A Revolutionary Hero
Sayed Abbas Al Moswai; the Former Secretary General of Hezbollah
Each time a man stands up for a stance or strikes out against prejudice and tyranny, he sends forth a ripple of hope, which builds a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of subjugation. Sayed Abbas Al Moswai, one of the major founders of Hezbollah movement in Lebanon and the former Secretary General of Hezbollah, witnessed the cruelty of his time. He felt the pain and experienced the agony of the Lebanese and the other oppressed nations. Al Moswai perceived the tragedy of the people of Palestine since he was young and participated actively to remove the two brotherly peoples’ occupation nightmare; the Palestinians and the Lebanese.
Sayed Abbas Al Moswai was an influential Lebanese Shiite cleric, co-founder and Secretary General of Hezbollah. He was born into a Lebanese family, in the village of Al-Nabi-Sheath in the Beqaa Valley, in 1952. He studied theology in Iraq and was deeply influenced by the views of the two influential Shiite clerics, philosophers and political leaders of his time; Imam Khomeini and Sayed Mohammad Baqir al-Sadr. During his stay in Iraq, he witnessed the anguish of the Iraqi people, who patiently tolerated the oppression of their rulers. Sayed al-Sadr repeatedly said about him, ‘Sayed Abbas is a precious part of me’.
In 1978, Sayed Al Moswai returned to Lebanon with the determination to fight the Zionist occupation and oppression. Besides, in April 1980, Sayed Mohammed Baker al-Sadr was assassinated, which increased the fortitude of Sayed Al Moswai. He spearheaded the formation of Hezbollah movement in 1982, along with other revolutionary figures and clerks. Later, Imam Khomeini sent the Iranian revolutionary guards, to Lebanon, to mobilize people against the Zionist regime and the international tyrannical powers. From 1983 to 1985, he is reported to have served as operational head of the Hezbollah Special Security Apparatus. In 1985, he resided, in a modest house, in the city of Tyr, in the Lebanese-South, after assuming the responsibility of the consultative council of Hezbollah. Sayed Al Moswai was resolute to conquer the Israeli entity, proclaiming that it is not the legend that cannot be defeated.
He headed to the Lebanese-South, in spite of the Zionist invasion, to preach the teachings of Imam Khomeini, which emphasise on the elimination of Israel. He met Sheikh Ragheb Harb, a Shiite cleric and resistance leader, and he passed on to him Imam Khomeini’s religious order [Takleaf Shara’aie]. Imam Khomeini’s order stated that fighting Israel, everywhere and in all possible means, is everyone’s obligation. Sheikh Ragheb Harb’s response was, ‘Our stance is resistance, for the reconciliation with the enemy is disgraceful.’
In 1991, Hezbollah movement had entered a crucial era with the end of both the Iran–Iraq War and Lebanese Civil War, and the Taif Agreement. A new leader was thought to be needed to boost Hezbollah's focus on resistance activity against Israel. Sayed Al Moswai intensified Hezbollah’s military, political and popular action. Sayed Al Moswai was elected as Secretary General of Hezbollah, in May 1991, for nine months, before his martyrdom. Nevertheless, he established social, national, political, educational and informational significant advances.
Sayed Abbas Al Moswai’s concern was greatly concerned about the affairs of all Muslim and vulnerable peoples, predominantly the oppressed of Palestine, Algeria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Kashmir. He was affectionate with those peoples and was fearless in expressing his firm stances. Further, he participated in many Islamic conferences, festivals, and political, social and cultural meetings, in Damascus, Tehran, and Islamabad. He sought unity among Muslim in the world, and he established relations with various prominent revolutionary leaders.
The Palestinian revolution was an important aspect of Sayed Abbas Al Moswai’s life; he lived the wounds of Palestine and the sufferings of its people. At the age of ten, he joined several military training camps along with the Palestinian rebels. He was wounded in one of the military operations that made him even more attached to his sacrificial ambitions. After Imam Khomeini’s call to commemorate Al Quds Day, Sayed Al Moswai pioneered many demonstrations in solidarity with Al Quds.
On 21 March 1990, the Jaafari Jurisprudence Implementation Movement, in Islamabad, invited Sayed Abbas Al Moswai to an Islamic international conference on Kashmir. His Eminence was at the head of Hezbollah’s delegation in which he asserted that the Muslims, everywhere, must decide their fate, be free and not to be subjected to any pressure or a global arrogance. Regardless of the dangers that accompanied the visit, Sayed Al Moswai emphasised that the struggle with the arrogant powers is long and bitter and the price of blood is dear.
After attending the conference, Sayed Al Moswai visited Kashmir and inspected the immigrant camps in Muzaffarabad. He met a group of Kashmiri rebels [Mujahedeen] and urged them to follow the path of Allah; the path of Jihad. He addressed them, ‘we are under your service, we stand beside you.’ Additionally, he sent a radio message to the rebels, in which he pledged to support their cause, which is the cause of Islam, and asked them to stay firm in their positions, saying, ‘As long as you are with God you are strong. As long as you rely on Him, you will be victorious.’ Sayed Al Moswai went also to Afghanistan and met the revolutionaries urging them to unite to achieve their goals and emphasising on the choice of resistance [jihad]; the path of truth and victory.
Sayed Abbas Al Moswai’s was executed on 16 February 1992, when the Israeli Apache helicopters fired missiles at his motorcade the Lebanese-South. The attack targeted him, his wife, his five-year-old son, and four guards. Immediately, Israel admitted that the assassination had been planned to retaliate the kidnapping and death of missing Israeli technicians, in 1986, and the abduction of the UN peacekeeping officer William R. Higgins, in 1988.
According to reports, two Israeli helicopters descended on a seven-vehicle convoy carrying Sayed Al Moswai after he deliver a speech during the annual commemoration remaking the martyrdom of Sheikh Ragheb Harb, who was also assassinated by the Israelis, on 16 February 1984. At the rally, in the southern Lebanese village of Jibchit, Sayed Al Moswai denounced the Arab-Israeli peace talks and accused the United States of being power mad. He stressed that America wants to control the fountains of water, exactly as it controlled the oil fountains.
From Israel's vantage, the assignation was a settling of old scores for countless raids on its soldiers in Lebanon. Hezbollah issued a statement in Beirut calling the attack a vengeful and cowardly assault. In retaliation, on 17 March 1992, Hezbollah bombed the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina, killing 29 and wounding 242. Immediately, Sayed Hassan Nasrallah succeeded Sayed Al Moswai as Secretary General of Hezbollah.
Uzi Benziman, the chief political correspondent of Ha'aretz, reported that the assassination of Sayed Al Moswai was pre-scheduled several months before and that Israel had awaited the suitable opportunity to carry it out. He added that the apparent Israeli reason for promptly admitting responsibility was to demonstrate to the Lebanese how firmly the United States supports everything Israeli occupation does in Lebanon.
Ehud Barak, former Israeli chief of staff, convinced then that the Israeli Prime Minister Shamir to order his assassination. Ran Edelist, a colonel in charge of Israeli troops in the security zone, at that time, said, ‘Hezbollah men know what they are doing. They have superb military intelligence and are good in planning. They do not knock their heads against the wall. They do not attack right where the Israeli or South Lebanese troops are stationed in force, but study the area and prepare their actions carefully. They operate in cells, they know what field and communications security mean, and their explosive charges are nasty and murderous. Their fighters are local inhabitants. One cannot attack Hezbollah bases because none exist.’
The martyrdom of Sayed Abbas Al Moswai was a conspiracy attempted at putting an end to his courageous actions, a conspiracy that backfired against it. His followers continued and still continuing their struggle against the imperialist and Zionist powers. Sayed Al Moswai legacy and Martyrdom promoted thousands of courageous soldiers to heroically fight and scarify their lives for the sake of their cause. He led a short life, 39-years-old occupied by piety and bravery that manifested in most of his tendencies, approaches, and attitudes. Sayed Al Moswai was aware of the tyrannous powers’ conspiracies and resistance was his ultimate approach to withstand oppression.