What Abu Salim Taha’ of Fatah al-Islam Confessed

Al-Akhbar, an independent pro-opposition newspaper, wrote on October 3: “The ongoing investigations into members of the Fatah Al-Islam group arrested by the directorate of intelligence of the Lebanese army revealed that this group is part of the global Al-Qa’idah organization and is not merely a group of amateurs that the government security team insists is subordinated to the Syrian intelligence services. According to knowledgeable sources, the detainee Abu Salim Taha, the most prominent leader in Fatah Al-Islam detained by the Lebanese army, gave a number of confessions: One, the groups which constitute Fatah Al-Islam are mostly made of Islamic elements that are strongly linked to Al-Qa’idah and that leaders in it have communicated throughout the past period with leaders of Al-Qa’idah in Iraq and sent several messages professing loyalty to the Amir of Al-Qa’idah in Iraq Abu Ayyoub Al-Masry who succeeded Abu Mus’ab Al-Zarqawi…

“Two, the person called Abu Youssef Al-Jazrawi, a Saudi citizen, is the backbone on whom the group depended to get money and logistical support, as he is directly connected to Al-Qa’idah abroad. This person escaped from the Al-Barid camp with Shehab Al-Qaddour known as Abu Hureireh. He was also a strong link to the fighters moving between Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, and Iraq. It was not ascertained whether one of the prominent leaders in Fatah Al-Islam is a member of Osama Bin Laden’s family. Three, Shaker Al-Absi’s brother in law who was killed by Syrian border guards was carrying a document professing loyalty to Al-Masry plus other documents proving the link between Fatah Al-Islam and Al-Qa’idah. Four, it was confirmed that there were communications between Fatah Al-Islam and Syrian intelligence officers who facilitated movement between the countries as well as communications with Lebanese factions in other camps and cities.

“Taha also pointed out that after the opposition forces started their protest in downtown Beirut, Abu Hureireh suggested the principle of “defending the Sunnis” and meetings were arranged between him and clerics and local activists including cadres in the Future movement. As for the terrorist operations for which the group was responsible, Taha’s confessions included the following: one, Fatah Al-Islam was responsible for the bombing of the buses in Ain-Alaq on 13/2/2007 which caused the death of three citizens and wounded 20 more. He justified this attack as coming in the context of a plan aimed at shaking the situation in Lebanon and that they chose to target a Christian area to cause anarchy there and to spark strife while also creating an opportunity for accusing the members of the Syrian Socialist National party of being responsible.

“Two, Taha also admitted that Fatah Al-Islam is responsible for the explosions in Ashrafiyeh on 20/5/2007, Verdun on the next day, and Allay on 23/5/2007 and that the perpetrators of the attack are still free and that these attacks came as a response to the Nahr Al-Barid battle. Three, the investigations have not defined yet the relationship between Fatah Al-Islam and the attacks on the UNIFIL forces in southern Lebanon. It turned out that those who carried out the second attack in Al-Qasimiyeh on the 14th of last June were not direct members of the organization but members of cells linked to it. These cells were caught by the information branch in the Al-Kharroub area on the 16th of last September and are also responsible for launching Katyusha rockets on Palestine earlier.

“The investigations into an explosion that took place in the Ain Al-Hilweh camp in a shop belonging to Shehadeh Al-Jawhar, a leader in another fanatic Islamic group called Jund Al-Sham, showed that the explosives are the same as the ones used in the fatal attack on the Spanish unit of the UNIFIL and come from land mines. On another front, Taha denied the reports that Fatah Al-Islam were responsible for the assassination of MP Pierre Gemayel in the knowledge that the investigations have not reached a decisive result. Al Akhbar learned that the head of the international investigative committee the Belgian judge Serge Brammertz informed Amine Gemayel that the investigations undertaken by the committee have not achieved any break though into any of the crimes…” – Al Akhbar Lebanon, Lebanon Click here for source

Comments (4)


1. norman said:

Analysis: Syria-Israel tensions
By Lyse Doucet
BBC News, Damascus

The secret is out. But the speculation has not ended. And the tension lingers dangerously.

Israel has suddenly broken its exceptional news blackout on a covert air raid against Syria, admitting officially its warplanes hit a “military installation” on 6 September.

This unexpected disclosure, after weeks of mysterious silence, came hours after the first public comments from Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad.

He ended his silence in a BBC interview, saying Israeli jets hit “a building under construction related to the military but it’s not used, it’s under construction so there’s no people in it, there’s no army, there’s nothing in it”.

The propaganda reminds us of what happened before the war in Iraq
Bashar al-Assad

So now it is official, on both sides. But speculation over exactly what was hit continues to create ripples in capitals around the world.

Was it a suspected nuclear site established with North Korean help? Had Pyongang tried to dispose of some nuclear material to evade the inspectors? Maybe it was a Hezbollah arms cache? Or perhaps a test of Syria’s new air defences?

‘Propaganda’

Why, I asked the president, would Israel carry out such a high-risk raid if it was not such a high-value target?

Mr Assad talks to BBC

President Assad just batted the incongruity away. And, as always in the Middle East, history provided the answers.

“The propaganda reminds us,” he said, “of what happened before the war in Iraq when they showed all the concrete evidence that Iraq had nuclear weapons or weapons of mass destruction which turned out not to have existed at all.”

But Israel clearly sent a message to Damascus. Did Damascus get it?

The fact President Assad decided to give a rare interview suggested he had a message or two he also wanted to pass on.

What did Israel’s raid tell him? That Israel had “a fundamental, visceral antipathy towards peace”.

But Israel has also been sending messages to try to bring down the temperature.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert even went so far recently as to offer a rare compliment to Mr Assad, saying “we have respect for the Syrian leader and the Syrian conduct”.

President Assad seemed embarrassed by the personal praise.

Neither peace nor war

In his interview, he spoke of a time of “non-peace and non-war” in a region where it had to be “either peace or war… there is no third option”.

And yet, despite his firm assertion that Syria reserved the right to retaliate, Mr Assad’s responses underlined a recognition of the dangers of military escalation.

“Retaliate doesn’t mean missile for missile and bomb for bomb… this is the last option,” he said.

One source in Damascus said Israel had made it absolutely clear its riposte to any Syrian strike would be “devastating”.

But that has not stopped intense debate, in coffee shops and the corridors of power on both sides, about a possible strike by Syria or Israel – or an accidental war, a miscalculation when mistrust and misunderstanding run so deep.

Continuing strains

Ever since last year’s punishing war in Lebanon both sides have spoken of their readiness for peace but they’ve also reinforced their defences along the occupied Golan Heights. Damascus wants this territory back as part of any peace deal.

From our experience of 16 years of a peace process, the main factor is the US administration
Bashar al-Assad

Syria is known to have acquired better long-range missiles and upgraded its air defences with Russian and Iranian help.

So that leaves them in that sensitive “non-war, non-peace” situation.

Months ago, all talk was of a summer war or a return to the peace talks broken off in 2000.

But in June, US President George W Bush made it clear to Ehud Olmert that Israel did not need Washington’s approval to talk to Damascus.

That, said Mr Assad, confirmed there was no point in talking.

“From our experience of 16 years of a peace process, the main factor is the US administration,” he said.

Continuing strains between the US and Syria mean the Bush team has no interest in going down this track.

Incomplete picture

On an earlier trip to Damascus, as the blistering seasonal heat began to ease, I commented to a Syrian friend that the “summer war” had also not materialised.

“Oh,” she answered, “but there could be an autumn war.”

And then came the Israeli air strike.

So Mr Assad, like his father Hafez al-Assad, seems resigned to the “long game” because of what he calls “the realities”.

He clearly feels he has his own cards to play, not least Syria’s relationship with a range of militant Palestinian and other Arab groups including Hezbollah in Lebanon.

There are some signs Damascus has been trying to use its influence more positively to reduce tensions but not enough to please most of its critics.

“They can’t isolate Syria,” he insisted.

So this week, a few more pieces of this latest Middle East puzzle were put in place.

But as long as there are big black holes in this jigsaw, people will continue to fill them with their own pieces, whether or not they really fit. This means everyone will continue to see a different picture – and that is dangerous.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/middle_east/7026003.stm

Published: 2007/10/03 13:18:08 GMT

© BBC MMVII

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October 4th, 2007, 1:59 am

 

2. houssam said:

Joshua :Pourquoi vous négligez les dernières deux mots dans ce paragraphe!

http://www.al-akhbar.com/ar/node/49056

رابعاً: جرى التأكيد على تواصل كان قائماً مع ضباط سوريين من الذين كانوا
يسهّلون عمليات الانتقال بين سوريا ولبنان والعراق، بالإضافة الى صلات لبنانية في المدن والمخيمات. وأشار طه إلى أنّه، بعد بدء قوى المعارضة اعتصامها وسط بيروت، جاء أبو هريرة طارحاً مبدأ «الدفاع عن أهل السنّة»، وجرى ترتيب لقاءات بينه وبين رجال دين وناشطين محليّين، بينهم كوادر في تيّار «المستقبل».

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October 4th, 2007, 10:48 am

 

3. t_desco said:

Isn’t this a clear contradiction? –

(A): “Four, it was confirmed that there were communications between Fatah Al-Islam and Syrian intelligence officers who facilitated movement between the countries as well as communications with Lebanese factions in other camps and cities.”

(B): “He justified this attack as coming in the context of a plan aimed at shaking the situation in Lebanon and that they chose to target a Christian area to cause anarchy there and to spark strife while also creating an opportunity for accusing the members of the Syrian Socialist National party of being responsible.”

(my emphasis)

(B) could explain (A) (“an opportunity for accusing” Syria), but not why Taha contradicts himself (or why the Syrians would support a group that tries to implicate their allies in Lebanon in a crime that they didn’t commit).

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October 4th, 2007, 5:01 pm

 

4. Nour said:

In the Arab World, we have to learn to take so-called “confessions” with a grain of salt, as these confessions are usually either gotten through duress or fabricated altogether. I’m not saying that the report is either accurate or inaccurate, but that we have to be cautious in reacting to all these investigations.

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October 4th, 2007, 5:16 pm

 

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