Sunni Youth of Tripoli: Keep Your Powder Dry

The motives of the Sunni Muslim youth fighting in the Bab al-Tabbana neighborhood of Tripoli, Lebanon continues to animate discussion on Ekhlaas. One poster, Hafidat Usama (Granddaughter of Usama), claims to live in Bab al-Tabbana and to have witnessed the fighting. Hafidat asserts that the youth only armed themselves after seeing that the Lebanese army was not able to enter the neighborhood. Although the youth could not match the heavy weaponry of their `Alawi opponents, they manged to fight them to a standstill. Hafidat is annoyed with Umm al-Faruq, another female Ekhlaas member, who accused the Tabbana youth a few days ago of fighting for Saad al-Hariri’s Future Movement and of not being properly pious in their appearance or behavior. Hafidat shoots back that the youth were only fighting to protect their religious community and not for political reasons. Another member, Abu Hajir al-Kinani, counsels caution, explaining that Jihadis living

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Proof that Sincere Sunnis Are Fighting in Tripoli, Lebanon

Ekhlaas member Abu al-Bara’ al-Shami uploaded this video as proof that sincere Muslim youth are fighting solely to protect their religion and coreligionists in Tripoli.  I don’t think it proves his point at all.  In fact, the video suggests something else: the young men are relishing a chance to play superhero.  That doesn’t mean they aren’t sincere, but it’s hard to believe that there’s not a little bit of this going on.  You be the judge: Video: rpg-attack-in-bab-al-tabbana-tripoli

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Trouble in Tripoli

Lebanon that is. Over the past few days, there has been fighting between the Jabal Muhsin and Bab al-Tabbana neighborhoods that has killed a handful of people and injured dozens. The former is predominantly Alawi and the latter is Sunni. The clash has prompted confused speculation on Ekhlaas. No one is sure who is fighting or who to root for. Abu_3ubayda puts it best when he says, “The resistance now is spontaneous and unorganized. What has happened so far is improvised.” One point of contention is the extent of Salafi involvement. Some members say that most of the Sunnis fighting are Salafis, while others deny it. Bab al-Tabbana is said to be a stronghold of Salafism in Tripoli, where the puritanical Sunni movement has become powerful, if fractured, in recent years. Still, not every Sunni taking up arms in the neighborhood identifies as a Salafi. Document (Arabic): 7-10-08-ekhlaas-truth-of-battle-between-sunnis-and-alawis-in-northern-lebanon

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Lebanon in the Mouth of the Dragon: Why Aren’t the Salafis Fighting?

Ekhlaas member al-Sarim al-Shami (“the Stern Shami”) asks: Why aren’t the armed Salafi groups entering the fight in Lebanon? He is particularly critical of their religious leaders, who are sitting on their hands. Sarim acknowledges, as I wrote a few days ago, that some Ekhlaas members endorse this tactical neutrality in order to prepare for a larger battle against the state. But he retorts that there is no better time than now to begin “the holy war” (al-harb al-muqadassa) against the infidel foreign powers that are trying to shape the destiny of Lebanon. These powers know that conflict in Lebanon will only benefit “the sons of al-Qaeda,” so they are pushing their proxies to negotiate. They realize that if there is not a peaceful settlement, Lebanon “will become a second Iraq and (turn into) the Islamic State of Lebanon.” Another Ekhlaas member, abu_3ubayda, disagrees. Armed Salafi groups should not enter

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