- Glass, Charles (2 July 2011). "For Lebanon, the truth is a poisoned chalice". The National. Archived from the original on 28 September 2011. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
- Levitt Matthew (January 2013). "Hizballah and the Qods Force in Iran's shadow war with the West" (Policy Focus (No. 123)). The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
- Casey L. Addis; Christopher M. Blanchard (8 October 2010). "Hezbollah: Background and Issues for Congress" (PDF). Congressional Research Service. Retrieved 31 December 2012.
- Zvi Barel (25 February 2013). "Who's breathing down Hezbollah leader's neck?". Haaretz. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
- Erich Follath (5 November 2012). "Was Murdered Intelligence Chief a Hero or Double Agent?". Der Spiegel. Retrieved 5 November 2012.
- "Mustafa Badreddine is main Hezbollah suspect in Hariri's murder". Ya Libnan. 30 June 2011. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
- "Who killed Mustafa Badreddine?". Iran News Update. 10 March 2017. Retrieved 25 March 2017.
- "Hezbollah, Crowds Bid Farewell to Martyr Commander Badreddine". Al Manar. 13 May 2016. Retrieved 13 May 2016.
- "Lebanon Braces for Hezbollah Backlash Over Hariri Case". Arab Times. Kuwait City. 1 July 2011. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
- "Top suspect in Hariri murder familiar name in Kuwait jail". Lebanonwire. 2 July 2011. Archived from the original on 26 December 2012. Retrieved 4 August 2013.
- McCarthy, Andrew C. (8 December 2006). "Negotiate with Iran?". National Review Online. Archived from the original on 3 February 2013. Retrieved 16 December 2012.
- Caudill, Shannon W. (2008). "Hizballah Rising: Iran's Proxy Warriors". IFQ. 29. Retrieved 12 January 2013.
- "Terrorist attacks on America". PBS. Retrieved 16 December 2012.
- "Shiite leader demands release of 15". Times Daily. Beirut. AP. 13 August 1990. Retrieved 16 December 2012.
- A. William Samii (22 June 2003). "Shia political alternatives in postwar Iraq". Middle East Policy. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
- Elad Benari (30 July 2010). "Report: Hizbullah Activist Behind Hariri Assassination". Arutz Sheva 7. Retrieved 6 March 2013.
- Bassem Mroue; Elizabeth A. Kennedy (30 June 2011). "Hezbollah figure eyed in Hariri killing". The Washington Times. AP. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
- Pierre Tristam (4 December 2008). "When Terry Anderson Was Released After 2,454 Days As Hezbollah's Hostage". About.com. Archived from the original on 17 January 2013. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
- "Court publishes names of 4 suspects in Hariri case". USA Today. AP. 29 July 2011. Retrieved 7 November 2012.
- Caryle Murphy (24 July 1990). "Bombs, Hostages: A Family Link". The Washington Post. Retrieved 16 December 2012.
- Ayla Hammond Schbley (2000). "Torn Between God, Family, and Money: The Changing Profile of Lebanon's Religious Terrorists". Studies in Conflict & Terrorism. 23 (3): 175–196. doi:10.1080/105761000412760. Retrieved 16 January 2013.
- Mark Ensalaco (2008). Middle Eastern Terrorism: From Black September to September 11. University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 152. ISBN 978-0-8122-4046-7. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
- "Escaped Militant Has Role in Hostage Talks". The New York Times. Beirut. 16 October 1991. Retrieved 7 November 2012.
- "Report: Friday blast in Beirut aimed at Nasrallah". Albawaba. 2 August 2011. Retrieved 15 September 2012.
- Nada Bakri (30 June 2011). "Tribunal Names 4 in '05 Killing of Lebanese Leader". The New York Times. Beirut. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
- "UN names Hezbollah men in Rafik Hariri case". BBC News. 29 July 2011. Retrieved 4 March 2013.
- Roee Nahmias (30 June 2011). "Hezbollah members indicted in Hariri murder". YNet News. Retrieved 7 November 2012.
- "Rafik Hariri murder: Suspects to be tried in absentia". BBC News. 2 February 2012. Retrieved 17 March 2013.
- "Hezbollah leader Nasrallah rejects Hariri indictments". BBC. 3 July 2011. Retrieved 16 December 2012.
- "Hariri slaying trial postponed at UN-backed court". San Diego Union-Tribune. AP. 21 February 2013. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
- Matthew Levitt (2014). "Hezbollah's Syrian Quagmire" (PDF). Prism. 5 (1). Retrieved 15 May 2016.
- "Treasury Designates Hizballah Leadership". US Department of the Treasury (Press release). 13 September 2012. Retrieved 15 September 2012.
- "U.S. Treasury Sanctions Hizballah Leadership". US Embassy. 13 September 2013. Retrieved 15 January 2013.
- "Hezbollah commander Mustafa Badreddin killed in Syria". Al Jazeera. 13 May 2016. Retrieved 13 May 2016.
- "Top Hezbollah commander in Syria killed by Israel, Lebanese TV says". The Times of Israel. 13 May 2016.
- "Leading Hezbollah commander killed by Israeli military". The Guardian. 13 May 2016.
- Hezbollah Commander Mustafa Badreddine Killed in Syria Time Magazine. Retrieved 13 May 2016.
- Barnard, Anne; Chan, Sewell (13 May 2016). "Mustafa Badreddine, Hezbollah Military Commander, Is Killed in Syria". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 May 2016.
- "Badreddine's death promotes many theories". The National. 18 May 2016. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
- Nazir Majli. (16 May 2016).Israeli Intelligence Leaks Refute Hezbollah Claims on Badreddine’s Assassination Asharq Al Awsat. Retrieved 27 May 2016
- Badreddine hit sparks fear among Lebanon’s Shiites Now Lebanon.
- Mohamed Chebarro. (16 May 2016). Iran Russia Hezbollah Israel settling scores in Syria Archived 16 May 2016 at the Wayback Machine. Pakistan Observer. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
- "Hezbollah: Mustafa Badreddine killed in shelling". Al Jazeera. 14 May 2016. Retrieved 14 May 2016.
- "Al Arabiya investigates: Who really killed Hezbollah's Mustafa Badreddine?". Al Arabiya. 8 March 2017.
- Bill Roggio. (14 May 2016) Syrian rebels deny Hezbollah’s military commander killed in ‘artillery shelling’ The Long War Journal. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
- Hezbollah says Sunni extremists killed military chief in Syria The Japan Times. 14 May 2016. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
- What the killing of Badreddine means for Hezbollah and the future of the ME Ya Lebonon. 16 May 2016.
- "Here is the assassin of Hezbollah militias commander". Al Arabiya. 8 March 2017.
- Judah Ari Gross (21 March 2017). "IDF chief: Hezbollah commander killed by his own men last year". Times of Israel. Retrieved 21 March 2017.
- "Israeli Army Chief: Hezbollah Leader Killed by His Own Men". Voice of America. 21 March 2017.
- Josef Federman (21 March 2017). "Israeli Army Chef: Hezbollah leader killed by his own men". Associated Press. Jerusalem. Retrieved 22 March 2017.
- "Israel: Hezbollah commander Mustafa Badreddine 'killed by own men'". BBC. 21 March 2017. Retrieved 24 March 2017.