Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Wikileaks: Attempts To Get Rid Of Hezbollah Come From Both Inside Lebanon And Without

Last week we learned from Wikileaks documents that Lebanese Defence Minister Elias Murr allegedly gave advice to Israel on attacking Hezbollah:
Defense Minister Elias Murr is described giving U.S. diplomats advice to pass on to Israel for any Israeli attack on Hezbollah. Another cable refers to hitherto-secret U.S. spy flights over Lebanon.

United States officials collaborated with Lebanon's defense minister to spy on and allow Israel to potentially attack Hezbollah in the weeks that preceded a violent May 2008 military confrontation in Beirut that consolidated the Iranian-backed Shiite militant group's power in the country, leaked diplomatic cables suggest.

...In a separate American cable, Lebanese Defense Minister Elias Murr is described as giving American diplomats advice to pass on to Israel for any Israeli attack on Hezbollah and vowing that the Lebanese army would stay out of such a fight.
The Lebanese Defense Minister has since demurred at the suggestion he plotted against Hezbollah:
Lebanese Defence Minister Elias Murr denied on Friday allegations in a diplomatic cable revealed by the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks that he gave advice to Israel in 2008 on how to get rid of Hezbollah, an aide said.

"The information posted by WikiLeaks is not complete and is not accurate," said Murr aide George Soulage. "The aim behind this is to sow discord in Lebanon."
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia had plans of its own on getting rid of the threat of the Hezbollah terrorist group:
Leaked US diplomatic cable says Saudi Arabia proposed setting up Arab force to fight Shiite militants in Lebanon with help of US, UN and NATO, fearing that a Hezbollah victory against Lebanese gov't would eventually lead to Iran's takeover of country

Saudi Arabia proposed setting up an Arab force to fight Hezbollah militants in Lebanon with the help of the United States, UN and NATO, a leaked US diplomatic cable said Tuesday.

In a meeting in May 2008 with US ambassador to Iraq David Satterfield, Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal said a "security response" was needed to the "military challenge" posed to Beirut by the Iran-backed militants.

The Saudi prince feared a Hezbollah victory against the Lebanese government led by then-Prime Minister Fouad Siniora would eventually lead to Iran's takeover of the country.
Apparently the UN troops being referred to would be UNIFIL troops--and indication perhaps of just how desperate Saudi Arabia is. In addition, the Saudi Foreign Minister had to realize how wary the US would be to send troops back into Lebanon, especially after the terrorist attack there that killed nearly 300 Marines in 1983.

But from the Saudi perspective:
"of all the regional fronts on which Iran was now advancing, the battle in Lebanon to secure peace would be an easier battle to win."

In the end, of course, nothing came of the idea--but at the very least, Wikileaks reveals a level of opposition to Hezbollah that is not reflected in the daily media.

But the question still remains whether the Arab world will have any better luck in its opposition to Hezbollah than it has had thus far in dealing with Iran.

The prospects are not promising.

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