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WASHINGTON – The Syrian civil war has enhanced the standing of al-Qaida and other Saudi Arabian-backed Sunni Salafists who seek to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, says a report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

And now al-Qaida has begun to show its influence and strength by threatening the Iranian-backed Shi’ite Hezbollah in Lebanon over its support for the al-Assad regime.

In a statement, al-Qaida said that Lebanese Shi’ites would pay for their support of al-Assad, raising the prospect of a resurgence of sectarian strife in Lebanon, reminiscent of the 1975-1990 Lebanese civil war.

The statement was made by the closely allied al-Qaida group, Abdallah Azzam Brigades. It warned that “the positions of Hezbollah and the Amal Movement via-a-vis the Syrian revolution do not serve the sect’s best interest.

“If you maintain your arrogant attitude,” the statement added, “you will be punished, and you will pay. You only have yourselves to blame.”

Hezbollah has been a strong supporter of the Syrian president because of its alliance with Iran.

“If you stay with him, you shall go with him,” the statement added.

Radical Salafists have been fighting with Shi’ites in northern Lebanon around the city of Tripoli. Sources tell WND/G2Bulletin that Hezbollah elements have been fighting with the Salafists and al-Qaida members to prevent the spread of sectarian violence should the al-Assad regime fall.

“The Abdallah Azzam brigades are active in the North and they have been moving freely between Lebanon and Syria as a result of the Syrian crisis,” Ahmad Moussalli of the American University of Beirut told the Lebanon Daily Star.

“They consider this to be a golden opportunity to strike against targets that were far from their reach in the past,” he said. “Looking at the border situation now, they can transfer militants from Syria to Lebanon in order to carry out attacks against Hezbollah and Amal Movement.”

For some time, al-Qaida cells have joined with the Syrian opposition in an effort to re-establish a Sunni takeover of the Syrian government and preferably to take advantage of a fractious opposition to assert a dominant role.

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