debkafile Reports: Lebanese sectarian militias mushroom after US and France drop sanctions campaign against Damascus and ouster of president Emile

When he visited the White House on April 18, Lebanese prime minister Fouad Siniora was shocked to discover that president George W. Bush had cooled to the campaign he launched with France against the Assad regime in February 2005, after the assassination of the Lebanese politician Rafiq Hariri.
He saw that Bashar Assad and his clique were getting away scot-free from being brought to account as suspects in the crime.
Siniora also learned, according to debkafile‘s Washington and Middle East sources, that the Americans had abandoned their drive to oust Lahoud, disarm the Hizballah, disband Palestinian militias in Lebanon, and impose on them the implementation of a key UN Security Council resolution.
As he left the White House, the Lebanese prime minister remarked: “Lebanon is back to square one. We are left with the ruins of the American-French initiative.”
Our sources in Beirut report that, scenting the new winds blowing from Washington and Paris, all the Lebanese militias, including those linked to al Qaeda, are re-arming and rebuilding their strength.
The picture accompanying this article shows a company of new recruits to the Lebanese Forces (Christian Maronite Phalange). This force had scattered in the face of the UN resolution. Last week, the Maronite force’s former commander Samir Geagea and his wife Astreda started mobilizing the militia anew, to stand up to the Shiite Hizballah. A new Christian military base is open for business in Wadi Qudban, on Mount Lebanon, and training is going forward briskly.
Seen on the photo is the new officer, Nadim Jumayel, son the Lebanese Forces most outstanding commander, former president Bashir Jemayel, who was assassinated in 1982.
debkafile‘s military sources add that the flurry of militia-building has also overtaken Saad Hariri, the son of the slain politician, who has begun converting his 250-man bodyguard unit into an armed Sunni force called “Hariri’s Fedayeen.” A Saudi donation has paid for 300 fighters to take a crash course in commando and urban guerrilla combat in the United States, under American civilian security contractors. A Hariri Fedayeen base is operating in southern Lebanon east of Sidon on the Awali River, similar to the mountain installation established by the Maronites.
Hizballah’s Shiite rival, Amal, once one of Lebanon’s largest and most important militia before its leader Nabih Berri went into politics, is likewise re-mobilizing and training, loath to leave the Shiite terrain in Hizballah hands.
The vacuum left by the withdrawal of the United States and France has sent Lebanon’s Sunnis, Shiites and Christians, running back to their armed militias for protection, while Damascus returns to asserting mastery over its small neighbor.

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