Hundreds of Al Qaeda & Islamic Jihadi members are fleeing Yemen and Afghanistan to Lebanon

Written by Hamid Ghoriafi, Middle East Analyst & Journalist,
Published on 09/01/10 by the Kuwaiti Daily Al-Seyassah,
Translated from Arabic by Elias Bejjani, LCCC Chairman

Egyptian and Jordanian security sources warned yesterday that Hezbollah, Hamas, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (general command), Fatah Al Intifada and other radical Palestinian organizations have opened their centers inside and outside the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon to host hundreds of Al Qaeda and Islamic jihadi fighters who have been massively fleeing from Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan and other countries since last December.
This flow of jihadists to Lebanon came as a result of the two concentrated international military campaigns on the Afghanistan - Pakistan boarders, against Al Qaeda, and the Taliban and Salafist groups, and in Yemen against the Houthis, Al Qaeda and other pro-Iranian radical groups including Hezbollah. All these terrorist organizations are losing ground and retreating on both frontiers.

It is believed that Al Qaeda leadership has been forced to move hundreds of its fighters and those of its allies out of Afghanistan and Yemen to Somalia, Sudan and Lebanon. The Iranians are playing a major role in facilitating Al Qaeda's members escape through their strong ties with these three countries.

Iran which is allied with Al Qaeda and others Salafist Islamic radical groups, is militarily engaged on four war frontiers:
1- In Lebanon and Gaza, against Israel through its militant proxy, Hezbollah, from Lebanon and the Hamas movement from Gaza;

2-In Yemen and on the Yemeni-Saudi borders against the Yemeni and Saudi regimes through the Houthis, Hezbollah, Al Qaeda and other Islamic radical groups;

3- In Iraq jointly with its strategic ally, Syria, against the American and other Western armies through numerous radical Shiite organizations, the Baathists and Salafists;

4- In Somalia against the international and African humanitarian and military presence which is directly or indirectly under the United Nations umbrella.

It was revealed by high ranking Egyptian intelligence sources that the flow of these terrorist groups to Lebanon under the leadership of Al Qaeda has increased dramatically during the past three weeks. Syria is facilitating the safe and easy entrance of these terrorists through its borders with Lebanon.

A few days ago, Iran deported to Syria one of Osama bin Laden's sons with a number of his relatives and family members at their own request. Reports from Syria stated that these members have settled in the city of Aleppo, the birthplace of one of Bin Laden's wives.

Meanwhile, reliable sources in Germany have mentioned that many of the Al Qaeda fighters and leaders who could not take refuge in Pakistan with Bin Laden, Ayman Al Zawahiri and other top notch Al Qaeda leaders in the aftermath of the Western war on Afghanistan at the beginning of the third millennium, were given a safe sanctuary in Iran. The sources said that the Iranian authorities have recently arranged the transfer of all these people to Syria.

Jordanian intelligence sources in Beirut notified Lebanese security bodies that many leaders of these terrorists who illegally entered Lebanon through Syria were immediately received and accommodated by Hezbollah and Hamas in rented apartments and houses located in different parts of western Beirut, southern Beirut suburbs inside the Hezbollah mini-state, numerous southern Shiite villages north of the Litany River, Sidon, and Tyre, as well as in Ain el-Hilweh, Mieh, Mieh, and Rashidieh Palestinian refugee camps. The sources added that the Iranian embassy in Beirut is directly supervising the housing, financing and safety of these terrorist infiltrators.

The Lebanese Al-Nahar and the Israeli Ha'aretz newspapers affirmed on Thursday that German Chancellor Angela Merkel's foreign policy and security advisor, Christoph Heusgen, has reportedly informed Lebanese officials about the infiltration of terrorists from Arab countries into Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. An Nahar daily said Friday that Heusgen told the officials during his visit to Beirut about the necessity to monitor activity inside and outside the camps and the areas surrounding Beirut airport. Heusgen also expressed his government's readiness to provide the necessary monitoring equipment, according to the newspaper.

The Egyptian intelligence said that a number of Al Qaeda leaders and other Salafi movements (some were Negroid) travelled to Lebanon on flights that took off from Cyprus, Arabian Gulf Emirates and African countries. They entered through the Beirut Air port with forged Arabic and foreign passports. Those who infiltrated through the Syrian borders were escorted and protected by Syrian intelligence officers and Hezbollah men. The same source added that hundred of these terrorists are already in Lebanon and many others are still pouring in.

In the same context and according to European reports, the information that German Chancellor Angela Merkel's foreign policy and security advisor, Christoph Heusgen, has conveyed to the Lebanese officials on Thursday, was also provided by Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel to her allies in the European Union, the USA and Israel 10 days ago.

The leadership of the United Nations International Forces (UNIFIL) in southern Lebanon was also made aware of these reports. It responded with strict security measures fearing that the terrorists might target its units.

Meanwhile, Israel has intensified its AWACS, warplane and drone flight surveillance over Lebanon and increased troop numbers on her borders with Lebanon in a bid to abort any terrorist infiltration attempts. European reports quoted Israel defense experts saying that Al Qaeda groups have arrived at Hezbollah, Ahmad Jibril and Abu Mousa military bases and that the Lebanese security authorities have absolutely no control over them.

In summary, all these events that are dramatically unfolding could lead to a rapid and dangerous deterioration of the fragile relatively tranquil status between Lebanon and Israel, and possibly also between Syria and Israel. The imminent war that has been on the horizon for a few months is becoming more and more an actual possibility.

Clik here to read the Arabic version of the above analysis

*Elias Bejjani
Canadian-Lebanese Human Rights activist, journalist and political commentator
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