Lebanese Mischief

R2228246379 "Nahr al-bared."  Peculiar name. As it is written in transliteration it means "river of the cold."  I doubt if that is right.  It is probably "an-nahr al-bared," meaning "the cold river."  Local geography reference?

So, what is this all about?  I mean the brutally inept attacks of the LAF on this camp, whatever it is called.

Everything in Lebanon is so traditionally murky and obscure that it is difficult to say with great certainty what sort of "play" this is.  Nevertheless, at popular request I will offer a theory.

I think that this is is truly a matter of "unintended consequences" from the NSC/OVP point of view.  Cheney, Abrams et al have been encouraging the Saudis to spend money on various "projects" near and dear to their hears involving opposition to both the AQ apparat and to the drive for increased power of the Hizbullah/Iran combination in Lebanon.  Money has been spent to support Iraqi nationalist insurgent groups, traditional Sunni tribes (Shia tribes, also maybe?) and on Sunni zealots in Lebanon who have been patronized by the "Future" people as a potential counterweight to HA.

In accordance with the principles of "Chaos Theory" as elucidated in "Jurassic Park," it proved impossible to fully control the outcome in a system as complex as the multiplicity of faction and conspiracies that is Lebanese public life.  In other words, some of the "dinosaurs" escaped and started acting like dinosaurs instead of convenient "tools" in the game against the "opposition."

What precipitated the crisis?  It could be anything and whatever it is, it is probably unimportant.  Maybe the Saudis decided that in the end they did not like the theology of these characters at Tripoli?  Maybe the Saudis told Hariri to cut off the money to these people?

In any event we now have the spectacle of the LAF demonstrating its fumbling timidity while killing off a lot of civilians.  At the same time HA in the south is holding in check the possible action of friends of the "Nahr al-Bared" crew while the LAF tries to deal with them.

I ask you is that not irony?  The Abrams crew should face up to the "sad" fact that they are "out of their depth" in the Middle East.  They never seem to understand that an analogy for Lebaon would be Renaissance Italy, not the American Revolution. pl

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40 Responses to Lebanese Mischief

  1. johnf says:

    >They never seem to understand that an analogy for Lebaon would be Renaissance Italy, not the American Revolution.
    Great and illuminating parallel. (Or classical, city state Greece).

  2. J says:

    how can one expect vampires like iran-contra felon abrams to understand life, let alone living beings such as reside in lebanon. unlike abrams, those that live in lebanon are ‘living beings’ versus the nether-state in which the vampire abrams resides.

  3. Montag says:

    Isn’t there an Arab proverb–or perhaps it’s just a convenient canard–“I and my brother against my cousin; I and my cousin against the world.”
    When a cabal within the Israeli government was planning to invade Lebanon in 1982 they had grandiose ideas about installing a friendly government that would do their bidding. Israeli military intelligence futilely tried to warn them that they’d be leaping into a pitful of vipers–without being able to climb out again. As one Israeli soldier put it, “They all hate each other and they all hate me.”

  4. RB says:

    Frankly, I suspect that the reports of past Hariri and Saudi support for Fateh al-Islam are vastly overstated (and probably wrong). I also think current Lebanese government allegations of Syrian instigation of the initial clashes are equally wrong. The initial confrontation seems to have been purely accidental, and I’m doubtful if Fateh al-Islam would have been robbing banks if it was flush with Saudi cash.
    Once the fighting started, I do think it is very credible–as al-Hayat has been reporting–that Fateh al-Islam took over, or was given (by Damascus), weapon and ammunition from Fateh al-Intifada (Abu Musa’s Syrian-backed breakway Fateh group) and the (pro-Syrian) PFLP-GC. Both of these likely have significant stockpiles in al-Nahr al-Barid and Baddawi camps. (The camps were captured by PLO dissidents from Fateh loyalists in 1983.)
    Sadly, I entirely agree about the operational planning and tactical skills of the LAF…

  5. zanzibar says:

    “At the same time HA in the south is holding in check the possible action of friends of the “Nahr al-Bared” crew” – PL
    Why wouldn’t the HA keep this going and create even more fissures for the Cheney-Saudi-Hariri group?

  6. W. Patrick Lang says:

    Canadian RB
    Too intellectual and not nasty enough to truly represent Lebanese “thinking.”
    My guess would be that they would rather have the LAF fight them than do it themselves at a later date. pl

  7. jamzo says:

    Money has been spent to support Iraqi nationalist insurgent groups, traditional Sunni tribes (Shia tribes, also maybe?)
    could this saudi money be fueling the “storied” turn around among the tribes in al-anbar province hwo are now said to be “allies” of the marines operating there?

  8. Richard Whitman says:

    Is Lebanon a real nation in the modern sense or is it an area of the map where dissident groups in the Middle East are dumped so they can “fight it out”?
    Reading Lebanese history of the last 100 years indicates that conflict is the normal state of affairs.

  9. Serving Patriot says:

    Now there is the right question to ask…
    Fallujah, Ramadi, Anbar… cross-roads of the n-s sunni and w-e shi’i axis…
    Hard to imagin that KSA is not heavily involved in the Anbar… and fighting the rear-guard against risign Shi’i via proxy

  10. “The initial confrontation seems to have been purely accidental, and I’m doubtful if Fateh al-Islam would have been robbing banks if it was flush with Saudi cash.”
    There were various reports that the initial confrontation started when they arrived at their bank, were told the funds had been frozen, and decided to take the funds by force.

  11. chimneyswift says:

    For my part, I had a feeling a while back that things were maybe too positive in terms of the “place” of the Lebanese government in relation to the events that had been happening.It was as if they were looking too good.
    Of course I know very little of what the equivalent of “public opinion,” would be in Lebanon, but I might be talking about something slightly different. It just seemed like with all the turmoil from the past few years, they were almost always turning out well for the government. And given that in many of these cases the Hariri government has seemed to remain fairly reserved, and allowed events to play out around them (eg the Israeli offensive) it seemed that their luck was bound to turn. Now they seem more human again.
    Perhaps what I’m getting at is that some of the credit and respect the LAF accrued due to the defeat of the IDF is being rubbed away. Perhaps nobody gave them much to begin with. But it does seem that if what you speculate is true, Col, then Hizbullah is only getting more important. Time will tell if they can keep their run going.
    At any rate, everything I have observed in the world would support your musings about the relationship between catalytic variables and chaotic events. And in this case, the kind of agents that are being fueled seem likely to clash with most everybody.

  12. W. Patrick Lang says:

    I don’t reacall that the LAF had anything to do with defeating the IDF in Lebanon.
    Where in Ireland? pl

  13. Montag says:

    The LAF are infamous for serving the Israeli invaders tea and cakes–it was filmed and the tea-servers were arrested later. All the LAF did was to impotently fire a few old anti-aircraft guns at the bombers. This makes their godzilla-like assault on a Palestinian refugee camp all the more hypocritical. Killing Palestinian civilians seems to be the only thing that brings the Lebanese together “as one man.” They also like to murder Syrian guest workers, not to mention mistreating the Asian maidservants of the middle class. But the Palestinians are at the top of their hit parade.

  14. Curious says:

    “They never seem to understand that an analogy for Lebaon would be Renaissance Italy, not the American Revolution.”
    I don’t know why nobody call up “the wild west” during the turn of the 19th century. It would be just like that.
    Anyway, Lebanon. The most obvious outcome of course would be, everybody now knows Lebanese army’s strength. (how long their tank will shot, how hard the troop will fight, how they move, their logistic, etc.) Second, The lebanese army broke long time agreement of refugee camp quasi independence. Now everything will spill over into the city.
    I wouldn’t be surprised if next round things will be filled with road bombing, car bomb and anti tank. Knowing how weak the army is, Hezbollah would start building alliance to simply take over the whole country. After somebody bombs the current PM.
    I doubt UN security force will play in the ensuing civil war.
    The more we play in Lebanon, the less stable it becomes, since we are pushing and pulling using the weakest pawn.

  15. PS: With your linguistic skills may I recommend the independent news agency Aswat Al Iraq as a good source of information.
    Your readers might like to know that they also have a pretty good English language section.

  16. peterp says:

    Col. Lang: “Money has been spent to support Iraqi nationalist insurgent groups.”
    So the Saudis, at the behest of Cheney and Abrams, have been financing the same “nationalist” (read: Baathist) insurgent groups that are currently killing U.S. GIs?
    Assuming the Colonel’s hypothesis is correct, would this not meet the literal, constitutional definition of treason?
    Just asking.

  17. Will says:

    nahr el bard probably owes its name as well as its cold water to its mountain fed streams, my SWAG- scientifif wild assed guess.
    Gen Michel Aoun and HA’s alliance is being tested by the Fatah al Islam – LAF fight. The Lebanese Army had some of its brightest moments under former Army Commander and Acting President Aoun standing up longterm to the Syrians and their militia allies at Suk-el-Gharb and holding off the Syrians consistently until betrayed by the Lebanese Forces of Geagea. Also Bush 41 who was eager to curry favor with the Syriens for his Mesopotamian adventure.
    Aoun having been so closely aligned with the Lebanese Army, now called LAF, not to be confused with the LF which was a militia (JaJa’s Phalange successor), ows much of his support to Army people and veterans. Nasrallah while not wanting to alienate Aoun, has taken the position of not wanting to get into “America’s War against Al-Qaeda.” This continues an ambiguous position he has taken. here are some quotes from his wiki article on the Taliban and 9.11
    ” * “The worst, the most dangerous thing that this Islamic revival has encountered … was the Taliban …. The Taliban state presented a very hideous example of an ‘Islamic state’.”
    “”What do the people who worked in those two World Trade Center towers, along with thousands of employees, women and men, have to do with war that is taking place in the Middle East? Or the war that Mr. George Bush may wage on people in the Islamic world? … Therefore we condemned this act — and any similar act we condemn. … I said nothing about the Pentagon, meaning we remain silent. We neither favored nor opposed that act …. Well, of course, the method of Osama bin Laden, and the fashion of bin Laden, we do not endorse them. And many of the operations that they have carried out, we condemned them very clearly.”

  18. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    “…Islamist fighters evacuated families and dependents from the Ein al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp near the southern port city of Sidon, witnesses said.
    The move coincided with the army’s advance towards Fatah al-Islam’s remaining outposts in Nahr al-Bared.”
    Those now being conveniently “evacuated” are from, as far as I can tell, the “Asbat al-Ansar” and “Jund as-Sham (aka Jund al Sham)” death squads.

  19. jr786 says:

    In order that he might rob a neighbor he had promised to defend, black men fought on the coast of Coromandel and red men scalped each other by the great lakes of North America
    Or so Macauley said of Frederick the Great; the intricacies of Grand Strategy and the machinations of despots are mysteries to most of us.
    Even so, I have to conclude that Arabs killing Arabs and Muslims killing Muslims are key parts of the Bushco strategy, along with the perpetual disintegration of poor Lebanon and Iraq.
    IMO, chronic destabilization of the region is the desired goal here, rather than an unfortunate way station on the way to Freedom. Furthermore, such disintegration cries out for ‘stabilizing’ forces like Israel to impose order on Arabs, witnessed by their umpteenth invasion of Gaza.
    When the next Macauley emerges to write the history of our times he’ll see that the Muslims were just the latest wogs in an old machine.

  20. DH says:

    “In any event we now have the spectacle of the LAF demonstrating its fumbling timidity while killing off a lot of civilians. At the same time HA in the south is holding in check the possible action of friends of the “Nahr al-Bared” crew while the LAF tries to deal with them.”
    According to the Lamb article that kicked this discussion off:
    “The Welch Club’s major error was when it attempted to influence the Lebanese Army into disarming the Lebanese Resistance led by Hezbollah. When the Army wisely refused, the Club coordinated with the Bush Administration to pressure Israel to dramatically intensify its retaliation to the capture of the two soldiers by Hezbollah and ‘break the rules’ regarding the historically more limited response and try to destroy Hezbollah during the July 2006 war.”
    “Another reason the Club wants to weaken the Lebanese Army is that the Army is nationalistic and is a safety valve for Lebanon to ensure the Palestinian right of return to Palestine, Lebanese nationhood and the resistance culture led by [b]Hezbollah, with which is has excellent relations.[/b]
    Isn’t the natural alliance between the LAF, Hezbollah, and Gen. Aoun?
    Lamb article: http://www.counterpunch.org/lamb05242007.html

  21. Cold War Zoomie says:

    “Even so, I have to conclude that Arabs killing Arabs and Muslims killing Muslims are key parts of the Bushco strategy, along with the perpetual disintegration of poor Lebanon and Iraq.”
    Bush has said before that our ME policies of the last 60 years have been inadequate, producing “false choices,” and that is one of the reasons he decided to invade.
    Sometimes I wonder, and I emphasize *wonder*, if this administration views the current chaos as an acceptable phase to reach its ultimate goals. Yes, they would have preferred a short victory without these problems. But they may also believe that another way to reach a “true” equalibrium in the region is to allow all these pent-up hatreds and rivalries to work themselves out while trying to keep it from spinning completely out of control. They may have accepted this phase as a possibility, viewing it as a setback but not as a sign of failure.
    These thoughts may be in the realm of tin foil hats and black helicopters. But in the absence of a clear, well defined strategy, ordinary folks like me have no choice but to develop *some* explanation for what my country is doing. People like me don’t have the time, education and experience to put this puzzle together.
    We are seeing through a glass, darkly.

  22. D.Witt says:

    Since the LAF is largely Shia, I think this is an attempt to weaken HA by proxy and misdirection. It is also a good cover story for the ‘need’ for a US/NATO airbase at Klieaat, which appears to be the ‘club’s’ next option, given that they are being run out of other, less secular mideast states.
    I gather that watching a Disney movie to learn strategy would seem absurd to a military commander or intelligence agent, however, lesson of ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’ shows up time and again in this arena, so perhaps some agencies should get a clue, and add it to their training?
    From a US perspective, this is the pathology of generations of lawless and often clueless ‘tinkering’ in countries around the world, combined with a political system that has allowed the ‘bad actors’ to continue on with impunity, despite their previous felonious activities.
    In other words, Elliot Abrams and the rest of his black hats should be ex-cons right now, instead of US government officials, thanks to the lame prosecution of Iran-Contra. However, given the lack of personal consequences, it’s no wonder that they should continue with such ruinous meddling unabated. After all, in their minds, ‘we’ are locked in a life-and-death struggle with communism radical Islam.

  23. jr786 says:

    CWZ writes:
    Bush has said before that our ME policies of the last 60 years have been inadequate, producing “false choices,” and that is one of the reasons he decided to invade
    Bushco’s justifications for invading Iraq remind me of half-baked freshmen essays where the student tacks on every single thing he ever heard about the subject matter. Hence when Bush says ‘one of the reasons’ it has as much weight as his intellect.
    I know Col. Lang frowns on such prosaic explanations as ‘divide and rule’, so my guess is that all the mayhem taking place is less omelet making and more dropping the eggs all over the kitchen floor and landing face first in the ensuing muck. My money is on a preponderance of the ‘stupid and industrious’, i.e. Feith et al.

  24. Leila A. says:

    So I visited some Lebanese relatives in CA the other day, including a fellow retired from a senior position in the Security Generale (what that office does besides passports, I don’t understand; it’s not Internal Security). These relatives insist on Syria being behind everything. (This was Wednesday, before today’s bustout in Ain-el-Helweh, which is on our doorstep)
    Anyway – when the subject of Jund al-Islam (Islamists, supposedly ‘Al-Qaeda’, in Ain-el-Helweh) came up, and I said ‘aren’t they called Jund al-Sitt?’, Mr. Security Generale smiled and said, oh yes. He explained to his son-in-law what I knew from the Lamb article – Jund-al-Sitt (al-Sitt means The Lady) refers to Bahiya Hariri, Member of Parliament, sister of Rafiq Hariri who died in a car-bomb 2/14/2005. Hariri’s bloc is supposedly pro-USA, with the Welch Club, etc. As we spoke, Ms. Hariri herself appeared on the TV, wrapped up in a completely covering headscarf. She has been wearing this since her brother’s assassination.
    So even those who believe the “Syria’s behind it” line know that the Jund-al-Islam fighters are funded by… Hariri, Inc.
    But most people can’t keep all these contradictory bits of info straight so it just passes out of mind and memory. We will continue to read AP news accounts, and right wing blog reports (See Tony Badran at Across the Bay, and Michael Totten) that this is AL-QAEDA at work in Lebanon. Etc.
    I fear we are seeing a rush to war with Syria. If Lebanon gets trashed in the process, well, that’s just part of the birth pangs of a New Middle East, isn’t it? (said brightly, while wearing Ferragamo shoes)

  25. Leila A. says:

    Pardon me – I wrote Jund-al-Islam I think; it’s Jund-al-Sham (pronounced Jund ash-Sham) in Ain el-Helweh. That’s the correct name of the Islamist group popularly known as Jund as-Sitt.

  26. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I think what the President of the United States has had in mind has been US search for stability in ME; he is repudiating that.
    Of course, that means that he is questioning the utility of all the policies of the last sixty years: the Coup in Iran, the Suez Crisis, the Lebanon interventions (1950 & 1983), First Iraq War, Camp David, Madrid Conference, Relationship with teh Houese of Saud, etc.
    Either way, repudiation of past policies is not a policy by itself. Politics is the act of the Possible, the act of Impossible is called Revolution.
    So the Possible is no longer available and the Revolution has failed. As is said in Persian: ” Kicked out of the village, never reached the town.”

  27. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    Leila, per Ain al Hilweh:
    “”Such groups are known to have a presence in Ain Al Hilweh, near the southern port of Sidon, where they are distrusted both by Fatah, the biggest faction, and its Islamist Hamas rival.
    “There are elements that are not under any umbrella, neither Islamist nor nationalist. If things get worse [in Nahr Al Bared] they might attack the army,” said Abu Ahmad Fadel Taha, Hamas’s representative in Sidon. “They can throw a grenade or a bomb.”
    He said mainstream factions had so far been able to keep a lid on rogue militants, but they remained worried about them.
    Fatah leaders, however, insisted such groups were small, were under control and posed no threat to camp security. Periodic skirmishes have shaken Ain Al Hilweh in recent months, mainly between Fatah and a small, Sunni militant group called Jund Al Sham. Most have been swiftly contained. Security sources say Jund Al Sham has only a few dozen combatants, some of whom have fought in Iraq.
    Asbat Al Ansar, a bigger Islamist militant group based in Ain Al Hilweh, says it is helping to keep Jund Al Sham under control in return for protecting the group from its rivals.”
    It appears that elements of the Jund al Sham transferred over to the Fateh al Islam as the latter was being formed. Ansar al Asbat is a “salafist” Sunni terrorist organization.
    I am now putting data I collect on all this on my blog.

  28. Leila says:

    Dr. Kiracofe – I have linked to your blog’s Lebanon Emergency page. Thank you for this work.

  29. Leila says:

    re Jund as-Sham vs. Jund al-Sham – first week of Arabic 101, you learn that the article “Al” is pronounced differently in front of certain Arabic letters. All letters are either “sun” (as-shams) or “moon” (al-qamar) words. The article “al” is pronounced “as” in front of “sun” words.
    In Arabic it is a basic, horrible mistake to say Al-Sham.
    Also, whenever I write about Ain el-Helweh for publication, the fact checkers always question me closely about spelling. THe spelling of the name in English doesn’t matter a whole hell of a lot, frankly. Any Arab would read the variations and recognize them as the same. (See Hizbollah/Hizbullah/Hizballah argument on this blog last year)
    I realized the other day that the fact checkers on my latest published piece never checked out whether 300 people did indeed die in the May 1974 retaliatory bombings of Ain-el-Helweh – but they quizzed me about Ein vs. Ain and Hilweh vs. Helweh. In order to fact check the 300 dead you’d have to go to a very good library and look in a history book (Wikipedia’s account seems to have been lifted from IDF material). And what’s a few hundred Palestinian dead anyway? But the spelling of Ain – crucial.

  30. Curious says:

    Well, Lebanon is sliding slowly into chaos. Let’s see how Beirut hold up.
    4 car bombings in the recent weeks. The fighting now spread to second refugee camps.
    We can only expect high level assasination to begin. Something Al Qaeda is very goo at. (Polarisation, creating high profile political assasination.)
    Lebanon has all the ingredient for Al Qaeda to trive: dynamic and complicated political tension, wound from recent conflict, Israel, lean toward Islamic movement, US involvement, illegitmate and despised government… and now low level conflict.
    Anybody care to guess how Lebanon situation will unfold?

  31. DH says:

    “Anybody care to guess how Lebanon situation will unfold?”
    Hezbollah, LAF, Gen. Aoun, Palestinians, and like-minded will form a coalition and attempt to oust Seniori and drive out al-Qaeda and other Sunni extremists. Iran will back them up.

  32. Mo says:

    Colonel, in the translation you are absolutely right but in modern speak the prefix, al, can also be used to mean “that is”, so that nahr al-bared can also translate as river that is cold. The reason it is so called is that there used to be a river there that came down from the high mountains (hence the coldness of it).
    I think you are absolutely right. This is the law of unintended consequences coming into effect – but lets be honest, as unintended consequences go this one wasn’t exactly the hardest to predict!
    There is a delicious irony to the fact that HA can sit back and watch the govt. try and destroy the very groups it helped set up to take on HA. Its sad that the army was set up to take the fall.
    I am not sure if you are aware of this, but the Lebanese army feel they were trapped into taking this action and there is considerable disquiet in its ranks, all the way to the very top. Many in the army believe this was/is an attempt to break it up so that it could be rebuilt in a more US-firendly/anti-HA way.
    You may be right about the funding being overstated. However, these people were holed up in some of the most expensive apartments in Tripoli and have a lot of weaponry. They had to get the money from somewhere.
    This isn’t actually causing any fissures among the Cheney-Saudi-Hariri group. They are not losing much. What it is doing is causing more internal strife amongst the Lebanese and weakening the army. HA have nothing to gain from either of those consequences.
    “Killing Palestinian civilians seems to be the only thing that brings the Lebanese together “as one man.” They also like to murder Syrian guest workers, not to mention mistreating the Asian maidservants of the middle class.”
    That kind of generalisation borders on the bigotry. I have yet to kill a Palestinian, Syrian or an Asian maidservant. Does that make me less Lebanese do you think?

  33. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    Another element of the Hersh-Crooke-Lamb reporting appears established. Ms. Hariri, sister of Rafik and Lucretia Borgia wannabee, is quoted in several contexts as admitting she funds Jund al Sham, a Sunni death squad.
    “The Bahiyyah Al-Hariri saga continues. Here, she claims that yes she paid fanatical Salafi groups and gangs, but that she did that “to protect the back” of the Lebanese Army.” AngryArab Blog citing:
    Meanwhile another Sunni terrorist organization, Asbat al Ansar, is protecting its Jund al Sham allies in the camp near Sidon. On Ansar al Asbat see, for example, this 2002 report (no mystery here):
    The Jund al Sham terrorists are allied with the Fateh al Islam Sunni death squad that has been causing the problems up in the Tripoli area. But there are only “several dozen” Jund al Sham cadre in the Sidon area camp it appears.
    “The camp cannot be taken hostage by 40 gangsters,” said Col. Abu Walid Ashi, a Fatah spokesman at Ein el-Hilweh, referring to the Jund al-Sham militants.
    “If they let us, we can finish them off in hours,” he said. But he warned violence could increase if Fatah decided to make a move against the militants.”
    US “reporters” and “editorial writers” are nowhere to be found it seems. The DC Madam is at least half-way honest about her profession.

  34. Mo says:

    She was the conduit for the money in the South and seems like she we will be the sacrificial lamb when this ends

  35. DH says:

    CK, have you seen any estimates of the number of al-Qaeda types in Lebanon?

  36. Comment says:

    RE: “My guess would be that they [HA]would rather have the LAF fight them than do it themselves at a later date.” (PL)
    Your Jurassic Park reference seems to be on point – It seems that HA has much better on the ground awareness and intelligence than Abrams and/or Condoleeeza. That’s normal – but it also seems that Abrams and/or Condi think they can out wit or outmanuever HA/Nasrallah – But they have no basis for thinking that – They are arrogant in this way. This is why HA always seems to benefit from Abrams machinations.
    Do you think Abrams or Condi actually think they can outwit or outmanuever Nasrallah?

  37. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    DH, haven’t seen any comprehensive analysis on AQ penetration of Lebanon. There are groups present who are on the US terrorist list, such as Ansar al Asbat which is protecting the Hariri death squad, Jund al Sham. There are a number of “Islamist”-“Salafist” orgs/elements some going back to the 1950s.
    Questions arise such as: are such groups under actual AQ discipline-command or are they just ideologically “inspired” by AQ,copycats and wannabees? Are there actual AQ trained-associated elements within such orgs? Does it make any difference?
    But even if armed and violent Sunni “Islamist-salafist” death squads have no direct operational connection to AQ, they are dangerous to, and subversive of, internal order. There is the matter of sedition, as by definition these “Islamist” terrorist orgs do not believe in the modern concept of states and the associated international state system. They are into the pan-Islamic “caliphate” thing and assorted transnational fantasies. Another issue is to separate out foreigners (non-Lebanese citizens) from these terrorists. The press reports on Fateh al Islam alone indicate the presence of such exotics as Sudanese and Bangladeshis not to mention your run of the mill Saudis and Yemenis. Any Uzbeks, say ones from out there in Waziristan gratis the Paks, for good measure?
    Here is a report (7 June) alleging security forces picked up some Syrian and Iraqi AQ members recently:
    “Par ailleurs, cela faisait quinze jours que le service de renseignements de l’armée et la Sûreté de l’État surveillaient un groupuscule d’islamistes d’el-Qaëda à Bar-Élias, près de Zahlé. Hier, les membres de ce groupuscule (deux Syriens et un Irakien) ont été arrêtés. Les services de l’ordre ont retrouvé en leur possession des valises remplies d’explosifs et des mitraillettes modernes équipées de viseurs nocturnes, ainsi que des ordinateurs, des appareils de télécommunication, des caméras vidéo, plusieurs passeports et pièces d’identité, ainsi que des cartes pour plusieurs régions et quartiers du Liban et des livres de prière.
    Le groupuscule avait loué une maison dans le quartier Maccaoui où réside une majorité de Palestiniens.”

  38. Curious says:

    “This isn’t actually causing any fissures among the Cheney-Saudi-Hariri group. They are not losing much. What it is doing is causing more internal strife amongst the Lebanese and weakening the army. HA have nothing to gain from either of those consequences.”
    From what I sense. It seems to be a small group of people. So far it only spread to 2 locations.
    My guess they are feeling so secure, they are using phone line that is tapped or meeting with people they are not suppose to meet. Probably because they think they are very close with the ruling power.
    So Somebody in DC gives order to destroy them because they don’t like what they hear on the phone. I seriously doubt hariri is into snuffing their own creation. (somebody in DC, because the lebanese army was crying for supply and DC answer by loading up yemeni plane. This is not local order.)
    Consequence. Hariri and the ruling party betray their own grunt. And it seems the army isn’t into this chase either. If even a single one of them survive, he’ll do revange for sure. Maybe start singing to rival group and telling all insider secret.

  39. mo says:

    The foremost theory is that the administration was spooked by Hersh’s initial article and the publicity it got and thought better of being found to be actually behind funding an al-qaeda type group which to the domestic US market would be translated as Bush funds al-Qaeda.

  40. Desmond says:

    nice article. thanks for sharing.

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