Just to make it clear

I was never fond of conspiracy theories. Not because people don’t conspire, far from it. But because in politics, people are not that shrewd and are not endowed with awareness of the long-term. In light of this, a couple of points so as to make sure everybody agrees on this:

1- It is the ‘ruling majority’ government (specifically the Hariri camp) that gave the possibility (directly or tacitly) for Fatah Al Islam to develop. As would say Al Haqid, Fatah al Islam is a Lebanese political actor, or is a product of the Lebanese political system. It is also the result of the corruptive and incompetent practice of post-Syria-withdrawal Lebanon government.

2- The US administration may have overseen or even financed the formation of the such groups, even if today it is possible that they cannot control what they started (recent history is replete with such examples from Afghanistan).

3- It is much less likely that the Syrians are behind the whole thing in the sense that Syria would not want to jeopardize the Lebanese army (one of its only remaining ally), and neither would want to put Hizbullah in an awkward position (which is clearly the case today).

4- Both actors can benefit though from likely future developments, although the US will definitely have a much more important role to play (maybe military) in Lebanon. Syria is to remain on the defensive trying to collect pieces of what is left from the US elephant-like advancement in the Middle East.

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12 thoughts on “Just to make it clear

  1. 1- it is syria who set el-Absi free from jail, who was sentenced to death in jordan, after they withdrew from lebanon in return for his services in setting up a terror cell in the palestinian refugee camps not under the control of fatah.

    2- so i guess u’re saying the US financed and armed this group through weapons shipments from syrian by road and boat? lol.

    3- syria would love to put into question the government’s ability to exert its control over all lebanese territory. as for hizballah, they’re silence in supporting the troops is shameful. they would love to see the army fail, after all they too are a fundamentalist islamic militia operating outside the interests of the government and the other religious denominations in the country. a failure to destroy this militia would strengthen hizballah’s position and cast doubt on the army’s ability to disarm them by force should the need arise.

    4- it is obvious to everyone that syria is on the offensive, and lebanon is once again on the defensive. we all know how the events unfolded last week…that is unless you watch el-manar. then you definately don’t know shit.

    nice blog

  2. bech,

    can you elaborate on what you mean by “Fatah Al Islam is a Lebanese political actor”? I agree with the last sentence of point 1 partly, because such groups were present pre-Syrian withdrawal as well (although not necessarily this one).

    It is of course very possible the US has financed these groups, but how much evidence do we have?

    When you have time, elaborate on point 3 – it is slightly nebulous.

    – manar

  3. Mikey,

    Don’t come on this blog and insult people unless you got your facts straight.

    1) It is becoming increasingly clear al-absi is not, in fact, the head of the group in question (anyone who knows how this actually went down knows that we are not talking about one group after the initial mediations failed).

    2) Yes, I doubt the US financed this group, but the some of the Salafis in the North do receive funding and support from Hariri, Inc. They also get support from some members of the current “opposition.”

    3) Syria has very close ties with the LAF such that your point is beyond ridiculous. HA also depends, needs very good relations with the LAF, such that they have offered tepid support to the LAF during this crisis even though they are opposed to the shelling of the camps and believe that these groups are their enemies.

    4) Yes, it is obvious to everyone so blinded in their nativism they have so little understanding of how Lebanese politics works or how the Syrians actually operate in Lebanon.

    5) The Opposition is the stronger group — who can call for direct elections and who cannot? You are being ridiculous. Good luck with your fantasies.

    M.,

    You are right. Blame for the problem of the camps (current and larger) is shared by all Lebanese parties, and it is a bit ridiculous to blame the current govt for it exclusively.

    There is no evidence the US is supporting these groups. Only conjecture, which I personally doubt.

    Let me just say this. When the full picture of what happened comes out, the arguments put forward by both sides will fall apart for their inconsistencies.

  4. What utter garbage. Its funny how u try to pass this as sober analysis, unfortunately the lebanese soldiers and innocent palestinians who died as a result of all this aren’t laughing.

    Stop direspecting people’s intelligence.

    Good comment Mike.

  5. My question is what kind of army needs military support from the U.S. after a stand off with a couple of hundred militia men. I grant likely well trained and definitely somewhat crazy. But either the army shelled and sprayed the camp so heavily that they ran out of ammo, which isn’t exactly worth all that much admiration. Or …? … hm yes maybe politicians just taking advantage of the situation. And then with what goal…?

  6. …and in terms of financing the crazies. There is certainly a lot of money trickling through the cracks here in Lebanon. The whole Harriri empire is built on his (their) generous donations. (which does not mean that he/they funded the crazies knowingly, maybe with just one eye closed) But their is certainly the one or other religious figure that knew how to squeeze a favor out of the businessman politician multi billionaire ….. (which doesnt mean he/they was/were the only one either)…

  7. WS,

    Well said, but in defense of the LAF, the IDF had the same problem last summer with respect to munitions. Some perverse rule about the less targets you have, the more bullets you need. The Pentagon has the same problem on a different scale.

    And agree 100 percent on the financing. Why do people like to forget that we are talking about Lebanon after all? Oh, right …

  8. well in defense of the LAF… yes the IDF had the same problem… but on another scale …and who is the army going to protect against whom… if three days are its limits… there must be some more arriving tonight i heard them lfy over earlier… i wonder what percentage of this which arrives will actually end up with the army (so bitterly in need 🙂 ) 80%, 70%, 60%. we are in Lebanon after all. 🙂

    ………………………..
    other question who knows Franklin Lamb and has read anything else than what he wrote today or yesterday?

  9. INRE: Lamb,

    I dont who he is exactly, but I have seen some of his work from time to time, and believe he has been in Lebanon for the last year or so. I dont have too much confidence in him, but there is definitely something there.

  10. Mikey,

    A few weeks ago four members of Fatah Al Islam got killed by the Syrian services near the Iraqi border, as you can read here (in French): http://www.rplfrance.org/index.php?content=presse/070511AFP.php
    Nice way to support their militias…

    Seriously, do you really buy official propaganda that easily?

    Let me quote from the following website :
    http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2007/05/can_we_take_247.html

    “The 24/7 news networks were hard at work today trying to make Syria responsible for the Sunni zealots in the camps. The statement was being made today that these groups were connected to AQ. No evidence was offered, but the assertion was repeatedly made based on the “possibility” that had supposedly been voiced by some nameless person in the Lebanese government.
    […]
    Now, think about it, folks Al-Qa’ida is a virulently anti-Shia Sunni group. Everyone “knows” that Syria supports Hizbullah, a main target of AQ displeasure. So, which is it? Which side does the Syrian government support? Does the Syrian government support both at the same time? If you believe that, then you really are a sucker for propaganda.
    It would be interesting to know who sets the agenda for the content of 24/7 news.”

    There is actually evidence that members of Hariri Inc. have been in relation with such Islamist militias.
    Bahyia Hariri has for example admitted giving money to members of the Jund as-Sham movement, which then joined forces with Fatah Al Islam.

    According to the writer Franklin Lamb, Fatah Al Islam is actually the direct brainchild of Hariri Inc. It was established and financially supported in order to counter the shia opposition.
    It could also easily serve as a smoke screen, and be used to put the blame on Syria or whatever imaginary adversary is necessary for the government to try and build up some credibility for themselves, and gather support for what seems a good cause (eg, a war against terrorism).
    Still according to Franklin Lamb, things went awry when Hariri Inc. decided to cut their subsidies to Fatah al Islam. Hence the situation now. They’re fighting over money which should have been given but wasnt. Plus members of Fatah Al Islam know a lot and should not talk. Hence the decision to fight them to the very end.
    Read below, its interesting (and in English!) :
    http://www.counterpunch.org/lamb05242007.html

    These are just leads, but if its true, it would mean that this is all mainly internal affairs.
    Again…?

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