Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Terror in the Levant

Who attacked the U.S. embassy in Damascus – and why?
By Justin Raimondo

"Jund al-Sham, loosely affiliated with al-Qaeda, has claimed responsibility for a number of attacks in the Levant, including the assassination of a Hezbollah official. Now this last certainly seems like an odd task for a purportedly Islamist group to undertake. The ostensible motivation for this attack is the Shi'ite-Sunni rivalry: the Shi'ite Hezbollah is considered heretical, and therefore a target of Takfiri retribution, yet the confluence of interests between these "Soldiers of Syria" with the soldiers of Israel in the IDF is striking. Another oddity: the links between Jund al-Sham and a recently uncovered Israeli spy network in Lebanon.

Hussein Khattab, a Palestinian member of the spy ring – which has been linked to several assassinations of Palestinian leaders and Hezbollah militants in Lebanon – is the brother of Sheik Jamal Khattab, an Islamic cleric and recruiter for al-Qaeda in Iraq, who is, in turn, connected to Jund al-Sham. Furthermore, a suspiciously large part of Jund al-Sham's activities in the Levant have been directed against Hezbollah. In July 2005, Jund al-Sham faxed a threat to the Shi'ite Fatwa Center in Tyre, vowing to murder several prominent Hezbollah figures, including former spiritual leader Sayyed Hussein Fadlallah. The group also issued a number of statements labeling Hezbollah "unbelievers" – and thus justifiably targeted by "true" Muslims. Another coincidence: the assassination of Hezbollah leaders Ali Saleh and Ghaleb Awali, as well as Palestinian militants in Lebanon, previously claimed by Jund al-Sham, has been uncovered by the Lebanese security forces as the work of the Mossad ring."

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