debkafile Exclusive: Syria’s devious weapon for undermining Siniora – al Qaeda infiltrators cross into Lebanon to radicalize Palestinians

German chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Jacques Chirac called on Syria Tuesday to stop meddling in Lebanese affairs.
Monday, Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert informed the Knesset foreign affairs and security committee Monday, Dec. 4, that Israel does not intend attacking Syria. Like all its neighbors, Israel is closely affected by the turmoil in Lebanon.
debkafile‘s military sources report that Israel should be doubly concerned by Bashar Asad’s latest gambit, filtering Al Qaeda operatives from their Syrian sanctuary into Lebanon, there to foment Palestinian support for Hizballah’s drive to topple the government in Beirut.
This ploy has surfaced in certain incidents of the past week:
On Nov. 28, Omar Abdullah, leader of the al-Qaeda-affiliated Tawhid and Jihad, was shot dead by Syrian border guards on his way to Lebanon with nine forged identity papers in his pocket.
Our intelligence sources report that Syrian intelligence staged the incident to signal relevant parties in the Middle East and abroad that al Qaeda is bent on a subversive operation in Lebanon akin to its Iraq venture – and it is in Syria’s power to regulate the threat. The Lebanese media reporting the incident found no other motive for Omar Abdullah’s death since he was a frequent traveler between the two countries and was wont to carry phony documents.
A day earlier, Nov. 27, at the Nahr al Bared camp in the northern Lebanese region of Tripoli, an armed Palestinian faction ceremonially changed its name from Fatah-Intifada to Fatah al-Islam. At the ceremony, its members showed off their new Taliban-style beards and said they had come to realize that the only way to achieve Palestinian goals was “by killing all the Jews and their crusader allies.”
debkafile‘s Lebanese sources report the Tripoli region is under the thumb of Syrian military intelligence and its Sunni and Maronite Catholic sympathizers, who could have – but did not – prevent the ceremony taking place.
Then, on Nov. 29, the largest Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon, Ein al Hilwa near Sidon in the south, saw a conference of the heads of the camp’s Jund Al-Sham (picture) factions. Jund Al-Sham, like the Islamic Army of Gaza, is an operational and financial dependant of al Qaeda. They discussed whether to grant entry to Palestinian groups from Syria – and “other Arab factions,” such as “al Qaeda”, “the Islamic Army” and “Fatah al-Islam.”
The consensus they reached was that such groups could not be excluded from the Palestinian refugee camps of the south or from Burj al Barajne, Sabra and Chatila near Beirut, because they were already ensconced in the north.
In an article published in Dar Al Hayat on Nov. 30, the Lebanese journalist Hassan Haydar asked: “How is it possible for all these armed groups to cross the Syrian-Lebanese border without being spotted by the security apparatus of both sides?”
The question was rhetorical. He knows the answer, as do debkafile‘s counter-terror sources: As we have reported, Syria is arming sympathetic Lebanese factions in readiness for a showdown with anti-Syrian elements in Beirut. Its next step now is to transplant al Qaeda offshoots and affiliates from Syria into Lebanon’s Palestinian camps for three objectives:
1. To remove this incriminating terrorist presence from Syria ahead of a possible thaw in relations with Washington.
2. To radicalize the Palestinians of Lebanon so that in a civil showdown they will fight alongside the pro-Syrian forces.
3. To radicalize the Palestinian people at large, and so disarm and isolate the moderates – not only in Lebanon, but also in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank as well. Damascus will of course deny deploying these jihadists at strategic points for destabilizing pro-Western governments and defeating peace diplomacy. But Syria also denies a hand in promoting the violence in Iraq by similar infusions

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