Across the Bay

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

So Hezbollah Does Finance and Train Jihadists!

To follow up on my previous post, and a notion that I've long written about, this interesting piece in NOW Lebanon interviews a leader of the Ansar Allah group who has the following to say:

The group’s military leader, Maher Oweid, said that Ansar Allah is a Jihadist movement "and openly deals with every other Jihadist movements in Lebanon or abroad."
"All our financing, in addition to the security and political cover, publicly comes from Hezbollah, and we are not ashamed of this fact." He declared that the group does not take any money directly from Iran, but rather only from Hezbollah, and he denied that the latter intended to use the group for any purpose other than fighting against the enemy.

So -- shockingly! -- it turns out that the Shiite Hezbollah has no problem financing, training and giving political cover (like Nasrallah tried to do and failed with Fatah al-Islam) to a self-proclaimed Jihadist group that "openly deals with every other Jihadist movement"! So much for Sy Hersh's brilliant scoop!

By the way, Oweid is full of it when he says they don't get money from Iran. As I noted in my previous post, quoting Bernard Rougier, who has studied and documented Iran's patronage of Sunni jihadist groups in Palestinian camps in Lebanon, Ansar Allah, among others, was and remains part of an Iranian-established network. That Oweid tries to distance Iran from this and hide behind the Iranian creation Hezbollah is rather amusing, and telling.

So the next time you hear this pathetically laughable canard that Shiite Iran and Hezbollah or the Alawite regime in Syria simply "cannot" sponsor Jihadists, remember to snicker and sneer in contempt.

Addendum: And just to take it from the horse's mouth, the Syrian regime's apologist wrote on his blog on Sept. 13, 2006:
On a separate note, as I mentioned also in my previous post, Hezbollah's movement in camps like Burj Barajneh is now being monitored with concern and reports of their arming of marginal pro-Syrian Lebanese Sunni elements in northern Lebanon and the Bekaa, as well as the SSNP and Wi'am Wahhab, is also being watched with great caution.

The fear is that Syria, Iran and Hezbollah will use these tools, as well as possibly the PFLP-GC, to start subversive operations in Lebanon, in line with the threat that Farouq Sharaa gave to French envoy Jean-Claude Cousseran a few days ago, that unless Syria gets to pick the president of Lebanon, that country would be sunk into "[war of] trenches." But the idea for Hezbollah and Iran is to avoid a Sunni-Shiite confrontation involving Hezbollah, and substituting it with intra-sectarian clashes in Sunni, Druze and Christian areas using these tools as proxies.

My sense at this point is that, should they opt for that, it would likely backfire as it did in January. I think this graph from a NOW Lebanon editorial puts it well: "the Free Patriotic Movement simply does not have sufficient militants on the ground to carry [a coup] out, as demonstrated on January 23, when Aoun was forced to enlist the help of Marada and Hezbollah members to keep the roads blocked in Mount Lebanon and Batroun during the opposition general strike. Any major civil disobedience or conflict would inevitably have to be first and foremost a Hezbollah operation."