London, 30 Oct - In 1983, a suicide bombing of a Marines barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, killed 241 American service members, 58 French military personnel and six civilians, and injured hundreds more.
On October 23, the suicide bomber drove a truck into the barracks and detonated about 1,000 kg of explosives (roughly 15,000 to 21,000 pounds of TNT).
The Islamic Jihad organisation, which claimed responsibility for the attack, was actually a special ops branch under the joint command of the Lebanese Hezbollah and Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).
In response, both the US and France began to attack bases in the area linked to the IRGC, especially those where they trained Hezbollah militias.
More evidence of Iranian involvement came from Iran’s Resalat newspaper in 1987. It cited former IRGC logistics officer Mohsen Rafighdoust as saying “both the TNT and ideology behind the attacks that sent 400 American officers and soldiers to hell in the US Marines command base in Beirut came from Iran”.
In 2003, a US federal court even identified the suicide bomber as Ismail Ascari, an Iranian national.
This attack is in line with the aims of the Iranian Regime who wanted to export terrorism and war across the Middle East and also wanted to create a central command base in Lebanon for the IRGC and its local mercenaries, which it couldn’t do with the peacekeeping mission still in place.
Iran celebrates terrorism
It should go without saying that no one should celebrate acts of terrorism, but the Iranian regime never got that memo.
In 2004, the IRGC unveiled a monument in honour of the terrorist attack, but make no mistake, they were not remembering the slain but the slayer.
The column, erected in the “Martyrs of the Islamic World” section of Tehran’s Behesht-e Zahra Cemetery, made it clear that the IRGC was involved in the attack of the peacekeeping force in Beirut, which was sent by the UN as part of an effort to end the Lebanese civil wars.
While in 2014, the state-run Rasekhoon website praised the attack as “heroic”.
How it began
The Lebanese Hezbollah, under the command of former defence minister Hossein Dehghan and with support from the IRGC, took over the Sheikh Abdullah Base in September 1983. At first it was used as the headquarters of the Lebanese Army in Bekaa Valley before being turned into the IRGC’s main command centre in Lebanon.
The IRGC used this site to control Hezbollah and orchestrate the Beirut bombings. They gave the order to Iran’s then ambassador to Syria, Ali Akbar Mohtashemipour, who relayed the order to IRGC units stationed in Beirut under Dehghan’s command.
IRGC = Terrorists
It is now 34 years since the Beirut attack and 13 since the column was installed and the IRGC has finally been designated as a terrorist organisation by the US Treasury Department but they need a much more severe punishment in order to make sure that their victims have not died in vain.
Heshmat Alavi, a human rights activist specialising in the Iranian Regime, wrote on Al Arabiya: “For more than thirty years the curtains have gradually fallen and the true face of Iran’s IRGC, as a source of support for terrorism, has become crystal clear. Rest assured the footprints of this notorious entity will be found in more crimes inside Iran, around the Middle East and across the globe. This is further proof of the necessity of strong measures against the IRGC as the epicentre of Iran’s war machine. Utter belligerence has been Tehran’s offspring for four long decades. The time has come to say enough is enough.”