Elijah J Magnier
Antoine Hayek, the former jailer of the Israeli-established Kiyam detention and concentration camp in Lebanon, was found dead in his store in Miyu-Miyeh, east of Sidon in the south of Lebanon, with two bullets in his head. There were no indications who was behind this assassination. His death came on the heels of the decision by Lebanese authorities to exert pressure on the head of the military court to release Israeli collaborator Amer al-Fakhoury. Al-Fahkoury was then delivered to the US embassy and smuggled out of the country. The implicit message seems obvious: if the Lebanese authorities want to deal with former Israeli collaborators in this way, other Israeli collaborators will pay the price. Targets are many and vulnerable. So who could be behind the assassination?
Antoine Hayek (58-year-old) was born east of Sidon and joined the Lebanese Police at the age of 20. He retired with the grade of Chief Warrant Officer and opened a small grocery in the same area. During the 1982 Israeli occupation of Lebanon, he followed Amer al-Fakhoury and worked under his command at the Kiyam detention camp. Hayek was accused of throwing a bomb inside a cell during the prisoners’ uprising of the 25thof November 1989, killing two members of the resistance: Bilal al-Samman and Ibrahim Abou al-Iz. Hayek was also nicknamed “Voltage 66” for his hobby of torturing prisoners with high electric voltage in sensitive parts of the body. The pro-Israeli officer had a record of preventing the Red Cross and humanitarian NGOs from visiting prisoners — who never faced trial and were all under detention for resisting the Israeli occupation of Lebanon. In 2001, a year after the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon, Hayek surrendered to Lebanese authorities. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
In 2006, Hezbollah and the Free Patriotic Movement signed a memorandum of understanding whereby both parties agreed (article 6) to ease the return of Lebanese collaborators with Israel. So why was Hayek, a Christian collaborator with Israel, assassinated?
The release of Amer Fakhoury was a serious breach of the 2006 memorandum agreement. If those who want to protect Christians who collaborated with Israel had respected the agreement, they would not have pushed Commander of the Armed Forces Joseph Aoun to release Fakhoury. Aoun did everything in his power to corner the head of the military court, General Hussein al-Abdallah, and obtain the release of Fakhoury. Abdallah is also to blame for succumbing to pressure. He could have resigned, but instead, he yielded to the Army chief’s wishes and ordered Fakhoury’s release. General Abdallah wants to retire abroad. He was thus vulnerable to coercion by the US embassy, who threatened to add him to the US list of terrorists.
General Abdallah, a Shia, deferred to his commanding officer’s wishes, even though the military court enjoys immunity. Abdallah was nominated by the Speaker Nabih Berri, who is capable of protecting him.
The Lebanese Army is afraid of losing US military assistance. But looking closely at US support, we might wonder why the Lebanese Army needs to carry an M4 carabine (short and light NATO assault rifle) and not the usual M16 rifle, comparable to the AK-47 Kalashnikov that Lebanese warehouses are full of. The Lebanese Army maintains domestic checkpoints and doesn’t need a variety of light weapons. Furthermore, when the US offered a dozen Hellfire missiles to help the Lebanese Army fight al-Qaeda, the US military attaché imposed a rule that no missile would be fired without foreknowledge of his office. The US military officer refused a request to target and eliminate Abu Malik al-Tal, the al-Qaeda Emir in Arsal — because he was fighting against Hezbollah. US aid seems more oriented to the destruction of Lebanese sovereignty than to the defeat of Takfiri jihadists.
It is not possible to build a resistant society in Lebanon when many politicians are pro-American and subservient to the US’s will and dominance. It is unacceptable for any Lebanese official to have allowed the US embassy to violate the Lebanese court order by illegally smuggling Amer al-Fakhoury out of the country.
US military support to the Lebanese Army is delivered free of charge but it is costly and ill-adapted to the Army’s real need. The military training the US offers Lebanese officers is a prestige course designed to recruit officers and offer them financial benefits; it is not training they can use to defend the country. Lebanon is not allowed to stand up to Israel and its officers lack the military capacity to oppose the Israeli army. In any case, Lebanon is not allowed to fight Israel and the Army is not permitted to receive any game-changing weapons which would represent a danger for the continuous Israeli violations of Lebanese territory, by sea, land, and air.
What did the US do to support Lebanon that would lead its politicians to abide by its demands? Did the US offer any financial aid during the Lebanese economic crisis? Or any help in fighting the Coronavirus? All the US does is impose more sanctions on the Lebanese, and threaten to add more Lebanese to its list of terrorists. As far as the “Axis of the Resistance” is concerned, all its key members are on the US list, and this American administration certainly won’t leave office before adding many more Lebanese to the list, including many unconnected to Hezbollah. In this context, why should Joseph Aoun, Commander of the Army, respond to US whim and fancies?
Many Lebanese have no sense of loyalty to the country, and foreign forces control many Lebanese politicians. Hezbollah may have made a serious mistake in not capitalising on its victories over Israel, ISIS and al-Qaeda in Syria and Iraq. These victories could have been leverage for serious political change, marginalizing pro-US players in Lebanon.
In Lebanon, the Axis of Resistance no longer calls its political enemies “opponents” but “enemies”. The Lebanese constitution should be re-written so that every community is represented in accordance with its actual size. Otherwise, it will be impossible to shape a society of resistance, and the US will continue to exert dominance over many Lebanese.
Proofread by: Maurice Brasher and C.G.B