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Cablegate: Tfle01: Samir Ja'ja' Supports Proposed Path To

VZCZCXRO0896
OO RUEHAG RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHKUK
DE RUEHLB #2471/01 2061838
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 251838Z JUL 06
FM AMEMBASSY BEIRUT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4787
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BEIRUT 002471

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

NSC FOR ABRAMS/DORAN/SINGH/HARDING

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/25/2016
TAGS: IS LE MOPS PGOV PREL PTER SY
SUBJECT: TFLE01: SAMIR JA'JA' SUPPORTS PROPOSED PATH TO
CEASE-FIRE...WITH A SUGGESTION

Classified By: Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman. Reason: Section 1.4 (b).

SUMMARY
-------

1. (C) After the Ambassador reviewed current thinking
regarding the components of a possible cease-fire, Lebanese
Forces leader Samir Ja'ja' expressed his overall support of
the approach, particularly the intent to implement all the
components in a single phase. He also conveyed his belief
that a hollow cease-fire, one which does not disarm
Hizballah, would inevitably lead to a renewal of the
conflict. Concerning the proposed Multi-national
Stabilization Force (MNSF), Ja'ja' fully supported the idea
and felt that even though PM Siniora would like to initiate a
request to the international community, he could not due to a
potential rupture of his Cabinet and underlying Sunni-Shia
tensions. Ja'ja' stated that the key to dismantling
Hizballah as a military force was in making it an "internal
problem," that is, make it clear to the Lebanese people that
Hizballah is the threat that caused so much destruction to
their country. The resulting political pressure, along with
a steady degradation of its capability by IDF, is the only
path to its disarmament. He did insist that, as difficult as
it would be for Israelis to accept, both Shebaa and Lebanese
prisoners in Israel have to be addressed in some manner.
End summary.

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2. (C) Former Lebanese Forces militia leader and now key
member of the pro-reform March 14 coalition, Samir Ja'ja,
discussed the current situation with the Ambassador and
poloff on July 25. Ja'ja' advisor Elie Khoury also attended
the meeting. The Ambassador gave Ja'ja' a quick overview of
the meeting SecState had with his March 14 colleagues
yesterday (July 24), as well as current thinking regarding
the conditions needed to attain a just, durable cease-fire.

STRONG ENDORSEMENT OF CURRENT APPROACH
--------------------------------------

3. (C) After listening to the ideas being discussed, Ja'ja'
expressed full support of the proposed approach: prohibition
of "armed presence" near the border, effective embargo of
arms into Lebanon (except to the LAF), respect of the Blue
Line, withdrawal of foreign (Iranian) elements from Lebanon,
full implementation of 1559 and 1680, cessation of
hostilities concurrent with the deployment of a robust MNSF,
a comprehensive humanitarian and reconstruction program, and
finally, an Israeli "commitment" to address territorial
issues.

4. (C) Ja'ja' agreed with the Ambassador that the immediate
deployment of the MNSF was critical on many levels: it would
stabilize the south, permit the return of those who fled the
fighting, train and modernize the LAF, and provide extensive
engineering capabilities for the large reconstruction program
that will be needed.

5. (C) The Lebanese Forces leader echoed many of his
colleagues in yesterday's meeting when he stated that
effective stabilization was important not only to the
Israelis, but would take away a great deal of social pressure
that has resulted from IDP movements now causing confessional
friction.

6. (C) He was less sanguine about the U.S. hope that PM
Siniora would initiate the MNSF request to the international
community. Ja'ja' was certain that Siniora would like to put
a Lebanese imprint on the MNSF proposal -- to allay fears of
a security force imposed from outside Lebanon -- but
political realities and the ever-present fear of Sunni-Shia
conflict prevented him. Ja'ja' said he wished it were
otherwise, but the international community would have to make
the offer, and only then could the Government could accept.

A SUGGESTION TO FILL IN THE GAPS
--------------------------------

7. (C) Concerning the presentation of the proposed
conditions for a cease-fire to the Lebanese people, Ja'ja'
said it was very important not only to place the blame for
Lebanon's current suffering on Hizballah, but to structure
the "package" so that it addresses some long festering
issues, specifically Shebaa and the prisoners in Israeli
jails. He said his suggestion was "to fill in the gaps" of
the current proposal. The Ambassador commented that the

BEIRUT 00002471 002 OF 002

prisoner exchange issue was a non-starter, as the Israelis
have noted that it rewards kidnapping and provides incentives
for additional kidnappings.

8. (C) Although Ja'ja' said he understood Israeli
reluctance to link Shebaa and prisoners to any cease-fire, he
said to do otherwise would result in a proposal that was
weighted too heavily in Israel's favor. He implied it was
not necessary for Israel to immediately resolve both issues,
but they must be "explicitly" referred to in any cease-fire
document. In his view, an Israeli commitment to address both
issues would have the effect of denying a powerful argument
from Hizballah. Without these issues to shield itself,
Hizballah would become an "internal problem," and an
uncontrollable group that through unjustified action had
endangered the Lebanese state and its people. He
acknowledged that Hizballah would attempt to move the goal
posts if Shebaa was addressed, but Ja'ja' was certain that
for the Lebanese people, it was Shebaa that held importance.
If Hizballah tried to drag in other claims, they would be
left standing all alone in Lebanon.

9. (C) Ja'ja' continued his argument that because the
cease-fire had to accomplish the dismantling of Hizballah's
military capability, it was imperative that it address all
the issues that gave rise to Hizballah's power. Without both
popular demand to disarm and a serious weakening of its
military capability (by the IDF), disarmament would be
extremely difficult to achieve.

USE TA'IF AGREEMENT TO ATTAIN 1559
----------------------------------

10. (C) Repeating a common refrain in Lebanese political
discourse, Ja'ja' stated that although UNSCR 1559 was a
powerful tool and had to be fully implemented, it was now
closely associated with outside interests, including those of
Israel. Ja'ja' expressed his firm belief that the Ta'if
Agreement, as well as the preceding Armistice Agreement,
could be effectively used to achieve full implementation of
both 1559 and 1680. These two agreements were favorably
viewed in Lebanon, and in the Arab world, as documents which
represented Arab interests and aspirations. He urged the
international community to use them as leverage in achieving
otherwise very difficult goals: disarmament, extension of
national sovereignty, secure borders, and representative
government.

11. (C) A secondary advantage to using the language and
credibility of Ta'if and the Armistice in implementing 1559
and 1680 is that they would assuage the fears of the Shia
community -- a community that will lose its most powerful
protector if Hizballah is defanged. Both documents
specifically assure all confessions in Lebanon equitable
access to power and resources, something that is not
addressed in the UNSC resolutions.

CABINET IS PROVING RESILIENT
----------------------------

12. (C) Ja'ja' remarked that PM Siniora is doing quite well
in a very tough situation. With regards to the previously
held conventional wisdom that the Cabinet would fall if a
serious crisis occurred, Ja'ja' said that Hizballah and the
other Shia ministers are now fearful of leaving the
government, because they realize the Cabinet would simply
continue to function and start to reach important decisions
without them.

13. (C) Concerning other political figures, he said that
Nabih Berri is needed, but unlike many other observers, he
believes Berri's power will diminish once Hizballah's power
fades. He believes Berri's power is inextricably linked with
Hizballah, and as such, his motivations will not always be
for the good of Lebanon. But as the primary conduit to the
now-reclusive Hassan Nasrallah, he has to be courted.

14. (C) With regard to the previously ascendant Michel
Aoun, Ja'ja' just shook his head and indicated the Free
Patriotic Movement leader is now lost. "He thought it was
just going to be a few days of skirmishes," remarked Ja'ja',
"and now he is completely perplexed."
FELTMAN

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