Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Lebanon, Jordan worried about Syrian terror cells

The Daily Star Lebanon reports on the latest uproar in that country:
A military judge begins investigations Monday into former Minister Michel Samaha, who along with a high-ranking Syrian military official, was formally charged in a terror plot aimed at destabilizing Lebanon.

Prime Minister Najib Mikati said Sunday that the results of the investigation would determine the stance to be taken in order to defend the country’s sovereignty.

The charges against Samaha, a longtime ally and friend of Syrian President Bashar Assad, and the chief of Syrian National Security Bureau Maj. Gen. Ali Mamlouk, threaten to further strain the already tense relations between Lebanon and Syria following a series of deadly incidents on the shared border between the two countries.

Samaha’s reported confessions to his involvement in the terror plot sparked calls by some March 14 politicians for Lebanon to sever ties with the Assad regime.

Samaha, a former MP and two-time information minister, was charged Saturday by Lebanon’s Military Tribunal with plotting to assassinate political and religious figures in the country and planning terrorist attacks.

In an unprecedented move, Mamlouk and a Syrian brigadier general, who was identified as Brig. Gen. Adnan, were also included in the indictment.
Jordan is alarmed:
Jordanian officials in Amman are openly expressing concern over the possible existence of a "Jordanian Michel Samaha" on their land, noting that they have repeatedly arrested "Syrian sleeper cells" in a number of Jordanian cities which are hosting large number of Syrian refugees.

The Lebanese authorities' accusations leveled against former minister and MP Michel Samaha, including his alleged involvement in plots to carry out bombings in various areas under the guidance of the Syrian regime, has seemingly had a significant effect on Jordan. This has prompted some elements within the Jordanian government to sound the alarm and call for greater caution. Some Jordanian newspapers even rushed to openly express their concern over "the presence of a Michel Samaha among Jordanian supporters of the Syrian regime.”

Jordanian security services have declared a state of security alert since the beginning of the popular uprising in their northern neighbor. Subsequently, security services have also formed a so-called "strategic security cell," which includes senior officials from state institutions, especially the General Intelligence Directorate.

According to statements made by a prominent Jordanian minister to Al-Hayat, in only a short period of time, this cell managed to "monitor Syrian cells hidden in northern areas," Besides monitoring individuals who presented themselves as defectors from the Syrian army but turned out to be Syrian security elements entering into Jordan to spy. Furthermore, the Security Directorate of Jordan previously confirmed that the relevant apparatuses had foiled arms smuggling operations from Syria.
It seems likely that Iran is behind this. They make no secret that they want the Jordanian regime to fall, as their media approvingly quotes Islamic Jihad:
Representative of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad Movement in Tehran Abu Sharif stressed that the recent popular uprisings in the region have harmed the interests of Israel and are breaking the security chain around the Zionist regime.

"These developments (popular uprisings) in the region are in the interest of the regional nations and against the interests of the Zionist regime and have disturbed the power balance between the supporters and opponents of the Zionist regime," Abu Sharif said.

He pointed to the blows struck at the Zionist regime since the victory of the Islamic Revolution in 1979, and stated, "30 years ago, the Islamic Revolution in Iran inflicted great damage on Israel. The deterioration of relations between Turkey and Israel was the second blow at the regime and (Hosni) Mubarak's fall in Egypt was another blow."

"If the regional changes reach Jordan, the Israeli regime will lose the last part of its security chain."