Iranian intelligence officers tour Lebanese border, study IDF lines

Saturday morning Aug. 7, Lebanese President Michel Suleiman visited the site of the Lebanese-Israeli border clash of Tuesday, Aug. 1. Twenty-four hours before him, a group of Iranian intelligence and commando officers toured the border area, debkafile reveals, for a good look at IDF positions on the other side. Their Lebanese army escort included heads of the 9th battalion, which started the clash by shooting across the border and killing Lt. Col. Dov Harari.
The president first visited the blackened house in Adeissa village that was torched by Israeli retaliatory tank fire. A former Lebanese chief of staff, he was also due to visit that same 9th battalion.
The Iranian visitors in civvies toured the border area openly in full view of Israeli spotters and walked through sections of the south Lebanese road which run south of the UN Blue Line border drawn in 2000 by mutual consent.
This was the first time Iranian officers had stepped into sovereign Israeli territory. The IDF made no response.
debkafile reports that they were part of a high-ranking Iranian delegation headed by spiritual ruler Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's bureau chief, which rushed over to Beirut Thursday, Aug. 5 for urgent talks with Hassan Nasrallah and other Hizballah leaders in the wake of the Lebanese-Israeli armed clash – even though the Shiite terrorists claimed they were not directly involved.
They discussed possible the possible repercussions of that clash and also Nasrallah's scheme for shifting the blame for the 2005 Hariri murder onto Israel at a news conference Monday, Aug. 9. He is hoping to sidetrack the UN Hariri tribunal from its determination to indict some of Hizballah's most prominent operatives for the crime and order their extradition.
Velayati's party did not meet Lebanese government heads, a sign of how far Hizballah has carved out a state within a state. Yet the officers of the national army freely took Iranian military men around the most sensitive parts of the southern border for a close-up study of Israel's military positions and a consultation on tactics, 24 hours before Lebanese President Michel Suleiman was given his tour Saturday.
This order of events brings out the Lebanese army's two faces: One showing the US, West and the UN a responsible willingness to help the peacekeepers calm border tensions; the other, turning to Iranian experts for tactical advice on how best to engage the IDF.
Velayati himself quietly conferred with Hizballah's South Lebanon commander, Sheikh Nabil Qauq, on the next stages of the confrontation with Israel.

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