BEIRUT, Lebanon – The apparent capture of a Saudi Arabian officer in Syria a few months ago – and the killing of Libyans – have prompted regional observers to conclude that the Saudi government is introducing foreign elements into the conflict in Syria, as well as financing the flow of al-Qaida and extremist Sunni Salifists, to fight against the Syrian government, according to a report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
In turn, northern Lebanon appears to be a staging base from which to move arms into Syria for the opposition. It also serves as a base from which to launch attacks and then use as a sanctuary.
Not only has Saudi intelligence, under the new leadership of Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, been seen in northern Lebanon, but a Saudi officer, whom sources identify as Col. Naser Alarifi, was captured four months ago along with two Saudi intelligence operatives in the Syrian city of Homs.
Bandar, who was the Saudi ambassador to the United States from 1983 to 2005, was just appointed on July 19, 2012, to be the director general of the Saudi Intelligence Agency. He also retains his position as secretary general of the Saudi National Security Council which he has held since 2005.
There also are persistent allegations that prominent Sunnis in Lebanon could be behind some of the financing of al-Qaida operatives who are involved in attacks in northern Lebanon. They target Shi’ite elements there in the predominantly Sunni area.
One regional source has identified Bahia al-Hariri, a member of the Lebanese parliament and sister to assassinated former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, who was close to the Saudis.
Sources allege that she is providing financing to al-Qaida in Syria and Lebanon through the Middle East Bank, which was owned by Rafiq Hariri.
She already has a history of association with the Jund al-Sham, created in 1989 by the Palestinians who are Sunnis and which operates in the Ein al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp. It was an offshoot of the Usbat al-Ansar and increasingly has come under the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hizb al-Tahrir.
“The devil behind all this is Bandar,” one source told WND/G2Bulletin.
Saudi interest in overthrowing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is to sever the alliance Syria has with Shi’ite Iran, which has sought to extend its influence among the Muslim Arab countries.
Sources say that the Saudis are moving Sunni Salafists and elements of al-Qaida from Iraq into Lebanon and Syria to infiltrate the opposition in an effort to extend Sunni influence both in Lebanon where Iranian-backed Hezbollah is concentrated and to regain Sunni control of the Syrian government.
It has been in the hands of the Shi’ite Alawites under the leadership of Bashar al-Assad and his father before him for more than 40 years, even though the Syrian population is mostly Sunni, with concentrations of other minorities such as Christians, Druze, Shi’ites, Alawites and Kurds.
Al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri similarly has decided to take advantage of the instability in Syria to begin placing cell groups into both Syria and Lebanon.
As WND/G2Bulletin recently reported, he appears confident enough to have targeted two high Lebanese officials with a combined rewards of $300,000 for their assassinations.
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