Elias Murr: “If Israel has to bomb Shia areas, that is Hizbullah’s concern… The Lebanese Army Forces will stay on their bases …. and take over once Hizballah’s militia has been destroyed.”
Posted by Joshua on Friday, December 3rd, 2010
Wikileak : Elias Murr: “If Israel has to bomb Shia areas, that is Hizbullah’s concern… The Lebanese Army Forces will stay on their bases …. and take over once Hizballah’s militia has been destroyed. (Thanks to Friday Lunch Club)
S E C R E T SECTION March/10/2008
NSC FOR ABRAMS/SINGH/YERGER
2. (S) Charge, Defense Attache and ODC Chief met with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Elias Murr on March 10 at his home in Rabieh. The atmosphere of the meeting was cordial and friendly.
5. (S) As for the areas further north in Lebanon such as Keserwan and the Metn, Murr confirmed that Shia are renting in high numbers there because they feel that Israel is going to attack soon. Such action could take place as early as April 2008, he warned. ..
18. (S) Making clear that he was not responsible for passing messages to Israel, Murr told us,…if Israel has to bomb all of these places in the Shia areas as a matter of operational concern, that is Hizballah’s problem. According to Murr, this war is not with Lebanon, it is will Hizballah. ….. As such, Murr is trying to ascertain how long an offensive would be required to clean out Hizballah in the Beka’a. The LAF will move to pre-position food, money, and water with these units so they can stay on their bases when Israel comes for Hizballah–discreetly, Murr added. (S) Murr also gave guidance to Sleiman that the LAF should not get involved “when Israel comes.” …. that he promised Sleiman the political cover for LAF inaction. …..For Murr, the LAF’s strategic objective was to survive a three week war “completely intact” and able to take over once Hizballah’s militia has been destroyed. ……
[Ironically, Murr was encouraging Israel to destroy Hizbullah a month before Hizbullah sent its militia into West Beirut to take over Hariri outposts in May 2008.]
Lebanon defense minister ‘offered invasion advice for Israel’
Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News
Syria’s Assad plays the security card
CAIRO, Dec. 2 (UPI) — Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has resisted U.S. efforts to pry his regime away from its strategic alliance with Iran, but he seems to be conducting discreet diplomacy with Western Europe and with China.
In recent weeks Assad has dispatched his security chiefs to London, Paris and Rome to share intelligence on terrorist groups, according to Intelligence Online, a Paris-based Web site that covers global security affairs.
Whether this signals that Damascus, which over the past five years has painstakingly rebuilt its regional influence following its collision with the George W. Bush presidency, is preparing to put some distance between it and Tehran is far from clear.
But there has been persistent speculation that differences between Damascus and Tehran over Lebanon and the activities of Hezbollah are emerging.
Lebanon has traditionally been firmly within Syria’s sphere of influence, but Iran is seen to be driving to expand the Shiite crescent through Iraq and the Persian Gulf to Lebanon, where Shiites form the largest sect.
The coming weeks may shed some light on Assad’s murky moves, although most of what transpires within the Damascus regime is shrouded in opacity.
Still, Assad is determined to maintain Syrian domination in Lebanon, historically part of Greater Syria until the French peeled it off to establish what it intended to be a pro-Western Christian nation in 1943.
According to Intelligence Online, Assad sent Gen. Ali Mamlouk, the head of Syria’s General Intelligence service, to Rome Oct. 19 to sign an anti-terrorism cooperation agreement.
He was reportedly accompanied by Gen. Zohair Hamad, a senior officer of the GI’s external branch and a counter-terrorism specialist.
On Nov. 16 Mamlouk flew to London. On that trip he was said to have been accompanied by Gen. Thaer al-Omar, deputy director of the GI’s counter-terrorism branch, and Gen. Hafez Makhlouf, deputy director of its domestic branch.
Mamlouk handed Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, better known as MI6, a list of British militant Islamists who have studied in Damascus.
Most were of Pakistani origin. Some had been apprehended trying to sneak into Iraq to join the insurgency there. Intelligence Online reported that Mamlouk offered to hand them over to the British.
It’s not known whether MI6, which throughout the turbulent 1980s regarded the Syrians as implacable foes because of their links to terrorist groups, accepted the offer.
But Mamlouk reportedly emphasized that Damascus was keen to cooperate on counter-terrorism and intelligence matters in exchange for MI6’s help to acquire advanced electronic surveillance systems.
The British government cloaked Mamlouk’s visit in secrecy. From there he flew to Paris Nov. 22 to prepare for a visit by Assad to meet President Nicolas Sarkozy.
The French, who governed Syria during the League of Nations Mandate between the world wars, have maintained links with Damascus over the years.
But they have also given sanctuary to opponents of the regime, most notably Abdul Halim Khaddam, longtime vice president who defected in June 2005, denouncing the regime and accusing it of assassinating Lebanese statesman Rafik Hariri in February that year.
In Paris, Mamlouk reportedly met Claude Gueant, Sarkozy’s troubleshooter and chief of staff who handles liaison with Damascus.
But while all this was going on, Assad was also apparently taking care of business with a different set of diplomatic partners to the east — which may turn out to be more important than his dealings in the West.
He sent Maj. Gen. Bassam Merhej, identified as director of Assad’s security and military bureau, to Beijing Nov. 23.
“His real destination was probably Pyongyang, with whom Syria has a nuclear cooperation program,” Intelligence Online reported.
That program suffered a major setback Sept. 6, 2007, when the Israeli air force destroyed a nuclear reactor being built by North Korea at al-Kibar in eastern Syria on the Euphrates River.
Merhej is reported to have replaced Maj. Gen. Mohammed Suleiman, who was assassinated Aug.2, 2008.
Merhej was accompanied by Col. Jihad Shehadeh of the army’s Corps of Engineers, who has been seconded to the Center for Scientific Study and Research, which is involved in Syria’s nuclear program, Intelligence Online said.
He was also accompanied by an Iranian, identified as Ali Zadeh, officially the cultural attache at the Iranian Embassy in Damascus but “in reality in charge of logistics for the Iranian nuclear program in Syria.”
Did the Hezabollah also “killed” Samir Kassir and Georges Hawi?
“Aujourd’hui, Libération affirme, en se basant sur “des fuites de personnes proches de l’enquête”, que les huit portables ont été “repérés lors des quatre autres attentats” qui ont suivi l’assassinat de Rafic Hariri. Il s’agit notamment de ceux qui ont coûté la vie au journaliste franco-libanais Samir Kassir, le 2 juin 2005, et à l’ancien chef du Parti communiste local, Georges Hawi, le 21 juin de la même année. Enfin, le quotidien affirme que l’enquête mènerait désormais jusqu’à un certain Haj Salim, qui est l’adjoint du chef militaire du Hezbollah, Imad Moughnieh, tué en février 2008 à Damas dans l’explosion de sa voiture.
Who is really the big boss in Lebanon?
By Michael Young, Daily Star
Thursday, December 02, 2010
Little attention was paid last week to an Al-Hayat interview with the Iranian ambassador to Lebanon, Ghadanfar Roknabadi, particularly what he had to say about Syria’s role in Lebanon.
The interviewer asked the ambassador whether, in the same way that Iran was “familiar” with Iraq, did not Iran consider that Syria was “familiar” with Lebanon “more than others were.” Therefore, just as Syria had accepted an Iranian solution in Iraq, would not Iran accept a Syrian solution in Lebanon? It was a subtle question, which left out the dreaded words “spheres of interest,” but the substance was clear. Would Iran concur that Syria was entitled to lead in Lebanon?
Roknabadi diplomatically, but firmly, brushed that thought away. Yes, neighboring countries were more familiar with Lebanese details, but then the ambassador added: “Don’t forget the deep civilizational and cultural ties between Iran and Lebanon. The matter of Syria as a neighbor is one thing, and the strategic relationship between Iran and Syria [is something else]; no one can deny Syria’s role, but the old civilizational and cultural ties between the Iranian and Lebanese peoples have established common ground between them.”
The response must have made officials in Damascus cringe. Not only did Roknabadi sidestep the question of a pre-eminent Syrian role in Lebanon, he placed it against the backdrop of the Iranian-Syrian relationship, as if to affirm that Tehran was the leading partner in any Lebanese arrangement. While the Iranians, along with Hizbullah, have continued to look toward a Syrian-Saudi solution to the deadlock in Beirut over how to deal with the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, one gets the distinct sense lately, particularly after the speech last Sunday of Hizbullah’s secretary general, Hassan Nasrallah, that any such deal is Iran’s and Hizbullah’s to accept or refuse
Iran and Syria are not about to divorce over Lebanon, or over anything else, but Roknabadi put the relationship into perspective. Iran is the dominant actor in Beirut….