US embassy cable - 95BEIRUT4678

MORE ON ARREST OF LEBANESE-PALESTINIAN SUNNI FUNDAMENTALIST GROUP

Identifier: 95BEIRUT4678
Wikileaks: View 95BEIRUT4678 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Beirut
Created: 1995-12-28 14:49:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PTER KPAL KISL PREF LE SY
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
P 281449Z DEC 95
FM AMEMBASSY BEIRUT
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9545
INFO AMEMBASSY AMMAN 
AMEMBASSY RIYADH 
AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM 
AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 
AMEMBASSY CAIRO 
AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS 
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BEIRUT 004678 
 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL:12/28/05 
TAGS: PTER, KPAL, KISL, PREF, LE, SY 
SUBJECT:  MORE ON ARREST OF LEBANESE-PALESTINIAN 
SUNNI FUNDAMENTALIST GROUP 
 
REF: (A) BEIRUT 4613; (B) BEIRUT 3557 
 
 
1.  CLASSIFIED CONFIDENTIAL BY RONALD SCHLICHER, 
CHARGE.  REASONS 1.5 B AND D. 
 
2.  SUMMARY:  PRESIDENT HRAWI, CITING PEACE 
PROCESS AND OTHER REASONS, HAS DECIDED AGAINST 
ALLOWING THE LAF TO ENTER 'AYN AL-HILWEH REFUGEE 
CAMP TO ARREST THE FUGITIVE LEADER OF THE 
RECENTLY DISCOVERED SUNNI FUNDAMENTALIST 
MOVEMENT (REFTEL).  INFORMATION LEAKED FROM THE 
INVESTIGATION HAS SPECIFICALLY ACCUSED SUDAN AND 
OSAMA BIN LADEN OF TRAINING AND FINANCING THE 
GROUP.  MURKY INFO SUGGESTS THAT THERE MAY BE A 
CONNECTION BETWEEN THE ORGANIZATION AND A 
SPLINTER GROUP OF THE ANO.  END SUMMARY. 
 
--------------------------------------------- 
"ABU MUHJEN" IN 'AYN AL-HILWEH, LAF AT GATES 
--------------------------------------------- 
 
3.  (U) AHMED 'ABD AL-KARIM AL-SA'ADI ("ABU 
MUHJEN"), THE LEADER OF THE LEBANESE-PALESITNIAN 
SUNNI FUNDAMENTALIST GROUP (WHICH CALLS ITSELF 
"'ASBAT AL-ANSAR") ACCUSED OF MURDERING 
"AL-AHBASH" LEADER NIZAR AL-HALABI AND OF 
PLOTTING TO MURDER OTHER LEBANESE AND SYRIAN 
PERSONALITIES, IS CURRENTLY IN SIDON'S 'AYN 
AL-HILWEH REFUGEE CAMP.  INDEED, ON THE DAY 
FOLLOWING THE ARREST OF MOST MEMBERS OF HIS 
GROUP, ABU MUHJEN GAVE AN INTERVIEW TO 
"AL-SAFIR" NEWSPAPER. 
 
4.  (U) HE DENIED INVOLVEMENT IN THE MURDER AND 
PLOTTING, DESPITE HIS COMRADES' TELEVISED 
CONFESSIONS AND RE-ENACTMENT OF THE 
ASSASSINATION.  HE ALSO DENIED ANY FOREIGN 
FUNDING OF HIS GROUP, AND HINTED DARKLY THAT HIS 
PROBLEMS WERE SOMEHOW A ZIONIST PLOT. 
 
5.  (C) THE LAF, WANTING TO CAP ITS SUCCESSFUL 
ROUND-UP OF THE GROUP VIA THE ARREST OF ABU 
MUHJEN, IS DEPLOYED AROUND 'AYN AL-HILWEH, AND 
REPORTEDLY SEARCHING ALL WHO ENTER AND EXIT. 
LAF COMMANDER LAHOUD ASKED PRESIDENT HRAWI FOR 
PERMISSION TO ENTER THE CAMP, BUT HRAWI TOLD 
CHARGE THAT HE HAS DECIDED NOT TO GIVE 
PERMISSION. 
 
------------------------------------------- 
HRAWI: TIMIMG WRONG FOR LAF TO ENTER CAMPS 
------------------------------------------ 
 
6.  (C) HRAWI SAID THAT AN OPERATION INSIDE THE 
CAMP WOULD LIKELY PRODUCE CASUALTIES AMONG THE 
INNOCENT OCCUPANTS, ESPECIALLY WOMEN AND 
CHILDREN.  HE ALSO ADDED THAT THE CURRENT 
DELICACY OF PEACE-PROCESS POLITICS DID NOT NEED 
THE POSSIBLE DISRUPTION THAT COULD BE ENGENDERED 
BY AN OPERATION GONE WRONG.  AND, ULTIMATELY, 
ADDED HRAWI, THE LAF NEEDS TO CONCENTRATE ON 
PLANS FOR EVENTUAL DEPLOYMENT TO THE BORDER 
INSTEAD OF ON THE REFUGEE CAMPS. 
 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 
REPORTED SUDANESE AND BIN LADEN LINKS NOW PUBLIC 
--------------------------------------------- --- 
 
7.  (C) REFTEL NOTED INFO THAT SAUDI FINANCIER 
OF TERROR OSAMA BIN LADEN HAD BEEN IDENTIFIED AS 
THE BANKROLLER OF THE GROUP.  ON DEC. 27, LIKELY 
LAF SOURCES LEAKED TO THE MEDIA THAT THE LAF, IN 
HANDING OVER THE FILES TO THE CIVIL PROSECUTORS, 
HAD UNCOVERED EVIDENCE OF BIN LADEN'S 
INVOLVEMENT, ALONG WITH EVIDENCE THAT "SUDANESE 
OFFICERS" HAD TRAINED THE GROUP'S MEMBERS (WHO, 
WHEN, AND WHERE WERE NOT MENTIONED). 
 
8. (C) THE SUDANESE EMBASSY (NOTABLY OMITTING 
ANY REFERENCE TO REPORTED KHARTOUM RESIDENT BIN 
LADEN) HAS PUBLICLY DENIED ANY CONNECTION 
BETWEEN SUDAN AND THE GROUP, AND IS SUGGESTING 
PRIVATELY THAT EGYPTIAN AMBASSADOR ADEL 
AL-KHUDARI IS SPREADING LIES ABOUT SUDAN AS PART 
OF THE ONGOING BILATERAL PROBLEMS BETWEEN THE 
TWO COUNTRIES. 
 
------------- 
AN ANO LINK? 
------------- 
 
9.  (C) IN REF B WE NOTED THAT, IN THE WAKE OF 
AL-HALABI'S MURDER, AN APPARENT ANO SPLINTER 
GROUP ACCUSED ABU NIDAL OF ORDERING THE HIT.  WE 
HAVE SEEN NO PROOF, BUT ARE HEARING RUMORS FROM 
THE NORTH (FROM THE SOURCES THAT TIPPED US ON 
THE BIN LADEN CONNECTION) THAT THE ARRESTED 
GROUP MAY ALSO HAVE BEEN INVOLVED IN THE DEC. 8 
MURDER IN TRIPOLI OF ANO FINANCIAL OFFICIAL 
MUSTAFA 'ATTOUR, WHO WAS GUNNED DOWN IN MUCH THE 
SAME FASHION AS AL-HALABI. 
 
10.  (C) AT THE SAME TIME, THERE ARE OTHER 
RUMORS, AGAIN WITH NO PROOF OFFERED, THAT ABU 
MUHJEN WORKS FOR PLO DISSIDENT MUNIR AL-MUQDAH, 
WHO CURRENTLY IS THE STRONG MAN IN 'AYN 
AL-HILWEH. 
 
11. (C) COMMENT: WE WILL WATCH CAREFULLY FOR 
CLARIFYING INFORMATION, BUT NOTE THAT, IN THE 
HOTHOUSE REJECTIONIST POLITICS OF 'AYN 
AL-HILWEH, VIRTUALLY ANY COMBINATION OF 
LOYALTIES AND ALLEGIANCES IS POSSIBLE. 
 
 
SCHLICHER 

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