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World

ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Riyad et Washington derrière les affrontements libanais

by Pierre Barbancey

Riyad and Washington are Behind the Conflict in Lebanon

Translated Tuesday 22 May 2007, by Henry Crapo

Decoding the situation: Under cover of creating respect for international justice, the musical score played by the Western Powers and their allies in the region is creating tensions and poisoning internal relations in the Land of the Cedars.

Beirut, by special envoy.

The situation created in Iraq, confrontations between Shiites and Sunni in the region, will create a new dynamic full of danger for the people of the Middle East.

Since last Thursday, the date for the deposition by the United States, France, and Great Britain of a resolution aimed at assuring the establishment of an international tribunal to judge the assassins of the ex-prime minister Rafic Hariri, everyone in the Land of the Cedars knew that repercussions would not be long in coming. First off, because this is a very sensitive question in Lebanon. It is one of the primary sources of discord between the different organizations. The ’majority’ is grouped under the banner of 14 March, that is, the Movement for the Future of the Hariri family, which holds the post of prime minister in the person of Fouad Siniora, the Lebanese Forces of Samir Geagea, recently released from prison after a sentence for his political involvement in a certain number of massacres, and the phalanxes of the Gemayel family.

The opposition, essentially the Hezbollah, Amal, and the Patriotic Current of General Aoun, gather under the banner of the Movement of 8 March. These two entities, for a short time grouped together under an electoral agreement, and even together in the government, have divorced after coming to blows over conflicting interests of various sorts: of class, of religion, and geopolitics ...

Today, the international tribunal, as it is planned, gives rise to fears of a return of the old demons of Lebanon, because they may come clothed in the tragic events stretching back more than two decades, events once successfully set aside, if not prescribed, by the will to achieve national reconciliation.

Upon the death of Rafic Hariri

In what we must term hokus-pokus [1], the western powers, and in particular the United States and France, play from a very unusual musical score, composed upon the death of Rafic Hariri, Cantate 1559, the United Nations resolution in two movements: the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon (who arrived in 1986 with the backing of the western powers), then the disarmament of armed factions, the Hezbollah and the Palestinian groups. This resolution aims at isolating, on the regional scene, all forces likely to join an alliance with Syria and Iran, countries accused of all the evils, and assigned to the Axis of Evil so dear to George W. Bush. The Hezbollah is thus in their gunsights, both politically and for religious reasons. The Saudi Arabians, who are Sunnis, and whose financial interests in Lebanon are all too clear, are designated to play the role of military policeman, or dispenser of justice. This is all the more crucial since the conflict between Shiites and Sunni in the region, which many wish to see as the new parameter of evaluation, will create a new dynamic full of danger for the peoples of the Middle East, and above all for the Palestinians.

It was in such a context of confrontations and tensions on all sides that the war in Lebanon began in 2006. The Israeli plans were ready. Their surprise defeat changed the outcome. The Shiite movement of Hassan Nasrallah came out of the conflict in a strengthened position. Even in Sunni regions of the Middle East, the performance of the Hezbollah leader was admired. This was an aggravating factor for Washington, which saw the ghost of Teheran everywhere. But it was also worrisome for Riyad, which intended to defend its own interests.

It is in this stage setting, aggravated by an institutional road-block, the resignation of the Shiite ministers leaving a government lacking constitutional legitimacy, that the Parliament no longer meets, the President of the Republic stands at present with no viable response, and Lebanon is exposed to stormy winds from all quarters. In such a situation manipulation is easy, and you can count on the international media, always ready to adopt any predominant thesis, especially when it involves creating or activating small religious groups.

Yemenites, from Bangladesh

In Europe, we have certainly just learned of the existence of Fatah al-Islam. In two days, this Islamic group has killed nearly thirty Lebanese soldiers, and, located in a Palestinian refugee camp, has spread trouble and doubts. Almost no Palestinian is, however, a member of Fatah al-Islam, as is made clear by the identity of those who were cut down by the Lebanese military these past two days. They are Yemenites, or from Bangladesh, and elsewhere. The assembly of Palestinian organizations has denounced the excesses of this group. Yesterday, some Lebanese journalists moreover recalled that in the month of February four members of this organization were arrested, and confessed to having instigated a bombing attack near Beirut, in a Christian zone. The authorities however did nothing to uproot this group. When one is familiar with the difficulties involved in entering a Palestinian refugee camp, access to which is controlled by the army, one well wonders how this might have happened, and who had an interest in their being implanted there.


Under the leadership of Dick Cheney, U.S. vice-president, a strategy is put in place for confrontation between Sunni Islamic forces and the Hezbollah in Lebanon


Tension still mounts

One part of the answer is provided by the American journalist Seymour Hersh, known and respected for his revelations of what is going on under the tables in international relations, for the breadth of his network of information, and the secrets revealed to him by former espionage agents, chiefly in international intelligence agencies. In an article published in the New Yorker in February 2007, Hersh shows how, under the leadership of US Vice-President Dick Cheney, a strategy of confrontation was set up between the Islamic Sunnis and the Hezbollah in Lebanon. A former spy from the British secret services, MI6, is cited. Alistair Crooke is his name, creator of the ’think tank’ Conflicts Forum. He explains that the Lebanese government favors the entry into its territory of fighters of this type. "They can be very dangerous", he says. He cites one of these extremist groups, Fatah al-Islam, established in the camp Nahr al-Bared. They were 200 in number. "They tell me that within 24 hours, these guys, saying they were representatives of the interests of the Lebanese government, were furnished with arms and money in order to fight the Hezbollah."

Meanwhile, according to the French ambassador to the United Nations, Resolution 1559 concerning the international tribunal may be voted upon before the end of the month, tension mounts each day in Lebanon, preparations for war against Iran are being fine-tuned, and the Gaza Strip is all fire and blood.

[1Robert & Collins suggests the translation "jiggery-pokery" for the more colorful original French grenouillage


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