Amal'i efforts In Southern Lebanonocale LTC Higglns have been earnest, despite frlcllon between pro-Iranian members and loyalists or local AnalDaud Daod. If Higgiru Is still in the south, as we suspect he Is, Area!has the best chance of any grOup to locate him. Should Higgios be moved out of southern Lebanon, we believe there Is virtually do chance Ihat Amal willuseful Information on his whereabouts. Higgles' continuing captivity wouldamaging blow to the prestige of Amal and Daud Daud and would bolster perceptions (hai Hizballah was eclipsing AnjlHH
t> This memorandum was preparedDivision.cat
?friarid South Asian Analysis. CommcnU and queries maybe directed
Since LTC Higglns' abdueiion onebruary, numerous reliable teporu have indi-eaied lhal the Shia militia Amai hu mounled an effort io find him. Ajral is embarrassed that iu rival. Hizballah (or at least elements ofouldN official in an area nomiaaKy under Amals control.
Ajnil'l Standing In Ihe South
We believe Amai hieproblems HI Ihf yy-'l* wMFh epnsiralr it' ability lo find Hit-EJn< ar-rj combat Hizballah's influence:
- Hizballah's campaign of attacks against the Israelii and pro-Israeli militias ia southern Lebanon his eroded Amals popular support.
nee to join in' attacks casts Amai in tbe role of Israel's friend in southern Lebanon.
- Hizballah has infiltrated Amai in an cITnn toial's leadership L
pe,ephe ihese problems iudee thate tafci substantia' Hrcrtt* in Sflsjfc
Arnai in the south hu inherited theof the movements" founder. Imim Musa Sadr. and can claimeolicy be'eapoused.
Amai '& identified more there with Daud Dau
"Nabih Barrt. Daud hasuccess in tincerculting Hizballah's Influence,aajjlvc Amai deroortsUa'Jon in Tyre innd publidy desuxviagopies of HizballahALAM in
Atnal's support of the UN presence and its corvderonaiion of Hitballah attacks against UMIFIL hu the backing of most southernizballah lermituted iu Innd bebtedlyublic relationsio response to Arrul's charges of Hizballah
Amai's strengthouthern Lcbaaon-ia terms of committed supporters-probaWr stillHizballah's.
Amai can rum to Damascus formiliury aod political assistance.
and (ran provide substantia! financial aid and social welfare programs to the southern Sola, making it difficult for thepragmatic southerners to side with AmaL
Amai'i chronic financial problems have made it unable to compete effectively with Hizballah.
Nabih BarrTi dose identification with Syria lessens Amai's prestige in the south; Hizballah's idcnlificailon with ihe martyred southern Shia cleric Shaykh Rjgheb Harb. Ayitotlah Fadlal* bh, other souihcrncr clerics, and Ayatollafc
Political Constraints to Cooperation with The United States
We believe ihat political erjecenu limit Am^rss efTort itV rescue Hittini
- Working with US (or worse, Israeli) forces would open Amai to criticism thai it was working with the main enemy of Lebanon's Shias. Iran and Hizballah have already accused Amai of betraying Islam for ihe sake ofS spy and Zionism.*
- - arrest ird possible trill in the United Sulci of Ike low level Ami) official Fawax Yunii on lenoriit charges makes many Amal members hostile to working wiih the United States on the Higgins kidnapping,
- Ami! officials may believe their prestige would be damaged if they did nottheif clout by trying tojthe msc Ires"
[pressure on the Israeli security zone inrn Lebanon, and probably notdea winner. Nonetheless, the situation is [volatile and isolated Amat-Hizb&llah clashes laJready have takenajor clash ai-Irnosi ceruialy would endanger Higgins' life lor increue pressure on his captors to move him out of i'
If Higgins is not re'eSWloort. hiswill increasingly rcprescot avictory over Amal. The initialsupport for AmiTs cOoru lo Cndto have crested and thederica! cnudscn of rescue ciTortsAsiaTs prestige.
probably Is not strong enough to rescue Higgins independently, bul ll may be able lo locate him if he remains in southern Lebanon. The more time that Hizballah has toampaign against Amal,the more likely Ami! Searches will become perfunctory.
If Hitgins is moedwc believe ihat the chances that Amal will rescue him or obtain useful information on bis location become almost nil. Weihat once he il taken to the Bckaa Valley or West Beirut, pressure from Iran to have access to Higgins would increaseand Iranian policy concerns wouldHizballah decisionmaking about he-long and with what degree of security to holdran doubtless believes that useful intelligence could be extracted from Higginsrotracted interrogation.IB
Thereisk ihat Amil-HizbatraHerT itcn will grow andBoth groupi-and iheir Syrian and Iranian pa-troni-want ioostly confrontation lhal would polarize the Shia eamrr.unlty. endanger Syrian-Iranian lies, erodeOriginal document.