Thursday, May 24, 2007
Who's Behind the Fighting in North Lebanon?
By FRANKLIN LAMB
".....After three days of shelling and more than 100 dead and with no electricity or water, Nahr el-Baled reeks of burned and rotting flesh, charred houses with smoldering contents, raw sewage and the acrid smell of exploded mortars and tank rounds.
Press figures of 30,000-32,000 are not accurate. 45,000 live in Bared! Contrary to some reports food and water still not being allowed in.
15 to 70 percent of some areas destroyed. Some light shooting this morning and afternoon. Army shelling at rate of 10-18 shells per minute from 4:30 am to 10 am on Tuesday. Army will not allow Palestinian Red Crescent to move out civilians because they don't trust them. Only the Lebanese Red Cross is allowed. It is possible to enter Bared from the back (east side). The Army taking cameras of journalists they catch. The Lebanese government is controlling the information and don't want extent of damage known yet. Still unrecovered bodies. 40 per cent of the camp population have been evacuated. The rest don't want to leave out of fear of being shot or that they are losing their homes for the 5th time or more for some.
No electricity and cell phone batteries are dying. Relatives who fled are telling families to stay because there are not enough mattresses at Bedawi Camp. Bared evacuees are living up to 25 in one room in Badawi schools etc. 3,000 evacuees in one school in Bedawi. UN aid is starting to arrive at Badawi but workers not able so far to deliver it to Bared due to attack on relief convoy on Tuesday.....
The camp population all say that Fatah Al-Islam came in September-October 2006 and have no relatives in the camp. They are from Saudi, Pakistan, Algeria, Iraq, and Tunisia and elsewhere. No Palestinians among them except some hanger ons. Most say they are paid by the Hariri group......
I was told the army will have to destroy every house in Bared to remove Fateh al Islam......
.....the situation in Lebanon mirrors, in some respects, the early 1980's when groups sprung up to resist the US green lighted Israeli invasion and occupation. But rather than being Shia and pro-Hezbollah, today's groups are largely Sunni and anti-Hezbollah. Hence they qualify for US aid, funneled by Sunni financial backers in league with the Bush administration which is committed to funding Islamist Sunni groups to weaken Hezbollah.
This project has become the White House obsession following Israel's July 2006 defeat.
To understand what is going on with Fatah al-Islam at Nahr el-Bared one would want a brief introduction to Lebanon's amazing, but shadowy 'Welch Club'.....
The Club is named for its godfather, David Welch, assistant to Secretary of State Rice who is the point man for the Bush administration and is guided by Eliot Abrams.
Key Lebanese members of the Welch Club (aka: the 'Club') include:
The Lebanese civil war veteran, warlord, feudalist and mercurial Walid Jumblatt of the Druze party( the Progressive Socialist Party or PSP)
Another civil war veteran, warlord, terrorist (Served 11 years in prison for massacres committed against fellow Christians among others) Samir Geagea. Leader of the extremist Phalange party and its Lebanese Forces (LF) the group that conducted the Israel organized massacre at Sabra-Shatilla (although led by Elie Hobeika, once Geagea's mentor, Geagea did not take part in the Sept. 1982 slaughter of 1,700 Palestinian and Lebanese).
The billionaire, Saudi Sheikh and Club president Saad Hariri leader of the Sunni Future Movement (FM)......
Over a year ago Hariri's Future Movement started setting up Sunni Islamist terrorist cells (the PSP and LF already had their own militia since the civil war and despite the Taif Accords requiring militia to disarm they are now rearmed and itching for action and trying hard to provoke Hezbollah).
The FM created Sunni Islamist 'terrorist' cells were to serve as a cover for (anti-Hezbollah) Welch Club projects. The plan was that actions of these cells, of which Fatah el-Islam is one, could be blamed on al Qaeda or Syria or anyone but the Club......
According to members of both Fatah el-Islam and Jund-al-Sham their groups acted on the directive of the Club president, Saad Hariri.
So what went wrong? "Why the bank robbery" and the slaughter at Nahr el-Baled?
According to operatives of Fatah el-Islam, the Bush administration got cold feet with people like Seymour Hirsh snooping around and with the White House post-Iraq discipline in free fall. Moreover, Hezbollah intelligence knew all about the Clubs activities and was in a position to flip the two groups who were supposed to ignite a Sunni Shia civil war which Hezbollah vows to prevent.
Things started to go very wrong quickly for the Club last week.
FM "stopped" the payroll of Fateh el-Islam's account at the Hariri family owned bank.".......
Long story short, Fatah el-Islam must be silenced at all costs. Their tale, if told, is poison for the Club and its sponsors. We will likely see their attempted destruction in the coming days.
Hezbollah is watching and supporting the Lebanese army."