When will al-Qaeda strike in retaliation against the pro-Western Siniora government? By Alexander Jenniches / Levanticipation.com (Beirut/Lebanon)
Beirut, Lebanon (rushprnews) June 4,2007- With a showdown coming closer by the day between Fatah al-Islam and the Lebanese Army, what ever the outcome, possible repercussions for the Lebanese government and the country as a whole have to be discussed.
A possible Palestinian uproar was the subject some days ago. Rising tensions with Hezbollah yesterday. Now, another danger is more likely than ever: a strike of al-Qaeda or similar groups as retaliation for the crushing of Fatah al-Islam which is believed to be somehow al-Qaeda linked or sharing a similar ideology.
After four years of war in Iraq the conclusion must be drawn that the land between Euphrates and Tigris has become the largest training camp of terrorism worldwide. Extremists are floating from Lebanon to Syria, to Iraq and back. Although the jihadist mindset is poison for the Alawite Syrian government it is not totally clear why fighters do cross Syria relatively easily or did so in recent years.
Have they been funneld by Syria to give the US a mess? Did they bribe the Lebanese and Syrian border police? Or have they just taken the chance to cross the very difficult to control green boarders from Lebanon to Syria and from there to Iraq?
No matter how, moving back and forth in the region is not too difficult. And with their brothers-in-mind of Fatah al-Islam under heavy attack, the jihadists will most likely not let the Siniora government get away with that crackdown. May it be the momentum of events in Lebanon, when the best troops of the country are bound in Nahr el-bared, to take some load off Fatah al-Islam during the battle or just in revenge against the pro-Western Siniora government.
Lebanese media were reporting at the beginning of the week that an “Arab” citizen, a Saudi as was spread, was arrested in a hotel in BeirutÂ´s mainly Christian district Ashrafieh. He is said to have been an former al-Qaeda fighter, turned by the Syrian secret service — which is accused by the Lebanese government to be also somehow backing the Fatah al-Islam group — to serve his new masters. How serious such announcements can be taken in times of war — the disinformation machine is surely running full steam — can not be discussed here.
But what could be seen on the ground and in the streets was telling: empty roads and bars at the weekend with police and soldiers patrolling in huge numbers and closely watching passengers with rucksacks and bags. Lebanese security forces and the public are expecting something, there is not doubt about that.
Beirut, February 14, 2005: Former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri is killed along with 20 other people in a huge bomb blast. The picture reminds of September 11, 2001 in New York. Was there another 9/11 in the making for Beirut?
Foto: Alexander Jenniches
Media were reporting on Sunday, Fatah al-Islam was planning a 9/11 style attack on Lebanon. According to those reports, a fighter of that group had been caught and interrogated by security, giving details about the plot: a hotel, embassies and a tunnel, which is connecting Beirut to the north, had been chosen as targets. Again, in such situation any information should be handled with care.
But something serious must still be expected. Binding such many forces as could be witnessed during the recent days in Beirut and neighbouring areas is not for nothing and assumably based on solid intelligence. In such a tight situation every boot on the ground is indispensable and will not be on duty without reason.
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