ISIS (DAASH) Now Recruiting in Palestinian Camps in Lebanon
ISIS (DAASH) Now Recruiting in Palestinian Camps in Lebanon—who are these guys?
by Franklin Lamb
| Ain Al-Hilweh camp
June 30, 2014
With Washington and London affirming over the past few days their intentions to continue arming “moderate rebel factions” in Syria, Tel Aviv has now stepped up and announced it would like to be helpful as well…by joining with “moderate Arab nations” to battle their mutual Muslim enemies.
The Israeli offer of “help” was extended on 6/26/14, presumably to provide peace of mind to “moderate” Arab nations who may feel threatened by the lightning, land-grabbing offensive unleashed by Islamic militants in Iraq. In his meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry in Paris, the Zionist state’s foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, who by the way is an arch Islamophobe and Arabphobe, reportedly talked sweet about some Arabs, informing Kerry that "the extremists currently operating in Iraq and Syria will try to challenge the stability in the entire Gulf region, first of all in Kuwait." A statement from Lieberman’s office added that “Israel could provide effective and reliable assistance to moderate Arab states who are dealing with extremists.”
Just a few days after visiting Iraq and being briefed on the pathetic situation, Kerry seems intrigued by the Israeli idea, and has noted, according to one senior U.S. official, that it is "important that countries in the region (including Israel) stand together against the (ISIS) threat."
Basically “Israel wants to do what Shite Iran has started doing,” the official continued—which according to the New York Times is flying surveillance drones over Iraq and sending military equipment to help Baghdad fight the Sunni insurgents—but with one exception: Israel wants to arm the Sunni tribes in league with the West and the Gulf monarchies, and not arm the Shia.
Israeli officials and AIPAC are arguing to Washington that Israeli interests are converging with moderate Arab nations and that “both sides should be dealing with the threat of Iran, world jihad and al-Qaida, as well as the spill-over of conflicts in Syria and Iraq into neighboring countries." The Israeli embassy issued a statement saying, "Today, (6/26/14) there is a basis for the creation of a new diplomatic-political structure in the Middle East."
Yet another “new Middle East,” one wonders?
This week on NBC’s Meet the Press, the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, restated the decades-old Zionist project of permanently dividing and controlling the Middle East. On the subject of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS, or DAASH) Netanyahu rather unabashedly and overtly expressed his regime’s intentions to promote internal strife in neighboring states.
“We must weaken both [Sunni and Shia Muslims],” he said, restating his government’s preferred policy to have Muslims fighting among themselves: “When your enemies are fighting each other, don’t strengthen either one of them, weaken both,” he told the American public.
Of course, it would not be the first time the Zionist regime has worked with preferred members of the Arab League to advance its own interests—and a strong incentive to ratchet up its “split the Arabs” policy is the spillover effect DAASH’s advances in Iraq and Syria have had in Lebanon. Briefly put, the confessional state is awash with rumors of a “Sunni uprising,” purportedly to regain political and economic losses befallen the Sunni population since the 2003 Bush-Blair invasion of Iraq.
If the Gulf Kingdoms and the West agree to share information and leverage with respect to Iraq and Syria with Netanyahu & Co., it will be with the knowledge that Israel has another motive in wanting to join the coalescing forces against ISIS. Presumably it is also what their Lebanon-based agents are reporting from the Palestinian camps in Lebanon. Palestinian camps such as Ein Al-Hilweh in southern Lebanon are beginning to experience what Nahr el Bared camp, near Tripoli, did in 2007.
“Who are these guys?” camp residents in those days would ask from time to time as they began noticing the arrival of “strangers.”
At first the newcomers appeared rather self-effacing, very polite, and seemingly deeply religious. They tended to keep to themselves, but soon their families arrived as well. More than one sheik in Nahr al Bared assured residents at the camp that these strangers were “good Muslims,” and some of them even began teaching lessons from the Koran at the Mosque.
But over a period of six months or so people began noticing changes, observing what in effect were affiliates or members of a new group calling itself “Fatah el Islam (FEI).” The Islamists began to accost women on the street, demanding they wear full-length hijabs, stop smoking, and generally change their ways so as to become “better Muslims.”
Today FEI is relatively strong and growing—but secretively—in Ain Al Hilweh, and they are not alone. Unemployed youth, increasingly angry and disenchanted, are reportedly attending secret meetings with DAASH, Al Nusra and other recruiters, meetings at which and they are being promised immediate material benefits and a soon-to-be-granted full right to work. Also held out is the hope of a deepening resistance to the occupation of their country, Palestine. There are takers naturally, but numbers so far are difficult to ascertain. Militias are growing in the camps, but it’s hard to calculate the extent of their ambit, and camp residents also know of many intelligence agents living among them, including Lebanese Internal Security, Zionist agents, and others, so naturally there is a great deal of secrecy.
But according to analysts in Lebanon, as well as a recent report in Now Lebanon, some previously small cells—based primarily in rural northern Lebanon, the eastern Bekaa, and the Palestinian camps, where law enforcement remains difficult—are now expanding, this due to the ISIS surge in Iraq and its apparent success in securing popular support from Sunni tribes and former Baathist groups. And as this transpires, fears continue to mount that the Sunni-Shiite sectarian struggle will explode in Lebanon as well.
The threat doesn’t only come from outside Lebanon’s borders. According to a security source in Ain al-Hilweh, jihadist factions are not only mobilizing in Palestinian camps but virtually across the entire country. This has been especially so since the second Qalamoun battle. Fanatic Muslims and takfiris are spreading very fast.
“What is happening in Iraq and Qalamoun shows that the situation will soon be very dangerous in the region, including Lebanon,” the source said. “It will all become a jihad battlefield.”
Two other very active and knowledgeable Palestinians from Ain al-Hilweh seem to be equally fatalistic:
“Of course all the camps are affected just like everyone else around here by what has been happening in Iraq and Syria. Palestinians always want to avoid local fights but we always seem to be pulled in. Look what happened in the Lebanese civil war. Our leadership tried everything it could do stay out of the sectarian fight but we were pulled in and paid a huge price.”
A recent unscientific poll found that more than 96% of camp residents in Lebanon want to continue their resistance to reclaim their stolen land. The survey actually corresponds rather closely to a June 15-17 poll commissioned by the Zionist Washington Institute. Based upon a sampling of 1200 adult Palestinians, that poll found that only 22 percent of Gazans would give up the ‘by-whatever-means-necessary’ resistance to the occupation in favor of a two-state solution. Even fewer, only 10 percent, pick the ‘one-state solution’ allowing for Arabs and Jews having equal rights in one country. For the majority, the goal is the return of their country from the river to the sea. In the West Bank, a mere 9 percent support the two-state solution, while nearly two-thirds said that “resistance should continue until all of historic Palestine is liberated.”
Both the Zionist poll as well as the informal one done in the Palestinian camps in Lebanon found broad support for popular resistance against the Zionist occupation, with preferred forms of resistance being stepped up demonstrations, support for the BDS campaign, strikes, marches, and mass refusals to cooperate. Increased activism of this type is viewed positively by 62 percent in the West Bank, 73 percent in Gaza, and close to 90 percent in Ain Al-Hilweh.
Meanwhile, a Twitter account with 21,000 followers, dubbed the "League of Supporters," called this week for DAASH sympathizers to post messages warning America not to carry out airstrikes against the rebel group. It is also urging followers to be prepared to follow DAASH and to confront the Zionists across Palestine—and it is not the only Twitter account of its kind.
In summation, the Zionist regime is very aware that the camps are likely to explode and that one of the contributing factors is the lack of civil rights and the banning of Palestinians from most jobs in Lebanon. It is also the case that the Zionists realize that the future looks bleak, internationally speaking, for its continued occupation of Palestine; and that joining with Arab regimes to help stamp out extremist jihadists, while weakening Iran in the process, is its most advantageous path.
As Canadian freelance writer and journalist Brandon Martinez reminds us:
Fragmenting, weakening and Balkanizing the Middle East has been part and parcel of the Zionist impulse from the very beginnings of the Jewish state. Israeli strategist Oded Yinon candidly outlined this imperialist line of thought in his 1982 paper “A Strategy for Israel in the 1980s.” A strong, unified Iraq is Israel’s primary military concern, Yinon stressed.
Yinon went on to push for the slicing up of Iraq into three separate colonies or state-lets, arranged along ethnic and confessional lines, and we may well witness these developments come to pass in Iraq. The Israeli strategist also promoted much the same scenario for Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Iran and other Arab/Muslim states in the region.
“The Zionists have used deception, subterfuge and cunning to con the world into entering conflicts and conflagrations that have expedited their ominous aims,” Martinez further observes. “But Israel’s insatiable avarice for more land and resources will eventually be its downfall, just as every empire in history has sooner or later collapsed under its own weight.”
Reminding this observer of a quote a valued
friend from New Mexico recently sent to me:
“Look back over the past, with its changing empires that rose and fell, and you can foresee the future, too” (Marcus Aurelius).