“Al-Qaida in Lebanon,” by T-desco

T-desco is a well informed analyst of radical groups in Lebanon who comments regularly on SC and keeps track of the many contradictory news stories about the country's radical Sunni groups. He has been reluctant to generalize, but has made an exception this week. Here are two of the five comments that he added to the last post:

Militant arrested in Tripoli ‘is al-Qaeda No. 2 in Lebanon’ 

A man originally described as a leading member of Islamist militant group Fatah al-Islam when he was arrested in an apartment in Tripoli on Thursday, has now also been identified as Nabil Mohammad Ghasub Rahim, the No. 2 of al-Qaeda in Lebanon.

According to a report on the London-based newspaper Al-Hayat, Rahim is second only to the fugitive Palestinian chief of Fatah al-Islam, Shaker al-Absi.

Al-Absi purportedly released an audio tape message earlier this week on the Internet threatening renewed attacks on the Lebanese army and pledging allegiance to al-Qaeda.

The report said that Rahim, who is a Lebanese citizen, is the key to terrorism in Lebanon because he is the link there between Fatah al-Islam and other countries, particularly Saudi Arabia, with young Saudi nationals, who form the largest and most powerful component of the militant group.

Rahim, 36, took over as second-in-command from the Saudi national Bassam Humud, who recently returned to his home country.

Rahim is believed to have been hiding in the apartment in the Abu Samra neighbourhood of Tripoli for about 11 months from where he coordinated group’s activities including recruitment into the militant group.

He was in contact with another 11 terrorists and the investigators hope to extract from Rahim more information about Fatah-al-Islam, which fought a three-month battle with the Lebanese army last year. … AKI

T-desco summarizes:

Regarding “al-Qa’ida”: I think it is important not to imagine it as a “Leninist” organization with cadres waiting for orders from somebody sitting in a cave in Waziristan. Some have gone to the other extreme, claiming that “al-Qa’ida does not exist”. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle. I like the idea that there are several “branches”, the Saudi branch, the Iraqi branch, the Algerian/Maghrebi branch, the Southeast Asian branch, the “HQ” in Pakistan/Afghanistan. The situation in “al-Sham” seems a little bit more unclear.

I don’t think that the organization has “state sponsors”, but there are probably some wealthy individuals in, say, KSA who support it.

Regarding the funding of Fatah al-Islam (as reported by Seymour Hersh), I believe that it is possible that some prominent Saudis (not necessarily Hariri) gave money for the creation of militias in Lebanon and that some of that money (or some of the weapons) ended up in the hands of Fatah al-Islam because these groups had friendly ties with each other. That is the version proposed by General Clark (as I understood it). Something similar seems to have happened in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Alex, I agree, a summary would be nice, naming names but at the same time making absolutely clear just how UNRELIABLE all this information is… ;-)

And it would be really helpful to get some of the questions about Nabil Rahim and his alleged connection to the Hariri investigation answered.

Comments (3)

t_desco said:

For the record, my questions about Nabil Rahim and the Hariri investigation / the first Mehlis report:

Is he somehow linked to the group of Australians that was arrested (Al-Akhbar)? Or was he suspected of having links to Ahmed Abu Adass (As-Safir)? Was he mentioned in the first Mehlis report? And if he wasn’t, why not?

January 13th, 2008, 9:54 pm


Akbar Palace said:


How do YOU know who provides money to al-Queda in Lebanon, and could it be Iran?

January 13th, 2008, 11:33 pm


t_desco said:


1. By reading. 2. Very unlikely.

Strange twist in the Mohammed Ndoub case

Apparently he revealed all the details about allegedly planned terrorist attacks in his calls to the German embassy (i.e. before being arrested!), according to Der Spiegel.

Germany Downgrades Terror Alert After Ministry Bomb Threat

Since Germany moved into the crosshairs of Islamist terrorists, a number of threats have been made against the country’s infrastructure and people. The latest has been investigated and revealed as less than credible.

After receiving a threat of a possible attack against the Federal Justice Ministry last week, German security officials have scaled down their terror warning. Interior Ministry spokesperson Stefan Kaller announced during a press conference in Berlin on Monday, Jan. 14, that there was a “lower degree of seriousness” in terms of likely terror attacks on German soil.

“The telephone threat had no value and it was not serious,” the official is reported to have said. “Ndoub is still under arrest over other matters that have nothing to do with the telephone threat.”

Ndoub remains in custody in Beirut under suspicion of involvement in local criminal activity.

January 14th, 2008, 8:52 pm


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