Lebanon

Lebanese security forces arrest group planning to assassinate Nasrallhah" [mideastwire.com]

As-Safir, an independent leftist newspaper, wrote on November 15: “As-Safir learned that the investigations carried out by the Lebanese internal security forces with an extremist group that was arrested in the Lebanese south and the Al-Kharroub areas last summer resulted in confessions submitted by a member of the group carrying the Libyan nationality that they prepared plans to assassinate the secretary general of Hezbollah Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah. The investigations with the members of the group, which turned out to belong to the Al-Qa’idah organization, showed that there are also big plans to attack the UNIFIL forces in the Lebanese south in order to achieve two gaols.

“The first goal was aimed at carrying out the orders issued by the number two man in Al-Qa’idah Aiman Al-Zawahiri about attacking the UNIFIL forces and the second goal is to incite strife and cause tensions between Hezbollah and the UNIFIL forces as has happened following the various security incidents that took place south of the Litani River. The members of the group also confessed that they were responsible for launching Katyusha missiles in several periods between 2004 and 2007 at the northern parts of occupied Palestine. The investigations proved that the Al-Qa’idah network was divided into three groups. The first group was positioned in the Al-Kharroub area, the second in the city of Saida, and the third in the area near the Al-Qassimiyah region near the city of Tyre.

“As Safir learned that during the search of the house of the Libyan detainee who was hiding in the Al-Kharroub area, a large quantity of the toxic material cyanide was uncovered. This substance is used along with Ammonium and other materials to manufacture explosives. According to knowledgeable sources, the quantity of cyanide discovered in the house of the Libyan detainee totalled 70 kilograms.

Security forces dismiss reports of plot to assassinate Nasrallah: Daily Star

After three months of fighting, Palestinians return to flattened refugee camp in Nahr al-Bared

Bilal Y. Saab and Magnus Ranstorp, "Fatah al Islam: How an Ambitious Jihadist Project Went Awry."
To what extent was Fatah al Islam a spillover effect from the neighboring Iraq conflict?

Seven conclusions and observations can be drawn from the battle of Nahr al Bared that could shed light on al Qaeda and the global war on terror:

1- Despite Fatah al Islam’s Islamist appeal and repeated calls for support throughout its battle with the Lebanese army, not one major salafist jihadist group in Lebanon headed its call. Osbat al Ansar, Jund al Sham (who have now re-merged with Osbat al Ansar), the Qarun group, the Arqoub group, and the Majdal Anjar group remained fairly silent and distanced themselves from the battle. For these groups and others, the battle that Fatah al Islam was waging was the wrong one. The jihadist compass, according to these groups’ leaders, was to be set South (against Israel) not North. This experience solidifies the authors’ earlier conclusion put forth in a study entitled "Securing Lebanon from the Threat of Salafist Jihadism" in which they argued that salafist jihadist entities in Lebanon are not united under a single umbrella or organization, instead they have dissimilar agendas and are relatively small and clandestine semi-autonomous entities with informal organizational structures. Each is more concerned about its own survival than about waging an offensive jihad against "infidels."

2- The battle against Fatah al Islam underscores the argument (also made in the above-mentioned study) that the salafist jihadist phenomenon in Lebanon is not purely a Palestinian phenomenon. Lebanese make a sizable part of the salafist jihadist movement in Lebanon, as evidenced by the high number of Lebanese cells operating in Tripoli, Akkar and al Koura.

3- Fatah al Islam was not a mechanical creation of Syrian intelligence. While Syria did not prevent large transfers of Arab fighters from Iraq to Lebanon, via Syrian territories, it did not play a major role in arming or financing Fatah al Islam.

4- Fatah al Islam could not have survived or accomplished any of its initial or later goals if it had not benefited from the large influx of Arab fighters from Iraq and from the financial support of al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia. In that sense, Fatah al Islam, as Kenneth Pollack and Daniel Byman – authors of "Things Fall Apart" – would most probably argue today, is a result of the Iraq conflict.

5- It is very interesting to note that throughout the battle, neither Osama bin Laden nor Ayman al Zawahiri issued a statement supporting Fatah al Islam or endorsing its insurgency. This raises a number of important questions: does al Qaeda only support winners? Why did al Zawahiri praise the attack against UNIFIL on June 24, 2007 but remain silent on Fatah al Islam? Is it because al Qaeda’s senior leadership is more inclined to support terrorist acts as opposed to reckless jihadist enterprises?

6- UNIFIL, as argued in an earlier study by the authors entitled "Al Qaeda’s Terrorist Threat to UNIFIL", remains highly vulnerable to terrorist attacks. The international force is still working with a major handicap: lack of good intelligence and force protection measures.

7- The failure of the jihadist project of Fatah al Islam raises a critical point on terrorist organizational structures. Fatah al Islam morphed from a hierarchical group to a network of semi-autonomous cells. To what extent did that transformation contribute to its ultimate downfall? What does organizational structure say about the effectiveness and survivability of a terrorist enterprise?

Lebanon’s Presidential Front-Runners
New York Times
The 110 members of Lebanon’s Parliament have until Nov. 23 to choose a president. Under a power-sharing pact made by religious leaders in 1943, …

Sfeir's Presidential Election List under Attack before Onset: Naharnet

U.S. Engages Muslim Brotherhood Despite Rice By: NIcholas Kralev | The Washington Times

The United States has resumed contacts with Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood despite Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's 2005 commitment not to "engage" with the banned group — a move that could strain relations with President Hosni Mubarak's government.

Comments (117)


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101. Alex said:

Bashmann,

“Alex,

I admire your stamina for this. Don’t you get tired of saying the same thing over and over again?

Habibi, we know we want peace, but we have nothing to offer.

You can’t be beggar and chooser. ”

There are many reasons why Bashar and not Khaddam is still the president of Syria … the “efficient” security services is one … and your attitude is another.

As long as you (and the rest of the negative “opposition”) believe that Syria has no chance to differ with the Neocon demands, has no chance to resist Saudi Arabia’s wish to monopolize the leadership of the Arab world, and nothing to offer Israel in return for peace … as long as you are so embarrassed of your weak country, you will stay an outsider and your “opposition party” will remain nothing more than a webpage with a generic new Syrian constitution and a new design for a bird to replace the Syrian eagle.

Keep thinking that Syria is a beggar and enjoy Florida forever.

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November 18th, 2007, 6:14 pm

 

102. IsraeliGuy said:

Well Alex, actually Olmert called for unconditional peace talks with Syria just a couple of months ago.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3450452,00.html

It was Syria who rejected that call.
http://www.voanews.com/english/archive/2007-09/2007-09-19-voa28.cfm?CFID=159431661&CFTOKEN=86189802

By the way, on July president Shimon Peres urged Syria to open direct peace talks.
http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/07/19/africa/ME-GEN-Israel-Syria.php

From the article:
“Assad responded in his speech Tuesday by saying Syria would resume negotiations in the presence of an honest broker if Israel first promised to return the Golan Heights, captured by the Jewish state in the 1967 Mideast war”.

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November 18th, 2007, 7:54 pm

 

103. Bashmann said:

Alex,

Gee.. Look who woke up on the wrong side of the bed.

Now I see why you can keep going on like the Teshrin official newspaper. You have been indoctrinated like the rest of your regime apologists. Your enthusiasm for dictatorship is cathartic. Speak up for once and stand tall.

Chill … Its politics and you just failed the test.

Note that I refrain from personal attack, a phrase that you like to repeat often here on SC, yet I still think of you as a true Syrian and entitled to your opinion, something I learned while I lived in the evil empire under the leadership of the evil Bush and Cheney. Yet, you seem to belittle our party whose membership exceeded six thousands around the globe and demean my attitude.

Contrary to what you think of my attitude, I’m proud Arab American and the son of a true Syrian patriot, love Syria dearly and working toward making it a better place to live for ALL Syrians.

You on the other hand is keep thinking by supporting an authoritarian regime and demand peace from your enemy can gain respect and concessions. Well all I can say, keep dreaming.

Cheers.

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November 18th, 2007, 8:29 pm

 

104. Disaffection said:

Alex
“Syria is weaker than Israel when you compare army to army.”
isn’t that fundamental?
“But overall, Syria’s alliances with popular movements in the area and Syria’s geographic location and its ability to defend itself reasonably well if Israel decides to start a war, give it enough “power” to be somewhat of an equal partner in negotiations.” you mean give it a bit of resistance, not enough power. you’re assuming Syria can defend itself reasonably well if so and so. but in reality no. how many times does the IDF have to penetrate Syrian airspace till we realize that Syrian army is incapable and handicapped? Do you consider using Hizbollah and Hamas retaliation tools? Where was Iran when IDF bombed that suspected site couple of months ago? North Korea made more noise than them.

“Israel does not need to do a first move with Syria .. Bashar already made that move .. he called for unconditional peace talks with Israel many, many times the past year.”
Disagree, Israel did need to make the first move but instead Bashar did, adding insult to injury. And despite that, we are still expected to act as equal partners. am i the only one seeing how much of a degradation this has been so far?

I dont think there is any such thing as negative opposition. There are 3omala and corrupt agents such as Ghadri and Khadam who are after personal gains (or just scum, you choose). and then there is the real opposition that seek change and don’t believe you can work with the current regime, as the current regime refuses to work with them. e.g. Kilo and co. This Status Quo is a form of devolution. The regime views itself as above the state and sole proprietor of the lives of Syrians, and that cannot be. There has to be unaccountability to the state.

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November 18th, 2007, 9:14 pm

 

105. AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Bashmann,
Thanks for keeping it real.
For some reason Alex believes that being able to spoil is an asset that makes Syria strong. With the current regime in place Syria has nothing positive to ofer. The track record of the Asads is dismal. They were only able to make their people lose ground relative to other countries. Look at what a mess they made of Lebanon.

It is very difficult to be a Christian in the Arab world. Some people like Alex have chosen the simple and short term solution of supporting that powers that be. Others like Azmi Bisharaa have taken a more subtle path that emphasizes Arab Nationalism in the hope of creating a secular and democratic middle east. But in the end, only democracy is the solution because when the people dictate the solution, it will be a stable one and will give hope and work for everyone. And yes there will be a difficult transition period, but it is a price that will have to be paid.

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November 18th, 2007, 10:22 pm

 

106. abraham said:

AIG:

But in the end, only democracy is the solution because when the people dictate the solution, it will be a stable one and will give hope and work for everyone.

How naive.

We have “democracy” in the US. We are the model for democracy in fact. Look what happened: in 2000 our Supreme Court, packed with right-wing conservatives, installed Bush into office in what was effectively a junta. In 2003, we had the largest anti-war turnout in the history of the world throughout the globe, yet we still attacked Iraq (illegally). The will of the people was thoroughly ignored. Some democracy.

Your dumb country likes to think of itself as a democracy (“demockracy” is more like it) but you don’t allow half your population equal rights because they aren’t Jewish (and a third of the people in your midst are imprisoned in ghettos). And a majority of your country wants peace with its Arab neighbors but your leadership wants to continue its traditionally aggressive behavior. Your idiot prime minister had a 98% disapproval rating after your loss against Hizballah but refused to step down, ignoring the will of your people. Some democracy.

You keep hammering away at this idea that democracy will solve everything. Well, democracy is nice and all, and it does give people a say in their affairs (theoretically at least, see above) but it certainly isn’t a panacea. My country and your illegitimate one are proof of this. So much for democracy.

What we need now is justice. In the U.S. when we protest we like to yell, “No justice, no peace!” It’s not only poetic, it is truth.

No justice, no peace.

Repeat this to yourself. Let it leave a permanent imprint on your brain. This is the only thing that will rescue you. Know justice, and you shall finally know peace.

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November 19th, 2007, 12:34 am

 

107. Alex said:

Bashman,

It is not about being a true Syrian vs “a traitor” vs a proud Syrian American …

It is about how each person reads the signs.

Let me facilitate this point through a comparison:

You and “Another Israeli guy” and the Neocons in Washington seem to have very similar views.

I, and Avi dichter and Efraim Halevy have similar views.

So … I guess they (the two former Israel intelligence chiefs) are also dreaming that Syria is more than a beggar.

And I guess these two are also …

I’m happy that you seem to be proud that you and another Israeli guy share the same rejection to my dreamer’s thoughts.

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November 19th, 2007, 8:19 am

 

108. AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Alex,
Don’t try pulling that trick again. Your view is very very different than that of Dichter and Halevy. IG explained it to you many times but you keep trying to use the same trick.

Dichter and Halevy want to engage Syria in an effort to flip it. Something you do not support. Their condition for peace is a flip.

You on the other hand want no flip but do want the Golan and legitimacy for the despicable Syrian regime. Very, very few people in Israel support that. Your dreamer’s thoughts are the wet dream of the Syrian regime and contrary to the interests of both the Syrian and Israeli people and that is why Bashmann and others reject them.

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November 19th, 2007, 11:48 am

 

109. AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

And as for Olmert and Barak, aren’t those the exact same guys that just bombed Syria and were willing to risk war with it? You really think that they support your point of view? Olmert is the guy that one day after bombing Asad, said he “respects” him. Is this what you are building your optimism on? You are really scraping the bottom of the barrel with your arguments.

Bashmann has a realistic assessment of the situation and that is always the basis for moving ahead. Wishful thinking gets you nowhere.

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November 19th, 2007, 11:54 am

 

110. Alex said:

AIG

Is there anyway I can interest you in communicating like a polite person or are you a hopeless case?

“A trick” is something a tricky person uses to gain something.

If you have difficulty understanding my point, try to control your self from thinking you caught another “trick”

The above “trick” was simply my argument that Israel needs to negotiate with Syria and need to return the Golan .. I did not say that I share Dichter’s opinions on abortion and on Iran and on Global warming.

Bashman suggest that Syria is a beggar and that I was dreaming, out of my simplistic pride, that Syria has any significance. I simply reminded him (and you) that Dichter and Halevy who are both consistently motivated to negotiate with Syria and return the Golan to Syria, can not be sharing that part of their opinion with me because they are “dreamers” with pride in Syria’s imaginary power.

So it is not about being a naively proud Syrian or not … Bashman the Syrian shares the same views with AIG the Israeli, and Alex the Syrian shares the same views (on need for negotiations that will reach a treaty that includes the return of the Golan) with the much more experienced Israelis … the ex-heads of Intelligence agencies …

And finally … not that you will understand .. but … you seem to have this great confidence that the different arguments that you engage in are surely concluded to your advantage .. that you convinced, and proved, and demonstrated to the “tricky” Syrians that you were right and their tricks were nothing more than dirty tricks.

I hope you believe me that almost nobody here is convinced of most of your “demonstrations” … You did not demonstrate that SimoHurrta is an Antisemite, and Israeliguy did not demonstrate to me that Halevy interprets flipping Syria in a much different way than the way I see it

Those victories of your in our different discussion here are in your head … and in your friend Bashmann’s head. So I appreciate if you do not imagine again that if I repeat a point (like I did yesterday, about Halevy) that I am using a trick again.

Imagine that things are left undecided if you want. I know you can not possibly imagine that you ever lose an argument with a pro-dictatorship Syrian… you support democracy and therefore you are GOD.

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November 19th, 2007, 4:27 pm

 

111. IsraeliGuy said:

Dear Alex,

Let me ask you the following question.

Let’s say that as an Israeli, I advocate for direct talks between Israel and Iran… And let’s say that the Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, says in an interview something like “I want to meet Olmert ASAP, face to face, so I can strangle this Zionist with my bare hands”.

Now let’s say, the day after, I come to this blog and start speaking passionately about the need for direct talks between Israel and Iran.

I tell you something like “Israel and Iran should make peace… it will benefit both peoples… it’s something we all need… Even Ahmadinejad himself expressed his strong will to meet Olmert ASAP!
What are we waiting for?

Wouldn’t you think that this statement of mine will be a bit ‘problematic’?

I mean, sure – Ahmadinejad indeed says, on record, that he really wants to meet Olmert.
But neglecting to mention the 2nd part of his statement, changes the picture and provides a false and distorted reality.

It’s not rare to find Israeli public figures that speak in favor of Israeli-Syrian negotiations.
The vast majority of them, say it in the context of flipping Syria 180 degrees – something which you reject, right?

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November 19th, 2007, 5:15 pm

 

112. abraham said:

Actually, I find Alex’s arguments to be reasoned and reasonable, and AIG’s to be completely unreasoned, unreasonable, illogical, etc. And not just because I share his views.

AIG argues in circles and unintentionally contradicts himself. When he is cornered by someone else’s arguments he flees and starts another argument somewhere else. This is easily verifiable: just go back and read all his comments.

Like I said, he’s not arguing for any purpose other than to argue and waste peoples’ time.

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November 19th, 2007, 5:21 pm

 

113. abraham said:

IG:

Let’s say that as an Israeli, I advocate for direct talks between Israel and Iran… And let’s say that the Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, says in an interview something like “I want to meet Olmert ASAP, face to face, so I can strangle this Zionist with my bare hands”.

First of all, your premise is flawed, because Ahmedinejad would never say such a thing. This is yet another example your Israeli demonization of a leader you don’t like.

Furthermore, this example is so contrived that it doesn’t bare any resemblance to the criticism you are leveling at Alex.

The vast majority of them, say it in the context of flipping Syria 180 degrees – something which you reject, right?

Perhaps your interpretation of their comments is the problem. What do you mean when you keep saying Irael wants to “flip” Syria? Flip them to what? To become partners in the occupation of Palestine? To become enemies of Hizballah and Iran? What do you mean?

Your analysis is often nonsense because you misinterpret what you read to fit into your narrow viewpoint.

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November 19th, 2007, 5:26 pm

 

114. Bashmann said:

Alex,

You can read the signs the way you want to read them. Speculate, theorize, and assume all day long, it will not make a difference.

Here are few facts that I see on the ground, which you seem to ignore;

1- The international tribunal which the regime seems to be hell-bent on stopping it.

2- Isolation of Syria from the West.

3- Syrian interference in internal affairs in Iraq and Lebanon.

4- The Iran alliance which is causing rapid radicalization throughout Syrian societies.

5- Prisoners of Conscience and Emergency Law which have left Syrians impaired to challenge authority and participate in their country decision making process.

Before you engage AIG and IG in a debate on how to get the Golan back, try reading these signs correctly, it might give you a better understanding where Syria is currently heading. All the talk about Syria choosing peace as a strategic policy is hogwash and the Israelis know this.

One more thing, I’m surprise that you, living in the West all these years, have not learned that politicians say one thing and mean another! If Olmert and Barak want peace with Syria, what do you think is stopping them? Why have we not seen Olmert visit Damascus for a peace deal?

My dear Alex, your naiveté has caused you to read the signs wrong.

Cheers

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November 19th, 2007, 7:09 pm

 

115. Alex said:

Bashman

1) “hell-bent”? … fact? … show me the facts .. prove it.

2) Isolation of Syria? … King Abdallah went yesterday to Damascus and accepted a positive Syrian role in Lebanon … Sarkozy sent his teo top aids to Damascus …. Rice Met Mouallem twice …

There is an attempt to isolate Damascus .. but all they talk about is how much things would be better is Syria can help them … in Lebanon .. in Iraq .. in Palestine … with Iran … that’s not a very impressive isolation’

3) Who is not interfering in Lebanon? .. your dream democratic secular society of Saudi Arabia? … teh United States? .. France? … Europe? …

4) Syria is rapidly getting closer to Turkey … you need to wake up and realize the balance.

5) True … exaggerated, but true.

You got 0.75 a point right out of 5 “facts”.

By the way, I am not a fan or Olmert or Barak .. I criticize them all the time. If you wanted to pay more attention to my message you will see that my emphasis is much more on Halevy and Richter.

As for being naive … it is a thing I hear from Syrian opposition and Lebanese and Israelis. Never from independent observers or analysts.

I will seriously examine my way of seeing things when I start hearing a lot from independents about my being too naive.

Bashman … I have a priority … find solutions (incremental or comprehensive) that minimize bloodshed without causing any group in the middle east to feel they lost.

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November 19th, 2007, 7:35 pm

 

116. Bashmann said:

Alex,

Take a look and tell me what you think?

http://www.syria-news.com/readnews.php?sy_seq=66121

cheers

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November 20th, 2007, 12:04 am

 

117. Guy Regev said:

Druze nation?

I was wondering.
If in the course of a coming war Israel occupies large swaths of southern Syria and Assad Regime crumbles. Will Israel succeed in forming a Druze state in Jabel Al Druze?
The Druze in Israel are our allies (serve in the army and all), for the time being we’re on the same side as the Druze in Lebanon. The Druze in the Golan are nominally pro-Syrian but in actuality would like to stay in Israel and benefit from all the economic boons.
Is there any Druze nationalism in Syria? Military readiness? How big is the Druze community anyway and how much do they hate the regime?

Thanks for your thoughts

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November 22nd, 2007, 8:58 am

 

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