The Middle East Reporter (by subscription only) reported today a story published in Asharq Al Awsat which said that radical Sunni Islamist groups have begun to organize themselves in an attempt to establish a military coalition to confront Shiite Hizbullah. The setback of Saad al-Hariri’s Future/Mustaqbal movement during the crisis is likely to empower such radical Sunni Islamic groups.
Former Lebanese Deputy Khalid al-Dahir spoke to the paper. “Though Dahir confirmed that the Islamic trends’ meeting yesterday included all the parties, among them the Salafist Trend, and that coordination between them is full, Dai al-Islam al-Shahhal, founder of the Salafist Trend in Lebanon who made a “call to arms” to the Sunni youths in a statement he had issued, appeared less violent when talking in his office in Abu Samra area in Tripoli yesterday. Al-Shahhal told Asharq Al-Awsat, “We called for mental and logistical mobilization in all the Lebanese areas. If the crisis, violation of dignities, and the hegemony and control attempts continued, then it is our right to defend ourselves. Groups have started to coalesce, each in their region, to form in the end a single defensive group bound by the Shariaa and moral rules.”
Al-Shahhal denied that the desire is to form a militia like the Hezbollah one “unless this become necessary”, adding, “If they calm down, we will calm down. If they sabotage it, we will sabotage it and destroy all the barriers and there will be no red lines before us then. We will defend fiercely everywhere. When we issue a call to arms this means there is a harbinger of danger and misfortune.”“