The never-ending crisis
BEIRUT — This is a never-ending story.
The siege of Nahr el-Bared by thousands of Lebanese army troops has entered its third week now, and it may be metastasizing. “Clashes broke out at the Ein el-Helweh camp south of Sidon”:http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/lebanonunrest;_ylt=AsuRIirk3._W3HQk8Liy4WDagGIB yesterday between the Lebanese army and Jund al-Sham overnight and two soldiers were killed. Two militants were also killed.
The fighting erupted just hours after Abu Riyadh, who had previously belonged to Jund al-Sham, was killed in Nahr al-Bared.
“Jund al-Sham”:http://jamestown.org/terrorism/news/article.php?articleid=2369949 is yet another Salafist/Islamist group that has found a haven in the squalid and miserable Palestinian camps in Lebanon, thanks in no small part because the Lebanese have let the Palestinians stew rather than integrate them into the greater society. This policy has created fetid breeding grounds for extremist ideologies in tune with al Qaeda’s, ideologies which are in marked contrast to the more laid back and sophisticated Mediterranean outlook of most of Lebanon.
However, there is likely little coordination between the group responsible for yesterday’s and this morning’s clashes in the south and Fatah al-Islam up north in Nahr el-Bared. More likely, members of Jund al-Sham decided it was time to help their brothers in Islam and raised a ruckus. Shaker al-Absssi, the leader of Fatah al-Islam up north, even told a colleague of mine when she spoke with him this morning that there were no operational links between Fatah al-Islam and Jund al-Sham.
Another theory, popular in the government circles, is that yesterday’s outburst in the south was yet another Syrian plot to sow chaos in Lebanon, although I have my doubts about that. While Syria is active here and Fatah al-Islam is without a doubt (in my mind) a Syrian asset, Jund al-Sham looks to be more independent. Not everything in Lebanon is made in Syria.
I don’t think the incident in Ein el-Helweh will grow larger than it has. Already, other Palestinian groups have stepped in and, in effect, told the Jund al-Sham boys to sit down and shut up. The fighters reportedly turned over some of their positions to other Islamist groups in the camp.
Sorry for the lack of postings over the last three days. Yahoo!’s servers are crap, and I’m often having trouble getting into them. I hope to have this resolved soon. I’m also going to be making a major announcement regarding syndication in the coming days, hopefully.
Also, donations are working again, and covering this place ain’t cheap. Fixers, rented cars, hotel rooms, etc. all cost money and freelancing for newspapers only covers part of it. If you’d like me to keep blogging the developments in Lebanon’s latest crisis, please consider dropping some coin in the donate link below and to the right. Thanks.