LEBANON; AMAL AND THE HIGGINS KIDNAPPING

Created: 2/25/1988

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

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DIRECTORATE OF INTELLIGENC E

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perceptions that Hizballah was eclipsing Amal.

Amal's efforts in Southern Lebanonocate LTC Higgins have been earnest, despite friction between pro-Iranian members and loyalists of local AmalDaud Daud. If Higgins is still In thc south, as we suspect he is, Amalhas the best chance of any group to locale him. Should Higgins be moved out of southern Lebanon, we believe there is virtually no chance that Amal willuseful Information on his whereabouts. Higgins' continuing captivity wouldamaging blow to thc prestige of Amal and Daud Daud and would

IORN

This memorandum waivijion, Office ofNcjr_ Eastern and South Asian Analysis. Comments and queries may be directed

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Approved for Reloaso Sat*

Since LTC Higgins' abduction onebruary, numerous reliable reports havethai the Shia militia Amal has mounted an effort io find him. Amal is embarrassed that its rival, Hizballah (or at least elements ofouldN official in an area nominally under Amal's control.

has seriously sought to find Higgins. Moteizballah members have been detained by Amal, Hizballah offices have been searched, and Amal and Hizballah :mbers have exchanged gunfire.

Amal's Standing In thc South

Wc believe Amal has, significant problema in

lhe south which constrain ils ability to find Hie-

tim and rembai HLtbillih'a influence;

campaign of attacks agaiast the Israelis and pro-Israeli militias in southern .Lebanon has eroded Amal's popular uiDpor

i Amal's reluctance to join lo these attacks casts Amal in thc role of Israel's friend in southern Lebanon.

has infiltrated Amal in an effort to compromise Amal's Icadershir.

Khomeini boosts the radicalprestige. tlHB^

Despite theses. we judge lhal Arii.il retains, subjlariljal strength in southhanoq.

Amal in the south has inherited theof the movements' founder. Imam Musa Sadr, and can'daim to beolicy he espoused.

Atrial is identified more there with Daud Daud(

i with

NabuS Barri. Daud Eas had some success in undercutting Hizballah'sassive Amal demonstration in Tyre in6 and publicly destroyingopies of Hizballah's newspa-per. AlAbsJ, in

Amal's support of the UN presence and its condemnation of Hiiballah attacks against UNIFIL has the backing of most southern Shia. Iln^lahterniinatediis attacks agaiast UNIFIL in6 and belatedlyublic relationsin response to Amal's charges of Hizballah resporsiblity.

Amal's strength in southern Lcbanon-in terms of committed supporters-probably

] still exceeds Hizballah's.

Political Constraints to Cooperation with Thc United States

Wc believe that political concerns limit Arnji^bHityiQ eTOjKJatc,Qpenlyjo^_g

- Working with US (or worse, Israeli)

can turn to Damascus fora filial military and political

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The arrest and possible trial in the United Slates of the low level Amal official Fawaz Yunis on terrorist charges makes many Amal members hostile to working with the United States on the Higgins kidnapping.

Amal officials may believe their prestige would be damaged if they did nottheir clou: byjrying to rescue Higgins

Outlook

pressure on the Israeli security zone inLebanon, and probably not producewinner. Nonetheless, thc situationand isolated Amal-Hizballahhave takenajor dashcertainly would endanger Higgins'increase pressure on his captors ;oout of thc south3

If Higgins is not releasediswill increasingly represent avictory over Amal. The initialsupport for Amal's efforts to findto have crested and tbeclerical criticism of rescue effortsAmal's ie

probably is not strong enoughHiggins independently, but it mayto locate him if he remains inThe more time thatampaign against Amal,the more likely Amalsearches will ,s

If Higgins is moved out ol southernwc believe that the chances that Amal ill rescue him or obtain useful information on his location become almost ml. Wethat once be is taken to the Bekaa Valley or West Beirut, pressure from Iran to have access to Higgins would increaseand Iranian policy concerns wouldHizballah decisionmaking about how long and with what degree of security to hold Higgins. Iran doubtless believes that useful intelligence could be extracted fronjHietjns rotracted intci rogation.^) | $

Thereisk lhal Amal-Hizballahwill grow andajor showdown. Both groups--and their Syrian and Iraniantrons-want toosily confrontation lhat would polarize (he Shia community, endanger Syrian-Iranian ties, erode

SECREJWKTFbRN

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