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World Council for the Cedars Revolution

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Aug 11th
Home arrow News Content arrow Blog arrow Blog Items arrow Intelligence arrow Latest Intel Lebanon - March 26, 2008
Latest Intel Lebanon - March 26, 2008 PDF Print E-mail
Written by CRNews, Agencies   
Wednesday, 26 March 2008

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Latest Intelligence from the Region on Lebanon.

Iran, Lebanon: Iranian Military Experts Arrive In Lebanon
March 18, 2008 2130 GMT - STRATFOR
Iranian military experts are arriving in Lebanon, a source told Stratfor March 18. According to the source, Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps experts have been stationed in Hezbollah positions in the hills of of several Shiite villages in the northern Beqaa Valley and have been setting up military command centers and digging tunnels that reach into Syria. The tunnels have been equipped with electricity and ventilation, as well as monitoring and jamming devices.

Lebanon: Al Qaeda Leader Meets With Lebanese Militants
March 18, 2008 1514 GMT- STRATFOR
An al Qaeda leader from Iraq, Mahmud Khair al-Din, has been holding frequent meetings with militant leaders in Akkar, in northern Lebanon, a Stratfor source in Lebanon said March 18. Al-Din reportedly has been traveling from Syria to Akkar, which has been described as a safe haven for Lebanese Sunni militants.

Syria, Lebanon: Syrian Reserves Working In Lebanon Called Up
March 17, 2008 1850 GMT- STRATFOR

Authorities in Damascus, Syria, have told a large number of Syrian laborers in Lebanon to join their army reserve units in Syria, a source told Stratfor March 17. The source said several factory and farm owners in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley said Syrian laborers working for them told them they must report to their military units by the beginning of April.

Israel, Syria, Lebanon: Israel Warns Syria It Will Pay Price For Hezbollah Attack
March 14, 2008 2141 GMT- STRATFOR
Israel recently warned Syria through a third party that it would hold Damascus accountable for any Hezbollah attacks, Haaretz reported March 14, citing Israeli and European sources. The sources said the message was conveyed in February and that Israel could target Syria even if Hezbollah's attack was launched from Lebanon.

Iran, Lebanon, U.S.: No Lebanese President Until Bush Is Gone
March 12, 2008 1456 GMT- STRATFOR

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told a high-ranking Arab official that Lebanon will not have a new president before U.S. President George W. Bush's term ends in January 2009, Lebanese Web site Naharnet reported March 12, citing unnamed diplomatic sources close to Tehran. Tehran is also waiting until a change in the U.S. administration before deciding whether to continue talks on the nuclear issue, a French diplomatic source told Naharnet. In talks with the United States, Tehran would want to discuss Iran's role in Iraq in return for discussing Iranian nuclear activities.
 
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Barak: Israel’s army and intelligence poised for instant response to Hizballah attack
March 24, 2008, 1:42 PM (GMT+02:00) - DEBKAfile
 
First publication of recent Imad Mughniyeh photo surveying Israel from Syrian Mt. Hermon

DEBKAfile’s military sources report that Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak decided to place the armed forces on guard in view of indications that Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah may seriously intend making good on his threat of “open war” against Israel, whom he accuses of the Feb. 12 killing of Imad Mughniyeh.

Barak said Monday, March 24, Hizballah’s revenge threats are not to be taken lightly: “We must all be vigilant in the near future. But we’ll overcome that too.”

The Israeli Air Force, according to our sources, has prepared two command and control airplanes which are capable of transporting command centers and special forces from place to place and reacting to terrorist attacks far from Israel.

The Magen David Adom service nationwide has placed on standby double its usual complement of ambulances and medical teams.

According to our military sources, Barak latest directives Monday, March 24, signify his change of mind about the prospect of a Hizballah revenge attack. The earlier presumption that the Lebanese terrorists would hold their fire up until the Arab League summit convening in Damascus on March 29-30 has been abandoned to meet fast-moving events across Israel’s northern border.

1. Syria last week pushed the fighting strength of Palestinian terrorist groups under its shared control with Iran – an estimated 3,000-strong – across the border into the Lebanese Beqaa Valley.

It was initially supposed that these groups had been removed from their Damascus bases to get them out of the way of the Arab summit. But they have since been observed taking up battle positions and the delivery of large quantities of brand new weapons and ammunition.

2. Syria has also speeded up its arms shipments to Hizballah - notably, as DEBKAfile revealed two days ago, anti-aircraft weapons.

3. Apparently for back-up, Syria has massed armored divisions along its Lebanese border.

Israel’s military chiefs now read these moves as meaning that Hizballah, the new Palestinian deployment and the Syrian back-up forces are set to launch a military strike against targets in Israel and bracing for Israeli retaliation.

Israel’s defense chiefs do not count out Hizballah embarking on a number of coordinated terrorist operations over several hours or even days, synchronized with cross-border attacks on targets inside Israel.

The terrorist strikes may well be large-scale, multiple-casualty and directed at an overseas Israeli or Jewish target. The head of the terror center in the prime minister’s office referred incautiously last week to Hizballah’s hopes of Israel having to fly home “40 or 50 coffins,” a goal which Israel is determined to prevent - hence the Air Force’s command and control planes on the ready for rapid take-off to the scene of an attack. They are fitted out and manned for a wide range of contingencies, including rescue operations on foreign soil, requiring the local government’s approval.

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Syria masses three army divisions on Lebanese border
March 23, 2008, 7:56 PM (GMT+02:00) - DEBKAfile

 
DEBKAfile’s military sources report that the Syrian deployment is backed by the concentration of pro-Syrian Palestinian factions in the Beqaa valley of Lebanon, amid rising war tensions between Hizballah and Israel.

Hassan Nasrallah declared Hizballah would wage “open war” with Israel at the end of the 40-day mourning period the group observed for Imad Mughniyeh who was killed in Damascus February 12. His deputy has maintained that Hizballah had “100 percent solid evidence" that Israel had killed Mughniyeh, which Israel has consistently denied.

Monday, March 24, Nasrallah will address a big memorial rally in South Beirut. The Israeli army is on high alert for a possible Hizballah attack from Lebanon. The Magen David Adom ambulance service is on emergency standby across the country.

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Exclusive: Hizballah more than trebles rocket arsenal to 40,000
March 22, 2008, 12:09 PM (GMT+02:00) - DEBKAfile

 
New Iranian surface missiles delivered to Hizballah

Hizballah’s heavy armament will figure large in the talks US Vice President Dick Cheney is holding with Israeli leaders on the Iranian nuclear threat. Cheney arrived in Israel Saturday night, March 22, from talks with Saudi leaders.

DEBKAfile’s military sources disclose that Hizballah has built up its rocket arsenal to three and-a-half times its pre-2006 Lebanon War stocks. Some of the 40,000 rockets of Syrian and Iranian manufacture can hit Israel targets as far south as Beersheba, 350 km. away from the Shiite terror group’s launching pads north of Lebanon’s Litani River.

Not only has Tel Aviv come within range, but Hizballah and the Palestinian Hamas in Gaza can between them cover most of Israel except for its southernmost tip at Eilat. Using these two surrogates, Tehran can therefore make war on Israel and keep its hands clean.

And not only Iran. DEBKAfile’s military sources report the lion’s share of rockets smuggled to Hizballah in recent months are Syrian-made. Damascus has also shipped to Hizballah quantities of anti-air weapons, including shoulder-borne rockets and scores of Russian-made anti-aircraft ZSU-100 automatic 14.4 mm caliber cannon, which are most effective against low-flying aircraft, helicopters and drones.

All these issues will be discussed at length mainly during the US Vice President’s session with Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak.

On his arrival, Cheney pledged that his government would not pressure Israel to take steps that threatened its security.

"America's commitment to Israel's security is enduring and unshakable, as is Israel's right to protect itself always against terrorism, rocket attacks and other attacks from forces dedicated to Israel's destruction," Cheney told a joint news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

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Exclusive: At least 27 killed, 100 injured, in first Iraqi forces' showdown with Hizballah in Iraq
March 25, 2008, 6:26 PM (GMT+02:00) - DEBKAfile

DEBKAfile’s military sources report that heavy fighting was sparked in the southern Iraqi oil hub city Tuesday, March 25, by the major clean-up campaign embarked on by Iraqi government forces under prime minister Nouri al Maliki‘s personal command. It was the governments first challenge to the dominant new armed force, the Hizballah Brigades of Iraq, which our sources report raised its head in mid-January in several parts of the country, including Baghdad. More than 27 dead and 100 injured reported in the first hours of the Iraqi clampdown. The Shiite towns of Kut, Samawa and Nasiriyeh are under curfew.

DEBKAfile reports: Some of Muqtada Sadr’s Mehdi Army followers threatened civil revolt in solidarity with Hizballah. The two radical Shiite groups are closely allied.

The next DEBKA-Net-Weekly out Friday closely examines Iraq’s changing battlefield and brings fresh disclosures.

To subscribe to DEBKA-Net-Weekly click HERE .

The new arrival has joined the armed Shiite groups and criminal gangs battling for control of Basra and its oil resources. Ignored by the international media, the Iraqi Hizballah draws on its Lebanese command for orders, fighters, arms and cash. A tentacle of the Lebanese Shiite terror group has therefore quietly grabbed a piece of the insurgent action in Iraq under the aegis of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards al Qods Brigades.

The free-for-all in southern Iraq drove a reduced British force into a closed base in the region last December. They are not involved in the current combat, although “coalition air power” is said to be assisting the Iraqi forces.

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Syria: Lead Mughniyah Investigator Replaced
March 25, 2008 | 1524 GMT- STRATFOR

Syrian President Bashar al Assad has named his cousin Rami Makhluf to replace Gen. Asef Shawkat as the chief investigator in the assassination of Hezbollah operative Imad Mughniyah, over the protests of Hezbollah, a Stratfor source in Syria reported March 25. Hezbollah reportedly has accused Shawkat of having a key role in Mughniyah’s assassination and has demanded to interrogate him as a primary suspect. Syrian investigations have already revealed involvement in the assassination by a Syrian army officer who collected detailed intelligence about Mughniyah’s movements in Syria and in the Bekaa Valley, the source said.
 
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Lebanon: Populace Stockpiling Over War Fears
March 25, 2008 | 1517 GMT- STRATFOR

People in southern Lebanon’s major population centers of Nabatieh and Tyr are stockpiling canned food, beans, cereals, cooking oil, rice, dried milk and prescription drugs in anticipation of an impending war with Israel, a Stratfor source reported March 25, citing reports from shop owners and pharmacists. The source also said a building contractor reported that construction in Southern Lebanon has come to an unprecedented halt.
 
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Iran oil exports sets post-Shah revenue record
World Tribune, March 25, 08- STRATFOR

NICOSIA — Iran has reported record crude oil revenues over the last year.

Iranian Oil Minister Gholam Hossein Nozari said Iran earned $70 billion from crude oil exports from March 2007 to March 2008. Nozari said the figure marked a new export record.

Before the 1979 Islamic revolution, Iran was producing six million barrels per day.

Teheran has been battling an aging oil infrastructure amid difficulties in obtaining foreign investment.
 
In an interview with Iranian state television on March 17, Nozari said oil production hit 4.21 million barrels per day, the highest level since 1979. He said about 2.5 million barrels per day of the oil was exported.

 



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