March 9, 2021 Special Dispatch No. 9220

Hizbullah Supporters, Opponents Exchange Blows Over Assassination Of Shi'ite Lebanese Activist Lokman Slim

March 9, 2021
Lebanon | Special Dispatch No. 9220

On February 4, 2021, Lebanese journalist and activist Lokman Slim, a vocal critic of Hizbullah, was found shot dead in his car in an area of South Lebanon known as a  Hizbullah stronghold. Some in Lebanon accused Hizbullah of assassinating him in order to silence him and also as a warning to other Hizbullah opponents, especially the Shi'ites among them. For example, Mustafa 'Aloush, deputy chair of the Al-Mustaqbal faction, claimed that   the assassination was "a message to the Shi'ites so that none of them will consider crossing over to the opposition."[1]  Shi'ite journalist Mona Fayad said that the assassination was a message from Hizbullah and Iran, that the Lebanese have only two choices: either be silent or be hunted down one by one."[2] 

Slim's funeral was attended by many foreign ambassadors to Lebanon, including those of the U.S., Germany and Switzerland, and by prominent Lebanese political and religious leaders.

Hizbullah, for its part, denied any involvement in the murder. In fact, it condemned the crime and demanded that the perpetrators be quickly identified and punished, and even claimed that the murder had been carried out in order to frame it.[3]  In a February 16 speech, Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah hinted that Israel was behind the assassination, and said that the attempts to blame Hizbullah for it would only increase people's commitment to the resistance.[4]

In response to the accusations against Hizbullah, Ibrahim Al-Amin, editor of the pro-Hizbullah daily Al-Akhbar, published a scathing article in which he attacked Slim himself and the entire camp in Lebanon opposed to Hizbullah. He wrote that Lebanon is divided today between two camps: the one that supports Hizbullah and the resistance, and the camp of Slim and others like him, who are traitors and Western agents and want Lebanon to submit to foreign powers. Stating that the latter camp is on the brink of extinction, he clarified that his camp will never stop exposing their "shame" and revealing everything they do "on behalf of the [Western] capitals of murder, usurpation and imperialism in all its forms." 

Al-Amin's article sparked many reactions, some of which accused him of inciting the murder of further activists of the anti-Hizbullah camp. Lebanese journalist Nadim Koteich, also a Shi'ite opponent of Hizbullah, wrote that Salim was murdered following a years-long campaign that Al-Amin has been waging against him and his fellow activists. Koteich added that Al-Amin's article is edifying in that it confirms the identity of the murderers, lays out its motives and shows that they condone such murders.

Indeed, this is not the first time Al-Akhbar, and especially its editor Al-Amin, have incited against Shi'ite opponents of Hizbullah. Many articles published in the daily in the recent years called them agents and traitors, or "Shi'ites of the [American] embassy." For example, in September 2012 the daily published series of cables allegedly exchanged between the U.S. embassy in Beirut and the U.S. administration, which reflected the embassy's contacts with Shi'ite Hizbullah opponents, including Slim Lokman. The daily called them collaborators who had "sacrificed themselves" for the sake of the U.S. ambassador in Lebanon.

In September 2012 Al-Amin published another harsh article against these Shi'ite activists, writing: "Their ties to the U.S. embassy in Lebanon and their participation in U.S. administration activity against the resistance in Lebanon are nothing but a clear and disgraceful form of collaborating with Israel... Do they not fear for their heads when they leave their defiled homes every day?... They should stay away from the fury of the public, [which might] erupt against them at any moment and teach them a lesson... They should know that they, and all their actions, are being watched." In an article several days later he wrote: "We have no room for traitors in our midst."[5]

Lokman Slim (Source:

The following are translated excerpts from Ibrahim Al-Amin's recent article and from the article published in response by Nadim Koteich.

Article By Ibrahim Al-Amin, Editor Of Pro-Hizbullah Daily Al-Akhbar

Slim Was A Western Agent, Like Many Lebanese; That Gang Is On The Brink Of Extinction, And We Will Continue To Expose It

On February 15, 2021, some ten days after Slim Lokman's death and in response to accusations by Lebanese elements that Hizbullah was responsible for his murder, Ibrahim Al-Amin, editor of the pro-Hizbullah Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar, published a scathing article attacking Slim and the entire anti-Hizbullah camp. He began the article by quoting the following statements made by Slim at a 2018 conference in the UAE:[6] "Is it now possible to stop Hizbullah by military means alone? Of course not. Is it necessary [to stop it]? Yes… Is it possible to do so without causing collateral damage? My answer is no. This collateral damage will harm Lebanon and the Shi'ites… I fear that the Shi'ites need a catastrophe today to awaken them to the situation they are in. We must understand that the discourse about protecting Lebanon's stability while [at the same time] fighting Hizbullah contains a contradiction, because it is impossible to fight Hizbullah without jeopardizing Lebanon's so-called stability."

Al-Amin then commented: "Lokman Slim did not just openly call for genocide against his own people. His wicked soul also moved him to post tweets. For example, in  response to the Israeli attack on Jabel Al-Mana' in Syria, he tweeted '[we] have no problem with it'[7]…   In response to the murder of Qassem Soleimani he tweeted 'good riddance,'[8] and after the murder of the Iranian [nuclear] scientist Fakhrizadeh he tweeted 'next in line'[9]… 

"Such was Lokman Slim, and those were his opinions, responses and innermost thoughts.  That was the 'bravest of the brave,' the 'most prominent opinion shaper in Lebanon,' the 'protector of human rights,' 'the educated culture figure and philosopher,' [as many called him after his death]… Is that really the man you [Hizbullah opponents] meant to rely on to bring about change that would place Lebanon among the progressive nations? Is this really the man whose [funeral] was attended by representatives of the 'free world' [i.e., the American and European ambassadors], who eulogized him as a 'dear friend'? Is this really the man you regard as your icon? Or do you need a doctor to explain to you… that he was just a sick man with a natural tendency towards hatred, filled with a mixture of sadism and Nazism?" 

The Struggle In Lebanon Is Between The Camp That Advocates Submitting To The West And The Camp That Supports The Resistance

"With the exception of [prominent Lebanese novelist and intellectual] Elias Khoury, I could not find in the recent decade, among the Lebanese elites that fiercely oppose Hizbullah and the resistance axis, anyone who [also] continues to criticize the regimes in the Arabian Peninsula and North Africa, which capitulate [to the West]… In their spoken or written statements, the [members of those elites], without exception, do not hide [the fact that] they directly belong to the camp led by the U.S., Saudi Arabia, the UAE and 'Israel,' a camp whose goal is clear and definite, [namely]… 'to subordinate Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Tunisia and Palestine to the West, to its protégé Israel and to [the countries] that support them.'

"Since the ideas [of this camp] are confined to submitting [to the West] and rejecting the idea and principle of resistance, we can hold a debate… on the rivalry and hostility [that exists] between these two [conflicting] ideas, plans, approaches and views in the realms of politics, economy, education, culture and media, [these two] lifestyles and ways of managing civil affairs – for that is the heart of the conflict [in Lebanon] today… The disagreements [between these two camps] became absolute when the members of that barbaric [pro-Western] coalition openly declared their organic connection to countries, governments and regimes that have carried out murders and plots against the countries of this region for a century and are still doing so. In this case declaring [your affiliation] is not act of heroism…

"This being the case, today these people obviously refuse to wait for the findings of the investigation whenever a crime is carried out. They have decided in advance… that the resistance and its primary party, Hizbullah, are behind the murder of civilians in Syria, Iraq and Yemen, that they are the ones who blew up the port of Beirut and that they are the ones murdering Lebanon's 'bravest opinion shapers.'

"That is the situation in Lebanon today. That is the state of [Hizbullah's opponents], a group of people who are on the brink of extinction or suicide. They imagine Lebanon [in their minds], like a child envisioning an imaginary house that exists only in dreams. These people of the old Lebanon, along with the infidels of the Western Left, [have resumed] their hobby of [fomenting] popular rebellion [against the pro-Iran axis] following the murder of an activist whose only aspiration was to prolong the era of the old Lebanon. This activist was no different from many others who cannot abide the notion of any change in, or correction of, the [existing] situation… They are dancing around the body of this activist, who hated everything that went on beyond  the high walls of his house… Even after his death, his relatives are still uttering the mantras of his age-old ideas, [namely] that someone 'wants to eliminate the original people [of Lebanon]'…

We Will Never Stop Exposing The Supporters Of The West

"In the festival of eulogies… we witnessed last week, we – all members of the resistance, its supporters and its media – were attacked and threatened that we would be held responsible for [Lokman's] murder if we criticized his collaboration with the global and regional mechanism of murder. Some attacked us and accused us of inciting murder… and threatened that we would be subjected to sanctions [by the countries] beyond the sea if we mentioned his name and [circulated] his picture or accused him of betraying the most basic principles of sovereignty in our disappearing [state of] Lebanon… They think that their shrieks can change the facts… and that their mad party of dancing on the graves can frighten us or cause us to keep silent in the face of [Slim's] shameful actions…

"I find it useful to address them and say the following:

"Listen to us carefully, wherever you are,

"We will never stop exposing your shame, day and night.

"We will never stop pointing at you and exposing your names, pictures, voices and statements and revealing everything you do on behalf of the capitals of murder, usurpation and imperialism in all its forms.

"We will not stop exposing all your actions, and publishing your schedules and the details of your funding [sources, which are the Western] embassies of oppression and death.

"We will never stop publishing the documents of your [Western] bosses, including the self-flagellation meetings you so love to hold, in which you beg the [Western] murderers to persecute your brothers for your own personal salvation.

"We will never stop denouncing you whenever you serve the wicked coalition, along with 'Israel,' with the aim of eliminating the remnants of Arabism in Palestine and its surroundings.

"And we will never stop raising the banner of resistance from Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen to the heart of the Arabian Peninsula, and from Egypt and Sudan to the Arab Maghreb and all the rest of the world's countries.

"This is [only] the prelude…"[10]

Anti-Hizbullah Shi'ite Journalist Nadim Koteich: Al-Amin Justified Slim's Murder And Listed The Motivations For It

In response to Al-Amin's article, Shi'ite Lebanese journalist Nadim Koteich, a known Hizbullah opponent, wrote that the message of Al-Amin's article was clear and unequivocal, namely, that the murder victim was an agent who deserved to be murdered, and that the murderer, a member of the resistance, had a legitimate right to spill this blood.  Koteich  wrote: "Ibrahim Al-Amin's article… sparked a great uproar and drew much criticism. Many felt that this article legitimized murder without a hint of embarrassment, and continued the campaign against Lokman Slim and others like him, that was carried out by Al-Akhbar both before and after [Slim's] murder under the title of 'exposing the shame of agents and plotters [collaborating with] Israel and the U.S.'!...

"Was it not Al-Amin who wrote a September 17, 2012 editorial titled 'There Is No Room for Traitors among Us,' in which he described in great detail the fate [that would befall] Lokman Slim and asked, [referring to] him and others like him: 'Do they not fear for their heads when they leave their defiled homes every day?'... Did he not state in that article that Slim and others like him  'should stay away from the fury of the public, [which might] erupt against them at any moment and teach them a lesson...,' and that 'they should know that they, and all their actions, are being watched,' … and threatened to 'stop them so they lose the ability to utter heresy'[?]

"So now the people's rage has arrived and Lokman has [indeed] lost his ability to utter heresy. But more to the point, in his [recent] editorial, titled 'This Is [Only] the Prelude,' Al-Amin stressed again that the murder victim had been killed because he belonged to 'the camp led by the U.S., Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Israel'… The truth is that Al-Amin deserves thanks rather than condemnation for this article. He should also be encouraged to be clearer in the future, and use [language] as unforced as possible.  I must say that the author [of that article] disappointed me by not being bolder not more explicit, instead of hinting and using so much nonsense and flowery [expressions] to obscure the shallowness of [his] idea –  so much so that I could not decide if the man was writing for readers or making  speech to the public!

"Still, the article merits appreciation, since it does not include all the despicable elements we have become accustomed to seeing  after every assassination, of [either] applauding the murderers [or] standing first in line to utter phony condolences or loathsome [expressions of fake] solidarity and empathy, which are like eating the murdered man's flesh after his murder.

"To put it simply, the article conveyed a clear and unequivocal message, even if it included some expressions of anger [over the fact] that Hizbullah was held politically responsible for Slim's assassination… The importance of Al-Amin's article lies in the fact that it confirms… the identity of the murderer, generously lists his motives and explains [the murder by addressing] the broadet context of the conflict – and that, I swear, is the most that can [usually] be expected from Al-Amin and his gang: his party [Hizbullah], his public, his [support] base and his people. Al-Amin had [only] half a measure of courage, [enough] to say that the murder victim was an agent who deserved to be murdered, and that the murderer, a member of the resistance, had a legitimate right to spill this blood.

"Let us agree that this equation [set out by Al-Amin indeed] dominates the conflict in our country – between a large and diverse Lebanese camp [on one hand] and Hizbullah [on the other] – and determines the rules of the conflict. Let us stop lying to one another about the need to respect official titles, [the goal of] coexistence, the regime, the constitution, public welfare and all the other Lebanese nonsense.

"True, Lokman Slim and others like him conspire against the apartheid regime that Hizbullah is leading by means of its weapons – [weapons] it is holding openly, in violation of the constitution, the law and the traditions of [our] national existence. [Lokman Slim and others like him] are unarmed men trying with all their might to topple [this Hizbullah regime]. They do this out of their absolute Lebanese [loyalty], whereas you say they are doing it as complete [foreign] agents. So be it!

"All we want is for you to be more courageous in describing the murderer and murder victim according to your views, which Al-Amin expressed, and stop this foolish game that Hassan Nasrallah tried to resume in his latest speech, [when he said that] Israel is killing its own allies…

"Lokman Slim is a respected murder victim. [May] his murderer have at least a drop of honor, and [Al-Amin's article, titled] 'This Is [Only] the Prelude,' indeed be the beginning [of the confession to the crime], for we are in the midst of a civil war that the Lebanese are trying to stop."[11] 


[1], February 4, 2021.

[2], February 4, 2021.

[3], February 4, 2021.

[4], February 17, 2021.

[5] See MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 938, Independent Shi'ites In Lebanon Challenge Hizbullah, February 22, 2013 Lebanon | Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 938

[6] The conference, held on February 27, 2018 at the Emirates Policy Center (EPC), was titled "Decoding Hizbullah" and was attended by journalists and academics from Lebanon, the Arab world and the West. It dealt with Hizbullah's ideology, goals and military and political operation methods, with the aim of finding ways to restrain and weaken it. Among the participants was Lokman Slim and other Shi'ite opponents of Hizbullah., February 27, 2018;, March 6, 2018;, March 5, 2018.

[7], November 25, 2020.

[8], January 12, 2020.

[9], November 27, 2020.

[10] Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), February 15, 2021.

[11], February 21, 2021.

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