Posted by Joshua on Friday, November 16th, 2007
“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.
Tough homecoming for Lebanon's refugees
Nick Blanford | 11/14/07
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, …
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.