Is the Hariri family financing Al Qaida and are the neocons profiting from the operation?

Enough of the Hariris, their Saudi mentors, and their neocon 'friends'. Since Rafiq Hariri died, Lebanon is on the brink of civil war again. The political heir, Saad Hariri, has been, like his father, pressuring the international community into accomplishing his political goals in Lebanon, at the expenses of the stability of the country. With his wealth, his closeness to the Saudi reigning family and, by extension, with the world class neocons including the newly elected French president Nicolas Sarkozy and his foreign affairs minister Bernard Kouchner (a doctor who supported the Iraq war), and his friendship with Chirac, former French president, Hariri has been pulling all the strings in order to establish a permanent vassalization of Lebanon to the west with himself as the self appointed viceroy. My husband calls him Harmani. When we visited Lebanon in 2005 it was after a victorious parliamentary election for Hariri won in the wave of indignation about his father's assassination. He was on all posters, sometimes under his father's picture (Lebanon is the only country where dead people can campaign in elections), sometimes standing with a smile, a well trimmed beard, a hand in his pocket (which we all know is anything but empty) and a cellphone in another hand. My husband asked who was on the poster and I told him. We laughed when he confided that he thought that this might have been an ad for Armani. Since then we call him Harmani. But now is not the time to laugh. Now is the time to cry. Lebanon is on the brink of civil war again, thanks, among other things, to this little corrupt rich brat and his overambitious father.
Now is also the time for some less narrower perspective from what we read in the press on what is going on in lebanon now. And as always these perspectives cannot be found easily in the mainstream press, especially when it comes to matters related to the middle east.

Alain Gresh writes on his blog:

More than one party can be interested in taking profit from the actual instability in Lebanon. Syria, without doubt. But also the actual Lebanese government trying to force the international community into adopting an authoritarian UN security council resolution imposing on Lebanon an international tribunal on the assassination of Rafiq Hariri, despite a clear hostility to this kind of tribunal from the Lebanese opposition. The actual Israeli government as well as the US also have interest in destabilising Lebanon. However, contrary to what is generally written in the press, what is hapenning in lebanon now is not a confrontation between the Lebanese people with the backing of the international community, and Syria and its « agents ». There is a multilayered confrontation in Lebanon. One of these layers is the division of the country between two distinct political camps with equal importance. On one side we have the Sanyura government backed by Hariri and the Sunnis, the Lebanese forces and half the Christian community, and the Druzes. On the other side we have the Shias with the Amal and Hezbollah movements, as well as the Free Patriotic Movement of Michel Aoun with half the Christian community. Is France making a good choice by taking sides in this conflict ? Bernard Kouchner, Sarkozy's foreign minister, and notable French neocon, is today in Beyrouth to support the Lebanese people and the Sanyura government while it is the Palestinian people who are being bombed. For what ? For a bank robbery that turned ugly ? Or for what to come in Lebanon ?

Bien des gens ont intérêt à l’instabilité au Liban. Le gouvernement syrien sans doute, mais aussi la majorité libanaise actuelle (qui cherche à pousser la communauté internationale à une résolution autoritaire pour créer un tribunal international sur l’assassinat de Rafic Hariri), le gouvernement israélien, les Etats-Unis, etc. Mais, contrairement à ce qui s’écrit généralement, ce qui se passe dans ce pays n’est pas un affrontement entre, d’un côté, le peuple libanais allié à la communauté internationale et de l’autre la Syrie avec ses « agents ». Se superposent plusieurs affrontements, dont le premier divise le Liban lui-même en deux camps d’à peu près égale importance. En privilégiant l’un des deux, la France fait-elle le bon choix ?

Nidal, at Loubnan Ya Loubnan, has an interesting perspective. Nidal's perspective shows the ideological and practical links between the different parties interested in Lebanon's descent into chaos. One can fairly say that these parties are organised in a loose network of interests in which the main puppeteers of the unfolding tragedy are the Hariri family closely linked to the Saudis, and by extension to the neocons. Nidal shows also how the Hariri family is financing Muslim Sunni extremists in Lebanon and worse, their migrations into Lebanon. One can fairly assume that we have here a paradigm for both the mobility and the survival of global sunni jihad relying entirely on local respectable sources of money totally immune to scrutiny and close to the neocons.

Nidal starts with an article written today by the Lebanese and Hariri paid journalist Michael Young in which Young tries to refute Seymour Hersh's assertions of March 2007 about the financing and the support provided by Hariri and the Lebanese government to Sunni extremist groups in Lebanon in order to counter the influence of Hezbollah. In his article, Young explains that if the Hariri family did in fact paid for a bail out of prison for members of Jund-Al-Sham, who later joined Fatah El-Islam already implemented in Nahr El-Bared in Northern Lebanon, it was to buy peace in the south. However, this assertion, claims Nidal, which Lebanese consider as normal political dealings, has the potential to open to us a window on how the Hariri family does Politics in Lebanon.

What is interesting about Jund Al-Sham is that this organisation, who is on the Russian list of terrorist organisations but not on the US list, has claimed responsibility for the Hariri assassination but this was discarded by the Mehlis commission who operated entirely under the mentorship of Hariri. Jund Al-Sham has nonetheless claimed responsibility for three of the fourteen carbombs investigated by the Mehlis commission. Jund Al-Sham has also claimed responsibility for the 2006 bombing fo the US embassy in Damascus and for the killing of a Hezbollah member in 2004. Moreover, two of its members who infiltrated the Ain El Hilweh camp in south Lebanon, were arrested by the Lebanese army in June 2006 for the murder of two members of the Islamic Jihad in south Lebanon. One of them confessed working for the Mossad. The army seized at his house documents proving that some members of this extremist organisation have actually trained in Israel. Hussein Khattab, brother to prominent sheikh Jamal Khattab suspected of organising recruitement fro Al Qaida Iraq, was also arrested in June 2006 by the Lebanese army on the charge of directing a spy netwrok for Irsael in palestinian refugee camps in southern Lebanon. There was very little information in the news about this incident.

Knowing all this, how the Hariri family, as Michael Young claims, could have given money to members of Jund El-Sham ? Michael Young seems to considerthis as a gaffe. I think we should consider this as a serious financing for extremists groups with the goal of destabilising Lebanon opening wide the doors for foreign intervention as in Iraq. It is more than time to hold this family, who claims to have reconstructed Lebanon and who is now pushing the whole country into civil war and destruction, accountable.

One of the many links between Fatah El-Islam, Fatah organisation in Palestinian camps, and the Hariri family, the last two being the actual and semi-official allies of the US administration in its 'war on terror'.

And between assassinations, denials and justifications the march 14th movement and the Hariri clan are confirming in a way their ties to Sunni extremist groups related to Al Qaida. Here is two more:
Ahmad Fatfat, minister of sports and interior minister by interim during the Israeli agression on Lebanon.
Bahiyya Hariri, sister of Rafiq and aunt of Saad (the chief of the actual parliamentary majority in Lebanon and major fund provider) deputy member of the Lebanese parliament.
Assassination of Abu Jandal by Lebanese Security Forces (special army of Sanyura and Hariri.

Fatah El-Islam's alleged bank robbery: nothing more than a scheduled visit gone awry at the cashier to collect the regular amount send by Hariri.
They discovered that the payments were stopped and helped themselves.

A very important and remaining question is how the lebanese army, which is under the authority of the president (who is opposed to the Hariri family), was drawn into this fight ? The answer is here. This answer also explains why the Hezbollah is supporting the army. Hassan Nasrallah will be speaking to Lebanese on Friday evening to explain his party's position. Stay tuned.

Now, the US in all that ? As Always in the Frontline when it comes to fighting Al Qaida.

Please read these short notes from prominent blogger Angry Arab, with links:

Lebanese government asks the US for 280 millions in military aid to fight 200 members of Fatah El-Islam.

Six US cargo flights with ammunitions are scheduled to land in Lebanon over the next two days.

US assistant secretary of state David Welsh met with Lebanese army chief last week.


There is a wealth of information in this interview on Nahr El-Bared's conflict of Angry Arab blogger As'ad Abu Khalil by Ali Abunimah from Electronic Intifada.

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Since March 29th 2006