Thursday, June 12, 2008

Fatah al-Islam's Fugitive Leader al-'Absi Threatens Hizbu'llah; Says Nasrallah Obeys 'Satan's Ayatollahs in Tehran'

Shakir al-'Absi, the fugitive leader of the Lebanese militant group Fatah al-Islam, an extremist Sunni takfiri outfit. Fatah al-Islam fought a bloody three-month battle with the Lebanese Army in the densely-packed streets of the Nahr al-Barid Palestinian refugee camp (really a city) of 40,000 outside the northern coastal city of Tripoli. The Lebanese Army eventually bombarded much of the Nahr al-Barid into ruins. Over 220 militants, 168 Lebanese soldiers, and 50 plus civilians were killed in the fighting.

In an attempt to counter Hizbu'llah's rising political power, Sunni politician Sa'd al-Hariri's Future Movement (Hariri Inc.) has funded Sunni organizations such as the Lebanese Muslim Brotherhood and ignored and perhaps even encouraged the formation of radical Sunni groups such as Jund al-Sham. These Sunni takfiri groups are only nominally loyal to al-Hariri and would ideally like to replace Lebanon's government with a radical religious system.

Fatah al-Islam Leader Threatens Hezbollah; U.S.-friendly Sunnis
William McCants (Ph.D., Near Eastern Studies, Princeton University)

From: McCants' excellent blog, Jihadica: "Jihadica is a clearinghouse for materials related to militant, transnational Sunni Islamism, commonly known as Jihadism. At the moment, much of this material is diffuse, known only to a few specialists, and inaccessible to the public and policymakers unless they pay a fee. Jihadica provides this material for free and keeps a daily record of its dissemination that can be easily searched and studied. These records are accompanied by the expert commentary of people who have the requisite language training to understand the primary source material and advanced degrees in relevant fields."

Shakir al-`Absi, the fugitive leader of Fatah al-Islam, has issued his second audio statement since the defeat of his organization at the hands of the Lebanese Army last year. In it, he claims that the U.S. knows that it cannot directly break the “power” (shawka–a favorite Jihadi term) of the Sunnis in the Middle East, so it is using proxies to achieve the same result. This is particularly the case in Lebanon. Firstly, the U.S. is working through Sunni proxies to take control of the state’s material and media resources. Secondly, it is deliberately empowering Iran and its rejectionist allies in the region. (”Rejectionists” is a pejorative term used for Twelver Shia, who reject the first three caliphs).

`Absi goes on to say that the Sunnis of Lebanon have no one to fight for them. Hezbollah is not serious about fighting Jews; they just want control of Lebanon. And the Lebanese Army abandoned the Sunnis when Hezbollah militiamen swept into their neighborhoods in May. This, despite the fact that these same Sunnis had supported the army’s crackdown on Fatah al-Islam last year.
Fatah al-Islam fighters

Toward the end of his audio statement, `Absi addresses the “heroes of Islam” in northern and southern Lebanon and the “lions of Islam” in the Palestinian camps in Lebanon: "The time of separation has come. Now you will find the lions of monotheism suddenly attacking the enemies of God, no matter who they are–Jew, Christian, hateful rejectionist [Shi'a], or apostate."

He also menacingly warns: “The car bombs of Iraq and the brigades of martyrdom seekers are not far from the enemies of God, wherever they are.”

More from the Associated Press:

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

BEIRUT, Lebanon: The fugitive leader of the al-Qaida-inspired Fatah Islam group lashed out at Lebanon's Sunni politicians and the country's Shiite Hezbollah militants, and threatened suicide attacks in a new audio posted Tuesday on the Internet and carried by Lebanese television stations.

Shaker Youssef al-Absi said in the recording that time has now come for revenge against the "enemies of God" and added that suicide attackers were ready for action. The authenticity of audio, posted on a web site commonly used by militants, could not be independently verified.
It was the second posting by al-Absi, sentenced to death earlier this year by a Lebanese court for a 2007 double bus bombings that killed three people and wounded 20.

Al-Absi remains at large after escaping last September from fierce fighting between Fatah Islam and the Lebanese army at the Nahr el-Bared Palestinian refugee camp in northern Lebanon.
Also in the audio, al-Absi claimed that Lebanese Sunni leaders and the head of the Shiite Hezbollah militant group, Hassan Nasrallah, seek to split the Sunni Muslim community, allegedly acting on American and Iranian orders to do this.

He also criticized the Lebanese army for not taking any action when Hezbollah fighters and their allies took over much of Muslim west Beirut from pro-government Sunni gunmen during bitter fighting last month that brought Lebanon close to a new civil war.

A Jordanian of Palestinian origin, al-Absi specifically named Western-backed Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora, and Parliament majority leader Saad Hariri, along with the Hezbollah chief in the audio. He also criticized Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who is a Sunni.
Their goal, he alleged, "is the same and it is to humiliate and split the nation of monotheism," a reference to Sunni Islam.
Hizbu'llah supporters rally around a photograph of the party's leader, Shaykh Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah.
"One side takes orders from (U.S. President George W.) Bush while the other takes orders from the Satan's ayatollahs in Tehran," he said, referring to top Shiite clerics in Iran, adding that Sunni "lions of monotheism will destroy the enemies of God, whoever they are .... The enemies of God will not be safe from the booby-traps of Iraq and the suicide bomber battalions, wherever they are."

Iranian supreme leader Sayyid 'Ali Khamenei

Earlier this month, Fatah Islam claimed responsibility for a May 31 explosion that killed a Lebanese soldier in the northern town of Abdeh near the devastated Nahr el-Bared camp.
Lebanese authorities have said that 222 Fatah Islam militants were killed in the Nahr el-Bared fighting and more than 200 were arrested, while 169 Lebanese soldiers died. Palestinian officials said 47 Palestinian civilians also died in the camp as Lebanese army besieged the militants holed up inside.

Also Tuesday, an Islamic militant who was seriously wounded in the Palestinian refugee camp of Ein el-Hilweh in southern Lebanon died of his wounds, security officials said. Jalal Hassanein, a 27-year-old Palestinian, was shot by unknown assailants Monday night, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Everyday Jihad: The Rise of Militant Islam Among Palestinian in Lebanon, by Bernard Rougier and translated by Pascale Ghazaleh, is an excellent study of the emergence of Sunni takfiri groups in the Palestinian refugee camps of Lebanon. Many have reportedly received funding from Hariri Inc. and foreign backers, such as Saudi and Gulf Salafis.

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