Salafis in Lebanon

Nick Blanford has a good  great  article  on the Lebanese Salafi movement in the CSM.  See a recent MediaShack post on this topic.     Are these groups peaceful like they say or are they merely in a formative period, waiting to build up their strength?  That’s the million dollar question. 

Although the feuding factions in Tripoli formally reconciled two weeks ago, Rifaat Eid, son of the leading Alawite politician in Lebanon, says that, as a member of a pro-Syrian minority in Lebanon, he fears the potential of the Salafis.  “The Salafis are like kittens when they are weak, but when they are strong they become like tigers,” he says.

Egypt’s Nabin Ad-Deen says “hell no these groups aren’t peaceful.”   Last week, he had a piece in an Egyptian paper arguing  that the Egyptian Salafi movement is going to eventually reveal its true character- Al-Qaeda style fanaticism, so the Government should stop cultivating them as a tool against the Muslim Brotherhood before its too late.

Turkey Joining the Sunni anti-Iran axis?

This is what  Fahmy Huwedi, a major Egyptian commentator,  says in a   September20th op-ed  in Al-Dostor newspaper.   He points to specific economic and security coordination agreements  that Turkey has recently  signed with the GCC (I had not heard about this in the English press).   And says that Turkey “has now became a player in Gulf security, a development welcomed by the Americans.”  He then sarcastically criticizes the Egyptian foreign minister for trying to deny that Egypt is a member of the same front when, in fact,  it actually slavishly follows along. 

This is a major and often-repeated theme of Huwedi’s  5-6 weekly op-eds:   Rather then defend Egyptian and Arab interests, the government is more concerned with making the US and Israel happy.