Monday, May 21, 2007

To Those Who Accuse "Syria" - Who Are Fatah Al-Islam?

Far be it from me to defend a regime which, I believe, should go, but the accusations already thrown at "Syria" (meaning the Syrian regime, I suppose) call for a reminder that while fighting for a cause - democracy in Syria, in that case - we should keep in mind that not every accusation can be used in support of that cause. Unfounded finger-pointing is not only counterproductive, it is morally unacceptable.

I re-read Seymour Hersh's "The Redirection", published on 5 March in the New Yorker:
Here's an excerpt from it which should be sobering:

Alastair Crooke, who spent nearly thirty years in MI6, the British intelligence service, and now works for Conflicts Forum, a think tank in Beirut, told me, “The Lebanese government is opening space for these people to come in. It could be very dangerous.” Crooke said that one Sunni extremist group, Fatah al-Islam, had splintered from its pro-Syrian parent group, Fatah al-Intifada, in the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp, in northern Lebanon. Its membership at the time was less than two hundred. “I was told that within twenty-four hours they were being offered weapons and money by people presenting themselves as representatives of the Lebanese government’s interests—presumably to take on Hezbollah,” Crooke said.

The largest of the groups, Asbat al-Ansar, is situated in the Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp. Asbat al-Ansar has received arms and supplies from Lebanese internal-security forces and militias associated with the Siniora government.

In 2005, according to a report by the U.S.-based International Crisis Group, Saad Hariri, the Sunni majority leader of the Lebanese parliament and the son of the slain former Prime Minister—Saad inherited more than four billion dollars after his father’s assassination—paid forty-eight thousand dollars in bail for four members of an Islamic militant group from Dinniyeh. The men had been arrested while trying to establish an Islamic mini-state in northern Lebanon. The Crisis Group noted that many of the militants “had trained in al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan.”

According to the Crisis Group report, Saad Hariri later used his parliamentary majority to obtain amnesty for twenty-two of the Dinniyeh Islamists, as well as for seven militants suspected of plotting to bomb the Italian and Ukrainian embassies in Beirut, the previous year. (He also arranged a pardon for Samir Geagea, a Maronite Christian militia leader, who had been convicted of four political murders, including the assassination, in 1987, of Prime Minister Rashid Karami.) Hariri described his actions to reporters as humanitarian.

In an interview in Beirut, a senior official in the Siniora government acknowledged that there were Sunni jihadists operating inside Lebanon. “We have a liberal attitude that allows Al Qaeda types to have a presence here,” he said. He related this to concerns that Iran or Syria might decide to turn Lebanon into a “theatre of conflict.”


Golaniya said...

thank you very much for the link.

Fares said...

GS, I doubt it that the Dinniyeh people are the same as Fath il Islam.

Syria always succeed in mixing all the cards together specially in Lebanon to keep the status quo and bring us backward, it does the same of what the Israeli government does, they are allies in keeping us in a pathetic condition.

What is so strange about a Syrian government that does not want stability and prosperity in Lebanon now that they are out. It is not like the Syrian ruling mentality had reformed itself and decided to change tactics internally or in the region.

The fact that they closed the border is a big proof of protecting themsevles from what they implemented in the first place. They should have stoped all the weapons from being smuggled inside Lebanon in the first palce instead of meeting with trouble makers Yagan and Murad.

GottfriedStutz said...

Golaniya, you're welcome. I'm glad you appreciated the link, and hopefully the blog :-)

Fares, you are still brining in no proof. By the way, closing the border was a very sensible thing to do so as to prevent the Fatah Al-Islam terrorists from running across the border away from the Lebanese army, and so as to ensure that no weapon trafficking takes place. Had they left the border open, you may have accused them of protecting Fatah Al-Islam, right?

Also, talking about "implementing", the Syrian regime did protect Fatah Al-Intifadah when the Syrian army was still occupying Lebanon, but it did not "implement" the dissident Fatah Al-Islam which was formed after the Syrian army left Lebanon.

This is an internal Lebanese affair, and the Lebanese army is taking care of it (or trying to). Syria is not mixing it for once! What's wrong with that?