Monday, June 04, 2007

US intrigue behind Lebanon bloodshed?

THE renewal of fighting around the Nahr al-Barad refugee camp, north of Tripoli, in northern Lebanon, has brought yet more death and suffering to innocent Palestinians, and made thousands refugees a second or third time.
Does the world care about these people?

It was the establishment of the Zionist State of Israel in 1948 which drove them from their homeland, and it was Israel and its murderous Christian allies who made war on them again in 1982, culminating in the infamous Sabra and Chatila massacres carried out by Lebanese Christian fascists under the Israeli army's watch, and specific resposibility of Ariel Sharon. But it has been Arab regimes like that of Lebanon which discriminated against Palestinians and isolated them in camps. It was their supposedly militant allies in Syria whose tanks helped besiege Tel al Zataar in 1976, and stood aside (as perhaps arranged with Sharon) when Israel invaded in 1982, and again last year. And today, whatever interests are being served by this fighting around Nahr al Barad, it is Lebanese guns that are pounding the camp, and Muslim fighters who are requiring the civilian population to be martyrs whether they like it or not.

'Residents described their hostility towards the Fatah al-Islam militants, "They are holding us hostage, we feel as if we have been kidnapped," said Marwan, a former military commander of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. "We are pleading with the army to stop shelling the camp. When you rescue a hijacked plane, you kill the hijacker, not all the hostages."
Residents described a huge riot against the militants in the camp, where 300 residents had taken to the streets to demand they leave the camp.
"Fatah al-Islam fired on the demonstrators and everybody fled," said 51-year-old Nour. "Everybody has wanted to leave since Sunday but the army wouldn't let us out. They even shot at the ambulances coming in to help us." '
Refugees plead to be saved as Lebanese troops besiege camp,,2085968,00.html

There seems to be a lot of confusion about just what is happening in Lebanon right now, what the forces involved are and who they might be allied with. It is a complex and shifting situation, and our news media don't make it clearer. But this article from the Tehran Times sheds an interesting light on the murky forces behind the Nahr al-Barad battle, and whether or not we share its predictions, should help clear up some confusion.

Far from being allies of Hizballah or the Palestinians, Fatah el-Islam is their enemy. The writer refers to it as "Salafist". Salafism * has various factions and forms, but what they share is fundamentalism - a claim that they are returning to a purer form of Islam which their leaders and clerics are alone fit to interpret; sectarianism - specifically attached to the strict Sunni Wahabbism ib Saufi Arabia; elitism -hence resort to terror, not as an adjunct to democratic struggle, but in preference to it -who wants the impure masses deciding what's right?! ; Saudi backing, either official or private. Weapons do not come cheap, and Fatah al-Islam though small is reputedly well-armed. Thus the imperialist West's main ally, besides Israel, is seen as behind these latest terrorists -as it was behind Taliban.

U.S. intrigues in Lebanon to backfire again?

By Hassan Hanizadeh

The recent armed clashes between the Lebanese Army and a Salafist group called Fatah al-Islam at the Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp in north Lebanon show that the United States and the Israeli regime, with the cooperation of certain regional countries, are trying to return the country to the situation in the 1970s.

The Fatah al-Islam movement was founded last year by Shaker al-Abssi, a Jordanian born in Palestine who has Salafist leanings and is close to the Al-Qaeda terrorist network.

With the help of Al-Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, al-Abssi assassinated U.S. diplomat Laurence Foley in Amman, Jordan in 2002.
Later a Jordanian court tried him in absentia and sentenced him to death, but U.S. and Jordanian forces never attempted to apprehend al-Abssi.
He was then arrested in Syria and spent one year in prison, but after the downfall of Saddam Hussein’s regime in 2003, he headed to Iraq together with al-Zarqawi and organized Al-Qaeda of Iraq.

Assassinating prominent Iraqi Shia figures and carrying out suicide bombings at Shia shrines are some of the goals of the organization.
After al-Zarqawi was killed in 2006, al-Abssi, along with his 140 troops, entered Lebanon through Jordan and then Syria’s borders and took up residence in the Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp.
Of course, al-Abssi should have been arrested and punished by U.S. and Jordanian forces, but he managed to freely enter Lebanon through Jordan and Syria with all his military equipment.

The series of bombings in Beirut’s Ashrafieh and Ein Alaq districts that killed many Lebanese civilians were carried out by the Fatah al-Islam terrorist group.
Documents obtained by the Lebanese security services that were later publicized show that Fatah al-Islam planned to assassinate 36 prominent Shia leaders in Lebanon. Honest analyses show that the movement was established by the CIA with the objective of confronting the Lebanese Hezbollah and preparing the ground for the disarming of the group.

Most of the accounts of Fatah al-Islam, which receives financial support from a group of rich Arab Salafists, are in U.S. banks. Yet, how is it that the U.S. freezes the bank accounts of many Islamic movements, but does not freeze bank accounts of Fatah al-Islam?

Moreover, when al-Abssi quit the Fatah al-Intifada movement, which is led by Colonel Abu Musa, and founded the Fatah al-Islam organization, the New York Times printed a detailed interview with him and the U.S. media extensively focused on him.

Other measures by the United States, including recent shipments of weapons to resupply the Lebanese Army, are part of the new U.S. plot to reenter the stage in Lebanon in order to eliminate Hezbollah.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s illegitimate government has become extremely shaky since the publication of the Vinograd report, and this new plot has been devised to help it regain its former standing.

Hence, through attempts to create tension in Lebanon and clash with Hezbollah, Fatah al-Islam is trying to prepare the ground for the U.S. Marines to return to Lebanon. But will the U.S. succeed? Surely not!

Just as when the United States created the Al-Qaeda organization in Afghanistan to confront the Soviet Union but later Al-Qaeda became its number one enemy, it is repeating the same mistake with Fatah al-Islam, and in the future it will face an organized terrorist group called Fatah al-Islam that will threaten the interests of the U.S. and the West throughout the world'.

* For more on Salafism and related ideologies and groups, see "The Islamic Right - key tendencies", published by Awaaz -South Asia Watch in June 2006, from which I have drawn my information, though the source is not responsible for my views. It is available at:



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