Nasrallah Builds an Anti-Government Alliance with Druze and Christian Factions
The way Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the first Iranian president to visit Lebanon, let himself be cut down to size in Beirut last week left his Lebanese Shiite ally, Hizballah's secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah, fuming with resentment and up in arms over being cheated of their shared victory spectacle and of the public recognition of his movement's primacy in Lebanon.
(A separate item reveals undisclosed details of that visit)
Four days later, on Sunday, Oct. 17, Nasrallah invited the Lebanese Druze leader, Walid Jumblatt and Transportation Minister Ghazi Aridi, the community's defense chief, for a war conference. They were joined by Nasrallah's lieutenant, Wafiq Safa, commander of the Hizballah militia.
Our intelligence sources name Safa for the first time as lead suspect in the Special Lebanon Tribunal's probe into the 2005 murder of Rafiq Hariri. He stands to be indicted as the crime's senior planner and handler of the Hizballah squad allegedly responsible for executing the lethal explosion which killed the former Lebanese prime minister and another 22 victims.
Nasrallah has sworn to deploy his militia against the Lebanese government to forcibly block any arrests of its members when the tribunal issues its indictments before the end of the year.
The Hizballah-Druze conference therefore focused on a very real scenario. It went on all day Sunday and when night fell, the Hizballah leader invited his co-conspirators to continue talking over dinner.
Their main theme, DEBKA-Net-Weekly's military and intelligence sources disclose, was how Druze and Hizballah's combat units would work together and complement each other if Nasrallah decided to seize power in Beirut by military force and overthrow the elected government.
It was agreed that a coalition administration would rise in its stead made up of their two communities and augmented by Michel Aoun's Christian Free Patriotic Movement, the Shiite Amal movement headed by the Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and the pro-Syrian Sunni militias.
The Druzes will pitch in at home in a Hizballah war on Israel
Our sources report that the conference got down to particulars:
1. In the event of the Hizballah putsch spreading outside Beirut, the areas to be assigned the Druzes and the forms cooperation between their forces outside the capital would take.
2. The Druzes' role in a flare-up of hostilities between Hizballah and Israel. It was decided to temporarily transfer to the Druzes for safekeeping the regions abandoned by Hizballah troops called to the warfront against Israel.
3. The Iranian and Syrian radar units stationed on the strategic Lebanese peaks of Mt. Barukh and Mt. Sannine are a special case. They are encircled by two lines of defenders – the Hizballah militia holding the inner circle and the Druze militia the outer one. Nasrallah and Jumblatt agreed that the two foreign units should not be given free rein during the crises of civil strife or war with Israel. They therefore had to decide how much authority to confer on the Druze commanders remaining at this post in an emergency.
Tuesday, Oct. 19, the Christian opposition leader Michel Aoun threw his support behind Nasrallah and Jumblatt. He released a statement stating that "any potential conflict in Lebanon would not be of a sectarian nature but rather be for change and reform which are more important than the Special Tribunal for Lebanon."
Wednesday, the Lebanese government received a word of encouragement from Washington.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Lebanese President Michel Suleiman by phone to advise him that Lebanon should not tolerate any attempt to discredit the UN tribunal investigating the Hariri assassination.