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Cablegate: Lebanon: Samir Geagea Going to Doha, No to 10-10-10

VZCZCXRO5606
OO RUEHAG RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHKUK RUEHROV
DE RUEHLB #0701/01 1362206
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 152206Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY BEIRUT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1906
INFO RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2307
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 2612
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BEIRUT 000701

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR NEA/FO, NEA/ELA
ALSO FOR A/S SILVERBERG AND PDAS WARLICK
NSC FOR ABRAMS/SINGH/YERGER/GAVITO
USUN FOR KHALILZAD/WOLFF/KUMAR/PHEE

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/07/2018
TAGS: PREL PGOV PINR PTER MCAP MARR EAIR IR LE
SUBJECT: LEBANON: SAMIR GEAGEA GOING TO DOHA, NO TO 10-10-10


Classified By: CDA Michele J. Sison for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

SUMMARY
-------

1. (C) In a late night, Thursday, May 15 meeting, Lebanese
Forces (LF) leader Samir Geagea told Charge that he is
concerned that deals are being made under the table at this
time with regards to the next Lebanese government and that
Sa'ad Hariri is wavering on the March 14 agenda. Geagea
specifically asked that Washington telephone the Saudis and
Sa'ad to shore up support for the March 14 agenda. Geagea
said that March 14 will not accept a 10-10-10 Cabinet or
anything that allows Hizballah to exercise a veto over
Cabinet decisions. Geagea thinks the time is right to seek a
United Nations Security Council Resolution warning all sides
that any future use of arms to change the political landscape
will result in Security Council action.

2. (C) Charge, accompanied by Defense Attach, met with Samir
Geagea at his party headquarters in Maarab on May 15.

WASHINGTON MUST CALL THE SAUDIS
TELL THEM TO GIVE SA'AD SOME STRENGTH
-------------------------------------

3. (C) Geagea was quick to tell us that Walid Jumblatt should
not go to Doha, as Geagea is certain Walid is cutting deals
behind everyone's back. Geagea also had the impression that
Sa'ad Hariri also was in deal-making mode to become Prime
Minister. Geagea said he called Sa'ad's advisor, Ghattas
Khoury, earlier in the evening to let him know that if there
was a deal being made under the table, the Lebanese Forces
would be "completely out of the coalition."

4. (C) Fearing these deals, Geagea insisted that Washington
telephone the Saudis soonest to impress upon them the need
for Sa'ad to stand firm in Doha and to not compromise March
14 political and moral high ground by taking some sort of
deal. According to Geagea, the Saudis need to understand
that the Lebanese Forces will not accept any deal that has a
10-10-10 formula or a veto for Hizballah. Geagea thinks that
all of the other March 14 leaders, such as PM Siniora and the
Christian leaders, are holding strong in the face of the deal
makers. Meanwhile, Geagea assesses that Sa'ad is "waffling"
and Jumblatt is "fearful," so they are running for the door.
"We are standing on the red line," quipped Geagea.
"Hizballah has lost more than it gained by this. We must
maintain our political ground since they attacked Lebanese
people," said Geagea.

THE WRANGLING OVER THE DOHA AGENDA
HIZBALLAH'S WEAPONS ON THE TABLE FOR DISCUSSION
--------------------------------------------- --

5. (C) Throughout the day today, the Doha agenda for Friday,
May 16, was in flux. There was much wrangling over
adjectives and verbs that created slightly different nuanced
meanings. In all cases, it was very clear that Hizballah was
doing anything it could to keep its weapons off the agenda.
At one point, Hizballah insisted that the clause discussing
weapons be decoupled from a clause about the National Unity
Government. This, according to Geagea, was an attempt to put
the issue of weapons at a lower priority on the agenda. At
the end of the day, March 14 insisted on, and achieved, a
final clause that stated that all of the clauses on the
agenda held equal status for discussion. Based on this,
Geagea is confident that Hizballah's weapons, and their use
during the past week, will make it onto the table in Doha.

NO DISCUSSION OF PORTFOLIOS
THE ARMY SHOULD TAKE CARE
--------------------------

6. (C) Geagea believes the agenda at Doha is already full and
that no other matters will make it onto the table. Geagea
will leave for Doha on the afternoon of May 16 as a guest of
the Qataris, as will all of the other delegates. Geagea said
that none of the "sovereign ministry" portfolios of Interior,
Finance, Foreign Affairs, Justice or Defense would be
discussed at Doha.

BEIRUT 00000701 002 OF 002

7. (C) Turning to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), Geagea
recommended that the LAF move any ammunition or equipment
stored in Hizballah-controlled areas. Defense Attach assured
Geagea that the LAF was already taking measures to secure its
weapons as it always does. In a pointed attack on LAF G-2
(military intelligence) Georges Khoury, Geagea warned the USG
not to give any "listening equipment" to Khoury, as he would
use this against the Lebanese Forces. (Comment: We have heard
this same refrain from Geagea many times before. End Comment.)

8. (C) Geagea assesses that the LAF is having a difficult
time after the events of last week. Geagea told us that he
has information that LAF officers are working with civilian
"zealots" to establish &community watch8 type organizations
that have weapons. Geagea said these officers were doing this
in order to prepare for another period of unrest like was
seen this week with Hizballah.

NOW IS THE TIME FOR A UN RESOLUTION
SEND A SIGNAL TO ALL THE PARTIES
-----------------------------------

9. (C) Geagea told Charge that he met with the French Charge
d'Affaires, Andre Parent, two days ago, as well as the Greek
and Italian Ambassadors today, to discuss a new U.N. Security
Council resolution. Specifically, Geagea thinks the time is
ripe to publish a resolution that has some teeth (i.e., a
Chapter VII resolution). While all of the Ambassadors agreed
with him about Hizballah's final goals, they have concerns
since they have troops that are members of UNIFIL in the
south and any hasty moves could put their troops at risk.

10. (C) Acknowledging their positions, Geagea said that "the
weakest link, Syria, should be the target of a new UNSCR."
Geagea thinks that a security council resolution should
threaten action in a non-specific way by saying that the
Security Council would "take measures" if Hizballah conducted
any actions using it weapons in the future. At the same time,
Geagea wants someone to go to Syria and deliver the message
that the "certain measures" would be an air embargo of Syria.
SISON

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