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Theme: Lebanon’s Plight

September 4, 2007

From “Jihad Against Lebanese Christians,” Dr. Walid Phares, FrontPageMagazine.com, Novenmber 20, 2003:

But jihad against the Lebanese Christians has a very long history. Decades before 9/11, al-Qaida’s predecessors have slaughtered Lebanese monks in Deir Ashashe in 1975; massacred thousands of Christians in Damour in 1976; and raped, maimed and razed villages in East Sidon in the mid-1980s. Even after the so-called end of the War in Lebanon, bin Laden’s men were still rampaging in Christian areas of Lebanon into the new Millennium In January 2000, al-Qaida terrorists murdered a number of civilians in Kfar Habou in Northern Lebanon, slicing the body of a pregnant woman and torturing a nun to death in a Beirut suburb. Lebanese Christian blood was spilled by the organization responsible for September 11 throughout the 1990s. Symbolism wasn’t absent from al-Qaida guidelines. Many McDonalds, Pizza Huts and other American-themed restaurants, located in the Christian sectors of Lebanon, were bombed over the past 12 years.

The Jihadist paragdim is systematic. From Beirut, to Riyadh, passing by Haifa, the region is to be made Lebanese-Christian free….

From “Islam’s Torture of Lebanon,” Interview with Brigitte Gabriel, FrontPageMagazine.com, August 11, 2005:

A lot of people think the Middle East has always been made up of Moslem countries. That is not true. There once were two non-Muslim countries in the Middle East. One is a Jewish state called Israel which is under attack for its existence today and the other was a Christian country called Lebanon now under a Moslem majority controlling influence.

When Lebanon got its independence from France in the 40’s the majority of the population was Christian. We didn’t have any enemies. We were merchant, descendents of the Phoenicians, strong in commerce in which we prospered. In no time Lebanon became the Paris of the Middle East the banking capital of the Middle East. We were the only westernized Arabic speaking country in the region.

(…)

Even though I was raised in a Christian country, it was still an Arabic country trying to please its neighbors, the Arab Muslims. Even the Christian private school I went to was affected. When we studied the Bible, we only studied the New Testament. I never saw the Old Testament or heard anything about it, because it was considered the enemy’s bible. All I heard was Israel is Satan, Israel the devil, Israelis are demons, and they are the source of the problem in the Middle East. The Jews are evil, they are unstoppable and they want to control the world. I heard nothing but hatred toward the Jews.

(..)

The Christians in Lebanon always had problems with the Moslems, but we never thought our neighbors would turn on us. That situation was aggravated by the influx of the Palestinians coming from Jordan after King Hussein kicked them out in Black September. That’s what tipped the scale in Lebanon. Not only had Moslems become the majority but they now also felt empowered by the presence of the Palestinians and Yasser Arafat wanting to attack the Christians, take over Lebanon and use it as a base from which to attack Israel.

When the Moslems and Palestinians declared Jihad on the Christians in 1975 we didn’t even know what that word meant. We had taken them into our country, allowed them to study side by side with us, in our schools and universities. We gave them jobs, shared with them our way of life. We didn’t realize the depth of their hatred to us as infidels. They looked at us as the enemy not as neighbors, friends, employers and colleagues.

A lot of Muslims pored in from other Muslim countries like Iran — the founder and supporter of Hezbollah, one of the leading terrorist organizations in the world today. They came from Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Jordan and Egypt. The Lebanese civil war was not between the Lebanese, it was a holy war declared on the Christians by the Muslims of the Middle East.

They started massacring the Christians, city after city. Horrific events the western media seldom reported…

From “Rise in radical Islam last straw for Lebanon’s Christians,” Michael Hirst, Sunday Telegraph, April 12, 2007:

Christians are fleeing Lebanon to escape political and economic crises and signs that radical Islam is on the rise in the country.

In a poll to be published next month which was exclusively leaked to The Sunday Telegraph, nearly half of all Maronites, the largest Christian denomination in the country, said they were considering emigrating. Of these, nearly a third have submitted visa applications to foreign embassies. Their exodus could have a devastating effect on the country, robbing it of an influential minority which has acted as an important counter-balance to the forces of Islamic extremism.

About 60,000 Christians have already left since last summer’s war between Israel and Hezbollah. Many who remain fear that a violent showdown between rival Sunni and Shia factions is looming.

(…)

Lebanon’s Christian community is concerned that its influence is waning as a result of a continuing internal power struggle, which for the past five months has pitted a Sunni-led government against a predominantly Shia opposition, spearheaded by the Shia militant group Hezbollah. The collapse in influence has been exacerbated by a roughly equal spilt in support among Christians for rival Shia and Sunni leaders. The battle between Muslim factions has paralysed the Lebanese administration and crippled the economy.

From “Lebanon Fights Al-Qaeda,” Micah Halpern, MicahHalpern.com, May 22, 2007:

For a long time the international community has thought of Lebanon as a wash out, a puppet state, a sorry, unfortunate mess. It’s time to take a new look at this small, Arab, Middle-Eastern country. The eyes of the Western world should begin focusing on Lebanon.

The Lebanese Army is now engaged in a serious fight with a new enemy, Fatah al Islam. This group, led by a Palestinian named Shahr al Abassi, came into existence only last year as a break-off from a Syrian-backed Sunni fighting group. Fatah al Islam is composed of Syrian, Lebanese, and Palestinian fighters. Lebanon’s new nemesis was created in the image of al Qaeda, espousing al Qaeda beliefs and pursuing al Qaeda goals.

Fatah al Islam is probably – nay, almost certainly, sponsored by Syria. The ultimate mission of this group is to bring disorder and unrest to Lebanon…

From “Iran’s Land Grab,” Amir Taheri, New York Post, September 2, 2007:

If [Iran’s land grab] scheme is fully implemented, Lebanon’s Shiites could end up as the only one of the country’s 18 communities to have a contiguous area of their own from the Syrian border to the frontier with Israel. That would give Hezbollah, already a state within the Lebanese state, a territorial expression as well.

The scenario resembles that played out by the Palestinian Hamas which, having acted as a state within the state, finally decided that it needed a clear territorial expression and moved to seize Gaza. A chunk of Lebanon controlled by Hezbollah plus Gaza could form the two arms of a pincer that the Islamic Republic could use against Israel in case of a broader conflict in the region.

Iran’s “buy Lebanon” drive affects other sectors of the economy. Pro-Iranian groups already own five of the eight TV stations and two of the four top-selling newspapers in Lebanon.

Add to this Hezbollah’s rebuilt military machine, including more than 2,000 new fighters, and the “state within the state” may begin to look like a full-fledged state controlled by Tehran.

Tehran’s new strategy is strengthened by the fact that Shiites represent the fastest growing community in Lebanon. Most estimates indicate that Shiites, already the largest community in Lebanon with at least 35 percent of the population, may well become a majority within the next decade.

Encouraged by special funds set up by Tehran, Shiite families produce more children than other Lebanese communities. At the same time, Shiites represent the only community that is gaining in numbers because of expatriates returning home, often from West Africa. Lebanon’s other big communities, Maronite Christians and Sunni Muslims, are losing numbers due to smaller families and rising immigration.

From “Lebanon’s rising jihadi threat”, Nicholas Blanford, Christian Science Monitor, September 4, 2007 edition:

Lebanese military helicopters flew low Monday over the smoking ruins of this Palestinian refugee camp as soldiers scoured the nearby countryside for remnants of the Al Qaeda-inspired group whose three-month battle against the Army ended Sunday.

Fatah al-Islam, which violently burst onto Lebanon’s turbulent political scene, triggered the worst internal violence since the 1975-19 civil war. But even though its leader, Shaker al-Absi, is dead and almost all his militants killed or captured, many Lebanese worry that it’s just a matter of time before Sunni jihadi violence erupts again.

A weak central government, ill-equipped and factionalized security services, extremist Islamic groups in Palestinian camps, and the tempting target of European-led United Nations peacekeepers in the south make Lebanon a potentially attractive base for operations, analysts say.

“There is a nucleus of groups here that could easily become Al Qaeda in Lebanon,” says Amal Saad-Ghorayeb of the Carnegie Endowment’s Middle East Center in Beirut.

See also:
Lebanese Forces: The Forgotten Christians of Lebanon
Spiegel Online: Interview with Cardinal Nasrallah Sfeir, patriarch of the Maronite church in Lebanon
Jerusalem Post: Despite war toll, some Lebanese Christians support Israel’s goals
DEBKA File: Hezbollah’s Christian Shields

UPDATES:
Catholic World News: Lebanese Catholics fear Syrian, islamic influence
FrontPageMag: Iran’s Mercenaries in Lebanon

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