* Lebanese security sources said they felt it was unlikely Lebanon’s Hezbollah guerrillas, against whom Israel waged a 2006 war, carried out the rocket strike. Israeli military affairs commentators said Hezbollah, which fired some 4,000 rockets into Israel in that conflict, had no interest in heating up the border and drawing punishing Israeli air strikes.
* Hamas sources in Lebanon denied involvement. Israeli commentators pointed a finger at Palestinian guerrilla groups in Lebanon, saying Israel had been expecting them to respond to the 13-day-old offensive that has killed more than 600 of their brethren in the Gaza Strip. Last week, the leader of the Damascus-based Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, Ahmed Jibril, threatened to open a new front on Israel.
* »We took into account there would be an attempt by Palestinian groups to express solidarity, » Israeli cabinet minister Shalom Simchon said after the rocket attack.
* « It appears this small flame has been extinguished, » Roni Daniel, military affairs correspondent for Israel’s Channel Two television reported after the northern border went quiet again following the rocket salvo and Israel’s shelling.
(Writing by Jeffrey Heller, Editing by Dominic Evans)
© Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved.
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Source Middle East Times
Monday, November 10, 2008
Published: November 10, 2008
SYRIA’S HAND IN LEBANON — Most of the proof of Syria’s hand in Fatah al-Islam’s reign of terror emerged after the end of the 15-week war between the group and the Lebanese army at Nahr al-Bared refugee camp, in northern Lebanon, during the summer of 2007. (UPI photo shows Nahr al-Bared during Lebanese military bombardments in June 2007.)
One leader that could not wait for U.S. President George W. Bush to be out of office is Syrian President Bashar Assad. Assad profusely congratulated his favored candidate: Barack Obama. President-elect Obama should be careful in his dealings with the Syrian regime. In fact, quite possibly, Assad might be pondering if he could get away with reoccupying Lebanon.
The whole strategy of finding excuses to re-invade Lebanon is little by little being put in place. The most ominous signs were the deployment of 10,000 Syrian special forces on the northern border followed by the recent deployment of additional troops on the eastern border. Syria explained that it was to prevent Sunni Salafists terrorists from entering Syrian territory.
The third step took place on Thursday when Syrian state television broadcast « confessions » from members of the Islamist terror group Fatah al-Islam (FAI).
Not only did the FAI militants admit being behind a suicide bombing in Damascus in September but also Wafa al-Absi, the daughter of FAI’s leader Shaker al-Absi, stated that FAI got money from Saad Hariri’s anti-Syrian Future Movement.
By undermining the current Lebanese parliamentary majority, Syria is trying one way or another to regain control of what it still considers part of its territory.
Why is this so obvious?
FAI is first and foremost a creation of the Syrian intelligence service that has been used to destabilize the Lebanese regime that kicked out the Syrian occupation army in 2005.
Numerous experts describe FAI as a Syrian vehicle influenced also by al-Qaida. Indeed, al-Qaida, which uses the Palestinian camps in Lebanon as a transit point, definitely influenced FAI, whose ideology went from the « liberation of Palestine » to a worldwide jihad against the crusaders and the Jews.
In November 2006, Salafist militants of FAI infiltrated Lebanon through Heloua, a remote Lebanese village out of reach for the Lebanese army since it is considered a Syrian enclave. According to a Western military expert, Palestinians have been receiving light weapons from Syria, which is then redistributed to other refugee camps in Lebanon.
So FAI settled in the Palestinian camp of Nahr al-Bared, in the north of Lebanon. Hostile to their presence, Fatah leaders in the camp stated that FAI’s only contact was with Syria. That is just the tip of the iceberg: a slew of facts clearly link up FAI to its Syrian patron. The confessions of the FAI commando arrested for the February 2007 bombing of two commuter buses carrying Lebanese Christians are very explicit on Syria’s role.
But most of the proof of Syria’s hand in FAI’s reign of terror emerged after the end of the 15-week war between FAI and the Lebanese army at Nahr al-Bared during the summer of 2007. Ghazi Aridi, the former Lebanese information minister, revealed that « some of [FAI]’s leaders were linked to Syrian security services. »
He added: « Lebanese intelligence and government seized many documents, films, recordings, all very compromising for Syrian intelligence. The confessions of the [Fatah al-Islam] terrorists [arrested during the Nahr al-Bared clashes] brought to light their links to some Syrian services, and the implication of the latter in the wave of explosions and attacks that have been rocking Lebanon for several years. »
Also General Ashraf Rifi, the general director of the Lebanese interior forces, affirmed that Lebanese authorities seized 90 kilos of biological material in the Nahr al-Bared camp belonging to FAI. That had to be provided by a regional power.
Finally, fighters from other pro-Syrian groups joined the FAI ranks and two of these groups, Fatah Intifada and PFLP-GC even delivered weapons to FAI. Lastly, just last month, the Lebanese army arrested five FAI members. But the leader of this cell, Abdel-Ghani Jawhar, allegedly fled to Syria just five minutes before the arrival of security forces.
In light of this, the « confessions » of the FAI members seem as an attempt by certain groups in Syria to link the recent terrorist attacks to Lebanon. Some analysts fear all this might be Damascus paving the way to a new Syrian intervention in Lebanon.
Olivier Guitta, an adjunct fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and a foreign affairs and counterterrorism consultant, is the founder of the newsletter The Croissant (www.thecroissant.com).
Lebanese commanders are anxious about the slow pace of U.S. military support so far and say the army needs heavier weapons, the New York Times reported. « Of the $410 million that has been committed since 2006, less than half has been delivered — mostly ammunition, communications equipment, Humvees, trucks, rifles, automatic grenade launchers and other light weapons, and spare parts, » the newspaper quoted Lebanese and American military officials as saying.
« It is heavier weapons that are most needed, » Lebanese officials told the daily. « It is understandable, the frustration the Lebanese are expressing, » said Mark T. Kimmitt, assistant secretary of state for political and military affairs.
Une lectrice nous a envoye cet article d’opinion paru dans Le Devoir canadien, nous l’en remercions. LM
Par Abdul-Massih, Le 9 octobre 2008
Édition du samedi 11 et du dimanche 12 octobre 2008
Mots clés : Droit de vote, Élection, Canada (Pays)
J’ai quitté mon pays d’origine à l’âge de 35 ans, sans jamais avoir eu la chance de voter lors des élections. La raison en est très simple: pendant de longues années, à cause de la guerre qui y sévissait, il n’y eut même pas d’élections prévues!
Arrivée au Canada il y a 18 ans, ce fut une joie pour moi de déposer mon vote dans l’urne pour la première fois de ma vie. Prendre part aux élections m’a fait réaliser l’importance qu’a mon geste: mon vote allait compter pour quelqu’un. Je devenais utile à mon pays d’accueil!
C’était quelque chose, ce sentiment d’exister pour quelqu’un, ce sentiment d’appartenir à un pays. Je ne l’ai pas senti dans mon pays d’origine car on ne m’a pas donné la chance d’exister en tant que citoyenne, qui revendique son droit de voter afin de participer un tant soit peu aux décisions majeures qui concernent le pays, particulièrement celles qui touchent à la souveraineté, à l’unité et à l’existence même du pays. Je n’ai pas pu me sentir citoyenne à part entière du Liban, ni avant mon départ, ni par la suite, car les émigrés n’ont pas la chance de voter à l’extérieur de leur pays… pas avant 2013, dit-on. Inch Allah! comme on dit chez nous.
Voter est un droit et un devoir selon la Charte canadienne. Moi, je l’ai vécu comme une liberté. Alors, il ne faut pas oublier d’aller voter le 14 octobre: c’est un geste louable. Au nom de tous ceux qui, à travers le monde, n’ont pas encore la chance et le droit de voter, ce geste-là, faites-le!
Un grand merci a tous les responsables politiques qui se sont disputes des mois durant pour acceder a un poste ministeriel et qui aujoud’hui se revelent bien incapable de rediger un texte de quelques pages qu’un eleve de Premiere aurait boucle en 4 heures de temps. En esperant qu’ils ressentent par eux-meme assez de honte et d’embarras et qu’ils envisagent un jour de se justifier devant l’opinion publique. Mais il est tellement facile de rever…