Friday, September 7, 2007

Out but not over

by Lucy Fielder from Al-Ahram Weekly

The question of who funded and supplied Fatah Al-Islam -- a Salafi group made up of Lebanese, Saudis and other Arabs as well as some Palestinians -- is likely to remain a subject of fierce debate. The US- and Saudi-backed governing 14 March movement accused Syria of backing the militants, who split off from Syrian-backed Fatah Al-Intifada in November. Fatah Al-Islam and Syria deny this, and government critics have accused powerful Sunni leader Saad Al-Hariri of backing the group to court hardline Islamist support to counterbalance Hizbullah's Shia guerrillas ... Prejudice against the refugees is rife, partly because of fears Lebanon's fragile sectarian balance would be tipped if the mainly Sunni Palestinians were absorbed. Many Lebanese view the heavily armed Palestinian presence in south Lebanon as the spark that ignited civil war in 1975.

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