Across the Bay

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Syrian Intelligence and Fateh Islam

I recently pointed out the article by Muhammad Choucair in al-Hayat, which quoted Palestinian sources as saying that the leadership of Fateh al-Islam comprised of three Syrians, one of whom, Abu Midian (alias), was a Syrian intelligence officer. The sources said that the terrorist Shaker al-Absi (indicted in Jordan for killing an American official, and released by the Syrians and sent to Lebanon) received directives from Abu Midian.

Abu Midian was killed in the fighting in Nahr al-Bared, according to reports. Another member of the Syrian trio in the leadership, Abu Yazan [or Mizian, unclear] (alias), was also reportedly killed, and he was the military commander, and was suspected of being the mastermind of the Ain Alaq bombing in February. Shaker al-Absi is also said to be seriously wounded inside the camp.

More is emerging about the coordination between Fateh al-Islam and the Syrians. I recently mentioned how the Syrian regime's proxy Islamist (an open Zawahiri supporter, for all the geniuszzzez who think the Syrians don't deal with Islamists) Fathi Yakan was in Damascus on the day the clashes erupted, and that he was in Damascus before then on May 8th. Reports (which first came out on LBC News) are saying that he met with al-Absi upon his return from Damascus.

Yakan is on the record acknowledging his connection to fighters in Iraq, who transited through Syria with the tacit support of the Syrian regime. As such, that he would play a role as yet another coordinator between the Syrian regime, jihadists (including Lebanese ones), and Fateh al-Islam is hardly far fetched.

I had traced a timeline leading to the clashes, which strongly suggests that this was a planned and timed attack. Yakan's movement is part of that timeline.

Other reports are also emerging, and awaiting confirmation. The Kuwaiti al-Siyassah claims that the Syrians were giving logistical support to Fateh al-Islam. The first claim is uncertain, and holds that Syrian intelligence were trying to send ammunition and weaponry to the Nahr al-Bared camp by boat (which is how arms were smuggled in the past, either from Ain al-Hilweh or elsewhere) using camouflaged boats.

The other claim is that the Lebanese Army arrested 12 fighters trying to cross from Syria, and that their movement was facilitated by Syrian intelligence. This was the second group to be arrested in recent hours, as the Army had arrested five fighters trying to cross at the same location the day before yesterday.