Has Syria become a dangerous place?


Hizbullah orders its men not to visit Syria

Lebanese media report organization has issued ‘travel advisory’ to its members following Mugniyah assassination, car bomb explosion in Damascus last Saturday. Senior Hamas members in Syrian capital on high alert as well

Roee Nahmias
Published:
10.01.08, 12:27 / Israel News

Hizbullah has instructed its men, particularly senior members involved in the organization’s security, to refrain completely from visiting Syria until further notice, Lebanese media reported Wednesday.

The instruction was issued following the explosion of a car bomb in Damascus last Saturday, which left 17 people dead, including a high-ranking military officer.

More Threats

According to Lebanese media, Hizbullah asked its men to take precaution during their visits to the Syrian capital following the assassination of the organization’s military leader, Imad Mugniyah. Now, following the car bomb, the request was changed to a stark instruction to halt all visits to Syria.

According to the report, for years Hizbullah viewed Syria as a safe place for its members, where there was no need for the strict precautions used in Lebanon, but now the organization has changed its perception and views Syria as a dangerous place.

The policy was changed after Hizbullah realized that Syria has become significantly penetrable for the activity of radical Islamic groups, and that the Syrian security organizations have failed to discover who was responsible for the car bomb explosion.

According to the report, Hamas leaders living in Damascus also decided to take unusual security measures following the Mugniyah assassination. In the past, Syria’s security organizations were exclusively responsible for their safety.

The Syrian security organizations are experiencing problems on two levels, the report said. On the one hand, they are penetrable to radical Islamic groups which have entered Syria and settled in the country, and on the other hand, they are penetrable to foreign security organizations, leading to security concerns in Syria.

‘Car bomb aimed at undermining stability’
Meanwhile, a Syrian security source reported that the country’s security organizations have exposed the cell responsible for Saturday’s attack. The source told Syrian newspaper al-Watan that all cell members were citizens of Arab states and none of them were Syrian.

According to the source, the car accidentally exploded in a neighborhood in south Damascus, and was actually meant to be detonated in a different place. The accident happened “due to reasons which will be revealed later on,” the source said.

He added that “the investigation being conducted shows that the cell planned to undermine the security and stability in Syria through instructions it received by the elements financing it.”

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COMMENTS:

lucia said…

UP, did you see this article?

I’ve read another piece informing that Syria has massed 10.000 troops at the border with Lebanon. I saw it yesterdan but cannot remember where, I’ll try to search for it. This step was adopted, apparently, after Muallem talked with Rice (a green light to invade?)

Some western media are spreading zio-hasbara sayind that Palestinian refugees abroad, specially in Lebanon are getting radicalised and “approaching salafism”

…… what leads us ask why the salafists have been and are being sent there. I only see the response pointing at undermining Hezbollah and Syria and the same liquidating Palestinians in Lebanon under the cover of fighting salafist groups. Nahr-el-Bared revisited.-
7:18 AM, October 01, 2008

uprooted Palestinian said…

Yes, Lucia I read aL-akhbar daily, Syria has massed 25.000 troops at the border with Lebanon, and a similar number at th Iraqi borders, before the meeting of Rice and Moallim. It was said that Syria, would follow the steps of Russia and interven in Lebanon, and that Assad hinted to that option during the summit with Sarkozi, Turky and Qutar, and that hint forced Saad Al-Hariri, to hurry to Tripoly to release the tension.I personally think that Syria. unless obliged fot its own security shall not intervene in Lebanon.
7:46 AM, October 01, 2008

lucia said…

Here are three more articles on this issue.Tension grows between Syria and Lebanon

after bombings

Syria urges security cooperation on Lebanon borderSyria encouraged by U.S. talks

The piece I mentioned above (re massing troops) is none of these thee. I think I saw it on yahoo news and has already been sent to archives, but I’ll continue digging for it
7:37 AM, October 01, 2008


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“…… what leads us ask why the salafists have been and are being sent there. I only see the response pointing at undermining Hezbollah and Syria and the same liquidating Palestinians in Lebanon under the cover of fighting salafist groups. Nahr-el-Bared revisited.-“

Lucia

You are hundred percent right, the majority of Fath alislam in Nahr albarid were, were not lebanese, not palestinians. It is well know that Qaeda assasinated Hariri, and 13 members invoved are jailed at RUME PRISON.

They were sent to Lebanon, to be used by Hari, He used to say, Me or Qaeda.

Their second mission is destoying Palestinian camps, to pave the way for transfering Palestinian. They did it in nahr albarid, and would repeat it in Ein Al Helwi, where they have strong presence (Zund Ahsam, and Usbat Al-ansar).

The third mission is fighting Hezbullah, and the fouth is distablise Syria.
They succeeded in Tripoly, because Hezbullah has no efficient presence in the North, therefore, Syria would act if necessary,


You heard that Quarazy, asked king Abdullah to use his influence on Talban… Connect the dots

fatima said…
UPI have heard Mr Aniss al Naqash saying that Hariri personal planes bring salafists into the North Lebanon . (to use them when needed didnt they have their own bank accounts in the Banque Meditaranee ? )
12:57 PM, October 01, 2008

Fatima and Lucia
The following article shed mor ligt on the facts said on above comments


The Explosions in Damascus and Tripoli

Bombs in the Levant
By RANNIE AMIRI

Two bombings in three days have rattled both Syria and Lebanon. And as with most events in the Middle East—especially those that occur in neighboring countries—nothing happens by coincidence.

The first took place in Damascus on Sept. 26, killing 17, all civilians. According to Syria’s state run news agency SANA, the attack was the result of a suicide car bomber. This past Monday, a second car bomb, this time detonated via remote-control, targeted a bus filled with Lebanese soldiers in the northern city of Tripoli, killing seven and injuring 33.

Although no group claimed responsibility for either incident, the perpetrators are well aware that the location of the two blasts and their intended victims are all that are needed to identify them.

Twin Attacks?

The Damascus bombing occurred at the junction of a road leading from the airport to the shrine of Sayyida Zainab, an important pilgrimage site for Shia Muslims. Shias from all over the world visit the shrine, but most frequently those from Lebanon, Iraq and Iran. Interestingly, the site of the blast was also near a Syrian intelligence building. More intriguing, a statement denouncing the bombing was conspicuously absent from Saudi Arabia, unlike most other Arab countries. Even the United States State Department saw fit to condemn it.

In Tripoli, those responsible obviously had the Lebanese Army in their sights. Indeed, Tripoli has been a hotbed of Sunni Muslim extremism in Lebanon, especially since the siege of Nahr al-Bared over a year ago. At that time, a group calling itself Fatah al-Islam took over the Palestinian refugee camp just outside Tripoli, and a three-month long battle with the Lebanese Army ensued. The Salafi militants, following the same fundamentalist form of Islam as al-Qaeda, were ultimately defeated but not before inflicting heavy casualties on the Army.

More recently, fighting in the city erupted between Sunni Muslims supportive of Rafiq Hariri’s Future Movement and Alawites allied with Hezbollah. The longstanding dispute finally ended after the “Tripoli Document” was signed in September by Hariri and Ali Eid, head of the Arab Democratic Party and leader of the Alawite community. [It was signed after Syria massed troops on the borders] Again, it was the Lebanese Army that needed intervene to end the sectarian conflict.

Ironically, it was Rafiq Hariri himself, as detailed by The New Yorker’s investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, who first rolled out the welcome mat in Lebanon for extremist groups such as Fatah al-Islam as a way of curtailing Hezbollah’s influence in the country (before the agreement backfired). [this confirm what Fatima said ]

These fact make the U.S.-backed Hariri—a dual Lebanese, Saudi citizen—appear even more hypocritical and ridiculous when he blamed the Syrian government for the Tripoli attack, especially since Damascus was the victim itself only days earlier, likely at the hands of the same type of militants.

New Arrivals

But why two attacks, in two different countries, against two different targets?

It was the pan-Arab daily, Al-Hayat, which broke the news that will shed some light on this question:

“Al-Qaeda representatives are in Lebanon at present and they are trying to establish contact with [certain] groups based in Ain al-Hilwah.”

Ain al-Hilwah, located on the eastern outskirts of the southern port city of Sidon, is home to anywhere between 45,000-70,000 Palestinian refugees. The uncertainty in population is reflective of it being the largest and most autonomous of all the 12 Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. Ain al-Hilwa is also completely off-limits to the country’s armed forces and security is the responsibility of the factions within it.

According to the Jordanian security official quoted in the story, Saudi, Yemeni, Jordanian and European nationals departing Iraq have infiltrated Ain al-Hilwah—no doubt under cover of its internal disputes—in order to enlist disgruntled Palestinians to their cause. Local militant groups already present there and considered sympathetic to al-Qaeda include Jund al-Sham, the Ansar League, and Fatah al-Islam.

The hallmark of al-Qaeda is sowing sectarian strife. And there is no better recruitment ground to help in this endeavor than the teeming Palestinian refugee camps such as Nahr al-Bared and especially Ain al-Hilwah. The latter is completely isolated from the rest of the country and its disenfranchised, disaffected Sunni Muslim inhabitants make them an ideal constituency.

Hezbollah though, is keenly aware of these circumstances and overtures and has proactively attempted to counter them. As so well reported by Dr. Franklin Lamb, they have done this through humanitarian outreach, by providing municipal assistance in the form of sewer and water projects, and successfully lobbying the government to issue Palestinians temporary identification cards, all not insignificant measures.

Rallying the Troops

It was al-Qaeda’s Ayman al-Zawahiri, in a videotaped message released in early September, who lambasted Hezbollah for allowing “thousands of crusaders”—otherwise known as United Nations peacekeepers—into the south after the July 2006 war with Israel. He additionally assailed nearly all Shia political and religious figures in the region.

Quite remarkably, a “memorandum of understanding” had been signed earlier in August between (Shia) Hezbollah and the Salafi Belief and Justice Movement. For this to occur between two groups at opposite ends of the ideological spectrum was stunning (Salafis consider Shia Muslims as heretics at best and non-Muslims at worst). But because of the outrage and intense pressure levied against it by other Salafi movements, the agreement was frozen only a few days later.

Although al-Qaeda and their allies are far from posing a direct military threat to Hezbollah, this was never their modus operandi. Rather, they will attempt to achieve their objectives by creating conditions giving pretext to the Israelis to strike Lebanon, launching attacks on UNIFIL forces, or assassinating high-profile figures in the country so as to foment political instability.

The Damascus and Tripoli bombings are thus meant to convey one simple message:

We have arrived.

Rannie Amiri is an independent commentator on the Arab and Islamic worlds. He may be reached at: rbamiri yahoo.com.

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lucia said…

UP, check this out:
Officer linked to Hariri killing was target of Syria blast: reports
9:02 PM, October 01, 2008

Lucia:

According to DEBKAfile Brig-Gen. Abdul-Karim Abbas head of the Syrian intelligence Palestinian department is on the list of 6 Syrian officers UN Hariri investigator Detlev Mehlis wants for interrogation in Lebanon

I checked your Link, but who would kill him? The Syrians could have done it without killing innocents, and hurting the their security image.

However: THE MAN IS ALIVE

Sep 29, 2008
No Syrian intelligence officer killed in the blast

AKI reported few minutes ago that a Syrian Brigadier Abdul-Karim Abbas, Vice-Chairman in the Syrian intelligence, is assassinated in yesterday’s explosion. The Brigadier is questioned earlier and linked to Hariri assassination.

Lebanese website Elnashra denied this report saying Brigadier Abbas is still alive, and an army Brigadier George Garbi is killed [with his son in the car], he was coincidentally driving in the area when the blast took place.

Elnashra is an independent news source (leaning towards the opposition

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