Lebanese troops battle militants

#1
More trouble brewing...

BBC said:
Lebanese troops battle militants

Fighting has erupted between Lebanese troops and militants at a camp for Palestinian refugees in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli.

Security officials said at least seven Lebanese soldiers were killed. There were also reports of casualties among the militants and civilians.

Gunfire was heard at the Nahr el-Bared camp after Palestinians with alleged links to al-Qaeda attacked army posts.

Cont/...
 
#3
whitecity said:
More trouble brewing...

BBC said:
Lebanese troops battle militants

Fighting has erupted between Lebanese troops and militants at a camp for Palestinian refugees in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli.

Security officials said at least seven Lebanese soldiers were killed. There were also reports of casualties among the militants and civilians.

Gunfire was heard at the Nahr el-Bared camp after Palestinians with alleged links to al-Qaeda attacked army posts.

Cont/...
Apart from the Al Qaeda connection which is worrying, pretty amazed that the Palestinians in Lebanon have remained so placid (and on the whole continue to do so) since the end of the civil war. Given the circumstances in which they live in its good luck and I suppose the impact of separate Palestinian infrastructure that they have not been more active in Lebanon.
Fath Al Islam are tiny and I would not be surprised if they have more connections to militant Lebanese Sunni groups then any real presence amongst the Palestinians in Lebanon.
 
#4
Seymour Hersh mentioned these chaps. He was claiming the US/Saudi was backing them against HB. It appears to have gone pear shaped as many suspected it would:
The United States has also given clandestine support to the Siniora government, according to the former senior intelligence official and the U.S. government consultant. “We are in a program to enhance the Sunni capability to resist Shiite influence, and we’re spreading the money around as much as we can,” the former senior intelligence official said. The problem was that such money “always gets in more pockets than you think it will,” he said. “In this process, we’re financing a lot of bad guys with some serious potential unintended consequences. We don’t have the ability to determine and get pay vouchers signed by the people we like and avoid the people we don’t like. It’s a very high-risk venture.”

American, European, and Arab officials I spoke to told me that the Siniora government and its allies had allowed some aid to end up in the hands of emerging Sunni radical groups in northern Lebanon, the Bekaa Valley, and around Palestinian refugee camps in the south. These groups, though small, are seen as a buffer to Hezbollah; at the same time, their ideological ties are with Al Qaeda.

During a conversation with me, the former Saudi diplomat accused Nasrallah of attempting “to hijack the state,” but he also objected to the Lebanese and Saudi sponsorship of Sunni jihadists in Lebanon. “Salafis are sick and hateful, and I’m very much against the idea of flirting with them,” he said. “They hate the Shiites, but they hate Americans more. If you try to outsmart them, they will outsmart us. It will be ugly.”

Alastair Crooke, who spent nearly thirty years in MI6, the British intelligence service, and now works for Conflicts Forum, a think tank in Beirut, told me, “The Lebanese government is opening space for these people to come in. It could be very dangerous.” Crooke said that one Sunni extremist group, Fatah al-Islam, had splintered from its pro-Syrian parent group, Fatah al-Intifada, in the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp, in northern Lebanon. Its membership at the time was less than two hundred. “I was told that within twenty-four hours they were being offered weapons and money by people presenting themselves as representatives of the Lebanese government’s interests—presumably to take on Hezbollah,” Crooke said.

The largest of the groups, Asbat al-Ansar, is situated in the Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp. Asbat al-Ansar has received arms and supplies from Lebanese internal-security forces and militias associated with the Siniora government.

In 2005, according to a report by the U.S.-based International Crisis Group, Saad Hariri, the Sunni majority leader of the Lebanese parliament and the son of the slain former Prime Minister—Saad inherited more than four billion dollars after his father’s assassination—paid forty-eight thousand dollars in bail for four members of an Islamic militant group from Dinniyeh. The men had been arrested while trying to establish an Islamic mini-state in northern Lebanon. The Crisis Group noted that many of the militants “had trained in al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan.”
 

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