Hezbollah-funded TV station Al Manar news reporter Husayn Nur-al Din reported on PFLP General Command official Abu-Imad Ramiz press conference yesterday on his update on the Tripoli events.
Abu-Imad Ramiz was featured saying: “During all the meetings we held with the Lebanese political authorities, we have warned of this group and put the authorities in the picture of the information available to us about the growing presence of Fatah al-Islam members in Tripoli and how a certain Lebanese party tried to exploit the group to serve its goals internally and mobilize them religiously. As Palestinians, if we are to blame for the presence of this group in Nahr al-Barid refugee camp, then who should be blamed for the presence of this group in the city of Tripoli and its neighbourhoods? Who funded them? And who facilitated their movement and turned a blind eye to their activities until they managed in few hours to control the streets
of Tripoli? One of these groups has almost reached the area of Dayr al-Balamand.”
This of course is highly out of context. If the Palestinians were so keen on rooting out Fatah al-Islam from their camp, they would have properly cooperated with the army these past few days and help turn the Fatah al-Islam members in. We have not seen this level of cooperation. Instead, we have seen accusations being hurled left and right supplemented by zero action.
Nur al-Din then reports saying, “In a statement, the PFLP accused the Information Bureau of the Internal Security Forces led by Officer Wisam al-Hasan of sponsoring Fatah al-Islam organization and allowing it into Al-Barid refugee camp after it was dismantled in the refugee camps of Burj al-Barajinah and Shatila, saying that the fire of the political grudge against the Palestinian presence was ignited when the Future Movement adopted Fatah al-Islam and prepared it to fight its sectarian war in order to target the resistance weapons.”
This statement is highly unjustified. Here is yet another example of how Al Manar has been taking advantage of Seymour Hersh’s findings and actually distorting them. Even Hersh did not say that the Future Movement had “adopted” the Fatah al-Islam; he had only discussed the issue of indirect and direct funding. Of course, Hersh’s article’s reliance on an M16 agent worries me greatly.
The Al-Manar reporter, however, created divergences where none existed. He paraphrased Abu-Imad Ramiz’s statement as having said, “The PFLP-GC stressed that Fatah al-Islam has nothing to do with the Palestinian question on the popular and political levels. The front said that the campaign it is facing is intended to drive a wedge between the front and the Lebanese Army.” He uses this to criticize the prime minister of the “illegitimate government.” He added, “The PFLP noted that pushing the Lebanese Army into a confrontation with the Palestinian civilians is nothing but a conspiracy against this army by those in charge of the political decision-making led by the duo Geagea-Jumblatt in order to deflate the army’s military creed, which is hostile to the Zionist enemy, and blemish its image before its people and nation.”
In fact, however, Jumblatt was the first to come out and say that Fatah al-Islam could not, in fact, be defined as Palestinian. This came even after Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah’s speech in which he called the group “Palestinian.”
Additionally, Al Manar blames March 14 for hurting the image of the national army which consequently hurts its ability to counter Israeli aggression. However, March 14 that same day had criticized Nasrallah’s speech for providing “moral support” (in the words of Minister of Youth and Sports Ahmed Fatfat). His speech had only lightly criticized (and not condemned) the attacks and had provided no support for the Lebanese army, instead, specifically calling the Lebanese army a red line and an assault on the camp another red line. Who is hurting the army’s image now? Even General Michel Aoun realized that Nasrallah had this time gone too far. In his press conference, he explicitly stated that the army must be supported by all Lebanese communities and that calling the Lebanese army a red line was unacceptable.