Definition/Scope: (DoS) Asbat al-Ansar, the Partisans League, is a Lebanon-based Sunni extremist group located primarily in the ’Ayn al-Hilwah Palestinian refugee camp near Sidon in southern Lebanon. The group is led by Ahmad 'Abd al-Karim al-Sa’di, alias Abu Mihjin, who in 1991 assumed leadership when founder Hisham al-Shuraydi was assassinated. Abu Mihjin, whose current location is unknown, was sentenced to death in absentia in Lebanon for assassinating four judges and the former head of the Association of Islamic Charitable Projects in Lebanon. ’Asbat al-Ansar has fewer than 2,000 members, mostly of Palestinian descent. The group is ideologically in line with al-Qa‘ida but has no formal organizational ties to the group. Adhering to an extremist interpretation of Islam that justifies violence against civilian targets to achieve political ends, ‘Asbat al-Ansar’s goals include overthrowing the Lebanese Government and thwarting perceived anti-Islamic influences in the country. ‘Asbat al-Ansar has carried out several terrorist attacks in Lebanon since it first emerged in the early 1990s. The group has publicly proclaimed its support for al-Qa‘ida in Iraq, and members of the group have traveled to Iraq to fight Coalition forces. Jihadist Web sites criticized ‘Asbat for its failure to support Fatah al-Islam (FAI), another al-Qa‘ida-associated group operating in northern Lebanon, during FAI’s confrontation with the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) in the summer of 2007. ‘Asbat in December 2008 issued a fatwa outlawing fighting with the LAF. The Lebanese Government outlawed ‘Asbat al-Ansar in 2002. In the mid-1990s the group assassinated Lebanese religious leaders and bombed nightclubs, theaters, and liquor stores. It was involved in clashes in northern Lebanon in December 1999, and carried out a rocket-propelled grenade attack on the Russian Embassy in Beirut in January 2000. Asbat al-Ansar’s leader, Ahmad Abd al-Karim al-Sa’di, a.k.a. Abu Muhjin, remains at large despite being sentenced to death in absentia for the 1994 murder of a Muslim cleric. In September 2004, operatives with links to the group were allegedly involved in planning terrorist operations targeting the Italian Embassy, the Ukrainian Consulate General, and Lebanese government offices. In October 2004, Mahir al-Sa’di, a member of Asbat al-Ansar, was sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment for his 2000 plot to assassinate then U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon, David Satterfield.
Broader Terms:Department of State