Abdullah Azzam Brigades leader calls on Lebanese people to attack Hezbollah

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Sirajeddine Zurayqat has called on Sunnis in Lebanon to fight Hezbollah. This image, along with his call to arms, was posted on Zurayqat’s official Twitter feed.

The leader of the Abdullah Azzam Brigades (AAB), an al Qaeda-linked group, has called on Sunnis in Lebanon to attack Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed terrorist organization.

Sirajeddine Zurayqat, who has been reportedly named the new emir of the AAB, called for the anti-Hezbollah attacks in a series of posts on his official Twitter feed on Oct. 13. The tweets have also been collected into a single statement from the AAB leader.

Zurayqat addresses “our youth in Tripoli,” saying they should strike Hezbollah fighters and positions, not the Lebanese Army. Hezbollah is the “puppet master” behind the Army and Lebanon’s security services, Zurayqat writes, and it is Hezbollah that has turned the government against the nation’s Sunnis.

“Therefore, strike the puppet master and do not get preoccupied with the tools. If the head is broken, the hands become paralyzed,” Zurayqat argues in a tweet translated by The Daily Star. “You have [Hezbollah’s] centers, checkpoints, supply lines, leaders and members across Lebanon. Kill them and avenge the children of Lebanon and Syria.”

The AAB leader also argues that Hezbollah has been Israel’s “loyal guard” since 1996. He attempts to recast the 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel as “nothing more than breaking the rules of engagement.” By failing to continue with the war, Zurayqat says, Hezbollah has provided international legitimacy for Israel’s existence.

Zurayqat’s words are intended to undermine public perceptions of Hezbollah as an effective anti-Israeli fighting force. Ironically, Iran and other allied groups have done more to fight Israel than the AAB or any other al Qaeda-backed group. But the AAB and other al Qaeda-allied groups have claimed responsibility for smaller attacks on Israel, including during the conflict this past summer.

Zurayqat’s call to fight Hezbollah is consistent with the anti-Iranian propaganda campaign being waged by the Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria. Al Nusrah operates in Lebanon and has called upon Sunnis in the country to rise up against the Lebanese government, Hezbollah and their Iranian-backers.

Both Al Nusrah and the Islamic State, a former branch of al Qaeda, have fought against Lebanese forces and Hezbollah. There are even persistent reports indicating that Al Nusrah and the Islamic State have conducted joint operations in Lebanon despite their bitter rivalry in Syria.

In August, Al Nusrah and the Islamic State took a number of Lebanese servicemen hostage, killing several of them after the negotiations to free them stalled. The Al Nusrah Front has blamed Hezbollah and Iran for the failure to reach a deal that would free the captives. And Al Nusrah has used its hostages in videos that are intended to sway public opinion in Lebanon against the government and Hezbollah.

In September, Zurayqat addressed the Lebanese hostages in an audio recording that was released online. He blamed the men for joining the Lebanese Army, saying “if you fight the Sunnis there is nothing between you and us except the sword.” According to Al Akhbar, Zurayqat threatened, “The mujahideen took Iraq in days, and in days they can be in the center of Beirut too.”

The AAB has conducted attacks against Iranian interests in Lebanon. In November 2013, the group claimed credit for twin suicide attacks outside of the Iranian embassy in Beirut. Nearly two dozen people, including an Iranian cultural attache, were killed and more than 150 others were wounded in the blasts.

Thomas Joscelyn is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Senior Editor for FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • kemji says:

    this sounds like total BS. What has AAB done against Israel recently? In the extreminst islamic groups’ context, attacking Israel has a high value, but groups like AQ and AAB only talk about attacking the jewish homeland but dont do much on that front. Instead they attack other muslims- shiites. why doesnt the US recognize a genocide against shiites is going on across the ME>
    AAB is another useless sunni islamic group that sunni muslims should dump. it just spoils their reputation and what is their reason for existing? hate!

  • teoc says:

    can anyone still doubt that what is in play is a sectarian war?
    does anyone still doubt that what is in play is a sectarian war?
    where are Sunni ayatollahs calling for an end to the carnage?
    where are the Shia ayatollahs calling for an end to the carnage?

  • Without a doubt, the Long War Journal continues to be the best place to go on the web to find real-time intelligence from just about everywhere on the globe. The reporting is always fact-based and accurate; its the first thing I read every morning. I am putting together a piece on Al-Nusra for my blog and appreciate the heads-up details provided in this commentary by Thomas Jocelyn. Kudos.
    This operation is in a league of its own, coming from a member of the second league, aspiring to greater things.
    Eric Burkhart

  • Abdel says:

    “why doesnt the US recognize a genocide against shiites is going on across the ME>”
    When do the people who preach R2P do anything hard?
    If they call a spade a spade, they will have to make a tough budget choices. Wars cost money. If they make tough budget choices and have to change the party message. they might spend time in the political wilderness for a while.
    It is kind of hard to change your message and not have people call you hypocrite.
    You have to support the correct politicians in other countries. They take polls and it has some influence in countries. If you support the wrong politician for short term gain, then expect for them to talk R2P but not walk R2P.

  • Joseph says:

    As these new fronts continue to open, we may need a ‘Big War Journal’.

  • Murray says:

    “why doesnt the US recognize a genocide against shiites is going on across the ME?”
    Why should we?
    We did R2P in Somalia and we were criticized.
    (1) I will not defend Obama and Mrs Powers for not doing R2P across the board, giving clear & unambiguous criteria for it, or making a case before the nation on national TV.
    (2) I would not want a Republican president to go to war because of R2P. We would fight 2 or 3 years, soldiers would die and there would be calls to pull out. So the soldiers lives would be wasted.
    Code Pink and other bad actors would gear up for political war. The chattering class and leftist academia would gear up for political war. Democrat congressmen would gear up for political war. They would have leaders say on national TV the “War is lost.”
    (3) We deposed Saddam. How many Shia did he kill in 1991 & 1992. We deposed him and the greatest Shia nation sent money, weapons and intel to any Sunni or Shia group that would attack us in Iraq.
    If we worked with Iran against ISIS and shook hands, the other Iranian hand would have a knife to stab us in the back.
    What is that American saying from the Iraq War?
    Been there, done that.
    I am perfectly content to let the Gulf states and Iran fight a proxy war.
    Whatever side we would help would stab us in the back after the war was over.
    You have quite the reputation.


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