This will come as a shock to those who still believe that Iraq is not central to Al-Qaida’s plans. Ayman al-Zawahiri, exhorted his followers in Iraq to take their fight to neighboring areas in the region.
“In a letter sent to the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq in the past few weeks, Zawahiri claims that it is defeating U.S. forces and urges followers to expand their campaign of terror. He conjures a vision of an Islamic state comprising Lebanon, Palestine and Syria, where Al Qaeda has already gained its first footholds.”
To get an understanding of just how complicated this troubled region’s religion and politics are, wrap your mind around this.
- Bashar Assad, an underachieving ophthalmologist inherited his current position as “president” of Syria from his father –but not for any leadership skills— his brother was the first choice but was killed in a motoring accident. Assad’s ruling clan are from a religious minority called Alawites, a form of Shi’iaism that deifies Ali in the same way as the Christians’ Jesus.
- The Baathist Alawite minority rule a Sunni Muslim majority in Syria, in much the same way as Saddam Hussein’s Baath Sunni minority ruled a Shi’ite Muslim majority in Iraq. In spite of Assad’s religion being deemed “apostate” by both mainstream Shi’ite and Sunni Islam, Assad has no problem with Syria being used as a “weigh station” for Iranian weapons in transit for the Hezbollah in Lebanon.
- Al-Qaida, an extremist Salafi/Wahhabi terror group that wants to overthrow all the present dictatorships in the region, has created affiliates in Palestinian refugee camps in both Gaza and in Lebanon. Bashar Assad has allowed the Sunni Fattah al-Islam Palestinian al-Qaida terror group into Lebanon to counterbalance the growing influence of the Shi’ia Hezbollah terror group, in spite of knowing that al-Qaida would like nothing better than to separate his head from his shoulders.
- The Hezbollah, being nothing more than an existential arm of the Iranian mullocracy has aims in transforming not only Lebanon, but the entire region into a giant Shi’ite Islamic state, with Israel’s destruction being the linch pin that will set things in motion. Hezbollah has been active in Gaza as well, providing training and weapons for the various Palestinian terror groups, especially for the Shi’ite orientated Palestinian Islamic Jihad. The PIJ wants to unite both branches of Islam into one collective fighting arm against the West and Israel, so far their message has fallen on deaf ears.
The West needs to stay ahead of both al-Qaida and other similar groups that fly their colors under the terrorist pirate flag, their entrance into Palestinian refugee camps in both Gaza and in Lebanon is a dangerous development. In my opinion, one noticable way to deny al-Qaida future Palestinian members is to merge the UNRWA (the Palestinians’ own UN refugee organization) into UNHCR, that “other” refugee organization that services the rest of the world’s refugees.
The inability of the UNRWA to ensure that Palestinian refugee camps (off limits to the Lebanese army) do not become safe havens for terrorists, should give rise to the notion that they need to be dismantled and the people assimilated into their host societies. After Israeli “Operation Defensive Shield,” the refugee camps in the West Bank alone, provided ample proof that the UN is unable to police these camps on their own.
That Fattah al-Islam in Lebanon is repeating this strategy of using camps as safe havens as well as to recruit new members, makes the issue of the refugee camps a top priority, and need to be placed on the international agenda. The dismanteling of these camps might also remove one major stumbling block for future negotiations in ending the Arab/Israeli conflict. *L* KGS
Update; Daniel forwards a JPost article about Saudi columnist, Yousef Nasser Al-Sweidan, who argues that “the Palestinian refugees’ “right of return” cannot be implemented, and that the only solution is for them to be naturalized in the countries where they currently reside, according to MEMRI – the Middle East Media Research Project.”
Also: Via Solomonia, The New Republic’s Marty Peretz, writes about the Palestinian refugees ,
“Sixty years on the international dole, with additional cash from the always so-loving Scandinavians, has actually castrated them.” More here.
Here’s also something of interest, responsibility for the plight of the refugees in the words of Palestinian spokespeople and Arab news outlets:
QUOTE: “The Arab states which had encouraged the Palestinian Arabs to leave their homes temporarily in order to be out of the way of the Arab invasion armies, have failed to keep their promise to help these refugees.” The Jordanian daily newspaper Falistin, Feb 19, 1949.
QUOTE: “For the flight and fall of the other villages it is our leaders who are responsible because of their dissemination of rumours exaggerating Jewish crimes and describing them as atrocities in order to inflame the Arabs…” The Jordanian daily newspaper, Al Urdun, April 9, 1953.
QUOTE: “The 15th May, 1948 arrived… on that day the Mufti of Jerusalem appealed to the Arabs of Palestine to leave the country, because the Arab countries were about to enter and fight in the stead.” The Egyptian daily Akhbar El Yom, Oct 12, 1963.
QUOTE: “The fact that there are these refugees is the direct consequence of the act of the Arab states in opposing partition and the Jewish state. The Arab states agree upon this policy unanimously and they must share in the solution of the problem.” ? Emile Ghoury, secretary of the Palestinian Arab Higher Committee, in an interview with the Beirut Telegraph Sept. 6, 1948. “Who brought the Palestinians to Lebanon as refugees, suffering now from the malign attitude of newspapers and communal leaders, who have neither honor nor conscience? Who brought them over in dire straits and penniless, after they lost their honor? The Arab states, and Lebanon amongst them, did it.” ? The Beirut Muslim weekly Kul-Shay, Aug. 19, 1951.
QUOTE: “The Palestinian People does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means of continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct ‘Palestinian people’ to oppose Zionism.” Zahir Musehin (Palestine Liberation Organisation executive committee member. March 31, 1977 in the Dutch newspaper ‘Trouw’)