Tuesday, May 22, 2007
EDB on the latest strife in Lebanon posted by bat020I came across Anecdotes from a Banana Republic during Israel's attack on Lebanon last summer - it's a sharply written and spikily cynical blog from Beirut that combines slice-of-life observation with a keen understanding of Lebanese politics.
Anyway, it's well worth checking EDB's latest post on the background to the current flare-up in Lebanon - it details how Fatah al-Islam has been armed and encouraged by the Siniora/Hariri forces in Lebanon as a counterweight to Hizbollah, quoting Seymour Hersh's New Yorker piece from back in January:
"Alastair Crooke, who spent nearly thirty years in MI6, the British intelligence service, and now works for Conflicts Forum, a think tank in Beirut, told me, 'The Lebanese government is opening space for these people to come in. It could be very dangerous.' Crooke said that one Sunni extremist group, Fatah al-Islam, had splintered from its pro-Syrian parent group, Fatah al-Intifada, in the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp, in northern Lebanon. Its membership at the time was less than two hundred. 'I was told that within twenty-four hours they were being offered weapons and money by people presenting themselves as representatives of the Lebanese government’s interests—presumably to take on Hezbollah,' Crooke said."
But Fatah al-Islam is now out of control. The resulting fallout has led to a wanton slaughter of Palestinian refugees in the Nahr el Bared refugee camp:
What seems clear is that whoever once sponsored or gave orders to Fatah al Islam has unleashed a beast they no longer control and a policy of trying to contain (or tolerate) the group is no longer working.
In the meantime, the army which is not allowed to enter Nahr el Bared, is shelling the camp "indiscriminately", according to a PFLP spokesman earlier today. The wounded are not receiving medical attention; fires are raging. "We want ambulances to be allowed into the refugee camp to transfer the civilian casualties. We also want fire brigades to enter the camp and put off the fire in many buildings." A cloud of black smoke envelopes the camp, and rescue workers who were trying to evacuate the wounded were fired upon.
Read the whole thing here.