Across the Bay

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Deliberate Falsehoods

David Kenner links to an interview with a former bodyguard of Usama Bin Laden describing al-Qaeda's coordination with Iran.

David is right to point out the absurdity of those who use a half-baked argument resorting to Islamic sectarianism as a determinant, which, they claim, categorically prevents Sunni Islamists from working with Shiite Iran or "secular" Syria.

The argument is of course ridiculous, and in many ways, this is old news. You can read Eli Lake's dispatches on this.

One of David's readers said that people who use it are "narrow-minded." But it's not just narrow-mindedness, it's also deliberate falsehood.

Here's one of the Syrian regime's analysts, Sami Moubayed, on Fateh Islam:

Yet it makes no sense for Syria to support a radical political and military Islamic group in Lebanon. Abssi's record in Syrian jails is enough proof of how illogical it would be to accuse him of being on the payroll of the Syrians. Radical political Islam has been a threat to Syria ever since the republic was created in 1932. It always has been a secular regime in Damascus - at times without the Syrians even knowing it.

Mmmm yes... Now how do we know that ol' Sami is, umm, full of it? Well, let's read what he had written in the past.

Here's ol' Sami writing almost a year ago in the Jamestown Foundation's Terrorism Focus on Syrian jihadist recruiter Abu Qa'qa' (whom I had mentioned in my recent piece):

He insists that anger of the religious youth should never be unleashed on their fellow Syrians or their government. This explains why the Syrian government has tolerated him since 2003. Many speculated that he was an agent of the Syrian regime, being used by the government to appease the rising Islamic street that was boiling with anti-Americanism. As long as he was not preaching against the state, it was believed, Abu al-Qaqa could be free to say what he wished in Aleppo. In conversations with friends and supporters, Abu al-Qaqa stresses that he is not against the state, emphasizing: "The state and I are against what is wrong" (author interview with Syrian source, June 22). He always calls for "Unification of the security and religious apparatus in Syria." He explains this bizarre argument: "Every believer must see that security is a positive action. The objective of a believer's religion is to prevent harm to human beings. This is done by the security services" (al-Rai al-Aam, June 14).
Since he was supported—although not necessarily created—by the security services to appease rising discontent in the Syrian street, it is likely that certain followers deviated from his path, seeing that he was too closely tied to the government.
What kind of a jihadist dabbles with a secular regime like the Baathists? What kind of a jihadist drives around in broad daylight in a Mercedes Benz? Abu al-Qaqa is one of two things. He might be a regime creation, whose supporters strayed from his loyalty to become terrorists working against the Syrian regime and against Abu al-Qaqa himself. These men might have carried out the failed Ummayad Square operation. Or it might have been executed by his opponents, who purposely planted his CDs, to place him in bad standing with the government. Or he might be a double-agent, working for the Syrians and international terrorist groups like al-Qaeda, wanting to play both sides against each other. (Emphasis mine)

Mmmkay... Anything else Sami!?

Here's ol' Sami in an article in the Sept-Oct 2006 issue of the Mideast Monitor entitled "The Islamic Revival in Syria" where he again addressed the issue of Abu Qa'qa':

After the American invasion of Iraq in 2003, Abu al-Qaqa helped organize the infiltration of militant jihadists from Syria into Iraq. He publicly boasted about his role, which has been confirmed by jihadists captured in Iraq, including Muayed al-Nasseri, former commander of "the Army of Muhammad."[11] Abu al-Qaqa's high public profile led many observers to assume that he was operating under the protection of the authorities. In an October 2003 interview with the Christian Science Monitor, he flatly declared, "I would like to see an Islamic state in Syria,"[12] a statement that would normally be unthinkable in Syria.

After the Syrian government began to crack down on terrorist infiltration into Iraq, Abu al-Qaqa's role became murkier. At least two jihadists interviewed by Western and Arab media voiced suspicions that he was helping the Syrian authorities hunt infiltrators.[13] In January 2004, an al-Qaeda-linked bulletin board called Abu al-Qaqa a "spy."[14] Around this time, Abu al-Qaqa disappeared from public life and it was rumored that he had traveled to Chechnya. He reappeared in Syria shortly after the Umayyad Square attack and gave a press interview denying all links to the terrorist attack, showering the government with praise, and calling for the Muslim street to work hand-in-hand with the Syrian government against US and Israeli interests in the Middle East.[15] (Emphasis mine)

Abu Qa'qa' is said to be currently living openly in Syria, and reportedly was even appointed by the regime to run a religious school in Aleppo. He was even interviewed recently by a government-run newspaper in Syria, which described his discourse as "enlightened."

I will come back with a post with other specific examples of Islamists working with the Syrian regime as soon as I get the time.

So yeah... next time you hear ol' Sami talking, make sure you have a healthy serving of salt on you, cause ol' Sami is fast and loose with the truth. Let's just call him "truth-challenged."