Lebanon has seen its share of atrocities and murders, including the assassinations of many high-profile persons. For years, terrorism experts have pointed fingers to groups like Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Palestinian Liberation Organization and their offshoots for heinous events against Israel and the few allies within Lebanon. But are the aforementioned terrorist groups just puppets to a greater evil?
Many would like to believe Hezbollah and Hamas are superior in their terrorist operations. Make no mistake, however; these terrorist entities are worthless without some form of assistance, in this case funding by either Iran or Syria. Nation-states cannot acknowledge their cooperation with such groups, so they must support terrorist operations clandestinely.
One of the greatest movers and shakers supporting Lebanese terror comes from a Syrian/Lebanese-recognized political party: the Syrian Social Nationalist Party. Founded by social scientist academic Antun Saadeh in Beirut in 1932, Saadeh believed in a “distinct and naturally superior Syria” — a Syria which would include Lebanon, one not consumed with religious domination but rather power through fascism. Saadeh claimed that his philosophy was never influenced by Hitler or Mussolini, yet evidence proves otherwise.
SSNP members embrace a modified German Nazi flag and often render the Hitler salute to their leaders — even today. Many Nazi and Fascist sympathizers joined the ranks of the SSNP, giving it more power and prestige. Saadeh was often labeled as the Führer of the Syrian nation.
The SSNP has had its ups and downs in gaining acceptance throughout Lebanon and Syria. They rivaled the Syrian Communist Party for many years. With time however, they would surpass and actually take over numerous parties that were later destroyed, such as the Communist Party, the Syrian Social Cooperative Party, the Arab Liberation Movement, the National Party, and the People’s Party. The SSNP’s goal is to establish the Syrian caliphate, better known as “Greater Syria.”
While blacklisted since 1955, the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP) continues to thrive, carrying out a unique secretive mission for Syria — clandestine operations. Today, they are led by Assaad Hardan. Hardan enjoyed politically appointed seats as minister of state and labor within the Lebanese government. These appointments served to cover his criminal activities.
Multiple Lebanese sources state that Hardan is the mastermind behind the majority of high-valued target assassinations and conducts such operations under direct supervision of Syrian Intelligence. The same sources state that there isn’t a single car bomb or assassination in Beirut without Hardan’s fingerprints. Besides assassinations, he masterminded all the bombings in Christian Lebanon after the withdrawal of the Syrian Army, and his militia stormed the future television station in Raoucheh, Beirut (Hariri TV) and burned it to the ground.
At least seven assassinations were conducted and or orchestrated by the Syrian Social Nationalist Party against Lebanese politicians. All of those killed were anti-Syria and/or pro-United States. This fact is not the only pattern noted among those assassinated.
1. Husni Zaim — former prime minister of Syria (executed in prison by the SSNP in 1949)
2. Riad Solh — former prime minister of Lebanon (assassinated in 1951)
3. Bachir Gemayel — former president of Lebanon (assassinated in 1982)
4. Gebran Tueni — former Member of Parliament in Lebanon (assassinated in 2005)
5. Rafiq Hariri — former Prime Minister of Lebanon (assassinated in 2005 — The Hague continues to investigate culprits)
6. Pierre Gemayel — former minister of industry in Lebanon (assassinated in 2006)
7. Antoine Ghanem — former Member of Parliament in Lebanon (assassinated in 2007)
Do not think that the Syrian Social Nationalist Party solely operates in Syria and Lebanon or that they target only nation-state politicians. In fact, there are at least five international operations conducted by the SSNP — one of which occurred inside the United States.
1. In 1989, eleven fighters were caught in Cyprus. An official named Adib al-Halabi commissioned another SSNP member, Sleiman al-Khafaji, to oversee the assassination of Prime Minister Michel Naim Aoun. Khafaji was told that he, along with four other people, would bring down a helicopter used by Aoun at Larnaca airport. “The weapons to be used in the assassination were Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM-7)… and machine guns and grenades in case of any emergency,” said the story (translated from Arabic). Maalouf added that although Aoun and the SSNP are aware of the assassination attempt 22 years ago, neither wants the public to know about it. The individual in charge of that operation was Imad Khafaja, also known in Beirut as Kamal el Awar. He is Assaad Hardan’s chief of operations in the SSNP.
2. Lt. Col. Charles Ray — U.S. military attaché in Paris was killed by Georges Ibrahim Abdallah from the Lebanese Armed Revolution Faction (LARF). The LARF itself is an assumed name for the SSNP.
3. The 1986 Athens, Greece TWA bomb attack conducted by May Elias Mansour — an SSNP activist.
4. The 1986 attempt to bomb an El Al fight in London — the Nizar Hindawi case. Despite Hindawi’s recruitment by the Syrian Air Force Intelligence agency, then headed by Gen. Muhammad El Kholi, only those familiar the Syrian Intelligence’s relationship to the SSNP will understand how the SSNP were actually involved in this foiled attack.
5. In 1988, three Lebanese members of the SSNP were caught in Vermont transporting explosives from Canada. Their mission was to bomb the Israeli Embassy in Washington D.C.
There should be no question that the Syrian Social Nationalist Party is indeed either a terrorist organization or an actual component of the Syrian Clandestine Service. The U.S. State Department Terrorist List fails in identifying them as a terrorist organization. So what does that leave one to assume?
The Hague has recently released its indictments against four suspected Hezbollah operatives allegedly involved in the Rafiq Hariri case. There is no question, after analyzing the phone network consisting of multiple color-coded tele-analyses — that these operatives were involved. But are these just low-hanging fruit?
Hezbollah is not that good. When they succeed in such high-profile terror activities, they simply serve as puppets to their puppet masters. In this case, the puppet masters are Assaad Hardan and the Syrian Social Nationalist Party — all tied to the Syrian government.
Kerry Patton, a combat service disabled veteran, is a senior analyst for WIKISTRAT. He has worked in South America, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Europe, focusing on intelligence and security and interviewing current and former terrorists, including members of the Taliban. He is the author of Sociocultural Intelligence: The New Discipline of Intelligence Studies and the children’s book American Patriotism. You can follow him on Facebook.