In 1983, Americans woke to a few more realities of the Iranian Revolution of 1979.
Thirty years ago on April 18, 1983, at 1:05 PM, a single Islamic jihadist drove a truck loaded with one ton of TNT right up to the front of the US Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, and blew much of the embassy to pieces. Sixty-three people were murdered that day, including 17 Americans, and at least 100 others were injured, many with life-long injuries. Sayyid Ruhollah Mostafavi Musavi Khomeini and his Iranian regime were as happy then as were Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden and al-Qaeda 18 years later on 9/11/2001.
The Beirut embassy bombing introduced the West to the wonderful world of Islamic Jihad, later known simply as Hezbollah, a pro-Iranian, virulent anti-West and anti-Israel organization which had set up shop in Lebanon.
A U.S. Marine, armed with an automatic rifle/grenade launcher, stands guard outside the American Embassy after a huge bomb ripped throughout the building, collapsing the entire front section of the seven-story building, April 18, 1983, in Beirut, Lebanon. (PhotoASSOCIATED PRESS)
As a beamingly proud American father would speak of the success of his son playing football, Khomeini was just as proud of his Iranian Revolution lackeys success in Lebanon. The “great Satan” United States, as Khomeini liked to call America, had just felt the wrath of his “Party of God” jihadists.
Who was Khomeini (died in 1989) and why do a great many, myself included, consider him to be the father of modern Islamist terrorism?
Khomeini was the Iranian religious leader of the 1979 Iranian Revolution that overthrew the West-allied Mohammad Reza Pahlavi--The Shah of Iran. Khomeini believed in national rule by Islamic cleric, with him at the top (of course). He also introduced the draconian (by Western beliefs) Sharia Law to Iran.
Side note: Oh, how many today in Iran have rued the day they got “took in” by national Islamic cleric rule. These folks had a small window of opportunity a couple years ago to finally get rid of the Khomeini-style government, but the Obama Administration had a Jimmy Carter moment and let that chance to stand side-by-side with Iranians for liberty and freedom pass by without doing anything. Another story for another day.
After being exiled over a number of things by the Shah’s courts, Khomeini bounced around different countries for several years. He finally landed in France where he found a home within the large Muslim population of Paris. The French government was most happy to finally be rid of him in February 1979 when, with the fawning support of much of the US national press including having been named the Time Magazine Man of the Year for 1979, Khomeini was welcomed back to Iran by the mostly street masses who had forced The Shah of Iran and his family, and Iran’s military and business leadership, to flee.
That was the beginning of much of the world’s Islamist terrorism as we know it today. Not every terrorist is Iranian supported, but without Iran’s support much of the world’s terrorism could not function.
Back to 1983. Imad Mughniyeh, the (Iranian supported, trained and financed) Hezbollah security chief, had master-minded the US embassy bombing. On a roll, Mughniyeh and his cutthroats followed that with encore performances of murder and mayhem across the region by attacking American and French interests throughout Lebanon.
That particular terror spree ended with the next Iranian government’s now beloved annual anniversary.
On October 23, 1983, a truck loaded with more than six tons of explosives, reinforced with at least a dozen large gas cylinders, was detonated and 220 Marines, 18 sailors (most were corpsmen) and three soldiers, from the 24th Marine Amphibious Unit, were killed. Dozens more were injured. The bombing of the international peacekeepers’ barracks (sent there to provide some space between warring factions of the Lebanese Civil War) at the Beirut International Airport that morning was the year’s second wake-up call to America and true democracies everywhere that a new breed of international, and state-sponsored, terrorism had been loosed—Revolutionary Iran.
(Syria, an Iranian ally, had a hand in the bombings too, but the Assad family will soon be swinging from homemade gallows, probably a couple street lamp poles, anyway.)
Did you know there was a second major bombing that day? Also on October 23, a large bomb detonated just miles away at the French barracks. Timed perfectly by Mughniyeh, two minutes after the Marine quarters were destroyed, the same thing took place at the eight-story 'Drakkar' building where 58 paratroopers from the 1st Parachute Chasseur Regiment were killed and 15 injured.
The 30th Anniversary this week of the destruction of the US Embassy in Lebanon, and this fall the 30th Anniversary of the bombing of the US Marine barracks at Beirut International Airport, are to Americans very sad remembrances of good lives lost to terrorism. Like many others, I too lost friends in the barracks bombing. I say a special prayer on each anniversary for those brave Americans (and the French soldiers too) that were lost.
The Iranian supported bombings of the US Embassy and US Marine barracks in Beirut would not for long be isolated mass murders of Americans by jihadists. The 9-11 terrorists of ben Laden’s el-Qaeda soon reminded us otherwise, and they still do today. The FBI is thought to have thwarted since 9-11 as many as 50 plots to murder Americans on US soil, mostly in NYC, Boston, LA and DC.
Watching the Boston Marathon bombings earlier this week brought home to me yet again that for many people in this world nothing will ever be right. Mass murdering others somehow brings gratification to this gutless scum, whoever they are or from whatever cause they represent.
Will this mean another anniversary of happiness in Iran that needs be added to their already crowded murder anniversary calendar? The jury won’t be out for long, but if Iran had its fingers somewhere in the Boston Marathon bombings than President Obama will have a decision or two to make. Regardless, there is still plenty of Iran-sponsored world terrorism to go around.
Today’s Iran continues to be the single most aggressive instigator and supporter of modern day Islamist terrorism around the world, especially (but not exclusively) against the West, and Sayyid Ruhollah Mostafavi Musavi Khomeini--the Grand Ayatollah--started it all.