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World Council for the Cedars Revolution

Aug 12th
Home arrow News Content arrow Blog arrow Blog Items arrow Intelligence arrow Latest Intel Lebanon - Region - April 24, 2008
Latest Intel Lebanon - Region - April 24, 2008 PDF Print E-mail
Written by STRATFOR, DebkaFILE, Geostrategy-Direct   
Thursday, 24 April 2008


Latest intelligence from Lebanon and the Region

Lebanon: Former Cabinet Member Linked To Al-Hariri Assassination
April 23, 2008 1945 GMT

A commission investigating the Feb. 14, 2005 assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri has hard evidence about the involvement in the event by Asad Hirdan, a former Lebanese cabinet member and leader of the pro-Damascus Syrian Nationalist and Socialist Party (SNSP), a Stratfor source reported April 23. Hirdan reportedly held numerous meetings in January 2005 with Syrian security officers including operatives from the SNSP who had previously performed terrorist operations on behalf of Syrian intelligence in Lebanon.The meetings reportedly took place in Hirdan's residence in Bologna, a village in the upper Matn Mountains.

Lebanon: Iranian Military Experts Training Hezbollah In Syria
April 23, 2008 1912 GMT

Experts from the Iranian military have reportedly entered Lebanon from Syria and begun training Palestinian jihadists and members of Hezbollah foreign operations cells from training centers in Wadi Janta-Al-Sha'ra, a locality in the hills outside Nabi Sheet in the northern Bekaa Valley, a Statfor source in Lebanon reported April 23. Since the beginning of March, the Iranian experts have also reportedly been constructing a series of munitions depots and tunnels in the west and north Bekaa Valley.

Lebanon: Israeli Warplanes Violate Airspace
April 23, 2008 1549 GMT
A number of Israeli warplanes on April 23 violated Lebanese airspace, Kuwaiti news agency KUNA reported, citing unnamed Lebanese security sources. The Israeli planes flew over Tyre, the town of Rashaya, and the Western Bekaa valley in Lebanon at low altitudes, the sources told KUNA.

Lebanon: Jumblatt Prepared To Meet With Opposition
April 23, 2008 1353 GMT

Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt said he was willing to talk with opposition leader Nabih Berri in order to end the political stalemate that has left Lebanon without a president, the Lebanese daily As-Safir reported April 23. Jumblatt said the crisis could "only be resolved through dialogue whereby each side makes meaningful concessions to the other side." He added that the most important issue to be discussed was Hezbollah and its weapons.

Lebanon: Fails To Elect President
April 22, 2008 2357 GMT

Once again Lebanon failed April 22 to elect a new president, media reported. The failure prompted expressions of dismay among Arab foreign ministers -- meeting in Kuwait -- who indirectly rebuked Syria. A political fight between parliament’s pro-Western majority and opposition bloc led by Syrian-allied Hezbollah has prompted gridlock.

Lebanon: 2 Activists Killed At Phalange Party Event
April 21, 2008 1226 GMT

Two activists were shot and killed late April 20 at the opening of a Phalange party headquarters in the town of Zahle, Lebanon, Agence France-Presse reported April 21. Funerals for the victims, Nasri al-Maruni and Salim Assi, are set for April 22. Assi's son was among three people wounded in the attack. Police said they are searching for a suspect, Joseph Zouki. Zouki is believed to be a supporter of Zahle lawmaker Elie Skaff, a Christian and opposition supporter.

Italy: To Keep Troops In Lebanon -- Berlusconi
April 18, 2008 1245 GMT

Italy will keep its troops in Lebanon to help consolidate democracy there, Prime Minister-elect Silvio Berlusconi said April 18, according to The Associated Press. Berlusconi also said Italy's troops in Lebanon want to change the rules of engagement but did not give details.

Jordan: Envoy Sent To Egypt, Syria
April 17, 2008 1822 GMT

Jordan recently sent an envoy to Syria and Egypt to help ease the "political climate" between them in an attempt to help resolve Lebanon's political crisis, Lebanese news Web site Naharnet.com reported April 17.

Lebanon: U.S. Diplomat To Discuss Political Situation
April 17, 2008 1344 GMT

Top U.S. official David Welch made an unexpected visit to Beirut April 17 to discuss Lebanon’s political crisis -- one that has left the country without a president for almost five months, media reported. Welch is the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs.

Lebanon, Iran: Ambassador, Prime Minister Meet
April 16, 2008 1034 GMT
Iran's ambassador to Lebanon, Mohammad-Reza Sheibani, and Lebanon Prime Minister Fuad Siniora discussed ways to promote Tehran-Beirut and regional relations in a meeting in Beirut, the Islamic Republic News Agency reported April 16. Iran would welcome a visit by Siniora to Iran in the future, Sheibani said.

Kuwait: 7 Shiites To Be Tried For Praising Slain Hezbollah Leader
April 15, 2008 2112 GMT
Seven Kuwaiti Shiites will be tried for allegedly sending a statement to Lebanese and Iranian TV stations that eulogized assassinated Hezbollah leader Imad Mughniyah, The Associated Press reported April 15. Their attorney, Abdul-Karim bin Haidar, said the men were charged with "spreading false news about the situation in the country," by sending the statement, which the government's prosecutor said "weakened the position of the state abroad." Bin Haidar said his clients have denied that they sent the statement, which was broadcast by Hezbollah's Al-Manar television station in Lebanon and Iran's state-run Arabic channel, Al-Alam. The accused men include four former legislators and one religious leader.

Syria: Arming Hezbollah Despite Resolution – Israel
April 15, 2008 1600 GMT

Syria is supplying the Hezbollah militia in Lebanon with rockets in violation of a U.N. security council resolution, Israel Defense Minister Ehud Barak said April 15. The U.N. resolution "is not being applied," Barak said in a statement. He said Syria is still transferring rockets to Lebanon and "continuing Hezbollah's military build-up."

Lebanon: Hezbollah Increases Drug Smuggling - Source
April 15, 2008 1551 GMT
In part to help pay its expenses, Hezbollah is expanding its smuggling of drugs, especially heroin to Israel, a source with the Palestinian Fatah political party told Stratfor April 15. In addition to providing a source of financial assistance to pro-Hezbollah militants, the Lebanon-based militant organization also wants to damage Israeli society.

Lebanon: Hezbollah Paying Commanders - Source
April 15, 2008 1544 GMT

Hezbollah has begun paying commanders in al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a militant offshoot of the Palestinian Fatah political party, a Stratfor source with the Fatah military said April 15. Hezbollah, wanting to create a new Palestinian movement called Palestinian Hezbollah, is training Palestinians in its camps in the Bekaa Valley, a farming region in east Lebanon, and also with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps near Tehran.

Kuwait: Iran Backing New Hezbollah Arm – Source
April 15, 2008 1416 GMT
Iran wants to develop a Hezbollah organization in Kuwait in collaboration with the parent militant organization in Lebanon, Stratfor reported April 15, citing a source in Lebanon. The source said several Kuwaiti Shia have recently arrived in Lebanon to undergo military training from Hezbollah.

Lebanon: Hezbollah Denies It Will Launch Offensive
April 15, 2008 1253 GMT

The Islamist militant group Hezbollah denied a report from the Iranian news agency Fars that it will launch an offensive on Israel if the Jewish state wages a new war. Hezbollah said in a statement that the comments attributed to a member of its Shura Council were "absolutely not true." The Fars story, from a Syrian magazine al-Hakika, quoted a council member saying that Hezbollah would attack Palestinian territories occupied by Israel in 1948.

Lebanon: Hezbollah Sets Up In West Bekaa
April 14, 2008 1445 GMT

Hezbollah has installed recently acquired weapons (likely Syrian-provided 305mm rockets) in Lebanon's West Bekaa valley, Stratfor sources said April 14. Hezbollah has completed defenses in the West Bekaa, the source said, with tunnels that link villages in the sector and numerous munitions depots that are more than enough for "sustained resistance." Hezbollah expects Israeli forces to overrun the West Bekaa, but Hezbollah will conduct guerrilla-type warfare against them, the source added.

Iran: Hezbollah Getting Training In Iran
April 14, 2008 1429 GMT

Since the end of the 2006 Israeli-Hezbollah conflict, Hezbollah has sent more than 37,000 young men to Iran for training, a Stratfor source said April 14. Hezbollah members in Iran are trained by officers from the central training unit in Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps, the source added, and an Iranian general code named "Noureddine" is in charge of the training.

Lebanon, Israel: UN Erects Border Fence
April 10, 2008 1500 GMT
U.N. peacekeeping forces began erecting a barbed-wire fence along the Lebanon-Israel border April 10 to prevent violations of the so-called Blue Line, media reported. The fence will also reportedly help prevent drug trafficking in the area, a U.N. spokeswoman said.

Lebanon: Witness In Al-Hariri Killing Hiding In Europe
April 10, 2008 1046 GMT

Syrian national Mohammed Zuhair Siddiq, a key witness in the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri, has told Kuwait daily Al-Siyassah he is hiding in Europe because he fears for his life. The paper reported April 10 that Siddiq called its offices a day earlier to say he is well, but in hiding. He had been living in France under house arrest until he disappeared March 13.



Syria: CIA Video Showing North Koreans At Reactor
April 24, 2008 | 1109 GMT

The CIA is set to release a video to the U.S. Congress on April 24 showing an alleged Syrian nuclear power facility, code-named Al Kibar, with North Koreans inside it, the Washington Post reported. Reports say that the video, taken in the summer of 2006, shows a nuclear reactor design “virtually identical” to the North Korean reactor at Yongbyon, which produces plutonium for Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program.



Exclusive: Pyongyang scrambles to offset impending Syrian plutonium reactor revelations in Congress
April 23, 2008, 11:47 AM (GMT+02:00)

The CIA plans to reveal to a closed-door congressional panel session Thursday April 24 that the Syrian site targeted by Israel’s air raid last September was a reactor capable of producing plutonium for nuclear weapons, thereby offering final proof of North Korea’s nuclear ties with Syria. This is reported by the LA Times.

DEBKAfile’s Middle East sources reveal that Pyongyang took the unusual step Wed. April 23 his week of ordering its Damascus embassy to gather Arab correspondents in the Syrian capital for an extraordinary briefing: The first secretary told them that North Korea had nothing to do with the destroyed reactor. However, he did not deny that Pyongyang maintained extensive military ties of cooperation with Damascus.

On April 22, A US team, led by Sung Kim - the top U.S. State Department expert on the Koreas - reached Pyongyang for a three-day stay to discuss North Korea’s failure to meet its December deadline for dismantling its nuclear program.



CIA to disclose Israeli September raid destroyed Syrian plutonium reactor
April 23, 2008, 6:59 PM (GMT+02:00)

The Los Angeles Times reports that the CIA plans to brief key lawmakers in a closed-door session April 24 about the mysterious Syrian site that was targeted by an Israeli air raid last September. DEBKA-Net-Weekly 320 was first to report on Oct. 6, 2007 that the target of the Israeli raid on Sept. 6, 2007, was a plutonium reactor in a remote part of Syria..

The CIA officials will tell lawmakers they believe the reactor would have been capable of producing plutonium for nuclear weapons but was destroyed before it could do so. They will also say that though US officials had had concerns for years about ties between North Korea and Syria, it was not until last year that the new intelligence [gathered in the Israeli raid] provided them with the evidence.



Syria sending hundreds of operatives into Lebanon
Geostrategy-Direct, April 21, 2008

Iran and Syria have been working to stage another revolt in Lebanon.

Hundreds of trained and armed Palestinians have been streaming into Lebanon from Syria in preparation for an insurrection similar to that of Fatah Al Islam in mid-2007.

The fighters have been aligned with two Syrian-sponsored groups. They are the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command and Fatah Al Intifada. Both of these groups are sponsored by Syrian intelligence.

The Palestinian fighters were heading for PFLP-GC bases throughout Lebanon's Bekaa Valley, including Hilweh, Dir Al Achayer and Qusaya. From the Bekaa, the fighters were making their way to Palestinian refugee camps throughout Lebanon.

Lebanese security sources said the Palestinians would also serve Syria in any war against Israel. The Syrian scenario has been that Israeli infantry units would punch through Lebanon on their way to Syria.

Hizbullah has also been preparing for the revolt in Lebanon as well as war with Israel. More than 3,500 Hizbullah fighters per year undergo a three-month course in Iran that included sabotage, rocket fire, bomb assembly, military tactics and intelligence.

The Iranian training has been ardurous. In March, more than 20 Hizbullah fighters were killed during military training near Teheran.

"The training in Iran lies at the heart of our connections with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard," Mohammed Ali Husseini, director-general of the Islamic Union in Lebanon, said. "This is known to all Lebanese people."


Al Qaida comes under Iranian control
Geostrategy-Direct, April 21, 2008

Iran has succeeded in wresting effective control over Al Qaida.

Western intelligence sources said Iran has infiltrated Al Qaida and is providing equipment, weapons and training to Al Qaida in neighboring Iraq.

The sources said most of the aid to Al Qaida has come through proxies, including Hizbullah. But senior Al Qaida commanders have been taken to Iran for instruction and to serve as liasions with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Command.

The Iranian connection to Al Qaida in Iraq began before the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. But the sources said Teheran began to dominate Al Qaida in 2004 with the ascendancy of Abu Mussib Al Zarqawi as chief of the Sunni insurgency in Iraq. Al Zarqawi was groomed by Teheran and treated in a hospital after a serious injury.

Over the last three years, Al Qaida in Iraq has come under Iranian control. Al Zarqawi and then his successor Abu Ayoub Al Masri, has been receiving hundreds of thousands to maintain the Al Qaida network as long as it does not threaten the Shi'ite community.

In Al Qaida headquarters in Iraq, Iraqi forces have found Iranian money, weapons as well as records of fighters sent to Teheran for medical treatment. Those who were sent to Teheran for training or treatment were forced to leave an audio or video testament that thanked Iran.

Iran has also directed Al Qaida operatives to infiltrate southern Iraq, populated by Shi'ites. A senior Al Qaida commander, identified as Abu Huthaifa, was captured in an Iraqi security operation on April 13 in Basra.

Abu Huthaifa was believed to have been sent by Iran to Basra to help in the Shi'ite insurrection against the Baghdad government. Al Qaida has been responsible for more than 90 percent of all suicide strikes in Iraq.

"Iran is very active in the southern part of Iraq," U.S. National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley said. "They are training Iraqis in Iran who come into Iraq and attack our forces, Iraqi forces, Iraqi civilians. There are movements of equipment. There's movements of funds."


Qatar opens doors to Egyptians
Geostrategy-Direct, April 21, 2008

Qatar needs cheap labor to maintain its growing energy-based economy. Already inundated by nationals from Pakistan, Qatar has found a new source of foreign labor for unskilled tasks — Egypt.

Egypt has been a leading labor exporter in the Arab world. Egyptians are regarded as docile and reliable workers and can't find work at home.

So far, Qatar has hosted more than 100,000 Egyptians. The number has rapidly increased over the last year as Qatar has quietly made Egyptians welcome in their effort to escape unemployment and soaring food prices.

"Qatar will hire more workers from Egypt since it is witnessing an economic boom," Egyptian Trade and Industry Minister Mohammed Rachid said. There is a downside to the Egyptian influx in Qatar. Security officials are concerned that Al Qaida might succeed in recruiting Egyptians for attacks on Qatar, who hosts the U.S. military.

In 2005, an Egyptian engineer detonated a car bomb in front of a British theater in Doha. A British national was killed in what was deemed an Al Qaida-inspired attack.

But Qatar has made its choice. The Gulf Cooperation Council emirate has invested $12 billion in Egypt, the second largest Arab investor after Saudi Arabia.



Sources in this report: 

By Stratfor. This Report Expresses the views of Stratfor

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of CRNews.



Geostrategy Direct. The Reports Expresses the views of Geostrategy Direct

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of CRNews.


DEBKAfile. The Reports Expresses the views of DEBKAfile

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of CRNews.


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