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Cablegate: Lebanon: Samir Ja'ja Urges Full Hizballah

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O 141233Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY BEIRUT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5033
INFO RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
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RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO PRIORITY 0076
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 0963

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 BEIRUT 002613

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
NOFORN

NSC FOR ABRAMS/DORAN/SINGH/HARDING

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/14/2016
TAGS: MOPS PREL PTER LE SY IS
SUBJECT: LEBANON: SAMIR JA'JA URGES FULL HIZBALLAH
DISARMAMENT NOW

Classified By: Jeffrey D. Feltman, Ambassador. Reason 1.4(d).

SUMMARY
--------

1. (C) During an August 12 meeting with Ambassador and
poloff at the Embassy, Lebanese Forces leader Samir Ja'Ja'
urged that the debate on full Hizballah disarmament should
not be postponed, and that internal and external pressure
should be applied to "squeeze" Hizballah on this issue.
Ja'ja suggested that reconstruction of the South and the
promise of a solution to the Shebaa Farms issue would help in
pushing for full disarmament. Concerned that the passage of
Resolution 1701 might unleash a new wave of assassinations in
Lebanon, specifically of members of the March 14 movement,
Ja'ja' urged that the special tribunal of international
character to try suspects in the Hariri assassination be
established as soon as possible to keep the Syrians
off-balance. Keen as ever to be rid of Emile Lahoud as
president, Ja'ja' is not confident of gaining Speaker Berri's
all-important support until Hizballah is disarmed. Ja'ja'
also agrees with having an effective oversight mechanism to
control arms smuggling at points of entry. End Summary.

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GET HIZBALLAH TO AGREE TO DISARM FULLY
--------------------------------------

2. (C) Having made the two-hour descent to Beirut from his
Mount Lebanon redoubt of Bcharre to meet with March 14
allies, including PM Siniora and Saad Hariri, Ja'ja' stopped
in at the Embassy on the evening of August 12. Nursing a
glass of milk, his preferred beverage, Ja'ja' urged that
UNSCR 1701 should not be implemented piecemeal, but as a
whole. Far from battered and beaten, Hizballah is in a "good
mood" and will not agree to full disarmament now without some
pressure. Ja'ja' warned that no one should count on the
Shi'a turning against Hizballah following the conflict, since
their allegiance to Hizballah has an "historical,
ideological, philosophical depth." He believes that
Hizballah, even if it moves north of the Litani, will use the
post-ceasefire period to "rest, refuel, and replenish its
ammunition and rockets."

3. (C) Full Hizballah disarmament throughout Lebanon should
be on the table for discussion now, Ja'ja' argued, but PM
Siniora intends only to concentrate on disarming militias
south of the Litani. "Siniora is afraid. He wants to take
it step-by-step. He thinks that when Hizballah leaves the
South, it will no longer have a raison d'etre." Ja'ja'
thinks that an armed Hizballah in the Biqa' Valley and
northern Lebanon would be just as dangerous as in the South.
Whistling through his teeth and shaking his head, Ja'ja'
warned that such a situation would simply lead to another war
in "one or two years' time."

4. (C) Ja'ja' said that Hizballah's Cabinet ministers, Trad
Hamadeh and Mohammad Fneish, need to be "squeezed" in order
to get their "political decision" to hand over all of the
group's weapons. acknowledging that the chances of achieving
this are slim, Ja'ja' said that several March 14 members --
including Marwan Hamadeh, Nayla Mouawad, Joseph Sarkis,
Michel Pharaon, Pierre Gemayel, and Ghazi Aridi --
nevertheless intend to raise the issue of full disarmament
during the Cabinet discussions surrounding UNSCR 1701.

5. (C/NF) Ja'ja' also suggested that the international
community has a role to play. Referring to OP 10 of UNSCR
1701, which calls on SYG Annan to present proposals for
implementing the Taif Accords and UNSCRs 1559 and 1680 to the
Security Council within 30 days, Ja'ja' said that these UN
proposals should focus primarily on full militia disarmament
(Comment. Annan could also raise this in his initial report
to the Council, called for in OP17. End comment). He asked
for USG support in "stiffening Kofi's backbone" on this
issue. Annan should not leave the disarmament requirement
"diluted", and should get the GOL to present a "week-by-week
plan" for disarming Hizballah. Annan should also tell
Siniora that UNSCR 1701 is a "take it or break it"
resolution, stressing that without a GOL plan for full
disarmament of Hizballah, he will not be prepared to deploy a
UNIFIL-plus force to the South.

BEIRUT 00002613 002 OF 003

6. (C) Ja'ja' added that there need to be "sweeteners" for
the Shi'a. Firstly, the Shebaa Farms issue should be linked
with total Hizballah disarmament. Annan should tell Siniora
that Shebaa will not be placed under UN trusteeship until
such time as Hizballah fully disarms. Secondly, the
international community should back the GOL in providing for
the one million mostly-Shia IDPs and undertaking the full
reconstruction of the South.

FIRST HIZBALLAH, THEN LAHOUD
----------------------------

7. (C) Ja'ja' said that full Hizballah disarmament is also
the key to getting rid of President Emile Lahoud. Saying
that Hizballah has "more or less" infiltrated the army,
Ja'ja' added that the way to gain control of the army is
through removing Lahoud. However, Nabih Berri is still
beholden to Hizballah, at least as long as Hizballah is
armed, and so will not be able to lend his critical support
to a Lahoud ouster until he feels strong enough to act
independently of Hizballah and Syria. The Ambassador asked
why Berri would not simply do the reverse and support
Lahoud's removal as a way to weaken Hizballah and Syria.
Ja'ja' responded that Berri doesn't think that far into the
future. "He thinks only day-by-day. He doesn't consider
thinking that removing Lahoud would weaken Hizballah and
strengthen him." He urged again that the first order must be
to disarm and weaken Hizballah, and only then would Berri
choose to support Lahoud's ouster. Ja'ja' noted that Batroun
Maronite MP Boutros Harb, a friend of Berri's and a member of
the March 14 movement, could prove a compromise candidate to
replace Lahoud.

SMUGGLING CONTROL
-----------------

8. (C) Ja'ja' supports establishing an effective monitoring
mechanism to check arms smuggling at points of entry into
Lebanon, and suggested that UNIFIL erect control points along
the border with Syria. He lamented that the arms embargo
does not explicitly come under Chapter VII in the resolution.
He said he would press PM Siniora to either allow
international oversight, particularly at ports and airports,
or to "fire the airport and port management and get people we
ave faith in." Ja'ja' remarked though that control of the
Lebanese-Syrian frontier revolved again around Hizballah
disarmament, since the GOL could only take control of the
border with Syria once it has control of the army, which it
could only attain through Lahoud's removal.

THREAT OF ASSASSINATIONS
------------------------

9. (C) As in the periods following the
Hizballah/Syrian/Iranian setbacks of UNSCR 1559 in September
2004 and the Cedar Revolution in March/April 2005, Ja'ja'
sees the possibility of a "new wave" of retaliatory
assassinations, specifically against leaders from the March
14 movement. He urged that notice be served so that Syria
and Iran do not begin picking off their opponents in Lebanon,
particularly by moving quickly to establish a tribunal to try
suspects in the assassination of Rafik Hariri. He also
suggested that the USG and others tell the SARG "via
backchannel" to "stay away from the Lebanese." (Note. In
this context, an editorial in an August 14 Hizballah-aligned
newspaper describing March 14 Ministers Nayla Moawad, Marwan
Hamadeh, and Pierre Gemayel as traitors and members of the
Israeli "Golani Brigade" being directed by the U.S.
Ambassador are particularly worrisome. End note)

COMMENT
-------

10. (C) Ja'ja's central point is clear: Hizballah's arms
are at the root of all that ails Lebanon. While we agree
that we should engage the United Nations, and specifically
SYG Annan, to press the GOL to come up with a plan for the
full disarmament of Hizballah, this disarmament should not
necessarily presage a Lebanese consensus to oust Lahoud or
the extension of effective GOL monitoring over points of

BEIRUT 00002613 003 OF 003

entry. With the Cabinet currently at odds over Hizballah's
weapons merely being moved north of the Litani, it will be a
challange to convince the other Lebanese to compel Hizballah
at this time to agree to disarm entirely, as Ja'ja' suggests.
FELTMAN

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