Impressions, views, and steam-blowing by a lonesome cowboy.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Fateh el-Islam: Objectives (Part II)

In an interview to L’Orient-LeJour MP and Minister Ahmad Fatfat talked about Fateh el-Islam (or Fatah, FI herein). See Part I here for the start of the interview.

From the interview with Michel Hajji-Georgiou [Sorry no link, L’Orient’s stories are accessible for just one day. It’s the June 1, 2007 issue, translation is mine.]


Their (FI) objective was to destabilize the country to serve Syria. They spread out throughout the city of Tripoli in a matter of minutes, this means they were prepared. They had a plan to control the city [Lebanon’s second largest] and then the rest of the North.
FI was about to take over Tripoli and then the rest of the North and hold it? I don’t believe 300 guys can do that. Military experts please enlighten me.

If they could have controlled the Qalamoun village, where they set up the first roadblock, the whole of the Sunni North would have fallen under their control. However the Lebanese authorities took them by surprise and they had to reveal their plans.
The “surprise” part is a joke Ahmad, right? You funny guy, you.

[Fatfat then speculates] that FI wanted to establish an emirate in the region. They had a large amount of weapons and wanted to send a political message that the Lebanese government is not in control, and that Syria is needed (again) to restore order.
I don’t know about “emirate” but the rest is self-evident.

Fellow blogger Mustafa of Beirut Spring blogged on this under “Busted”. I am glad FI was belatedly “busted”, though I won’t count my chickens before they hatch. And I maintain the government acted late, as usual (see Part I).

However, there are many aspects of Fatftat’s analysis that I find very disturbing.

-There is an aura of “unseriousness” in Fatfat’s account. Granted he is not the most responsible spokesman, but this is national security and our officials sound like minor league players (not credible, not much evidence, why no action earlier etc)

-A group, we were first told numbered 50, then 150-200, is now put at 300 before we get action beyond the usual “monitoring”. See previous post, about government tracking, then monitoring, then postponed action, then they kill 17 Lebanese soldiers before the army actually moves...

-Enough with the stupid monitoring and gathering information on such groups. Arrest them or shoot them when they are still numbering 10 guys. Then, and only then, figure out who is behind them and what their purpose is.

-The government probably did the same thing with Jund el-Sham in the southern camp of Ein el-Helweh camp. What the hell is the government monitoring?

These groups are armed and dangerous thugs who have an agenda opposed to that of the Lebanese government, people, and state. I can tell you that from my armchair at home. Do we need to monitor them for 2 years, watch them grow to 300, and let them take over large areas before we figure out that their activities go beyond organizing Saturday night dances?


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