Shi'a Terrorism, the Conflict in Lebanon and the Hijacking of TWA Flight 847

by Bruce Hoffman

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This paper was originally published as an op-ed piece in the Los Angeles Times on July 7, 1985. It reviews the background of the traditional sectarian rivalries and present internal power struggle for control of Lebanon in an effort to explain why the United States is the target of a terrorist campaign being waged by Lebanese Shi’a extremists. The author suggests that a key motive for the hijacking of TWA Flight 847 is the desire of the Hezbollah terrorists believed to be responsible to improve their standing with Lebanon’s Shi’a, thus checking the ascendance of Nabih Berri and Amal. Using the hijacking to bring American pressure to bear on Israel is a new ploy to obtain a solution to Lebanon’s problems on militant Shi’a terms.

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