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Pushing Al Qaeda to Take on Hezbollah

by FRANKLIN LAMB

Beirut

“This is one damn fine idea, what took us so long to see a simple solution that was right in front of our eyes for Christ’s sake”, Senator John McCain of “Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran” and “no-fly zones for Syria” notoriety, reportedly demanded to know from Dennis Ross during a recent Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) brain storming session in Washington DC.

Ross, a founder of WINEP with Israeli government start up cash (presumably reimbursed unknowingly, one way or another by American taxpayers) and currently WINEPs “Counselor”, as in “consigliere” reportedly responded to the idea of facilitating Al Qeada to wage jihad against Hezbollah with the comment: “Shiites aren’t the only ones seeking death to demonstrate their ‘resistance’ to whatever. Plenty of other Muslims also want to die as we saw last week in Boston. Let ‘em all go at it and Israel can sweep out their s— when it’s over.”

One Congressional staffer attending the WINEP event emailed to Beirut: “Dennis spoke in jest—well I assumed he did- but who knows anymore? Things are getting ever crazier inside some of these pro-Israel ‘think tanks’ around here.”

Featured on the front page of its 4/25/13 edition, the Zionist compliant New York Times writes that the Assad regime is apparently recovering but, “it must be understood that for all of the justified worries about the (al Qaeda affiliated) rebels “Assad remains an ally of Iran and Hezbollah.”

The Times adopts the views of Islamophobe, Daniel Pipes, who recommends that the US try to keep the two sides in Syria fighting as long as possible until they destroy each other. Pipes, now serving as an advisor to John McClain, wrote in the Washington Times of 4/11/13 “ Evil forces pose less danger to us when they make war on each other. This keeps them focused locally, and it prevents either one from emerging victorious and thereby posing a greater danger. Western powers should guide enemies to a stalemate by helping whichever side is losing, so as to prolong their debilitating conflict.”

Both Jeffrey Feltman, U.N. Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs and Susan Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the U.N, have at a minimum impliedly joined in the intriguing idea of sic’ing Jabhat al Nusra on the Party of God. This scheme, if launched, would be Feltman’s 14th attempt to topple Hezbollah and defeat the Lebanese National Resistance to the occupation of Palestine since he first arrived in Beirut from Tel Aviv in 2005 to become US Ambassador to Lebanon. This observer, among others in this region sense that given the aura still enveloping the American Embassy here, that Jeffrey never really left his Lebanese ambassadorial post and continues to occupy this position from his new UN office.

This week Feltman warned that the spillover of Syria’s war continues to be felt in Lebanon as Susan Rice, echoed him and condemned Hezbollah for “undermining the country’s “dissociation policy.” The latter being a bit obscure in meaning but connoting something like sitting around doing nothing while this country is being shelled by jihadists from among the 23 countries currently fighting in Syria. Feltman informed the media on 4/22/13 that “The Secretary-General is concerned by reports that Lebanese are fighting in Syria both on the side of the regime and on the side of the opposition, hopes that the new government will find ways to promote better compliance by all sides in Lebanon with the “disassociation policy.”

Given current divisions in Lebanon that will not happen anymore than Lebanon’s June 9th Parliamentary elections will be held on time.

For her part, Susan lectured the UN Security Council that “Hezbollah actively enables Assad to wage war on the Syrian people by providing money, weapons, and expertise to the regime in close coordination with Iran.” This position was expressed also through a statement by US. State Department spokesman, Patrick Ventrell, who said that Washington “has always been clear concerning Hezbollah’s shameful role and the support it is providing for the Syrian regime and the violence it is inducing in Syria.” Ventrell added: “We were clear from the start concerning the destructive role played by Iran as well as the Iranian role.”

Several Israeli agents in Congress are today promoting a Jabhat el Nusra-Hezbollah war even as the Obama administration terror-lists the jihadist group. Meanwhile, Senator Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.), McCain’s neocon Islamaphobe acolyte, goes a bit further and explains to Fox News, once Assad falls and Hezbollah is out of the picture “We can deal with these (jihadist) fellas.”

Recent history in Libya instructs otherwise. As Turkish commentator Cihan Celik recently noted: “A divorce with al-Nusra will not be easy in Syria.”

The past two years in Libya, that shadow of a country, reveals countless examples, three witnessed firsthand by this observer, during the long hot summer of 2011. What we saw was Gulf sponsors and funders offering young men, often unemployed, $ 100 per month, free cigarettes, and a Kalashnikov to do jihad. Plenty down and out lads still accept these offers in Libya, as they do in Syria. One reason why the militias proliferated so quickly in Libya and never melted away was the phenomenon of a wannabe jihadists deciding to be a leader and recruiting perhaps a brother or two, maybe a few cousins or tribe members, and presto, they have created a militia with power they never dreamed of. Their new life can offer many perceived benefits from running rough shod over the civilian populations and setting up myriad mini but potent criminal enterprises specializing in kidnappings, robberies, drugs, trafficking in women, and assassinations for cash. How many of these young men have turned in their weapons in Libya and returned to their former lives? Or will do so when instructed by the likes of McCain or Graham?

On 4/24/13 Jabhat Al-Nusra Front intensified its threats to officials here including the Lebanese president by releasing a challenge from its media office: “…we inform you – and you may think of that as a warning or an ultimatum – that you must take immediate measures to restrain Hezbollah, otherwise, the fire will reach Beirut. If you do not abide by this within 24 hours, we will consider that you are taking part in the massacres committed by the Hezbollah members and we will unfortunately have to burn everything in Beirut.” In addition they are calling for Jihad and the establishment of the “Resistance Factions for Jihad against the Regime in Syria” and also in Saida and Tripoli, Lebanon.

Israeli officials appear to be in agreement with the Ross/Pipes proposal to arrange for Al Qeada to launch a war against Hezbollah. The Director for External Affairs at “The Mosche Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies, repeatedly claimed that the Shia are the real threat to Israel, not the Sunni and with the least threat coming from the Gulf monarchs. He offered the view recently that “Israel is now a partner of the Sunni Arab states.” Indeed, Israel hopes that Hezbollah will forget Israel when tasked with trying repel Al Nusra and other al Qaeda affiliate attacks.

According to various Israel officials who have issued statements on the subject, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan and several other members of the Arab League constitute an “alliance of anxiety for Israel” because they claim that “Sunni Arabs are not as competent as the Shia and Iran and as a result they express doubts that Israel can rely on the Sunni states in the same way that the Sunni states can reply on Israel.”

In a documentary about the Iraq war, an American soldier explains: “Actually, we don’t really have much of a problem with the Sunnis. It’s the Shias who we are afraid of. The problem has something to do with their leader who was killed centuries ago and these fellas are willing to lay their life down for the guy. Anyhow, that is that they told us in Special Ops class.”

Al Nusra fighters currently occupying parts the south west areas of Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in south Damascus, recently expressed eagerness to fight Hezbollah which they claim would give them credibility with Sunni Muslims and, oddly, in this observers view, “ credibility with western countries”, who supposedly are al Qaeda’s sworn enemies. It’s sometimes hard to know who precisely is whose enemy these days in Syria as the rebels continue using areas east and southwest of Damascus as rear bases and as gateways into the capital.

Despite boasts to the contrary from Jihadist types in Syria and Lebanon, it is not clear to this observer if Jihadist and al Qaeda-affiliated groups living among Hezbollah communities in Lebanon like Fatah al Islam, Jund al Sham or Osbat al Ansar which have been here for years would actually join the Zionist promoted anti-Hezbollah jihad.

But it is evident that some Lebanese Islamists and jihadists directly connected to al Qaeda do have the ability to target Hezbollah. Elements from each of these groups are startling to associate and identify with al Nusra inspired partly by the latter’s successful military operations of Jabhat al Nusra in Syria. Again, we saw the same thing in Libya. Enthusiastic, ambitious young men who want to improve their lot in life try to go with a winner. According to sources in the Ain al Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp, jihadist leaders such as Haytham and Mohammed al Saadi, Tawfic Taha, Oussama al Shehabi and Majed al Majed are recruiting followers and fighters in Lebanon and offer a ticket out the the squalid army surrounded, Syrian refugee inflated camp.

Homs-based media activist Mohammad Radwan Raad claims that “the embattled residents of the rebel-controlled Homs province town of Al-Qusayr welcome Saida, Lebanon based Sunni Sheikh Ahmad al-Assir’s call for Jihad in Syria.” Claims Raad, “Al-Qusayr residents welcome Assir’s call and hope the Lebanese people help kick out Hezbollah members in the area…We need anyone who can get rid of them.” This week Assir urged his followers to join Syrian rebels fighting troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah. Al-Qusayr has been under rebel control for more than a year and on the scene reports indicate that it is about to be returned to central government control.

In response, two Salafist Sunni Lebanese sheikhs urged their followers to go to Syria to fight a jihad (religious war) in defense of Qusayr’s Sunni residents. “There is a religious duty on every Muslim who is able to do so… to enter into Syria in order to defend its people, its mosques and religious shrines, especially in Qusayr and Homs,” Sheikh Ahmed al-Assir told his followers. For now, experts say, such calls on the part of Lebanon’s Salafists are largely bluster because the movement is far from able to wield either the arsenal or the fighting forces of Hezbollah.

Local analysts like Qassem Kassir argue that Jabhat al Nusra and friends are not organized enough to fight against Hezbollah in a conventional war, but they could cause great damage by organizing bomb attacks against the Party of God’s bases and militants. The latter would be enough initially for Ross and WINEP and their Zionist handlers. Creating chaos in Lebanon being one of their goals but more importantly weakening the National Lebanese Resistance led by Hezbollah and also challenging Syria and Iran.

In a recent speech, Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah offered his party’s view about a promoted Sunni-Shia clash with Al-Nusra, AlQaida and all the groups which flocked to Syria, saying that what was wanted of them by those who sent them was to kill and get killed in Syria, in a massacre which will only serve the enemies of the Arabs and Muslims.

The coming months will reveal to us if the several pro-Zionist Arab regimes and Islamophobes including those at WINEP and other Israel first “think-tanks” are delusional in believing a “simple solution” in John McCain’s words, to those resisting the Zionist occupation of Palestine would be to assist Jabhat el Nusra type jihadists to make war against Hezbollah. And whether they could defeat Hezbollah or even whether Jabhat al Nusra and friends are capable of igniting yet another catastrophe in this region.

Franklin Lamb is doing research in Lebanon and Syria and can be reached c/o fplamb@gmail.com

Franklin Lamb is a visiting Professor of International Law at the Faculty of Law, Damascus University and volunteers with the Sabra-Shatila Scholarship Program (sssp-lb.com).

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