May 28, 2007 11:38 pm


Al Jazeera reports that the Lebanese government gave Fatah al Islam until midweek to negotiate a settlement. Walid Jumblat says that"Nobody has talked about a military solution, but we want the criminals to give themselves up." In the meantime the Lebanese army dug in and keeps up the shelling of the camp.

Here is a tape broadcast by Al Jazeera in which Fatah Al Islam's leader, Shaker al-Abssi says amongst other things:

"We wish to die. We wish to die for the sake of God. If the leader is sitting at the forefront, he will set an example for his followers."

"We say to you, the guardians of the American project (the Lebanese government), the Sunni people will be leaders in fighting the Jews, the Americans and their loyalists."

It's hard to get incensed anymore by adult making such pronouncements. Hamas produces Videos of 6 year old girls performing as suicide bombers. But back to Lebanon, who is Shaker al-Abssi and is Fatah al-Islam a Syrian puppet or an Al Qaeda branch? Is there a difference and does it matter? Debka has the history:

After founding the Palestinian Fatah Uprising last year, Syrian intelligence discovered that the leader they had appointed, Mussa al Alama, a Palestinian born in Jerusalem known as Abu Khaled, had betrayed them. He had enlisted 300 members, recruited in Damascus’ refugee camps, to al Qaeda.

They arrested him on Dec. 21, 2006, accusing him of misusing Syrian intelligence funds allocated to pay and train Palestinians to fight in the Gaza Strip and West Bank. He had spent the money instead on opening an al Qaeda center in central Damascus. This center passed the trained men to Lebanon instead of Palestinian territory, together with Iraqi, Saudi, Yemeni and Sudanese fighters from Iraq.

On Dec. 10, 2006, DEBKAfile reported a esoteric ceremony that took place on Nov. 27, at the Nahr al Bared camp which is now under Lebanese army assault.

An armed Palestinian faction ceremonially changed its name from Fatah-Intifada (Fatah Uprising) to Fatah al-Islam. At the ceremony, its members showed off their new Taliban-style beards and said they had come to realize that the only way to achieve Palestinian goals was “by killing all the Jews and their crusader allies.”

Some made their way aboard smugglers boats to the Gaza Strip to join al Qaeda-Palestine. . . .

Al-Abssi claims his only mission in Lebanon now is to reform the Palestinians in Lebanon’s refugee camps to Islamic law. However, Monday, May 21, Lebanon’s national police commander, Maj. Gen. Ashraf Rifi, said that the entire Fatah al-Islam was nothing more than a pawn of Damascus.

May I venture a guess? Syria or some other"moderate" will offer to negotiate a face saving exit for the group and charge a hefty fee for the service. This is the normal modus operandi in the ME. Then what? They will cease to be terrorists?

Click here for Walid Phares' take on recent developments.

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