Dr. Walid Phares

www.walidphares.com

Friday, May 25, 2007

Fighting in Lebanon - Phares with the Latest Analysis   [W. Thomas Smith Jr.]

 

Walid Phares with more analysis exclusive to The Tank

The Grand Syro-Iranian spring offensive has begun in Lebanon. The design is to drag the Lebanese Army into side - but costly - fights with group A, while group B is preparing itself for the next stage, possibly a summer offensive.

There is a consensus among terrorism analysts in Lebanon including those within the Lebanese Government and the Cedars Revolution that elements within Syrian intelligence have been tasked with instigating or initiating a battle in Tripoli between Fatah al Islam and the Lebanese Army in hopes that Lebanese Army units would falter and Lebanese-Palestinian fighting would widen.
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The second stage of this spring offensive is to push elements of Jund al Sham (another al Qaeda affiliate) into the southern Palestinian camp of Miyeh-Miyeh near Sidon. The objective is to open another front for Group A: that is the Salafists against the same Lebanese Armed Forces.
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Ultimately, the Syro-Iranians hope to see the Lebanese armed forces engaged in fighting in multiple enclaves from Tripoli to Sidon, and perhaps to the Bekaa.
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This terror plan is to drain the operational forces of the Lebanese Army by forcing the LA to engage enemy forces in multiple locations.
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Such a situation would quickly deplete the munitions of regular forces and dangerously stretch Lebanese forces.
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Aware that 10,000 soldiers of the Lebanese armed forces are already deployed south of the Litani in order to implement
UN resolution 1701 along with UNIFIL forces [United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon], the joint Syrian-Hezbollah war room has in fact pushed the Salafist Jihadists toward the objective of spreading and dividing Lebanese forces across the Lebanese territories. The long-term objective is to "kill" the central force of the Lebanese Army and prevent it from being reinforced by its own reserve forces.
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By early summer, Group B composed of Hezbollah and all other pro-Syrian militias would join the fray against the Lebanese government and seize ground in Beirut and throughout the remainder of the country.
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Hence, the Lebanese Army confrontation with al Qaeda in Tripoli and eventually in Sidon should take into consideration Group B preparing for future action.

Besides, when it comes to Hezbollah, many LA soldiers who are under the influence of (or who fear) the Iranian-backed militia might quit.
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So, what we see right now, is a Lebanese Army engaging the northern front with al Qaeda. The Lebanese soldiers have very little equipment, and the may possibly have to engage the Bin Laden elements in the south, soon.
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In our estimation, the international community (including the U.S.) must have an emergency plan for strategic assistance of the Lebanese government against Group A now. And it must expect attacks from Group B in the very near future.
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Yes, the Lebanese troops, with their M16 rifles, M113 troop transports, and outdated M48 tanks, are showing courage against the most lethal terrorists on the face of the earth. But courage alone is not enough.
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Washington must act fast to enable the Lebanese Government to achieve the following:

  • Contain the terrorists in the Tripoli area.
  • Contain the terrorists in the Miyeh-Miyeh area.
  • Regroup central LA forces to protect the government and the Cedars Revolution from a potential summer offensive by Hezbollah
  • Integrate an international plan under UNSCR 1559 and 1701 to disarm the militias and defend the borders against Syria. 

More from Walid here and here.