Last month, WMR reported, “Our Lebanese sources as well as the Lebanese daily newspaper Aldiyar now report that a NATO base is to be built soon on the grounds of the largely abandoned airbase at Klieaat in northern Lebanon. The base will serve as the headquarters of a NATO rapid deployment force, helicopter squadrons, and Special Forces units although the cover story prepared by the Lebanese and US governments is that the base will provide training for the Lebanese army and security forces. The base was pushed by elements in the office of the US Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The Bush administration had recently warned Lebanon about the presence of “Al Qaeda” teams in northern Lebanon.”
Just as if acting on cue from the Bush White House, a new “terrorist group” called Fath al-Islam commenced operations in the vicinity of the Kleiaat airbase (also spelled Qlei-at) during the evening of May 20. Fath al-Islam laid road traps to prevent Lebanese army units from Tripoli from reaching the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp on the outskirts of Tripoli, the scene of fighting between the Lebanese army and Fath al-Islam that resulted in the killing and wounding of tens of Lebanese troops.
Fath al-Islam was reportedly started with funding and other support from the CIA and Lebanese Phalangist forces to act as a counterweight to Hezbollah. In reality, Fath al-Islam is designed to give the Bush administration, NATO, and the Fouad Siniora government a pretext for granting the U.S. military and NATO access to northern Lebanon and the Kleiaat airbase. Fath al-Islam’s activities are already being blamed on “Al Qaeda” units operating in the north of the country.