In connection with the publication of classified information by a former employee of the Central Intelligence Agency and the United States National Security Agency Edward Joseph Snowden concerning the total surveillance by these services of information communications of citizens of different countries, Beirut recalls the scandal almost 15-year-old, which local security services were involved in .
EXPLORATION, EXPLORATION AND AGAIN EXPLORATION
In 1999, the Lebanese Minister of Posts and Communications, Isam Nuaman, acknowledged the fact that the secret services were listening to the phones of high-ranking state and political figures. It is impossible to ignore the fact that an investigation conducted by the Lebanese Interior Ministry and a specially created parliamentary commission revealed that a similar information leakage in the Cedar Country began in 1948 year. However, the reaction of the majority of deputies of the Lebanese parliament to the facts of listening was completely unexpected for a democratic state: the parliamentary commission, condemning the "illegality of such acts", immediately legitimized this listening. Deputies adopted a law legalizing wiretapping in the country. Apparently, local parliamentarians were guided by the following logic: it is better to sacrifice some democratic attributes, but not to allow terror rampant in the country in which dozens of various radical organizations acted and continue to operate. And although the killings of prominent political and public figures continued after the adoption of this law, in Lebanon it was possible to avoid the total radicalization of society and the slide into civil war.
In this regard, I cannot pass, in my opinion, on time and to the place of the voiced call of FSB Colonel retired Alexei Filatov, Vice President of the Association of Veterans of the Alpha Division, to make wider use of high information technologies in countering terror. Speaking on the TV channel “Rain” after the terrorist acts committed in Volgograd, Filatov stressed that in any country of the world special services get a chance to reveal the intentions of terrorists using an agent network and means of listening to telephone and other negotiations.
As for Lebanon, in such a multi-confessional and multinational country, special services should be “armed” with the most advanced technology. In fact, the Lebanese are a small population, represented by Sunni Arabs, Shiite Arabs, Christian Arabs of different directions, Armenians, Druze and Palestinian Arabs. Moreover, national and religious communities are not at all united there. So, Shiites are united in political parties Hezbollah and Amal, each of which has created its own military structures and special services. There is no unity among the local Sunnis, Christians, Druze and Arabs, who consider themselves Palestinians.
And at the same time in Lebanon, there are three state secret services: “Amn al-Amn” (General Directorate of General Security, GUOB), “Amn ad-Daula” (State Security Directorate), “Army Muhabarat” (Military Intelligence). In addition, police functions in the Cedar Country are performed by police, gendarmerie and internal security forces. Such fragmentation of the special services, which competed with each other and operated quite often in isolation, could not bring much success in confronting the enemies of the Lebanese state. Therefore, the political leadership of the country took two important decisions: first, all non-state special services were outlawed and, secondly, the security security service was determined by the leading security service. The first decision was not fully implemented, because Hezbollah did not obey him. The second decision came into effect immediately.
It is important to note that practically all the leaders of the Arab states took the path of strengthening their intelligence services. For example, in Syria, out of four intelligence structures - the General Directorate of Security (GUB), Military Intelligence (BP), the Political Security Directorate, and the Air Intelligence Directorate - BP was recognized as a priority, reporting directly to the President and the GUB. It is significant that with the beginning of the civil war in Syria in GUB, the "Division for Palestinian Affairs of Syria and Lebanon" was strengthened. And the reason for such attention is quite obvious: the Palestinians, most of whom are Sunnis, sided with the opponents of the Alawith Bashar Assad regime.
No secular forces in the movement opposing Bashar al-Assad will cope with al-Qaeda. If the current Syrian regime collapses, in the very heart of the Middle East, the most brutal and uncompromising terrorist organization of a global type will seize power.
The director of the Israeli Center for the Study of Terror (ICIT), Dr. Reuven Erlich, a reserve colonel who served in the analytical department of AMAN (Israeli military intelligence), believes that Al-Qaida is not only crazy fanatics with suicide belts, but primarily a strategy world jihad to seize control of trade crossings and oil fields. This is precisely the plan of Al-Qaida and its associated organizations: to strike at the interests of not only Israel, the United States, the European Union, Russia, but the whole world.
Reuven Erlich warns against the wrong emphasis in current events in the Middle East, and especially in Syria. “It’s important to understand the whole world,” stresses Erlich, “Al-Qaida’s agents carry the virus of terror everywhere. Everyone who passes through training camps with them returns home to a trained jihadist. This is the most dangerous virus. These people carry world jihad to their countries. ” Addressing the leaders of the United States, the ICIT director says: “The White House should be worried - if Al-Qaeda establishes itself in Syria, the whole system of checks and balances that the Americans are trying to create will fly to hell, and they will lose any an opportunity to influence the region. "
ISLAMISTS AGAINST ISLAMISTS. WHO WILL WIN?
Just a couple of years ago, this situation seemed completely unthinkable. After all, Islamists of all religious colors and political trends for decades have been and continue to oppose the Jewish state, not only delegitimizing it in a propaganda war, but also threatening to exterminate it. “In the heat of this literally deadly confrontation,” the retired Israeli army colonel who worked for many years in the analytical department of the Ministry of Defense Yaniv Rokhov told a HBO correspondent, numerous radical Islamist organizations tried not to recall their internal contradictions as religious as well as political. "
Meanwhile, it is quite possible to agree with the professor of Islamology at the University of Toulouse-II Huider, who in the article “The latest история Arab Spring ”, published last year in Debat magazine (Guidere M. Histoire immediate du“ printems arabe ”. - Debat. P., 2012. - No. 168. - P. 129 – 145), emphasizes that“ Islamism Is not a religion (unlike Islam. - Z.G.), it is a system of ideas and religious beliefs used to justify and justify political actions. ” Guider distinguishes three types of Islamism: first, popular, aimed at managing the private sphere, second, political, seeking to reform the society, and finally jihadist, whose sphere of action is international relations. This type of Islamism pays special attention to the economic and political relations between Muslim and non-Muslim countries. His goal is to restore such a state institution of the Middle Ages as a caliphate, using the methods of pan-Islamism and hegemony.
The Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI), the Lebanese radical organization Hezbollah (the Party of Allah), representing the Shiite trend in Islam, has always recognized its vulnerability in the Muslim world. After all, the majority of Muslims are supporters of the Sunni trend. In order to demonstrate its uncompromising standoff with the Jews of Iran, the only state among the UN members until recently openly called for the destruction of Israel, also a member of the UN. The Lebanese Hezbollah, which, by the way, is by no means all of the Shiites there, goes in the wake of Tehran.
It should be stated directly that Assad Sr. and Assad Jr., while serving as president, contributed to the inclusion of such religious and national minorities as Christians of different faiths, Ismailis, Druze, Turkmen, Persians, and (to a lesser extent) Kurds. Thus, the current regime in Damascus, although supported by Iranian Shiite ayatollahs, is in itself not radically Islamic. It can be described as moderately secular. Before the outbreak of the civil war, 22 million people lived in Syria, of which 87% were Muslim, 10% were Christian and 3% were Druze.
It is significant that the defense minister in the government of Bashar Assad was Orthodox Christian Daoud Rajikh, who was killed during the terrorist attack perpetrated by the 18 rebels in July 2012.
The Sunnis, who constitute the overwhelming majority (74%) in Syria, against the Alawites (11%) and Shiites (2%) have always been compelled primarily by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Later, Turkey joined the Arab haters of Assad. On the other hand, Riyadh and Doha, which support the enemies of the current regime in Damascus, are also in a difficult situation. When Hezbollah, Tehran’s fighting squad, attacked Israel during the second Lebanon war, the entire Arab world, forgetting its contradictions and quarrels, took the side of Hezbollah. But as soon as the next war with the Jews ended, internal disassembly resumed. The Sunni Sheikh Yusuf Kardaui, who had recently praised Hezbollah at all corners, now repents of his alleged delusion at the same corners. He calls the Party of Allah the Party of Satan (“Hizb ash-Shaitan”). Kardawi calls for “all Muslims who are able to keep weapon, immediately go to Syria and crush the Party of Satan. Egyptian Sunni extremists associated with al-Qaeda (the leader of the local Muslim Brotherhood, Mohammed al-Zawahiri, brother of the head of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri) are demanding that the “flame of war with the infidels” (they also include Shiites ) to Lebanon.
RECRUITMENT RECRUITERS AND CASH FLOWS
Among jihadists, the special groups “Jabhat al-Nusra” (“Liberation Front”; the full name of the organization translates as “Front for the support of the inhabitants of Great Syria”) and “Caliphate Levant”, which is also “Bilyad ash-Sham” (“Great Syria"). Both of these groups are al-Qaida affiliates. Ariel Ringle-Hoffman in the article "Al-Qaeda" around the corner ", published in the popular Israeli newspaper" Yediot Achronot ", draws attention to the broad interpretation of the geographical concept of" Syria "by the Front. “Front-line soldiers” mean by “Syria” not only the current territory of Syria proper, but also Lebanon, Jordan and all of Israel, including the West Bank, which formally refers to the Palestinian National Autonomy (PNA). Moreover, the “Front” is also striking out at certain areas of Iraq. Reuven Erlich believes that the main danger for the entire Middle East is the likelihood of the capture by the militants of Jabhat al-Nusra of chemical weapons, some of which remain in the warehouses of the government Syrian army. In this regard, the director of the ICITA stated: "Israel highly appreciates the initiative of Moscow, not only to break the American attack on Syria, but opened the way to the chemical disarmament of this country."
Jihadists attract militants from all over the Muslim world, as well as from the United States, Canada, Great Britain, France, Belgium, Ireland, Germany to their troops. The director of ITITA Erlich believes that first of all "it is necessary to understand how Al-Qaeda mobilizes jihadists, for example, in Paris." “Muslim youth from Europe simply crosses the border of Turkey and Iran,” Erlich believes, “and enters into terrorist organizations. We need to identify recruiters, to know where the money comes from, who mediates. ”
The civil war in Syria has put the Hamas leadership in a very delicate situation. For many years, the leaders of this organization have been hiding from Israeli retaliation in Damascus. But even at the beginning of the ongoing internal Syrian conflict, Khaled Mashal, the chairman of the political bureau of this organization, opposed the participation of the Hamas people in this confrontation. Indeed, Sunni Hamas did not at all have to stand in the ranks of those who are fighting with the Sunnis. This is on the one hand. On the other hand, Hamas members generously donated weapons and money to Shiite Iran and protected the Syrian Alawite regime.
Tehran has to be “content with” the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (ID), a competitor of Hamas in Gaza, who, because of its small number and weakness, felt rejected. In principle, the ID is a Sunni group. But its founder, Fathi Shakaki, liquidated by Israeli agents in Malta in October 1995, was a fierce fan of Ayatollah Khomeini, the spiritual leader and founder of the current theocratic Iran.
Israeli journalist of Palestinian origin, Khaled Abu-Toam, in an article entitled “Strayed from the“ path of jihad ”published in the English-language newspaper The Jerusalem Post, writes:“ Unlike Hamas, Islamic Jihad continues to maintain its current representation in Syria, where this grouping uses the full support not only Assad, but also Iran. Both Damascus and Tehran have a special interest in enhancing the ID. Perhaps in this way they are trying to punish Hamas for the fact that this organization refused to take the side of Assad. ”
From time to time, bloody clashes take place between Hamas and ID militants. For example, several years ago, Hamas members shot and killed one of the leaders of the publishing house in Gaza, Raed Hyundiyah. Interestingly, the militants of the Egyptian ID, following the example of Hamas, sided with the enemies of Iran and the Syrian government.
ISLAMIZATION WINS MODERNIZATION
The Muslim world treats the fundamentalist jihadist organizations differently, but in most Arab states they are supported by the most backward sections of the population. Often, one part of the citizens of the same state supports some radicals, the other - the other. For example, in Jordan, according to surveys, 55% of local residents have identified themselves as Hezbollah supporters. 43% of Jordanians admitted to negative attitude towards this organization. Hamas has even more adherents - 60%. They are opposed by 34% of the citizens of the kingdom, called the Hashemite, that is, headed by the monarch, a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad himself. The favor of the citizens of Jordan to Hamas and Hezbollah does not lend itself to the usual logic, given that the royal regime expelled the leaders of the first organization from the country, and declared the second to be terrorist.
Interpreting these numbers is not easy yet for another reason. It turns out that a significant part of the population of the Hashemite kingdom at the same time supports organizations whose militants are fighting each other on the Syrian fronts. And after all, this attitude to Hezbollah and Hamas is also observed in other Arab countries. Therefore, Barry Rubin, director of the International Center for Global Studies and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs, who is right in the article “The Islamists on the march,” published in the Jerusalem Post, writes: “I suppose that most Muslims in countries where there is no real democracy, and the authorities brutally crack down on the opposition, prefer not to take sides in the confrontation ”.
Jordanians are also wary of FATAH and the PNA. According to polls, moderate Fatah is less attractive to most Jordanians than radical Hamas. “And there is no contradiction here,” writes Barry Rubin. - The Islamists are perceived by the Arab masses as ideological, morally clean, more desperate and inexorable fighters than supporters of nationalist movements. Muslims see them as liberators willing to sacrifice their lives for the triumph of Islam and the return of its former glory to the Muslim world. ”
At the political forefront of the Islamic countries there are not and never have been any parties that come out from openly atheistic positions. Secular parties in Muslim states oppose fundamentalism and are ready to lead democratic reforms leading to the modernization of economic life and economic structures. This way, according to leaders of secular parties and movements, will bring the standard of living in Muslim countries closer to European standards. However, in the same Jordan 40% of the population are in favor of creating an Islamist regime. And almost half of the Jordanians do not associate this harsh Islamist regime with the monarchy of King Abdullah II. Thus, the moderate current royal regime should be considered precarious. Undoubtedly, this fact is realized in Amman and therefore there they are trying to “stay out of the game”, without defining their preferences in the civil war in Syria and not very demonstrating their almost allied relations with Jerusalem.
In this regard, it is not surprising that there are many supporters among the not very educated Jordanians and Al-Qaida. Polls speak of 34% of citizens of the kingdom who are sympathetic to an organization that not only attacked the United States on 11 on September 2001, but also carried out terrorist attacks in Iraq and Jordan itself. “This cannot be linked to anti-Western sentiments,” Barry Rubin expresses his point of view and asks a rhetorical question: “Can we count on modernization and stability in a country whose third of the population sympathizes with terrorists who kill their own citizens?”
By sympathizing with the radicals, a significant portion of the Arab population explicitly places accents in their preferences. And these preferences are very specific: anti-Western positions and anti-Americanism. It would seem that in such a situation, the West and the Americans have no choice: they cannot support either their outspoken enemies - Al Qaeda with its allies, nor the opposing regime in Damascus, for which Hezbollah militants are fighting for the government army, and Tehran provides maximum assistance. But the position of the current American administration can be called, however strange it may sound, anti-American. It seems that in the State Department of the most powerful country in the world, politics are determined, if not by enemies, then certainly not by professionals.
KURDISTAN COULD TAKE THE NEAR EAST
Immediately after the end of World War I, the victors, Great Britain and France, dividing the territory of the collapsed Ottoman Empire, did not rule out the creation of an independent Kurdistan. This was mentioned in the so-called Sevres (by the name of the town in France, in which representatives of the parties gathered) in an agreement concluded on August 10 on August 1920. However, later the leaders of European countries simply forgot about their promises.
Paris and London literally slaughtered the territory of the Middle East on a living, not paying attention to ethnic groups, tribes, religious and sectarian groups. In Syria, the intentions of the Europeans were of particular concern to the Alawites. The Lebanese newspaper Al-Nahar and the Egyptian Al-Ahram published a terrific document relating to July 15 1936. In it, the then leader of the Syrian Alawite community, the great-grandfather of the current President Bashar al-Assad, Suleiman al-Assad asked French Prime Minister Leon Blum to abandon his intention to grant Syria independence. In particular, Suleiman al-Asad wrote: “The Alawite nation, which for many years maintained its independence through great diligence and the price of many victims, is a nation that differs from the Muslim Sunni nation in its religious faith, its traditions and its history ... Alavitsky the people do not want to be attached to Muslim Syria, because Islam is conceived as the official religion of the country and the Alawites are considered by the Islamic religion as heretics ... ”. And then the great-grandfather of the current Syrian leader, demonstrating his foresight, in fact, predicts the current civil war in Syria. He writes: "For this reason, we ask you to prevent a terrible fate that awaits the Alawites if they are forced to join Syria."
If the Kurds, of whom there are more than 40 million today, gained self-determination at the beginning of the 20-s of the last century, the further history of the Middle East would not be so bloody. The majority of the Kurds are Sunni Muslims and in this respect are close to the majority of their fellow Arabs. The Kurdish people, having their own statehood, could well act as a “conciliator” between Jews and Arabs. In the Kurdish mentality is completely absent anti-Semitism. In Kurdistan for centuries lahloukhs lived, Kurdish Jews who never felt hostility towards themselves from their neighbors. The identity of the Kurds often irritated their neighbors. So, Ankara until recently forbade the Kurdish language. Kurdish villages in Turkish territory never possessed any autonomy, and the authorities attributed all local Kurds to the Turks.
The executed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein ordered to “gas” Kurdish villages on the border with Iran with gas 1988, suspecting them of helping Tehran. Many Arab leaders consider all Kurdish leaders as representatives of a pro-Western orientation, and therefore also do not trust them.
In Syria, 2 million Kurds focus mainly on its northeast. Nearby, immediately abroad, Iraqi Kurds live compactly, having already created, in fact, an independent state, albeit formally called autonomy. Among the Syrian Kurds there are tribal and political differences, but they do not participate in the civil war. There are practically no Kurds in the government army of Assad or in the rebel groups. Today, Kurdistan is only a geographical concept like the Sahara or the Caucasus.
DO NOT DISCUSS!
Tactically, for Israel in the current civil war in Syria, the victory of the regime of Bashar al-Assad is beneficial for a very simple reason: after the Yomby Day war of October 1973, it was the Syrian-Israeli border that was the most peaceful border of the Jewish state. Neither Asad Sr. nor Asad Jr., taught by bitter experience of defeats in confrontation with the Jews on the battlefield, while conducting a fierce anti-Israel propaganda campaign, refrained from open conflict with the Jewish state. If the power in Damascus is captured by extreme Sunni Islamists, led by Al-Qaeda, then, first, thousands of Alawites, Kurds, Christians and Druze, fleeing from the inevitable massacre, rush to Israel. If this happens, the Jewish state will face a grave humanitarian problem, probably even a catastrophe. Secondly, al-Qaeda, fulfilling its promises, will definitely begin to prepare a military confrontation with the Jews. Therefore, undoubtedly, Reuven Erlich is right, who, answering the question: “What can and should Israel do on the northern border?” Said so: “As a former employee of AMAN specialized in Lebanon, I can say that it is expedient for us to“ keep a low profile ” .
Nevertheless, many Israeli political and military leaders believe that in strategic terms, the fall of the Assad regime is beneficial to Jerusalem. Thus, by and large in the Syrian confrontation, Israel wishes victory to both parties.