01/04/2014, 00.00
LEBANON - SYRIA
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Lebanon, a clearinghouse of funding for the war in Syria

The attacks in Beirut confirm spreading of the Syrian civil war to Lebanon. Sunni leaders and Hezbollah operate on opposite sides of a huge traffic of money and weapons for Syria . The Saudi leader of the Abdullah Azzam Brigades Mohammad al- Majid dies under arrest. He was the reference point in the Gulf for wealthy supporters of the Islamist insurgents .

Beirut ( AsiaNews) - With three attacks in less than a month Lebanon has become a real "outside" battlefield of the war in Syria , where the same groups wage attacks on one another: Sunni Islamic extremists linked to al - Qaeda and pro-Iranian Shiite Hezbollah and supporters of the regime of Bashar al - Assad. Another, more disturbing effect of the conflict is the transformation of the country into a hub for money laundering for Syria coming from the Gulf countries and Iran to finance the combatants on both sides .

According to U.S. and European officials the most extremist Sunni factions such as the Jabat al- Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant ( Isis ) - linked to al -Qaida - are funded largely by wealthy families of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States . In recent days, the Lebanese army arrested Mohammad al- Majid , a Saudi Arabian national , leader of the Abdullah Azzam Brigades leader , responsible for the double suicide attack on the Iranian embassy in Beirut took place on the 20 November. Majid not only supported the Islamist group . The man died while in custody in uncertain circumstances.

Laith Al Khouri of Flashpoint Partners, a private group that monitors extremist Web sites on behalf of the government says that the man ran " a large amount of funding for the jihadists fighting in Syria." Over the past two years, men in the pay of Majid passed huge amounts of money through the bank accounts of citizens of Kuwait, with fundraising campaigns through social media including Twitter , Facebook, YouTube and Skype. The only Gulf country to have hindered the private funding of extremist groups in Syria is Saudi Arabia. In June 2012 , Majid posted online an audio message against the government of Riyadh that had blocked the fundraising campaign of several Wahhabi Muslim scholars . He also invited people vto donate funds to the Syrian rebels , pointing to a contact in Kuwait to whom he could hand over the money and weapons.

The trading  of the leading Sunni Islamic movements intersect with those of the Shiite allies of Bashar al - Assad. Hezbollah is chief among them. Thanks to its dual nature of political movement and a paramilitary group it manages to collect money from foreign countries such as Iran . In recent years it has helped to create an army of about 7 thousand men and 20 thousand reservists, better trained and armed than that the regular army. Since June Hezbollah has made ​​its entry in Syrian War and currently fights all over the country alongside of the Syrian army.  Its militia control most of the border crossings, especially towards Iraq and Lebanon , and fight the smuggling of weapons destined for Sunni insurgents.

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