Will US allow Lebanon to fall to Syria?
DEBKAfile reports: Lebanon’s pro-Syrian opposition is going forward with its revolt to seize government in Beirut
[Will the US allow this to happen? Their only option is to get the IDF to finish off Hezbollah and Syria.]
Our sources in Beirut report that the Hizballah-led bloc’s effort to carry out the first Middle East revolution this century to overthrow a pro-Western government is designed to go forward in calculated stages, rather than a continuous operation. On Day one Tuesday, 3 Lebanese were killed, 133 were injured and the country was paralyzed. The anti-government bloc, headed by Hizballah’s Hassan Nasrallah and pro-Syrian allies, Gen. Michel Aoun and the north Lebanese Faranjieh clan, has been encouraged by its initial effectiveness to carry on to the next stage at some unspecified moment.
And indeed, hundreds of thousands of Lebanese continued Wednesday to stream to the capital in a well-organized transport operation.
On arriving in Paris Wednesday, Jan. 24, prime minister Fouad Siniora charged that Lebanon has been paying the price of “imposed decisions coming from outside, like Iran and Syria.” Before he left, he vowed not to surrender to violence.
DEBKAfile’s sources report that the pro-Syrian bloc plans next to send the demonstrators to storm government ministries en masse and seize control of the administration.
DEBKAfile’s Beirut sources report the crippling of normal business in Lebanon Tuesday was orchestrated step by step by means of text messages to the
300,000 cell phones distributed to the local ringleaders.
They also owe their success to the cooperation of the Lebanese army and security forces.
Except for some Beirut districts, they stood aside or actively helped the pro-Syrian demonstrators in the rest of the capital and in central and northern Lebanon. In most places, the army and police were heavily outnumbered and made no effort to restore order. The casualties of the day were caused by clashes between pro-Syrian and anti-Syrian factions – not with the forces of law and order. [This is the same army that was placed in the south by Res 1701 to restrain Hezbollah.]
Tuesday night, a senior intelligence source described the crisis in grim terms to DEBKAfile:
“Today they laid siege to government offices and the premises of the anti-Syrian government parties, burning tires and cars,” he said. “Wednesday, they may start burning government buildings and the headquarters of anti-Syrian movements. The Siniora government does not command sufficient loyal security personnel to stem the tide of more than a million pro-Syrian demonstrators. Only outside military intervention can save the day, but I don’t see it coming.”
Suleiman Franjieh, a Christian opposition leader, told Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV the next steps “will be nothing compared to what we saw today” – if the government does not respond to the opposition’s demands.
Fouad Siniora is in Paris to attend a conference of the donor governments for Lebanon’s reconstruction. Our sources report that Nasrallah and Aoun have decided to let him go and come, while using his absence to muscle their way to power with the help of massive demonstrations. Siniora is to be left with the empty title of prime minister and no real authority.