Hezbollah – What a Blow! Who Assassinated Mustafa Badreddine? Assad's Regime?
15 June 2016
By Tariq Alhomayed
Hezbollah has accused the Syrian opposition of killing its most prominent
military commander in Lebanon and Syria Mustafa Badreddine by targeting one of
the group's centres in Damascus with artillery fire. Who will believe that?
The director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told Reuters that it
has not ''recorded the fall or launch of missiles from eastern Ghouta on
Damascus International Airport since a week ago''.
Was Badr Al-Din killed by the group itself? The truth is, it is hard to
believe both scenarios. It's hard to believe the group's statement that Syrian
factions assassinated him, just as it is hard to believe that the group killed
him. Mustafa's murder is considered a painful blow to the group, and it is
clear that his assassination was the result of a rigorous operation. It is
interesting that the incident took place near Damascus airport which has
already been targeted by Israel in order to attack the group.
Of course, Mustafa Badreddine was not Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi or Abu Bakr
Al-Baghdadi. However, he was more dangerous; he has been one of the founders
of terrorism in our region for decades. He was also one of the leading
masterminds of bombings, a pioneer of assassinations before Al-Qaeda and an
efficient military commander of Hezbollah even whilst Imad Mughniyah was
According to what an informed source told me, Mustafa was ''responsible for
Hassan Nasrallah's security and protection, was trained by the group's first
assassinations expert and was interested in the safety of the area around
Assad''. The source added that ''before the assassination of Mustafa was one
thing, and after his assassination was something else. His assassination means
that it is possible that Naim Qassem or Hassan Nasrallah will be the next
It is noteworthy that the confused Hezbollah has not hastened to accuse Israel
despite the fact that some of its media outlets have done so. Some of the
group's officials asked some journalists not to talk about the Israeli role.
The reason being that accusing Israel would mean that the group would have to
respond in order to save face. However, the group is aware that the timing was
not right and that there isn't a serious Arab country that will defend it
internationally, especially after its recent crimes in Syria, as was the case
in 2006. In addition to this, the international community will not be keen on
Who assassinated Mustafa Badreddine, then? Assad's regime? This is hard to
believe because his assassination is considered a blow to morale that the
group and its supporters cannot tolerate. Iran, then? Not likely as it had the
ability to have him replaced by simply making a phone call and cannot afford
the repercussions of the news of his death in terms of propaganda after its
losses in Khan Touman!
Who, then? It seems that whoever killed Mustafa is a professional on the
ground, has lots of clues to the game there, knows the most important cards,
can move undisturbed and can do what he wants when he wants to serve his
interests. Perhaps the assassination of Mustafa is a disciplinary slap in the
face for Hezbollah which can only take the blow and shut up. However much the
group or Hassan Nasrallah screams, their scream will have no meaning because a
treacherous scream does not have an echo.
Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr.
Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current
affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous
positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the
first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a
bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah.
He is based in London.