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Sunday, April 08, 2007

Jumblatt: Lebanese 'security forces' assisting Syrian arms smuggling to Hezbullah

Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt (shown at top left with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon - Hat Tip: Breitbart.com) lashed out at the Lebanese 'security forces' yesterday, accusing them of not only failing to prevent arms smuggling by Syria to Hezbullah, but actually assisting the smuggling. Jumblatt urged the Lebanese army to take control of tunnels used by the smugglers.
The Daily an-Nahar quoted Jumblat as telling supporters at his ancestral palace in Mukhtara, in the chouf heartland southeast of Beirut that factions affiliated with Hizbullah are planning to stir up trouble in Mount Lebanon.


In an interview with al-Jazera satellite television network, Jumblat launched a vehement attack on the opposition asking: "what opposition?"

"The opposition is a state run by Iran and the Syrian regime in Lebanon. There is a state within the state. We have the Hizbullah army in addition to the Lebanese army, we have Hizbullah intelligence in addition to the Lebanese Army intelligence, there are territories that the Lebanese army cannot enter and the Lebanese state cannot practice its authority on such lands," Jumblat said.

"What opposition? It is not more than Iranian-Syrian opposition (to the Lebanese government)," he added.

Jumblat said: "We want the Syrian regime and agents of the Syrian regime to stop the assassinations. That is why we sought the help of the United Nations."

He was referring to the international tribunal that, once created, would try suspects in the 2005 assassination of ex-Premier Rafik Hariri and related crimes. The majority blames the killings on Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime. Damascus denies the charges.
This really should come as no surprise to anyone. After all, most of the Lebanese army is Shiite, which means that they would likely have much more loyalty to the Shiite Hezbullah (and Iran) than to the Lebanese state. Now, here comes the part about the smuggling:
Jumblat also attacked the Lebanese army command for issuing a statement prior to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's recent visit to Beirut claiming that weapons were not being smuggled in from neighboring Syria.

"Instead of the Media-political maneuver, the Lebanese army should have established control over (illegal) tunnels linking Lebanon to Syria and deployed in areas that are off limits for its troops" near the borders with Syria, Jumblat said.

He also accused "Hizbullah and others" of setting up "training camps … The problem would cease to exist when the flow of weapons and ammunition across the Syrian borders stops. We want a Lebanese state."

U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended a 34-day war between Hizbullah and Israel on Aug. 14, has banned the smuggling of weapons into Lebanon.

France is leading an effort at the U.N. Security Council to set up an independent mission to determine effectiveness of the Lebanese-Syrian border control arrangements.

The move was seen as a step aimed at providing international help to Lebanon to effectively control its borders with Syria.

Most of the border region with Syria is controlled by Hizbullah and Syrian-controlled Palestinian factions that maintain bases on Lebanese territory, allegedly linked to Syrian territory by a network of tunnels.

Such illegal facilities are off limits to the Lebanese army.
I don't recall hearing before about tunnels between Syria and Lebanon - only about weapons smuggling using trucks coming over the border. The only tunnels we heard about in connection with Hezbullah to this point were tunnels used as bunkers in Southern Lebanon.

But Arutz Sheva reports that Jumblatt also told al-Jazeera that the trucks are also still being used:
Walid Jumblatt, longtime leader of Lebanon's Druze community and a member of the ruling parliamentary bloc, said some Lebanese agents are allowing trucks to cross the border without being searched.

"Nobody knows what's inside these trucks," Jumblatt told Al Jazeera in an interview broadcast on Saturday.

He also said that the Lebanese army has a policy of not entering Hizbullah training camps along the Syrian-Lebanese boundary to search for weapons. Calling Hizbullah "a state within a state," Jumblatt said the organization had security units running in parallel with those of Lebanon's government. "There is a Hizbullah army alongside the Lebanese army," he said. "There is Hizbullah intelligence alongside Lebanese [army] intelligence and there are Lebanese territories that the army is prohibited from entering… The Lebanese army should have... entered the areas between Lebanon and Syria that are off-limits."
Arutz Sheva is also reporting that France circulated a resolution in the UN Security Council last week expressing concern over reports of Syrian arms smuggling to Lebanon. A lot of good that will do....


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