Middle East Intelligence Bulletin
Jointly published by the United States Committee for a Free Lebanon and the Middle East Forum
  Vol. 2   No. 7 Table of Contents
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5 August 2000 


Intelligence Briefs: Lebanon

Berri tells Egyptians that Syrian military will stay in Lebanon (4 July 2000)
5 FNC activists arrested (9 July 2000)
63 Indicted for Dinnieh uprising (10 July 2000)
5 Lebanese flee to Israel (12 July 2000)
Amal, Hezbollah clash leaves 2 dead, 1 wounded (16 July 2000)
U.S. feds bust Hezbollah smuggling ring (21 July 2000)
Abou Rizk condemns 'foreign' workers in Lebanon (26 July 2000)
Security forces arrest two boycott campaigners (27 July 2000)
Harb calls on Syria to free Lebanese detainees (29 July 2000)
Nasrallah: US embassy will be turned to rubble (10 July 2000)

Berri tells Egyptians that Syrian military will stay in Lebanon
4 July 2000

Egypt's Middle East New Agency (MENA) reported today that Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri told reporters in Cairo that the Lebanese people want the Syrian occupation to continue. "In the name of the Lebanese people we say that we do not want the Syrian army out of Lebanon now," declared Berri, who met earlier met with Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Musa and Arab League Secretary-General Ismat Abd-al-Majid

5 FNC activists arrested
9 July 2000

Internal security forces arrested five university students selling bread along Beirut's Ain-el-Mreisseh Corniche and waving banners that read "Made in Lebanon: Lebanese vendor, Lebanese produce, Lebanese money." Eyewitnesses reported that at least one customer who bought from the students were detained as well. The students were among scores of other members of the Free National Current (FNC) who began a campaign over the weekend to protest the presence of nearly 1 million Syrian laborers in the country by performing menial labor tasks typically done by Syrian workers. The FNC has claimed that Syrian street vendors rob Lebanese merchants of their livelihood.

63 Indicted for Dinnieh uprising
10 July 2000

Lebanese prosecutors issued formal indictments against 63 people suspected of involvement in the abortive January uprising by Sunni fundamentalists in Dinnieh. Two of the key suspects who face the death penalty if convicted have thus far evaded capture: Ahmad Abdel-Karim Saadi (aka Abu Mehjan), a Palestinian Islamist leader leader believed to be hiding in the Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp and Sheikh Daai al-Islam al-Shahhal, the head of the al-Hidaya wal-Ihsan association, an Islamist movement in Tripoli. [See Syrian, Lebanese Security Forces Crush Sunni Islamist Opposition, MEIB, January 2000]

5 Lebanese flee to Israel
12 July 2000

Lebanese security sources said today that 5 residents of south Lebanon fled across the border into Israel in the last week. An AFP reporter witnessed one of the men climb over the border fence as he was being chased by armed Hezbollah gunmen. Around 6,000 people fled to Israel during and immediately after the Israeli withdrawal from south Lebanon in May (202 of which have since returned), but these were the first cases of Lebanese fleeing to Israel since the pullout. Hezbollah guerrillas have set up observation posts along the border from Ras Naqoura to Shebaa to prevent others from escaping.

Amal, Hezbollah clash leaves 2 dead, 1 wounded
16 July 2000

Radio Lebanon (Beirut) reported a clash today between armed Hezbollah and Amal militants in the south Lebanese town of Markaba that left two dead and one wounded. Security forces intervened and arrested several people. Relations between the two militias have deteriorated since the Israeli withdrawal from south Lebanon. A series of similar clashes last month left at least seven people wounded. [See Hezbollah, Amal Compete for Supremacy, MEIB, June 2000]

FBI agents
An FBI agent collects evidence after a raid against Hezbollah smugglers (CNN)
U.S. feds bust Hezbollah smuggling ring
21 July 2000

U.S. federal agents arrested seventeen members of a "support group" in Charlotte, North Carolina that allegedly raised money for Hezbollah by smuggling cigarettes from states where the tobacco tax is low to Michigan, where it is high. Seven of the suspects were later indicted on federal charges including immigration violations, money laundering and cigarette trafficking.

Abou Rizk condemns 'foreign' workers in Lebanon
26 July 2000

The head of Lebanon's General Labor Confederation (GLC) criticized the government for permitting "foreign laborers" to freely live and work in the country, which has an unemployment rate of over 20%. The dismal economic situation, he said, "is the outcome of the government's policy of flinging the door open to cheap foreign laborers, who are taking wages from the Lebanese work force." The number of Syrian workers in Lebanon is estimated to be nearly 1 million.

Security forces arrest two boycott campaigners
27 July 2000

Two people were arrested by internal security forces in Jounieh for distributing leaflets which call for a boycott of the Lebanon's upcoming parliamentary elections. "In these black days how can one participate in the so-called parliamentary polls when everybody knows the results beforehand," read the leaflet. Press reports say that the two men, Youssef Eid and Victor Jaara, will remain in police custody while an investigation into the matter is conducted.

Harb calls on Syria to free Lebanese detainees
29 July 2000

The Daily Star (Beirut) published statements by Batroun MP Butros Harb calling for Syria to release Lebanese citizens illegally held in Syrian prisons. "We demand that the files of Lebanese detainees in Syrian jails be opened in order to permanently settle this issue, the reasons behind their arrests and their trials, before a court of law," said Harb, one of the only Lebanese members of parliament that has deviated from Syrian policy in the past. "Those who were apprehended for criminal offenses should be tried according to Lebanese judicial norms and referred to Lebanese courts for trial, and those who were arrested for political reasons that do not fall under the penal code should be released."

Nasrallah: US embassy will be turned to rubble
31 July 2000

According to today's edition of Al-Hayat, Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah issued the following warning in response to remarks by US President Clinton on moving the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem: "You can move your embassy to Jerusalem and send your diplomats there. But honest people can turn your embassy to rubble and send your diplomats home in a coffin."

2000 Middle East Intelligence Bulletin. All rights reserved.

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