Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Lebanon - Working up to Summer '07

There's lots of unfinished business in the Levant. Just when oodles of Lebanese Canadians were getting geared up to go back over for cousin Saleem's birthday, the trouble starts up again. This time it's AlQaeda operatives vs the Lebanese Army. Fatah al Islam, a gang of thieves headed by a former Jihadi, is holding an entire Palestinian refugee camp to hostage as it fends off the 'onslaught' of the Lebanese military.

All this to the cheers of everybody - all Lebanese, the Palestinians, the Israelis, the Americans and apparently most of the civilized world.

How, you might ask, did a gang of AlQaedists - apparently from every reprobate state on earth infiltrate and manage to set up a training camp in the close quarters of an armed Palestinian refugee camp? That's easy, Syria sent them. Why? Because the Syrians can't stand the UN tribunal into the assassination of President Hariri two years ago, and need to derail the process. So the Syrians have been supporting Fatah Al Islam to disrupt Lebanon.

Well that's a switch, because last year they were supporting Hezbolleh to disrupt Lebanon by fomenting an attack by Israel. Eminently successfully too. So they leave that aside to find a pipsqueak organization of people who hate their Baathist guts in order to do some real damage by robbing a bank. And then shooting at the cops of course.

The leader of the group who apparently is wanted all over the Arab world and has served time in numerous prisons, is now free, he claims, to strike at America. Funny thought coming from a guy who also claims he fought in Nicaragua. You can bet it wasn't as a Sandinista or there would have been some PR points raised about that. There's been nothing raised about that. This chap leads some sort of charmed existence, or, methinks, the kind that's protected by powerful friends.

The last items are not part of the current spin that this is a simple problem devised by the evil Syrians. They're part of another 'hairball' take on things that Fatah al Islam is another American cock-up.

A number of commentators note that the Lebanese seemed very comfortable with Fatah until lately. It's opined that the Americans were thinking that AlFatah was a possible counter-force to Hezbolleh, one that might have the balls to take them on. It was armed, and paid and supplied, until it started making Jihadi noises. Then the money stopped, and the dissension started.

The media has it Fatah robbed a bank and was chased down in the Palestinian camp by Lebanese security, who apparently aren't able to enter those camps with out the permission of most of the Arab world. Security forces also raided a building associated with the group in Tripoli finding large arms caches. Since then, to all intents and purposes, a bloody stalemate, punishing mostly the Palestinians, has ensued. Other sources put it out that there was no bank robbery, there was a security operation, but only due the US getting cold feet. Why? Because word of their supporting a Jihadist group was going to get out and an extreme termination seemed the best way to deal with it.

Now why, in the name of the Lord Thunderin' Jehovah is the US funding terrorists with one pocket and killing them with the other hand, or something like that? It's called divide and conquer. The US, some claim, is trying to bring on the fabled war between Sunni and Shiite Moslems in order to destabilize the middle east and make Iraq a sideshow. If the swamis are fighting each other, life will be better for GI Joes and Janes and the oil consuming nations of the free world. Somebody actually seems to think this is a sensible way to proceed.

What evidence is there? The Saudi Arabian summit last winter called for a rapprochement with Iraqi Sunnis through the good offices of Saudi Arabia. This has apparently paid off with large numbers of Iraqi Sunnis now revolting against the AlQaeda insurgency among them (according to the media). The Surge was targeted at Al Sadr city, the formerly inviolable home of the Shiites. Shiite units of the Iraqi army and police were withdrawn and replaced with Kurdish units. Now things are heating up against the Shiites with clashes in a number of places, with the Iraqi army (Kurds) leading the way.

In Lebanon the resistance has spread to another Palestinian camp in the south. It's going to be another long, hot summer in Lebanon.

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