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Tuesday, September 14, 2010     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Crisis in Lebanon: Coup by Hizbullah looms over impending indictments by assassination tribunal

By Yossef Bodansky, Global Information System

Lebanon is on the verge of take-over by the Hizbullah and its allies. Riyadh is keeping Lebanon’s Prime Minister, Saad Hariri, in Saudi Arabia, pressuring him to deliver a “compromise” which would accept this “inevitability” without an overt show of force by the Hizbullah which could escalate to a coup against him.


It might be too late. Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad blessed Hizbullah’s plans during their emergency meeting in Damascus on Sept. 18, 2010.

Significantly, the emergency meeting was called by Ahmadinejad to discuss the growing tension with Israel and the possibility of a regional war coming sooner than expected. (Don’t forget that Ahmadinejad was originally expected to personally survey the eve-of-war posture in Lebanon in mid-September and had to postpone his visit to mid-October 2010 because Hizbullah was falling behind schedule.)

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Toward the end of the brief visit, when senior aides and Hizbullah and Palestinian leaders joined Assad and Ahmadinejad, the Hizbullah representative informed of the impending crisis.

Jamil El Sayed, Lebanon's former head of General Security, speaks during a news conference upon his arrival from France at Beirut international airport, September 18.     Reuters/Hussam Shbaro
The urgency was a result of forthcoming indictments from the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) investigating the assassination of Rafiq Hariri, Saad Hariri’s father, in 2005.

Consequently, Ahmadinejad and Assad withdrew to another one-on-one consultation. They emerged resolved and buoyant. They met briefly with the aides and guests. Ahmadinejad spoke for both leaders. “The front of resistance is increasing in the region [and] the people of the region support [this] policy,” he said.

“We have achieved a great victory because we were able to defeat the enemy plans to change” the strategic-political map in the Middle East. He threatened the U.S., Israel and their allies — most notably Saudi Arabia — not to try a futile attempt to change the march of history.

“Those who want to change the political geography of the region must know that they will have no place in the future of the region,” Ahmadinejad stated. “The waves of free nations to join this resistance is spreading every day.”

However, both Ahmadinejad and Assad were already cognizant that the “resistance” would be put to a major test on Sunday (Sept. 19) and the question they had to decide was just how far would the Hizbullah go should the inevitable crisis escalates. It now seems that Ahmadinejad and Assad instructed the Hizbullah to go all the way — including the seizure of power in Beirut by force.

Ahmadinejad and Assad are convinced that neither Israel nor the Lebanese army would fight to defend the Saad Hariri government.

The crisis started on Sept. 17 when the French UN ambassador Gerard Araud warned his Lebanese contacts that the decision of Daniel Bellemare (the STL’s chief prosecutor) to bring charges against Hizbullah leaders and their accomplices was final.

The next day, French authorities in Paris warned the Lebanese Maj.-Gen. Jamil Sayyed (a former chief of General Security and one of the four pro-Syria Lebanese generals detained for four years for alleged complicity in the Hariri assassination and recently freed) that he might be rearrested.

On Sept. 12, Sayyed accused the Lebanese Government and prosecution of joining the conspiracy of the STL and Saad Hariri to implicate the pro-Syrian Lebanese generals and Hizbullah in Rafiq Hariri’s assassination in order to placate the West. Sayyed demanded that the guilty members of the general prosecution be put to death.

The Lebanese government immediately issued an arrest warrant against Sayyed for sedition and demanded that he present himself at the general prosecution office for interrogation. Now, the French authorities told Sayyed he must leave Paris immediately for while they can ignore the Lebanese warrant, they would have to arrest him the moment Bellemare issued a warrant.

On mid-day Sunday, Sayyed boarded a flight back to Beirut.

Hizbullah immediately deployed between 300 and 500 fighters from its élite security service into the Beirut International Airport. Wafiq Safa, the head of Hizbullah’s Security and Liaison Committee, and his Iran-trained bodyguards, personally led the capture of the airport. Hizbullah announced its determination to prevent — by force if need be — the Lebanese police from serving the arrest warrant.

With Hizbullah fighters ringing the airport, Safa — in his command SUV — led a small convoy to the airplane. They took Sayyed from the runway to the VIP lounge for a very inflammatory press conference. Safa and his convoy then took Sayyed to his home in Beirut’s Jnah neighborhood. Sayyed’s home is also ringed by a joint for Hizbullah fighters and Shiite troops of the Lebanese Army.

Sayyed addressed the troops surrounding his house and declared that he would not respond to the state summons for questioning because it was tantamount to treason.

Sayyed called Hariri a liar and urged all patriotic Lebanese to topple his government.

Meanwhile, the Hizbullah activated its general mobilization plans and by Sunday night, Sept. 19, had 5,000 fighters deployed in central Beirut, ready to seize power by capturing all key buildings and institutions.

Hizbullah also deployed additional 3,500 fighters near the Christian concentrations in central Lebanon, also in preparation for a possible confrontation.

Concurrently, the Hizbullah media warned that any attempt to support the STL — now expected should the Lebanese Government be able to convene on Tuesday, Sept. 21 — would “be tantamount to treason [and] a step on the way to a coup to overthrow the government and seize power”.

Hizbullah also vowed to “chop off the unjust hand that harms Sayyed.”

Later on Sept. 19, Hizbullah media escalated the threats, openly accusing Saad Hariri’s March 14 Forces of “provoking an escalation that could lead to civil war”.

Hanging over all of this is the reiterated statement by the Israeli Government in which Israel considers a Hizbullah take-over of Lebanon to be a casus belli.


It seems to me that the Lebanese people never had a chance. It was always a matter of time before another war starts again, and I do not think it will ever be over. We had the PLO, now we have Hizbullah, if we ever get rid of Hizbullah, who knows what new terrorist group will overtake the country next. Lebanon has never been a sovereign country and will never be, unless the Middle East crisis is miraculously resolved. Meantime the Lebanese people can continue to put their heads in the sand, think how great life is as it lasts, and drink arak and eat mezza in between wars forgetting about the last one while the next one is building up, leaving their destiny in the hands of Allah and incompetent corrupt politicians. Such a sad situation, I am not sure that it would have made any difference whether the people of Lebanon were more aware or more responsible. It seems to me their destiny is totally out of their hands; the good can only hope to be saved through immigration. Name: nadia

cedrus tutela      2:07 p.m. / Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Lebanon has not given up to Hizbullah, and it never will. We have seen worse. The reversal in western policy to 'openness' has buoyed the SyIran camp, yet we stand fast in the face of their state terror and plans. Will the West 'actively' support us in what is much greater than a national issue? The region depends on it.

cedrus tutela      1:13 p.m. / Tuesday, September 21, 2010

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