Who’s Behind the Fighting in North Lebanon?
Random excerpts of Franklin Lamb’s article at CounterPunch
“To understand what is going on with Fatah al-Islam at Nahr el-Bared one would want a brief introduction to Lebanon’s amazing, but shadowy ‘Welch Club’.
The Club is named for its godfather, David Welch, assistant to Secretary of State Rice who is the point man for the Bush administration and is guided by Eliot Abrams.
Key Lebanese members of the Welch Club (aka: the ‘Club’) include:
The Lebanese civil war veteran, warlord, feudalist and mercurial Walid Jumblatt of the Druze party( the Progressive Socialist Party or PSP)
Another civil war veteran, warlord, terrorist (Served 11 years in prison for massacres committed against fellow Christians among others) Samir Geagea. Leader of the extremist Phalange party and its Lebanese Forces (LF) the group that conducted the Israel organized massacre at Sabra-Shatilla (although led by Elie Hobeika, once Geagea’s mentor, Geagea did not take part in the Sept. 1982 slaughter of 1,700 Palestinian and Lebanese).
The billionaire, Saudi Sheikh and Club president Saad Hariri leader of the Sunni Future Movement (FM).
Over a year ago Hariri’s Future Movement started setting up Sunni Islamist terrorist cells (the PSP and LF already had their own militia since the civil war and despite the Taif Accords requiring militia to disarm they are now rearmed and itching for action and trying hard to provoke Hezbollah).
The FM created Sunni Islamist ‘terrorist’ cells were to serve as a cover for (anti-Hezbollah) Welch Club projects. The plan was that actions of these cells, of which Fatah el-Islam is one, could be blamed on al Qaeda or Syria or anyone but the Club.
To staff the new militias, FM rounded up remnants of previous extremists in the Palestinian Refugee camps that had been subdued, marginalized and diminished during the Syrian occupation of Lebanon. Each fighter got $700 per month, not bad in today’s Lebanon.
Things started to go very wrong quickly for the Club last week.
FM “stopped” the payroll of Fateh el-Islam’s account at the Hariri family owned back.
Fateh-al-Islam, tried to negotiate at least ‘severance pay’ with no luck and they felt betrayed. (Remember many of their fighters are easily frustrated teenagers and their pay supports their families). Militia members knocked off the bank which issued their worthless checks. They were doubly angry when they learned FM is claiming in the media a loss much greater than they actually snatched and that the Club is going to stiff the insurance company and actually make a huge profit.
Lebanon’s Internal Security Forces (newly recruited to serve the bidding of the Club and the Future Movement) assaulted the apartments of Fatah-al-Islam Tripoli. They didn’t have much luck and were forced to call in the Lebanese army.
Within the hour, Fatah-al-Islam retaliated against Lebanese Army posts, checkpoints and unarmed, off-duty Lebanese soldiers in civilian clothing and committed outrageous killings including severing at four heads.
The Seniora cabinet convenes and asks the Lebanese Army to enter the refugee camp and silence (in more ways than one) Fatah-al-Islam. Since entrance into the Camps is forbidden by the 1969 Arab league agreement, the Army refuses after realizing the extent of the conspiracy against it by the Welch Club. The army knows that entering a refugee camp in force will open a front against the Army in all twelve Palestinian refugee camps and tear the army apart along sectarian cracks.
The Welch Club’s major error was when it attempted to influence the Lebanese Army into disarming the Lebanese Resistance led by Hezbollah. When the Army wisely refused, the Club coordinated with the Bush Administration to pressure Israel to dramatically intensify its retaliation to the capture of the two soldiers by Hezbollah and ‘break the rules’ regarding the historically more limited response and try to destroy Hezbollah during the July 2006 war.
The Welch Club now considers the Lebanese Army a serious problem. The Bush administration is trying to undermine and marginalize it to eliminate one of the last two obstacles to implementing Israel’s agenda in Lebanon.
For their part, the Welch Club wants to keep some Palestinians in Lebanon for cheap labor, ship others to countries willing to take them (and be paid handsomely to do so by American taxpayers) and allow at most a few thousand to return to Palestine to settle the ‘right of return’ issue while at the same time signing a May 17th 1983 type treaty with Israel with enriches the Club members and gives Israel Lebanon’s water and much of Lebanon’s sovereignty.
Long story short, Fatah el-Islam must be silenced at all costs. Their tale, if told, is poison for the Club and its sponsors.
We will likely see their attempted destruction in the coming days.
Hezbollah is watching and supporting the Lebanese army.”