Al Qaeda launching a blitz in Lebanon isn't just a casual talking point among Lebanese politicians but it's a distinct possibility. A senior Hezbollah official, Nabil Kaouk, stated that the threat of IS (aka Daash) to Lebanon is very real. The aspiration of annexing Lebanon to the pipedream caliphate has been a part of its expansionist plan since long.
An IS spokesman recently announced in a video filmed at Raqaa that the group was working on “Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and anyone who tries to keep us from liberating Palestine.” That last bit put differently, IS (Daash) intends to use Palestine as a pawn.
There have been consistent reports indicating residents of Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon are strongly supportive of various "jihadist" groups, and IS (Daash) is cashing in on their vulnerability. These refugees have a long history of suffering for over two generations. They endured oppression and expulsion after the occupation of their homeland. In Lebanon they are deprived of almost all basic and civil rights including the right to work and own property. There are approximately half a million Palestinian refugees in Lebanon who are confined to 12 cramped and squalid camps where the memories of Nakba are still fresh. The dissatisfaction, helplessness and misery have been brewing for years. They feel the situation couldn't get any harder for them. Many look upon Daash as their last hope that may give them a chance to fight oppression. Daash sleuths sauntering the dismal alleys of refugee camps in Lebanon in search of recruits are widely posing as saviors of the Palestinian cause. Consequently, lots of Palestinians are getting irresistibly drawn to a so-called jihad that incites hate by playing the sectarian card.
Support for Daash isn't only growing among Palestinians in Lebanon. Sectarian divide is deepening widely at a frightening pace in many parts of the country. Lebanese Salafists are reportedly flooding Daash recruitment camps just as enthusiastically in huge numbers.
The best strategy for the Lebanese government to kick out those prowling Daash private eyes would be to immediately begin working on eradicating sectarian differences by granting more civil rights to Palestinian refugees including the ones forced out of Syria, and arranging discussions between Lebanese Shiias and Sunnis. Some have opined that participation of Saudi Arabia and Iran would help greatly. Unfortunately none of these plans are underway yet. Furthermore, those Palestinians who have been deprived for decades might still mistakenly consider Daash to be a better option and a more suitable shortcut to achieve their goal.
CIA has often been wrong in its readings and let's hope the same this time. It predicts that Daash is capable of recruiting at least 250,000 'jihadists' from Lebanon with numerous wannabe candidates as reserves.
A number of Lebanese politicians are reportedly appealing to Obama for military assistance. But with his preoccupations with Russia and Ukraine, it's unlikely, if not impossible, if Obama will respond to Lebanon's needs. The US President isn't only following a completely hands-off policy toward IS (Daash), but is just as determined not to stand by those who are threatened by it.
Stories from all sources convey there is little optimism in Lebanon. Politicians are doubtful if anything can be done to stop Daash from winning the hearts and minds of Lebanese Sunnis. Like the Kurdish peshmergas, the Lebanese army admits it may not be able to thwart an attack from Daash. Considering the ever-growing number of Daash fighters with no dearth of up-to-the-minute weapons, it's anyone's guess if a small army like Hezbollah will succeed in confronting them either. Nonetheless, reiterating its commitment for defending Lebanon, Hezbollah’s MP Nawwaf Al-Moussawi, underscored the importance of solidarity between "Lebanese Army, people and Resistance" against the enemy. Moussawi strongly rejected the takfiri ideologies, defining the diversity in Lebanese society and the need for tolerance.
Hinting at the blatant complacency of the United States, Patrick Buchanan (a conservative US political commentator) states, "The Syrians, Turks, Kurds, Iranians and Iraqis have the proximity and manpower to defeat ISIS, they should do this job themselves." Surprisingly he overlooks some very obvious points. It will no longer be easy for such an alliance to confront IS. The United States has already empowered it enough, making it a leading fighting force. It will do so still more if at any time IS is pit against Iran. IS and other AQ groups have been using Turkey as a safe haven for their activities for over three years with complete support of the Turkish government. Why would the Turks join an alliance comprising of Iran, Syria and the Kurds to defeat ISIS?