Appendix C – Statement of Reasons – Asbat al-Ansar (AAA)
Asbat al-Ansar (AAA)
(Also known as: League of
Partisans; Band of Partisans, Band of Helpers, League of the Followers,
Partisans’ League, Usbat al-Ansar, Usbat ul-Ansar, Osbat al-Ansar, Isbat al-Ansar,
information is based on publicly available details about Asbat al-Ansar (AAA).
These details have been corroborated by material from intelligence
investigations into the activities of AAA and by official reporting. ASIO
assesses the details set out below are accurate and reliable.
AAA is listed in the
United Nation’s 1267 Committee’s consolidated list and as a proscribed
terrorist organisation by the governments of Canada, the UK, the US and Russia.
adheres to an extremist jihadist ideology akin to that of al-Qa’ida (AQ).
AAA’s objectives are to establish a Sunni Islamic state in Lebanon by
overthrowing the Lebanese government, eliminating Israel and impeding
anti-Islamic and pro-Western influences in Lebanon. The group believes its
struggle justifies violence against civilians and the group’s strategy in
seeking its objective includes the use of terrorist tactics.
is a Sunni Muslim extremist group, largely based in the Ayn al-Hilwah Palestinian refugee camp near Sidon in
southern Lebanon. The
group was established by Hisham al-Shraidi after Lebanon's Al-Gamaa
al-Islamiyya group removed him in 1986. Shraidi was assassinated in 1991,
apparently on the orders of Amin Khayid, a Fatah member also based in the Ayn
al-Hilwah camp. He was succeeded by Ahmed Abd al-Karim al-Saadi, who is also
known as Abu Muhjin.
Current status of AAA
the 1990’s, AAA limited its operations to Lebanon and engaged in a number of
low-level attacks against ‘un-Islamic’ targets. These included attacks against
religious institutions, bars, and theatres, as well as Lebanese forces,
elements of the Lebanese government and foreign nationals. The group became
more widely known following a series of attacks on nightclubs, theatres and liquor
stores. AAA widened its operations to conduct attacks against foreign
interests in Lebanon and assassinations of significant religious leaders.
AAA’s attack methods included rocket-propelled grenades, explosive charges,
rockets and car bombs. Since 2004 there is no record of AAA conducting any
violent operations in Lebanon. However, there is evidence of AAA members being
involved in violent incidents, including fighting Coalition forces in Iraq.
has recently been reluctant to involve itself in operations in Lebanon as it
fears it will attract the attention of the Lebanese Armed Forces and threaten
its uninterrupted operations in Ayn al-Hilwah. Various extremist web forums
criticized AAA for its failure to support fellow Sunni extremist group Fatah
al-Islam (FAI) during the Lebanese Armed Forces campaign in summer 2007 that
forced FAI out of Nahr al-Barid refugee camp in northern Lebanon, which had a
significant impact on the operations of the group. AAA now concentrates on
recruiting, training and dispatching volunteers to the insurgency in Iraq. On 3 June 2008, Jund
al-Sham gunmen attacked a Lebanese army position on the edge of Ayn al-Hilweh
but AAA appears to have distanced itself from the fighting and joined a united
Palestinian group to maintain peace in the camp. AAA is likely to actively
urge for peace in the camp to ensure it can continue to provide fighters for
Iraq without interference from the Lebanese Armed Forces..
maintains close ties with al-Qa’ida. They share the same doctrine and AAA
openly supports the insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, AAA does
not support al-Qa’ida’s operations in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Algeria and Syria.
remains active and has shifted its focus to Iraq, sending fighters in support
of the insurgency in collaboration with al-Qa’ida. AAA continues to announce
the death or martyrdom of AAA members fighting the ‘crusader’ forces in Iraq
leaders continue to make statements supporting attacks conducted by other
groups and advocates violent acts against the West, such as the February 2006
statement praising attacks by angry mobs against the Danish consulates in
Beirut and Damascus in response to the Danish cartoons controversy, and the April
2004 announcement urging Iraqi insurgents to kill Western hostages to avenge
the death of Hamas leaders Abdul Aziz Rantisi and Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.
primarily receives funding from other extremist Sunni terrorist organisations,
such as al-Qa’ida. AAA is one of a number of Sunni Salafist groups located in
Lebanon to receive funds from Saudi Arabia. Financial assistance is also
received by AAA from Muslims living abroad and repatriated to AAA in Lebanon
and also from people of Lebanese origin visiting Lebanon from abroad.
is a Lebanon based, Sunni extremist group, composed primarily of Palestinians
and associated with al-Qa’ida. The group follows an extremist interpretation
of Islam that justifies violence against civilians to achieve political ends.
Some of those goals include overthrowing the Lebanese Government and impeding
perceived anti-Islamic and pro-Western influences . It also supports the
insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan and the activities of violent extremists
in the Palestinian Territories. .
Leadership and Membership
was formerly led by Ahmed Abd al-Karim al-Saadi (aka Abu Muhjin). Abu Muhjin
has continued his activities in secret after being sentenced to death by the
Lebanese Government in absentia for the 1994 assassination of Sheikh
Nizar al-Halabi, the leader of a rival Islamic extremist group. In his
absence, Abu Muhjin’s brother, Haytham ‘Abd Al-Karim Al Sa’di (aka Abu Tariq),
had been nominally leading the group
is primarily Palestinian and its membership is estimated to be 100-300
members. AAA operatives have previously fought in Afghanistan, Chechnya,
Kashmir, the Balkans and Iraq.
AAA engagement in terrorist activities
8 January 2008 the Lebanese military judiciary security forces charged u'ammar Al-Awami (aka Ibn al-Shahid), who is believed to
be associated with AAA, and charged him with planning attacks against American
fast food outlets in Beirut in 2002 and 2003. AAA members were involved in
other violence in Lebanon in 2003, including a June 2003 rocket attack on the
Hariri affiliated Future TV building in Beirut.
Around 2003, AAA gave priority to
supporting the insurgency in Iraq with a corresponding reduction in its
activities in Lebanon. AAA
operatives have been involved in fighting Coalition Forces in Iraq since at
least 2005 and several members of the group have been killed in anti-Coalition
September 2004 AAA linked operatives were believed to be involved in a plan to
target foreign embassies and Lebanese Government offices for terrorist
attacks. In October 2004, Mahir al-Sa’idi, a member of AAA, was sentenced in
absentia to life imprisonment for plotting to assassinate former US
Ambassador to Lebanon David Satterfield in 2000. Al-Sa'idi was working in
cooperation with Abu Muhammad al-Masri, the head of al-Qa’ida at the Ayn
al-Hilwah refugee camp, where fighting has occurred between Asbat al-Ansar and
of AAA were believed responsible for a Katyusha rocket attack on the Galilee
region of Israel in December 2005 and most likely sought refuge in southern
Lebanon in AAA controlled neighbourhoods
May 2007 AAA announced one of its members was “martyred” during an attack
outside Ayn al-Hilwah against the Lebanese Army in support of the Fatah al-Islam
conflict in Nahr al-Barid refugee camp.
Lebanese authorities detained a
cell of al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI) extremists in June 2007 in the Bekaa Valley
that had trained with AAA and was possibly planning terrorist attacks
throughout Lebanon against United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) or
In 2007, AAA remained focused on
supporting jihad in Iraq and planning attacks against UNIFIL, Lebanese security
forces, and Western interests. AAA associates were implicated in the 17 June
2007 Katyusha rocket attack against northern Israel.
The Criminal Code
provides that for an organisation to be listed as a terrorist organisation, the
Attorney-General must be satisfied that:
||the organisation is directly or indirectly engaged in, preparing, planning, assisting in or fostering the doing of a terrorist act (whether or not a terrorist act has occured or will occur); or
||the organisation advocates the doing of a terrorist act (whether or not a terrorist act has occured or will occur).
On the basis of the
above information, ASIO assesses that Ansar al-Islam is directly engaged in
preparing, planning, assisting in or fostering the doing of terrorist acts. It
is considered that the acts attributable to Ansar al-Islam are terrorist acts as
||are done with the intention of advancing a political cause, namely, creating an Islamic caliphate in Iraq;
||are intended to coerce or influence by intimidation the governments of foreign countries, including Iraq and Coalition countries, and/or intimidate a sections of the public; and
||constitute acts which cause serious physical harm to persons, including death, as well as serious damage to property.
assessment is corroborated by information provided by reliable and credible