Subhi al-Tufayli

Subhi al-Tufayli
صبحي الطفيلي
Secretary-General of Hezbollah
In office
Preceded by Ragheb Harb
Succeeded by Abbas al Musawi
Personal details
Born 1948
Nationality Lebanese
Religion Shi'a, Islam

Subhi al-Tufayli (صبحي الطفيلي) (born 1948) was the first Secretary-General or leader of Hezbollah from 1989 until 1991. Al-Tufayli is a Shia Islamist, but is a very vocal critic of Iran and the current Hezbollah leadership. He has been funded by Saudi Arabia as an alternative to Hezbollah. Subhi al-Tufayli had been an active member of the Lebanese movement Amal Movement, and maintains his support of the organization.

Early life and education

Al-Tufayli spent nine years studying theology in the city of Najaf, Iraq, during the Saddam Hussein era, where he met other Islamist clerics, and he was influenced by Lebanese cleric Musa al-Sadr.[1] Returning to Lebanon, al-Tufayli joined with Abbas al-Musawi to help found the Hezbollah movement/militia in the Beqaa Valley in 1982. Beqaa is one of Hezbollah's three main regions of support in Lebanon.[2]

In Hezbollah

Al-Tufayli was spokesman for Hezbollah between 1985 and 1989, and then the first Secretary-General of Hezbollah from 1989 until 1991.


In 1992 al-Tufayli was replaced by Abbas al-Musawi as head of Hezbollah. Hezbollah's hostage-taking campaign had wound down since the "Kuwait 17" bombers of the 1983 Kuwait bombings who were linked to leading Hezbollah members were now free, and the Taif Agreement had essentially ended the Civil War in Lebanon.[3] Some say, al-Tufayli also opposed Hezbollah's participation in Lebanese national elections[4][5] and its "moderation" toward the Lebanese state.[6] Al-Tufayli himself however stated that the internal split in Hezbollah was caused by Iran's take over of Hezbollah from the original Lebanese leadership, and Iran's opposition to tactics under his leadership of violence against Israel and a demand to the end of the state of Israel; al Tufayli stated explicitly that Iran wanted to use Hezbollah as a "border guard" for Israel.[7]

Al-tufayli also promoted the cause against the endemic and brutal poverty and corruption in South Lebanon, Beirut and the whole state, as Musa al-Sadr did, in his Movement of the Hungry. In July 1997 he organized protests, dubbed the "hunger revolution", against the Lebanese government.[8] Al-Tufayli said it is "completely unacceptable that a human being could be humiliated because of poverty or because they were in need."[9]

His breakaway group is known as the "Revolution of the Hungry" (Thawrat al-Jiya)[10] Tufayli is funded by Saudi Arabia as an alternative to Hezbollah.[11]

In February 2013, al-Tufayli berated Hezbollah for fighting on behalf of the Syrian government in the Syrian civil war. He said "Hezbollah should not be defending the criminal regime that kills its own people and that has never fired a shot in defense of the Palestinians". al-Tufayli added: "those Hezbollah fighters who are killing children and terrorizing people and destroying houses in Syria will go to hell".[12] He also berated the Lebanese Army for not stopping Lebanese citizens crossing the border to fight in Syria.[13]


More recently, al-Tufayli has stated that Hassan Nasrallah is implementing the agenda of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ali Khamenei,[14] that the Islamic Republic's doctrine of "Rule of the Jurisprudent" (Wilayat al-Faqih) is un-Islamic and its government tyrannical.[15] al-Tufayli claims that Hezbollah today is acting as border guards for Israel and mercenaries for Iran and the West.[16]

See also

References and notes

  2. Ranstorp, Magnus, Hizb'allah in Lebanon : The Politics of the Western Hostage Crisis, New York, St. Martins Press, (1997), p.46
  3. Ranstorp, Magnus, Hizb'allah in Lebanon, 1997, p.105
  4. The break with Hezbollah and Hassan Nasrallah
  5. Lebanese army hunts down radical cleric
  6. Hezbollah: Between Tehran and Damascus
  8. News from Beirut July 7 1997
  9. News from Beirut July 7 1997
  10. Hizballah Rising: The Political Battle for the Loyalty of the Shi'a of Lebanon MERIA March 2005
  12. "Hezbollah fighters dying in Syria will go to hell, Tufaili". Ya Libnan, 26 February 2013. Retrieved 26 February 2013.
  13. "Hezbollah fighters killed in Syria will ‘go to hell,’ says former leader". Al Arabiya, 26 February 2013. Retrieved 26 February 2013.
  14. Former Hizbullah Secretary-General Subhi Al-Tufeili: Nasrallah Implements Khamenei's Policy in Lebanon 28 January 2007
  15. Former Hizbullah Secretary-General Subhi Al-Tufeili: 'The Worst Dictatorships Do Not Do What Is Being Done Today in Tehran'; The Rule of the Jurisprudent Is a 'Heretical Doctrine'. (from an interview with former Hizbullah secretary-general Subhi Al-Tufeili, which aired on Murr TV on January 30, 2012)
  16. "True Face of Hezbollah" video
Preceded by
Ragheb Harb
Secretary-General of Hezbollah
Succeeded by
Abbas al-Musawi
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