Omar Bakri, the chief of the "Mujahideen" group arrived at Beirut coming from London a few days ago; the news was released in London and confirmed by the Lebanese authorities but the surprise Sheikh Londonstan carried with him to the Lebanese was a Lebanese passport.
Everyone in Beirut wondered where and when did the Syrian sheikh (who sought refuge in London) get the Lebanese citizenship?
Bakri most likely got the Lebanese papers in the last "citizenship offering order" back in 1994 by which tens of thousands (among whom were thousands of Syrian citizens) were given Lebanese citizenships. This occurred under Syrian influence and supervision.
From Dar Al-Hayat (Arabic).
The question is; how was the man given the citizenship (under Syrian supervision) when he ran away from Syria 20 years ago and he was wanted by the Syrian security all that time??
The whole thing looks like a mystery but not to someone from the neighborhood it will not look strange at all that yesterday's enemies became today's allies.
In the early 1980s, the Ba'ath regimes in Syria and Iraq fought a fierce battle against the Islamic organizations and lists of victims are too long to be mentioned here or in any single document.
This was in fact because of the conflict between the pan-nationalist and Islamist ideologies but what happened later (and what I witnessed from living in here) was a noticeable change in attitude by the Ba'ath leadership toward the Salafi movements and by the mid 1990s the old enemies were approaching each other and a more friendly and cooperative type of relationship appeared.
As a matter of fact, the first of the Ba'ath flirts with the Islamists began as early as 1990 during a division that happened in the meeting of the "Islamic conference organization" that was arranged to discuss Saddam's invasion of Kuwait; Saddam endorsed all the groups that opposed the international-and especially the American-intervention in the region and he formed a shadow Islamic conference which welcomed every Saddam-cheering fanatic from Algeria, Yemen, Sudan and Jordan…
Saddam allocated a building across the street from one of his palaces to be the HQ of that conference.
What do you think made Abbasi Madani of the Salafi Algerian group "rescue front" come to visit Saddam in Baghdad and offer him support and volunteers to fight with him when the allied forces were about to liberate Kuwait?
Or what's the connection between Saddam and Hizbullah?
I remember how Hassan Nasrallah called on the Iraqi opposition shortly before OIF to put their hands in Saddam's to fight the great threat.
At that time Iraqis were shocked by Hizbullah's unacceptable attitude but Nasrallah was ready to do anything to fight America even if the ally was someone like Saddam.
The explanation here is quite simple and lies in the old 'my enemy's enemy is my friend' theory.
The infidel, colonial and capitalistic west is a common enemy for both, Saddam and the radical Islamists and in spite of all the differences between the two; they allied their forces in an ugly jihadist creature.
The first thing Saddam did as a gesture to the Islamists was to add the words "Allahu Akbar" to the flag. This was actually in response to a request made by the recruits who came to Iraq to fight the allied forces before the gulf war.
This small gesture was followed by bigger practical steps aiming at twinning the Ba'ath with radical Islam and here came Saddam's "faith campaign" in which all Iraq was included and especially the members of the Ba'ath party, so every high ranking member had to take a "faith course"!
I recall talking to one of our relatives who was a mid ranking member in the Ba'ath; he was a hardcore secular fellow but of modest intelligence. He was anxiously looking for references and books he needed to write a research about the prophet's wives!!
The scene was really funny; the Ba'athist who doesn't know a single verse from the Quran and doesn't even believe in God suddenly became a regular mosque visitor and started doing all the prayers on time!
Mosques gradually turned into substitute locations for Ba'ath divisions and that was the case during OIF.
We could see Ba'athists taking shelter in mosques and practicing their activities from there out of fear of having their main HQs targeted by the coalition forces.
The enemies understood the terms of their new friendship and they understood its limits and what parts of it can be revealed and what must be not.
The connection between terror organizations and dictatorships is still an undeclared alliance but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
Every move and every step those new allies do reveal the depth of the relationship between them. It's enough to take a look at Al-Qaeda's leaders' stubbornness when it comes to the war in Iraq to know how important the Al-Qaeda branch in Iraq to them is.
Al-Qaeda cells have assumed their position as the striking arm of dictatorships. The latter can use the former to attack their enemies without putting the dictatorships in a face to face confrontation.
They have understood and are utilizing the fact that massive and expensive armies are helpless against a super power so they changed their strategy to supplying terror gangs with weapons instead of exposing their armies to extinction.
Dictatorships are the terrorists' safe havens and they're willing to provide all forms of support starting with passports and not ending with training facilities, weaponry and funds and the terror organizations would then be able to recruit and prepare efficient fighters at low costs and a comparison between the traditional armies and terror gangs in terms of cost and effect favors the side of the latter.
Dictators and terrorists have too much in common and there's nothing to wonder about in my opinion.
When news came about the Iranian revolutionary guard sending weapons to the jihadists in Iraq, some people found that hard to believe while I think it's more than possible;
"Why not? our enemy is the same, so let's put our differences aside for a while and let's work together" I can hear them say. and that's how the terror-dictatorship alliance thinks and behaves right now.