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Cablegate: Lebanon: 2002 Annual Terrorism Report

P 291500Z NOV 02
FM AMEMBASSY BEIRUT
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2674
INFO AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 BEIRUT 003741

FOR NEA/ARN AND S/CT FOR REAP

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PTER PREL PGOV LE
SUBJECT: LEBANON: 2002 ANNUAL TERRORISM REPORT

REF: STATE 201772

1. SECURITY CONDITIONS IN LEBANON WORSENED DURING 2002 WITH
THE KILLING OF AN AMERICAN MISSIONARY, EXPLOSIONS AT SEVERAL
AMERICAN FRANCHISE RESTAURANTS, AND A SPIKE OF CROSS-BORDER
ATTACKS INTO ISRAEL IN MARCH-APRIL. LEBANON, LIKE MANY
COUNTRIES IN THE REGION, IS EXPERIENCING AN INCREASE IN
TERRORIST EVENTS BY SUNNI EXTREMIST GROUPS.

2. THE GOVERNMENT OF LEBANON (GOL) REMAINS UNABLE TO EXERT
CONTROL IN CERTAIN PARTS OF THE COUNTRY, INCLUDING PORTIONS
OF THE BIQ'A VALLEY, SOUTH LEBANON, THE SOUTHERN SUBURBS OF
BEIRUT, AND THE PALESTINIAN REFUGEE CAMPS. EASY ACCESS TO
ARMS AND EXPLOSIVES CONTINUES TO BE CONDUCIVE TO THE
POTENTIAL FOR ACTS OF TERRORISM. SYRIAN AND IRANIAN SUPPORT
FOR HIZBALLAH "RESISTANCE" ACTIVITIES IN THE SOUTH, AS WELL
AS ASSISTANCE TO HIZBALLAH AND PALESTINIAN GROUPS IN
LEBANON, HELP PERMIT TERRORIST ELEMENTS TO FLOURISH.
SEVERAL TERRORIST ORGANIZATIONS MAINTAIN A PRESENCE IN
LEBANON, INCLUDING HIZBALLAH, PALESTINIAN ISLAMIC JIHAD
(PIJ), THE POPULAR FRONT FOR THE LIBERATION OF PALESTINE -
GENERAL COMMAND (PFLP-GC), HAMAS, THE ABU NIDAL ORGANIZATION
(ANO), ASBAT AL-ANSAR, AND SEVERAL SMALL LOCAL SUNNI
EXTREMIST ORGANIZATIONS.

3. DESPITE ITS LIMITED ABILITY TO COUNTER HIZBALLAH AND
PALESTINIAN REJECTIONIST GROUPS, THE GOL HAS A FREER HAND IN
DEALING WITH SUNNI EXTREMISM. THE GOL HAS COOPERATED WITH
THE U.S. IN COMBATING AL-QAIDA AND AFFILIATED LOCAL SUNNI
EXTREMIST GROUPS SUCH AS ASBAT AL-ANSAR.

4. SIGNIFICANT TERRORIST-RELATED ACTIVITIES THAT TOOK PLACE
IN LEBANON IN 2002 INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING:

-- ON MARCH 12, INFILTRATORS FROM LEBANON KILLED SIX
ISRAELIS IN SHELOMI, A TOWN IN NORTHERN ISRAEL.

-- DURING THE PERIOD MARCH-APRIL, HIZBALLAH AND PALESTINIAN
REJECTIONIST GROUPS PERPETRATED SEVERAL CROSS-BORDER ATTACKS
INTO ISRAEL, INCLUDING THE FIRING OF KATYUSHA ROCKETS.

-- ON APRIL 25, THERE WAS AN ABORTED ATTEMPT TO SET OFF AN
EXPLOSION AT A PIZZA HUT RESTAURANT IN SHUWEIFAT (BEIRUT).

-- ON MAY 9, AN EXPLOSION DAMAGED A KENTUCKY FRIED CHICKEN
RESTAURANT IN TRIPOLI.

-- ON JULY 11, A SUNNI EXTREMIST KILLED THREE LEBANESE ARMED
FORCES (LAF) PERSONNEL IN SIDON AND FLED INTO THE NEARBY AIN
EL-HILWEH PALESTINIAN REFUGEE CAMP. VARIOUS PALESTINIAN AND
ISLAMIC GROUPS SUBSEQUENTLY FACILITATED THE HANDOVER OF THE
SUSPECT TO THE GOL.

-- ON SEPTEMBER 23, AN EXPLOSION IN A PARKING LOT ADJACENT
TO THE MCDONALD'S IN JUNIEH, NEAR BEIRUT, DAMAGED SEVERAL
VEHICLES.

-- ON NOVEMBER 12, EXPLOSIONS DAMAGED PIZZA HUT RESTAURANTS
IN TRIPOLI AND JUNIEH, AND A LOCAL FAST-FOOD RESTAURANT IN
JUNIEH.

-- ON NOVEMBER 21, AN AMERICAN MISSIONARY WAS SHOT AND
KILLED IN SIDON.

5. ANSWERS THAT FOLLOW ARE KEYED TO QUESTIONS IN REFTEL:

A) THE GOL INFORMED THE EMBASSY THAT IT ARRESTED IN OCTOBER
THREE SUSPECTED AL-QAIDA OPERATIVES. THE INDIVIDUALS WERE
ALLEGEDLY ATTEMPTING TO START AN AL-QAIDA TERRORIST CELL IN
LEBANON. THE GOL ALSO OFFERED COOPERATION WITH THE USG ON
THE INVESTIGATION CONCERNING SEPTEMBER 11 HIJACKER ZIAD
JARRAH (A LEBANESE NATIONAL).

FROM JANUARY 1 THROUGH MID-NOVEMBER, THE SPECIAL
INVESTIGATIONS COMMISSION INVESTIGATED 113 CASES INVOLVING
ALLEGATIONS OF MONEY LAUNDERING, 20 OF WHICH WERE RELATED TO
TERRORIST FINANCING. NO ACCOUNTS RELATED TO THE FINANCING
OF TERRORISM WERE DISCOVERED IN LEBANESE BANKS AND FINANCIAL
INSTITUTIONS IN 2002.

THE GOL AMENDED ITS LAW ON MONEY LAUNDERING AND ITS PENAL
CODE THIS YEAR TO STRENGTHEN PROVISIONS DESIGNED TO COMBAT
THE FINANCING OF TERRORISM. THE AMENDMENT TO THE PENAL CODE
PROVIDES FOR THREE TO SEVEN YEARS IMPRISONMENT AND A FINE
FOR ANY PERSON THAT CONTRIBUTES DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY TO
THE FINANCING OF TERRORIST ORGANIZATIONS OR OPERATIONS.

B) THE JUDICIARY IN OCTOBER INDICTED THREE MEN (TWO LEBANESE
AND ONE SAUDI) AND 18 OTHERS IN ABSENTIA SUSPECTED OF AL-
QAIDA CONNECTIONS, INCLUDING PLANNING TO TRAIN PERSONNEL TO
CARRY OUT TERRORIST ATTACKS. THEY WERE ALSO CHARGED WITH
FORGING DOCUMENTS AND PASSPORTS. THE INDICTMENT CHARGED
THEM ACCORDING TO ARTICLE 335 OF THE PENAL CODE, WHICH
STIPULATES A SENTENCE OF NOT LESS THAN 15 YEARS
IMPRISONMENT. THE CASE WAS REFERRED TO THE MILITARY
TRIBUNAL. THE TRIAL IS EXPECTED TO START IN DECEMBER.

FOLLOWING A SPATE OF ATTACKS ON AMERICAN FRANCHISE
RESTAURANTS, THE GOL DISPATCHED LAF AND INTERNAL SECURITY
FORCE (ISF) PERSONNEL TO PROTECT THESE FACILITIES ON A 24-
HOUR BASIS. THE GOL IS COOPERATING CLOSELY WITH U.S.
OFFICIALS AND PROVIDING INFORMATION ON ITS INVESTIGATION OF
THE MURDER OF A U.S. CITIZEN IN SIDON.

C) THE GOL DID NOT EXTRADITE ANY SUSPECTED TERRORISTS FOR
PROSECUTION DURING THE YEAR. THE U.S. DID NOT REQUEST ANY
NEW EXTRADITIONS OF TERRORISM SUSPECTS OF THE GOL IN 2002.

D) THERE ARE SIGNIFICANT IMPEDIMENTS TO PROSECUTING AND/OR
EXTRADITING SUSPECTED TERRORISTS IN LEBANON. LEBANESE LAWS
PROHIBIT THE EXTRADITION OF ANY LEBANESE NATIONAL TO A THIRD
COUNTRY. THE LEBANESE JUDICIAL SYSTEM IS INDEPENDENT IN
PRINCIPLE, BUT SUBJECT TO POLITICAL PRESSURE (FROM
INFLUENTIAL LEBANESE POLITICIANS, AS WELL AS SYRIAN LEADERS
AND INTELLIGENCE PERSONNEL) IN PRACTICE. THE GOL
ACKNOWLEDGES THE UN LIST OF TERRORIST GROUPS DESIGNATED
PURSUANT TO UNSCR 1267/1390. HOWEVER, IT DOES NOT
ACKNOWLEDGE TERRORIST GROUPS DESIGNATED SOLELY BY THE USG
AND WILL NOT TAKE ACTION AGAINST THESE GROUPS.

TO DATE, A COURT HEARING IN THE APPEAL MADE BY THE
PROSECUTOR'S OFFICE REGARDING THE ASSASSINATION OF U.S.
AMBASSADOR FRANCIS MELOY AND TWO OTHERS IN 1976 HAS NOT BEEN
SCHEDULED, FOLLOWING A COURT VERDICT DECLARING THE SUSPECT,
TAWFIZ MUHAMMAD FARROUKH, NOT GUILTY OF MURDER FOR HIS ROLE
IN THE KILLINGS.

E) SENIOR GOL OFFICIALS HAVE REPEATEDLY DENOUNCED AND
CONDEMNED THE SEPTEMBER 11 AND OTHER TERRORIST ATTACKS.
PRIME MINISTER HARIRI ISSUED A STATEMENT CONDEMNING THE
MURDER OF AN AMERICAN MISSIONARY IN SIDON.

LEBANESE LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS CONTINUE TO INVESTIGATE
PAST ACTS OF TERRORISM. ALTHOUGH NO ARRESTS HAVE YET BEEN
MADE REGARDING RECENT BOMBINGS AGAINST AMERICAN FAST-FOOD
RESTAURANTS AND THE MURDER OF AN AMERICAN IN SIDON, LEBANESE
LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS HAVE PLEDGED THEIR SUPPORT IN
FINDING THE INDIVIDUALS RESPONSIBLE FOR THESE ACTS.

F) NONE.

G) THE GOL PROVIDES NO KNOWN MATERIAL OR FINANCIAL SUPPORT
TO TERRORIST ORGANIZATIONS. AT SYRIA'S DIRECTION, HOWEVER,
IT DOES PROVIDE SAFEHAVENS AND BASES FOR SEVERAL TERRORIST
GROUPS. SYRIA HAS GRANTED HIZBALLAH AND PALESTINIAN
REJECTIONIST GROUPS, INCLUDING PIJ, PFLP-GC, AND HAMAS THE
RIGHT TO MAINTAIN BASES AND OFFICES IN VARIOUS AREAS OF
LEBANON, INCLUDING THE BIQ'A VALLEY, THE SOUTHERN SUBURBS OF
BEIRUT, AND PALESTINIAN REFUGEE CAMPS. THE GOL IS POWERLESS
TO TAKE UNILATERAL STEPS TO REMOVE THESE SAFEHAVENS FROM
LEBANESE TERRITORY.

H) THE GOL HAS NOT MADE ANY PUBLIC STATEMENTS IN SUPPORT OF
A TERRORIST-SUPPORTING COUNTRY ON A TERRORISM ISSUE.
HOWEVER, GOL OFFICIALS HAVE CONTINUED TO MAINTAIN, PUBLICLY
AS WELL AS PRIVATELY, THAT HIZBALLAH IS A "RESISTANCE," NOT
A TERRORIST ORGANIZATION.

I) THERE HAS BEEN NO SIGNIFICANT CHANGE SINCE 2001 IN THE
GOL'S ATTITUDE TOWARD INTERNATIONAL OR DOMESTIC TERRORISM.
THE GOL IN 2002 DEMONSTRATED GREATER EFFORTS TO PURSUE
FUGITIVE SUNNI EXTREMISTS, INCLUDING SUSPECTS IN HIDING IN
PALESTINIAN REFUGEE CAMPS. THE GOL HAS NOT ENTERED THE
CAMPS TO PURSUE SUSPECTS, BUT SUCCESSFULLY PRESSURED
PALESTINIAN AND ISLAMIC GROUPS TO HAND OVER A SUSPECT WANTED
FOR KILLING THREE LAF PERSONNEL. THE LAF ALSO UNDERTOOK AN
OPERATION TO CONFISCATE WEAPONS FROM AN ANO WEAPONS
WAREHOUSE ADJACENT TO THE AL-JILAL PALESTINIAN REFUGEE CAMP
NEAR BAALBEK.

J) THE GOL HAS ACCEPTED AND IMPLEMENTED ALL LISTS PASSED BY
THE U.S. UNDER E.O. 13224 AND UNSCRS 1267, 1333 AND 1373,
EXCEPT FOR THE REQUEST TO FREEZE HIZBALLAH ASSETS. IN
RESPONSE TO THIS REQUEST, THE SIC ASKED FOR EVIDENCE OR
SPECIFIC INFORMATION THAT WOULD WARRANT AN INVESTIGATION
UNDER LEBANESE LAW.

K) (I) THE U.S. HAS REPEATEDLY ASKED THE GOL TO TURN OVER
THE LEBANESE TERRORISTS INVOLVED IN THE 1985 HIJACKING OF
TWA 847 AND IN THE ABDUCTION, TORTURE, AND MURDER OF
AMERICAN HOSTAGES FROM 1984 TO 1991. U.S. COURTS HAVE
BROUGHT INDICTMENTS AGAINST A NUMBER OF THESE HIZBALLAH
OPERATIVES, SOME OF WHOM REMAIN IN PROMINENT POSITIONS IN
THE ORGANIZATION TODAY. THE GOL ARGUES THAT ITS PROVISION
OF AMNESTY TO LEBANESE INVOLVED IN ACTS OF VIOLENCE DURING
LEBANON'S CIVIL WAR PREVENTS IT FROM PROSECUTING THESE
CASES. WITH REGARD TO THE THREE TWA 847 SUSPECTS, INCLUDING
IMAD MUGHNIYA, THE GOL MAINTAINS THAT THEY ARE NOT IN
LEBANON.

(II) THE LAF PROVIDES IMMEDIATE PERIMETER PROTECTION OF THE
U.S. EMBASSY AND ACCOMPANIES EMBASSY PATROLS OF THE
SURROUNDING NEIGHBORHOODS. THE ISF PROVIDES PROTECTIVE EOD
AND INVESTIGATIVE SUPPORT FOR THE EMBASSY. THE LAF AND ISF
HAVE RESPONDED FULLY TO OUR REQUESTS FOR ASSISTANCE.

L) NOT APPLICABLE.


BATTLE

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