Middle East Intelligence Bulletin

A monthly publication of the United States Committee for a Free Lebanon


  Vol. 1   No. 5

May 1999 


Lebanon Report
What Will Be Barak's Policy toward Lebanon?
Hezbollah's New Military Tactics
Embezzlement and Corruption under the Hariri Regime: Part II
Lebanon Study Group Addresses U.S. Policy toward Syria
Publication of From Israel to Damascus Causes Uproar in Lebanon

Middle East Report
Khatami Calls for Arab-Iranian Alliance
Iraqi Opposition Planning for Armed Uprising; Clinton Administration Sends Office Supplies
CIA Concerned about Potential "Surprise" in Nonconventional Weapons Proliferation
Syria Constructs Tunnels to Hide Scud Missiles
Former CIA Director Calls for Scrapping ABM Treaty
China Still Helping Iran's Intermediate Ballistic Missile Program

Intelligence Briefs

Middle East MEIB Main Page

Executive Director
Ziad K. Abdelnour

Editor
Gary C. Gambill

Advisory Board
Rachel Ehrenfeld
Gil Feiler
Murray Kahl
Daniel Nassif
Daniel Pipes
Gary P. Ratner
David P. Steinman

Lebanon Report

What Will Be Barak's Policy toward Lebanon?

Ehud Barak
Israeli Prime Minister-Elect Ehud Barak

While on the campaign trail in March, Prime Minister-Elect Ehud Barak told the Israeli people that if he were elected prime minister, Israel will be "out of Lebanon by June 2000, with security assurances, and deep into talks with Syria."1 He reiterated this pledge shortly after defeating Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel's national election this month. "I won't ask for a medal if I finish in 10 months and I won't jump off the roof if it takes 13 months," said Barak.2 "In my opinion, it won't take a year to finish the issue." As if to underscore the difficulty of this undertaking, sixty Katyusha rockets rained down on northern Israel earlier in the week, wounding nine people and causing significant structural damage.

Barak has persistently discarded the "Lebanon first" strategy that guided Netanyahu's policies and it has long been expected that he will operate well within the Labor Party line--that the road to peace in Lebanon lies through Damascus, not Beirut. After the election, sources close to the Israeli prime minister-elect revealed his five-step blueprint for withdrawing from Lebanon.

Background of the New Prime Minister

Barak joined the army at the age of 17 and was assigned to an elite army unit shortly after completing his training. By the age of 30, he had become its commander. He soon gained a reputation for bravery and innovation under fire. In 1972, he led a team of commandos (disguised as mechanics) which stormed a Belgian airliner that had been hijacked to Israel by Palestinian terrorists. He also headed an undercover mission in Beirut to assassinate three PLO leaders who allegedly masterminded the murders of 11 Israeli atheletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics.

In January 1982, Barak was promoted to Major General and appointed head of the IDF Planning Branch. During the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, Barak served as Deputy Commander of Israeli forces in Lebanon. In April 1983, he was appointed Head of the Intelligence Branch at the IDF General Headquarters. In January 1986, he was appointed Commander of the IDF Central Command, and in May 1987 he was promoted to Deputy Chief-of-Staff. In April 1991, Barak assumed the post of the 14th Chief of the General Staff and was promoted to the rank of Lt. General. As IDF Chief-of-Staff, Barak played a central role in the IDF's redeployment in the occupied territories, the peace treaty with Jordan signed in 1994, and the Syrian-Israeli peace negotiations.

Barak's political career began in 1995, when he served as interior minister in the Rabin government. He then served as Minister of Foreign Affairs from November 1995 until June 1996. He has been Chairman of the Labor Party since June 1997.

In stage one of the plan, Israel will issue a statement by which, in the words of an aide to Barak "Israel agrees to renew the negotiations with Syria from the point at which they were halted, on the basis of the understandings which were already agreed upon formally."

The second stage entails the renewal of negotiations between Syria and Israel. The U.S. and the European Union will pressure Syria to "rein in" Hezbollah as a "confidence-building measure" while the talks are underway.

The third stage involves the establishment of a military committee comprising Lebanese, Syrian and Israeli representatives (and possibly U.S. and/or European representatives) to discuss a staged Israeli withdrawal from south Lebanon in conjunction with the deployment of the Lebanese Army and an international peacekeeping force. The committee will also be charged with determining the fate of South Lebanon Army (SLA) militiamen and their families.

Stage four begins with an agreement regarding the Golan, after which the Israeli Army will redeploy along the international border with Lebanon. International peacekeepers will be deployed in south Lebanon until a full peace treaty is signed by Israel, Lebanon, and Syria.

The fifth and final stage, according to the sources, will involve a military-political agreement whereby the Syrian and Lebanese governments jointly agree to ensure that there will be no cross-border attacks into northern Israel.

However, most analysts say it is highly questionable whether Syria can be persuaded to curb Hezbollah without any prior guarantees that the entire Golan will be evacuated. Indeed, attacks by Hezbollah guerrillas are a powerful bargaining tool for Damascus in extracting concessions from the Israelis. It is expected that the Syrians will escalate these attacks in the event that Israeli-Syrian peace talks reach an impasse. Even if the Syrians tried to stop the attacks, few observers believe that Hezbollah would agree to lay down its arms.

Others argue that even if the plan works, the impact on Israel, Lebanon and the region would be disastrous. "Invoking Ehud Barak as the virtual reincarnation of the martyred Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, a Labor government would resume the almost-concluded negotiations where they left off over three years ago," says Richard A. Hellman of the Middle East Research Center, Ltd. (MERCL). "This would include a handover of virtually the entire strategic Golan Heights and Israel's withdrawal from Syrian occupied Lebanon." Hellman further predicts that Barak will "give the green light to Washington to sweeten the deal for Assad with massive foreign aid, preferred trade, [and] . . . acquiescence in Syria's continued occupation of Lebanon."3

1 New York Times, 6 March 1999.
2 Ma'ariv, 20 May 1999.
3 "Yes, We Americans Do Have a Stake in Israel's Elections ", May 1999.

Back to Top

Hezbollah's New Military Tactics

Recent Hezbollah operations against Israeli and South Lebanon Army (SLA) forces in the security zone have exhibited an unprecedented degree of coordination and sophistication.

Casualties of the May 13 roadside bomb explosion

While the roadside, remote-controlled bomb has always been a staple of Hezbollah's arsenal, this weapon has been used with deadly precision in recent months. Low morale and dissension within the SLA has allowed Hezbollah to cultivate a network of spotters within the security zone that often provide the group with advance notice as to the travel itineraries of SLA and Israeli officers. This allowed Hezbollah to assassinate an Israeli Lieutenant-General in February. Most recently, a roadside bomb detonated in the Jezzine district on May 13, killing SLA officer Nimr Jebrayel and four civilian passengers. Two days earlier, one SLA militiaman was killed and four wounded by a roadside bomb near Braachit.

A clear shift in Hezbollah's military strategy toward well-organized and preplanned assaults, rather than routine long-range shelling, is the most significant development. At 5:00 AM on May 15, Hezbollah guerrillas launched a coordinated attack on the 'old' Beit Yahoun compound in the Western sector of the "security zone." Military analysts say that this three-pronged assault was typical of the growing sophistication of Hezbollah attacks: The first team navigated the minefield surrounding the compound and cut the barbed wire barricades protecting it, while a second force laid down heavy covering fire against neighboring outposts at Haddatha and Braachit and the 'new' Beit Yahoun compound in order to temporarily pin down SLA reinforcements. A third team then stormed and overran the compound, killing one militiaman, wounding seven, and capturing one. An Israeli soldier was also wounded in the exchange. The guerrillas then drove off with a captured M-113 armored personnel carrier (APC) and other unspecified weapons and equipment. During the battle, approaching Israeli helicopter gunships were warded off by guerrillas firing surface-to-air missiles.

Three SLA militiamen have been killed and 30 wounded since the beginning of the year. Nine Israeli soldiers have killed and 28 wounded during the same period.

Back to Top

Embezzlement and Corruption under the Hariri Regime: Part II

Investigations into criminal misconduct under the regime of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri have intensified and expanded since Part I of this report was published in last month's MEIB. The investigative dragnet has expanded into the following areas.

The Council for Development and Reconstruction (CDR)

Former CDR president Nabil Jisr is under investigation for illegally awarding contracts exceeding $400 million to sanitation firms Sukleen and Sukomi. Judicial sources in Lebanon report that Jisr is accused of reaching these deals by "mutual consent" with each of the two companies, rather than through public bids.

Jisr was called in on May 7 for interrogation by Assistant State Prosecutor Amin Abu Nassar. Abu Nassar and State Prosecutor Adnan Addoum are reported to have also summoned Auguste Bakhos, the former head of the Metn Municipalities Union, and former Beirut MP Nayef Maalouf as witnesses in the case.

The Environment Ministry

An investigation has been launched into the alleged embezzlement of public funds at the Environment Ministry under former minister Samir Moqbel. Milad Daou, the head of the ministry's Auditing Department, was interrogated on May 15 by the head of the Central Criminal Investigations Department, Colonel Samir Rahme. The ministry's former director-general, Elias Mutli, has also been brought in for questioning.

Beirut Port

Another target of investigation is Mouhib Itani, former director-general of Beirut Port. Among the accusations leveled at Itani is his alleged "illegal appropriation" of equipment owned by the British marine engineering company Sarmowlem. Prosecutors have reportedly decided to summon former transport minister Omar Miskawi to testify on matters related to this investigation.

The National Bureau of Medicines

Public Prosecutor for Financial Fraud Khaled Hammoud arrested Qassem Hamade, the former chairman of the National Bureau of Medicines, on May 21 for alleged mismanagement of public funds. Hammoud instructed Beirut's chief investigating magistrate, Said Mirza, to interrogate Hamade under penal code articles that stipulate a minimum prison sentence of five years.

The Independent Municipal Fund (IMF)

Former ministers of rural and municipal affairs Hagop Demirdjian and Bassem Sabaa and former minister of state for finance Fouad Siniora gave testimony on May 10 in the case of alleged misuse of public funds and illegal expenditure of IMF funds.1 Meanwhile, a warrant has been issued by Assistant State Prosecutor Amin Abu Nassar for the arrest of former Mount Lebanon Governor Mohammed Souheil Yamout in connection with the case. Yamout, who currently lives in Brazil, had not responded to a series of court orders requiring him to return to Lebanon and testify about his knowledge of the scandal.

  1 See "Embezzlement and Corruption under the Hariri Regime: Part I" from the April 1999 issue of Middle East Intelligence Bulletin for details on this case.

Back to Top

Lebanon Study Group Addresses U.S. Policy toward Syria

The United States Committee for a Free Lebanon (USCFL) and the Middle East Forum (MEF) held the third meeting of their Lebanon Study Group on May 5 in preparation for the publication of a detailed report on U.S. policy toward Lebanon later this year. The meeting, held at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington DC, focused on U.S. policy toward Syria and Lebanon.

Lebanon Study Group Participants

Ziad Abdelnour, President of the United States Committee for a Free Lebanon (USCFL).
Graeme Bannerman, Founder and President of Bannerman & Associates, Inc. Former staff director for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Deborah Bodlander, representing Benjamin Gilman (R-NY); the Chairman of the House International Relations Committee.
Mary-Jane Deeb, a professor at Georgetown University and editor of the Middle East Journal.
Rachel Ehrenfeld, a fellow at SAIS Foreign Policy Institute, Johns Hopkins University; she is the author of Evil Money, published by Harper Collins in 1992, and Narco-Terrorism, published by Basic Books in 1990. She is now working on a third book entitled Anything Goes: A New World Disorder.
Douglas Feith, Founding member of the law firm Feith and Zell, P.C.; Former deputy assistant secretary of defense for negotiations policy.
Frank Gaffney, Director of the Center for Security Policy; Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear Forces and Arms Control Policy.
Gary Gambill, USCFL online publicity director; Editor, Middle East Intelligence Bulletin.
Daniel Guido, Media advisor for the Vice Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress. A newspaper journalist by trade, Guido previously served as press secretary of the full committee.
Tom Harb, Member of the American Task Force for Lebanon (ATFL) and Florida-based entrepreneur.
Richard Hellman, Founder and President of CIPAC, the Christians' Israel Public Action Campaign; Former Counsel to the U.S Senate.
Paul Jureidini, A partner with Jureidini and McLaurin, a Virginia based law firm specializing in corporate law.
Habib Malik, Visiting fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 1995; Founding member of the Foundation for Human and Humanitarian Rights.
Daniel Nassif, Executive Director of the American Lebanese Institute.
Daniel Pipes, Editor of Middle East Quarterly and adjunct scholar at the Washington Institute. Among his many published works is Syria Beyond the Peace Process.
Danielle Pletka, a key congressional aide to Senator Jesse Helms (R-SC), the Chairman of the U.S Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Colin Rubenstein, an international activist on all issues pertaining to the Middle East.
Gen. Donn Starry (ret.), an author, lecturer and advisor to government and industry in several countries on matters relating to mounted combat operations and other military problems.

Most participants agreed that U.S. policy toward Lebanon is essentially an appendage of U.S. policy toward Syria. While prospective changes in policy toward Lebanon were discussed in this and other Lebanon Study Group meetings, the consensus has been that American relations with Damascus are the central factor upon which the fate of Lebanon will be determined. U.S. policymakers cannot, according to Mary Jane Deeb, "expect a united voice from Lebanon," so it is imperative to focus instead on the Syrian occupation of the country.

In his opening remarks, MEF President Daniel Pipes emphasized that policy toward Syria is almost exclusively the domain of the executive branch of the U.S. government. Danielle Pletka weighed in on this point, noting that the State Department often bypasses congressional actions. Although some participants--notably Richard A. Hellman of the Middle East Research Center, Ltd. (MERCL)--contended that Congress has the power to significantly influence U.S. policy, most agreed that this was unlikely to occur given that there is not yet a strong Lebanese-American lobby.

While acknowledging that policy toward Syria has been a "virtually immovable object" since 1984, Pipes offered three specific policy recommendations for the U.S. executive branch:

  1. "De-emphasize the peace process" in dealing with Syria. Damascus "values the process rather than the peace," said Pipes, and therefore is unlikely to follow through and sign a peace treaty with Israel.

  2. "Squeeze Syria" like other rogue states in the region. Syria is surrounded by strong American allies, giving the U.S. an immense capability to pressure Damascus. "Talking the language the Syrians understand" yields results, said Pipes, noting that Turkey's strong arm tactics successfully induced Syria to expel PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan and close PKK facilities last October.

  3. "Issue a statement that Syrian troops should leave Lebanon."

After reaching a consensus on these recommendations, participants discussed ways of influencing the executive branch's view of Lebanon. Douglas Feith noted that the moral imperative behind U.S. intervention in Kosovo evolved over the course of less than a year. In order to induce the same "sense of what's right" to inspire U.S. policy toward Lebanon, a major media blitz would be required. A public relations firm would need to be hired, he said, in order to achieve maximum exposure. The issue of how to finance such an undertaking was also discussed.

Participants also addressed the misconception shared by many U.S. policymakers that the Syrian occupation promotes stability in Lebanon. Comparisons were made to the "stability" imposed upon Eastern Europe by the Soviet Union after World War II. In any case, Syria's integral role in fomenting the Lebanese civil war belies the claim that Syrian intervention is inherently stabilizing.

Back to Top

Publication of From Israel to Damascus Causes Uproar in Lebanon

Elie Hobeika
Elie Hobeika

In a controversial new book entitled From Israel to Damascus, a former member of the Lebanese Forces (LF) militia has given a detailed account of the rise to power of LF leader Elie Hobeika as an ally of Israel during the Lebanese civil war and his subsequent turnabout and betrayal of the Christian resistance in return for the political patronage of Syria. The book, by Hobeika's bodyguard Robert Hatem (a.k.a. Cobra), is astonishingly detailed and offers first-hand accounts of many events during the war that have remained clouded in mystery. Hobeika reportedly offered Hatem $800,000 not to publish the book.

Hatem's account of how Hobeika ruthlessly ordered the elimination of scores of rivals during his ascent within the LF militia is very credible--in many cases, it was Hatem himself who carried out Hobeika's orders. In describing the LF's assault on the rival National Liberal Party militia in July 1980, Hatem writes "I was hypnotized. I was doing what I was told, throwing people out of upper-story windows, shooting others in the swimming pool."1 That Hatem so easily absolves himself of any moral responsibility for having loyally served one of Lebanon's most notorious war criminals is perhaps the most disturbing revelation of the book.

Hobeika's evolution from being a strong proponent of the Christian-Israeli alliance to collaborating with Syria is at the heart of the book and the inspiration for its title. Hobeika's participation in Syria's effort to dismantle the Lebanese Christian political, military and economic establishments is attributed by Hatem to pure greed. In this respect, Hobeika was not alone--the book reveals a great deal about others who followed the same path, such as Karim Pakradouni ("the master manipulator") and Michel Murr ("the golden goose").


"Without a shred of doubt, the Syrians owed their sweeping victory of October 13, 1990 to the collaboration of Elie Hobeika."

According to Hatem, "without a shred of doubt, the Syrians owed their sweeping victory of October 13, 1990 to the collaboration of Elie Hobeika."2 Hobeika oversaw the transfer of critical logistical information about Lebanese Army positions to the Syrians, primarily through his uncle, Brigadier George Hobeika, a trusted friend of Army Commander Michel Aoun. George Hobeika and others passed the information to Gaby Nasser, who dispatched it to the commander of Syrian troops in Lebanon, Ali Deeb. Hobeika was given a front row seat with Syrian officers at the top of the Al-Murr tower, watching through Syrian army telescopes as artillery barrages destroyed vital military and civilian installations with pinpoint accuracy.

Like Pakradouni, Murr, and other collaborators, Hobeika was handsomely rewarded after the blitzkrieg of Syrian forces into Beirut on October 13, 1990. Not only is he a member of parliament, but until recently had been a minister in every subsequent government under the Syrian occupation. The book provides a rare window into the immense corruption of Hobeika and other government officials installed by the Syrians.

Hatem describes in detail how Hobeika used his position within successive pro-Syrian puppet governments after 1990 to accumulate massive amounts of wealth. After being appointed Minister of the Displaced, Hobeika and Ministry Director Kamal Feghali pocketed $2,880,000 that had been allocated to compensate internally displaced refugees after the war.3 After his appointment as Minister of Electric and Hydraulic Resources, Hobeika and Ministry Director Fadi Saroufim together received 10% off the top of every power project.4 In addition, Hobeika made millions of dollars through fraudulent insurance scams.

Reaction in Lebanon

The best indication of the credibility of Hatem's memoir is the frantic reaction of the current Lebanese government to its publication. On May 17, Information Minister Anwar Khalil issued a decree banning both the book itself and the publication of any passages from it. The information ministry swiftly began confiscating copies of the U.A.E. daily Al-Ittihad, which had printed excerpts from the book in four consecutive issues (although not sold in Lebanon, Al-Ittihad is widely distributed in government offices). Shortly thereafter, the daily newspaper Nidaa Al-Watan retracted plans to publish excerpts of the book.

Meanwhile, Hobeika himself filed a lawsuit on May 25 with the Publications Tribunal, demanding that copies of the book be confiscated and destroyed and that Hatem be prosecuted. The lawsuit accuses Hatem of "tarnishing Hobeika's human and social image" and asserts that "Israeli intelligence, whose imprints are very distinct from the first to the last page," was behind the book's publication. Two of Hobeika's accomplices mentioned in the book, Fadi Saroufim and Joseph Asmar, have filed similar lawsuits. Lebanese journalist Scarlett Haddad of L'Orient le Jour has also filed a lawsuit against Hatem, whom she accuses of slander for including her name among the scores of women with whom Hobeika allegedly had affairs.

A great deal of commotion has been caused by the book's allegation that Hobeika was responsible for the 1990 assassination of National Liberal Party (NLP) leader Dany Chamoun, his wife and two sons5, a crime for which former LF chief Samir Geagea was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. Mr. Edmond Naim, one of Geagea's principal lawyers, said that he may petition for a new trial. "The book contains information likely to show that the evidence used to pronounce the sentence was erroneous," said Naim.6 Chamoun's brother Dory, the current NLP president, also called for the judiciary to examine new evidence appearing in the book.

However, government prosecutors have brushed aside suggestions that Geagea be given a new trial. "I've not been informed about any allegations in the book and I've not read it personally," said State Prosecutor Adnan Addoum during a news conference on May 12. "Even if the book carried claims regarding the Chamoun case, the case cannot be reopened as long as the judiciary has not received documents proving the claims."

Ultimately, Hatem's memoirs are an indictment against the entire political class in Lebanon that sacrificed the country on the alter of personal ambitions. "This book is dedicated to the glorious survivors of this temporary defeat," writes Hatem. "As I break the silence, I salute you all. May God give you the courage to return one day in honor to your homeland Lebanon."

In conclusion, Hatem writes: "The United States is a superpower that protects the weak nations of the world defending freedom and democracy. Do not forget Lebanon. Today, Syria is ruling Lebanon through terrorism. The Syrians have killed most of its leaders through assassination and car bombs, exiled some of them and jailed the remaining which posed a threat to them. They imposed their candidates into Lebanon's politics so that they govern our Land forever and make it part of Greater Syria."

To order this book, send $27 to the following address:

Pride International Publications
PO Box 3389
La Mesa, CA 91944

  1 Hatem, Robert M., From Israel to Damascus: The Painful Road of Blood, Betrayal, and Deception. Pride International Publications, 1999. p. 20.
  2 Ibid., p. 122.
  3 Ibid., p. 132
  4 Ibid., p. 135
  5 Ibid., p. 127
  6 "Justice - Edmond Naim à la recherche de preuves Les allégations de 'Cobra' pourraient relancer l'affaire Geagea," L'Orient Le Jour, 25 May 1999

Back to Top


Middle East Report

Khatami Calls for Arab-Iranian Alliance

Since his election in 1997, Iranian President Mohammad Khatami has placed a high priority on improving relations with the Arab World, particularly the Gulf states. His 10-day tour of the Arab world this month is the culmination of two years of quiet diplomacy designed to heal the rift that emerged between Iran and most Arab states after the 1979 Iranian revolution. Recently, moreover, Khatami has proposed a joint defense pact between Arab and Iranian military forces. The following report investigates recent developments in Iran's bilateral relations with the Arab states.

Syria

Khatami's first stop in the Arab world was Syria--the only Arab state which supported Teheran in the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war. Khatami and Syrian President Hafez Assad held in-depth discussions of bilateral ties and international issues, in the presence of Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk Shara and Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi. Extensive meetings were also held with other members of the Syrian political and military establishment.

The Syrian ruling party's newspaper, Al-Baath, praised Khatami's quest for closer Iranian-Arab ties, adding that "Arabs and Moslems will only be able to make their voices heard if they join together in a single economic and political bloc," the paper commented.

Sources in Damascus reported that Khatami and Assad pledged to adopt unspecified "new Syrian-Iranian initiatives towards the Lebanese resistance" against Israeli forces in south Lebanon.

Khatami and Assad
Khatami and Assad, issuing a joint communique

Lebanon

During his visit to Damascus, Khatami met with Hezbollah General Secretary Nasrallah and Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, the movement's spiritual leader. Khatami praised the group, calling it "an ideological and humanitarian movement that seeks liberation and independence."

While Khatami did not explicitly promise to increase levels of military aid to Hezbollah, such a move is widely expected. Iran currently provides Hezbollah with a wide range of weapons and ammunition including mortars, Sagger anti-tank rockets, mines, explosives and small arms.

Khatami also met with two other pro-Syrian Lebanese politicians: Nabih Berri, speaker of the Lebanese Parliament and leader of the Shiite Amal Party, and Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt.

The Palestinians

During his visit to Syria, Khatami also held a meeting at the Iranian embassy with the leaders of several extremist Palestinian factions. Attending the meeting were George Habash of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Ahmed Jibril of the PFLP-General Command, Ramadan Abdullah of the Islamic Jihad movement, as well as representatives of Hamas and other radical groups. PFLP spokesman Maher al-Taher said said afterwards that Khatami pledged "support to the forces of the Palestinian revolution in their struggle to materialize the objectives of the Palestinian people." Khatami also invited the leaders of the various extremist factions to visit Iran.

Nayef Hawatmeh, head of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), was reportedly not invited by Khatami. Sources say that Hawatmeh fell out of favor with Khatami last February when he shook hands with Israeli President Ezer Weizman at the funeral of King Hussein.

In an interview with the Lebanese daily As-Safir, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Martin Indyk said "it is hard not to conclude that Iran is still strongly opposed to the peace process and backs these organizations that adopt the policy of violence against the process."

Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States

While few in the diplomatic intelligence community were surprised by the nature of Khatami's visit to Syria, the warm reception given to the Iranian president upon his arrival for a five-day visit in Saudi Arabia on May 15 has stunned many observers. King Fahd, whose voice is rarely broadcast, appeared on state television warmly welcoming Khatami and telling him that the "door is open" for better relations. Fahd even went so far as to award Khatami the "Bader al-Kubra" medal (named after the battle of Mader, waged by the prophet against the non-believers).

Khatami's visit to the kingdom comes on the heels of his startling proposal for an alliance with Saudi Arabia that "could make our enemies fearful and put them in disarray," which he announced during the visit of Saudi defense minister Prince Sultan bin Abdelaziz to Teheran earlier this month. Khatami also warned the Saudi prince not to rely upon American military forces for his kingdom's defense. "The security of Saudi Arabia and other countries in the region is our security [and] we don't need foreign forces for that," he said.

Khatami and Saudi King Fahd
Khatami and Saudi King Fahd

Khatami indicated that a military alliance would be difficult to establish immediately, given the tense relations between the two countries over the last twenty years. "The question of military cooperation is not easy between two countries whose relations were cut for years. We should start with economic, social and cultural cooperation," he said. Prince Sultan said afterwards that his discussions with Iranian leaders had been "useful for Islam and the interests of the two nations" and expressed hope that Iran and Saudi Arabia will "work together closely in all areas." Khatami's overture followed a similar call for a military alliance one week before by Iranian Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani.

Conservative newspapers in Iran have attacked Khatami's effort to woo the Saudis, however. The English-language Teheran Times said that "Saudi Arabia is the major host to the forces of the United States and Britain, whose hostile attitude toward Iran is no secret" and questioned whether "the Saudi rulers would bid farewell to the US and UK and welcome Iran." The Jomhuri Eslami paper, on the other hand, sought to belittle the importance of Saudi Arabia. "We must attach importance to Saudi Arabia in proportion to its weight and not more . . . any exaggeration in calculating Saudi Arabia's weight could be a major obstacle on the way to boosting bilateral ties."

The success of this policy has been demonstrable in Iran's bilateral relations with other Arab monarchies. Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammad bin Mubarak Al-Khalifa paid a first-time visit to Teheran this month. "A new chapter has already been opened in bilateral relations which are at an excellent level," proclaimed Khalifa upon his arrival. Teheran and Manama renewed full diplomatic relations in January 1999.

A representative of the Gulf Cooperation Council said, on condition of anonymity, that ties between Iran and the Arab Gulf States "have never been so good" since the 1979 revolution in Iran. "The only shadow in the picture is the conflict between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Iran" over the Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa islands near the strategic Strait of Hormuz.

Back to Top

Iraqi Opposition Planning for Armed Uprising; Clinton Administration Sends Office Supplies

The leader of the Iraqi National Accord Movement, Eyad Allawi, said on May 17 that the interim leadership committee of the Iraqi National Congress (INC), which consists of leaders of seven opposition groups, is making plans for an armed uprising to toppling the regime of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. Allawi did not specify when the operation would take place, but hinted that the uprising will follow a meeting of the Iraqi opposition organizations scheduled to take place in the autonomous Kurdish enclave in northern Iraq in July. The uprising, he said, will be launched from Iraqi Kurdistan.

A delegation of the interim leadership committee arrived in Washington DC on May 24 to hold meetings with U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright and National Security Advisor Sandy Berger. The delegation will reportedly request U.S. military protection in the effort to topple the Iraqi government. "We will tell the Americans that Iraqi Kurdistan should be converted into a secure haven for the opposition Iraqi organizations in confrontation of Saddam's attacks," said Allawi in a telephone interview from London with the Associated Press.

U.S. officials have explicitly expressed for the first time their intention to distribute funds allocated by Congress last year in the Iraq Liberation Act. Meetings of the INC interim leadership committee, say officials, are being bankrolled by these funds. "Some of these activities are being supported by funds appropriated for the Iraqi opposition," said U.S. State Department Spokesman James Rubin on May 21.

The State Department has made it clear, however that only "non-lethal assistance" is being given to the Iraqi opposition. Around $10 million will be used to send equipment such as computers and office supplies and to train Iraqi exiles in civil administration. "What we're trying to do . . . is strengthen an Iraqi opposition movement that can lay out solid plans for the post-Saddam recovery in all sectors of national life," said Rubin. "We're not prepared to take action that is premature or that puts people's lives needlessly at risk," he added. "There are a number of steps that have to be taken before we're in a position to provide lethal assistance."

Nevertheless, Iraqi opposition leaders are optimistic that this first step will eventually be followed by shipments of weapons. "I think they will see their way clear to approving the supplies later on," said one member of the delegation after meetings with U.S. officials.

Back to Top

CIA Concerned about Potential "Surprise" in Nonconventional Weapons Proliferation

The CIA is warning that Russian aid and expertise might allow states such as Iran and Iraq to secretly "shortcut" their development of nuclear weapons without attracting the attention of U.S. intelligence agencies.

CIA

John Lauder, special assistant to the Director of Central Intelligence for Nonproliferation, said that the bulk of CIA efforts to monitor nonconventional weapons programs are concentrated in 10 countries, including Iran, Iraq, Libya and Syria. "But even concerning these states, there are important gaps in our knowledge. Our analytical and collection coverage against most of these states is stretched, and many of the trends seen, such as the possibility of shortcuts to acquiring fissile material and increased denial and deception activities, make it harder to track some key developments, even in the states of greatest intelligence focus," said Lauder in testimony to the Commission to Assess the Organization of the Federal Government to Combat the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Lauder said that his agency is particularly concerned about the "leakage" of Russian nuclear material for use by states interested in acquiring non-conventional weapons. "U.S. intelligence is increasing its emphasis and resources on many of these issues, but there is a continued and growing risk of surprise."

The CIA asserted in testimony to Congress a year and a half ago that Iran would not complete its Shihab-3 missile program before 2005. Last week, however, a member of a White House commission said the missile is being completed and will be deployed this year. The CIA official said Russia, despite its pledges, has failed to stop the transfer of technology to Iran's missile and nuclear weapons program. He said the pace of technology transfer is likely to increase amid Russia's economic crisis. "Russian entities have helped the Iranian missile effort in areas ranging from training, to testing, to components," Lauder said. "This assistance is continuing as we speak, and is playing a crucial role in Iran's ability to develop more sophisticated and longer-range missiles."

"Foreign assistance helped Iran save years in its development of the Shihab-3 missile, which is based on the North Korean No Dong and, as I noted earlier, includes Russian -- and, to a lesser extent Chinese -- assistance," he added. "Moreover, Iran will continue to both seek longer range missiles and foreign assistance in their development."

Lauder said that two major concerns of his agency are the continuing emigration of weapons scientists from the former Soviet Union and the lax security around nuclear sites in Russia. "Although we have not had recent reports that weapons-usable nuclear material is missing in Russia," Lauder said, "what we have noticed are reports of strikes, lax discipline, poor morale, and criminal activity at nuclear facilities. These are alarm bells that warrant our closest attention and concern."

Lauder also noted that Syria is continuing to acquire components for chemical weapons. Damascus has already stockpiled the nerve agent sarin, he said, and is trying to develop even more toxic and persistent nerve agents.

The CIA official added that "one of our greatest concerns is the serious prospect that Osama Bin Ladin or another terrorist might use chemical or biological weapons. Bin Ladin's organization is just one of about a dozen terrorist groups that have expressed an interest in or have sought chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear agents." Earlier this month, an agent in Bin Laden's organization said that the Saudi militant has acquired chemical and biological weapons.

Back to Top

Syria Constructs Tunnels to Hide Scud Missiles

According to local intelligence sources, Syria has constructed an underground network of tunnels designed to conceal its growing arsenal of ballistic missiles. Five tunnels have already been constructed for the purpose of hiding Syria's stockpile of Scud C missiles, which have a range of 500 km. The sources said that another dozen tunnels are being built to protect the rest of Syria's arsenal of about 1,000 Scud C missiles from Israeli attack. Syria is also in the process of completing four additional tunnels to conceal Scud D missiles, which have a range of over 700 km.

North Korea reportedly provided Syria with technological assistance in constructing the tunnels, which are said to be so well fortified that they can withstand any Israeli conventional air strikes. The tunnel network is not, however, purely defensive--it is designed so that the missiles can be easily maneuvered to within striking distance of virtually any target in Israel.

Nevertheless, few analysts believe that Syria is prepared to use its missiles to strike first against Israel. The most likely scenario is that the Syrian regime will try to limit any attack to the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, captured by Israel in the 1967 war. However, if Israel widens the war, Syria would likely use its missiles against military targets. Upon further escalation, the missiles might be used to attack Israeli cities. As a last resort, the missiles could be used to deliver chemical or biological weapons.

Last month, Donald Rumsfeld, a former U.S. defense secretary and chairman of the Committee to Assess the Ballistic Threat to the United States told the National Defense University Foundation in Washington DC that Iran and Iraq have also begun constructing similar tunnel networks.

Back to Top

Former CIA Director Calls for Scrapping ABM Treaty

James Woolsey
James Woolsey

Former CIA director James Woolsey has urged the Clinton Administration to annul the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty so that the United States can establish a national defense system against rogue states armed with ballistic missiles.

Woolsey told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on May 5 that the treaty is outdated and used by Russia as a pretext for preventing the US from establishing a national missile defense system. Woolsey said that Washington should first try to convince Moscow to enact changes in the treaty that would permit the U.S. to build a missile defense system. In 1992, Russian President Boris Yeltsin said he would consider making changes in the treaty, but backed down from the idea the following year.

However, Woolsey added that if the US fails to convince the Russians to modify the agreement, "there are ample legal and strategic grounds for withdrawing from the treaty . . . we cannot perpetually let our security vis-a-vis the likes of North Korea, Iran, and Iraq be held hostage to Russia's not wanting us to have defenses."

Woolsey said that a proposed agreement that would limit US theater missile defense and expand the ABM treaty to include Belarus, Kazekhstan and Ukraine lacks any strategic rationale. "We don't have any reason to want to limit these countries' ballistic missile defenses," he added. "Why should we let them have a hand in limiting ours?" Woolsey insisted that "only a very major modification of, or a withdrawal from, the treaty" would meet American strategic needs. "Even if one believes that a full defense against an all-out Russian attack is not attainable, the treaty clearly hinders our ability to defend ourselves against a number of lesser and plausible threats during this post-cold war era."

While the Clinton administration interprets the ABM treaty as permitting one or two defense sites, Woolsey said that this would be worthless against threats such as ship-launched ballistic missiles and non-conventional warheads.

Back to Top

China Still Helping Iran's Intermediate Ballistic Missile Program

The Clinton administration acknowledged earlier this month that Chinese companies are still providing assistance to Iran's intermediate ballistic missile program. On May 14, responding to a congressional report by Senator Richard Shelby about Chinese proliferation, State Department spokesman James Rubin said that the Clinton administration is "concerned, in many respects, about certain Chinese entities that may provide technology - especially to Iran and Pakistan" and "will continue to work with China to bring its policies and practices more and more in line with international norms."

Rubin added, however, that Beijing has made great efforts to end nuclear and missile proliferation, pointing out that it has agreed to join in the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. "They have agreed to phase out nuclear cooperation with Iran, not to export ground-to-ground missiles to any country and to abide by the UN arms embargo against Iraq," he said. "We have no reason to conclude that China has undertaken actions inconsistent with these commitments."

The Senate Intelligence Committee report said that "PRC [People's Republic of China] is one of the world's worst proliferators of missiles and missile technology to potential U.S. adversaries and to other unstable parts of the world." It also noted that Chinese missiles "may now benefit from U.S. technology," referring to allegations that the Clinton administration and certain U.S. aerospace companies allowed unlicensed and unauthorized transfers of technology to China.

Back to Top


Intelligence Briefs

Israel Develops Longer Range Ballistic Missile
Threat to American National Security
Four Alleged CIA Agents Arrested in Lebanon
Islamic Group Planned to Use Chemical and Biological Weapons
Iran, Iraq Envoys Allowed to Enter U.S Secret Labs
In Search of Bassel Assad's Fortune
Syria, Iraq Discuss Security Cooperation
Canada Rapidly Becoming Haven for Terrorists
Iran Recruiting ex-Soviet Scientists to Work on Germ Warfare
Next World War Could be Fought on the Internet
Russia to Equip Libya with Air Defense Missiles
Islamic Militants in Jordan Sentenced
Two Tons of U.S. Nuclear Material Missing
A Russian-Iranian Partnership?
Seven Nations Listed as Sponsors of Terrorism by State Department
Bin Laden Planning to Establish Base in Somalia
CIA: Russia Ties with Syria, Iran Growing Stronger
Israel Purchases Uranium Production Facility in Kazakhstan
Lebanese Army Arrests 8 for Alleged Attacks on Syrians
SCIRI Reports Clashes in Iraq between Government, Opposition Forces
Secret Talks between Jordan and Israel

Israel Develops Longer Range Ballistic Missile
14 April 1999

IsraelWire reported that, according to the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies in Tel-Aviv, Israel now has a new longer-range version of its Jericho ballistic missile which analysts consider to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons. The missile, developed at the Dimona nuclear center in southern Israel, supposedly has a range of 1,500 kilometers. The report pointed out that Israel has never acknowledged its possession of nuclear weapons.

Threat to American National Security
15 April 1999

WorldNetDaily columnist Jon Dougherty wrote the following in an article entitled "Long Term Threat to National Security: U.S. Force Depletion, Over-commitments are Causes":

"An expert in foreign policy affairs said that the United States is at risk of being overpowered by other nations -- or coalition of nations 'in five to ten years' if current military policies and strategies don't change. Al Santoli, a senior foreign policy analyst for Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-CA, author, and Vietnam combat veteran, told WorldNetDaily that unless Congress and the Clinton administration revamp military strategies and funding, the U.S. could be at risk of attack by weapons of mass destruction from countries who are building -- rather than cutting forces -- in less than half a decade. Unlike emerging powers, he said, the U.S. has adopted a policy of modest or no growth in military expenditures. . ."

Four Alleged CIA Agents Arrested in Lebanon
16 April 1999

The Beirut daily Al-Safir reported that Lebanese security forces arrested four men--three Lebanese and one Jordanian-- for allegedly collaborating with the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The CIA is believed to have recruited the suspects in order to obtain information regarding the identify of terrorists responsible for the 1985 hijacking of a TWA plane in Beirut in which an American soldier was killed. The terrorists were reportedly members of Amal, the pro-Syrian Shi'ite militia headed by Nabih Berri, the current speaker of the Lebanese Parliament.

Islamic Group Planned to Use Chemical and Biological Weapons
19 April 1999

An Islamic militant group planned to launch 100 chemical and biological weapons attacks on Israeli and U.S. targets, a newspaper reported on April 19.

In an interview with the London-based Al-Hayat daily, Ahmed Salama Mabrouk said, however, that the plans were foiled when he was arrested by the CIA in Azerbaijan in September. Mabrouk was then handed over to Egyptian authorities and prosecuted as one of 107 suspected members of terrorist organizations.

Mabrouk, head of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad military operations, told Al-Hayat that his group had drafted a plan for "carrying out 100 attacks against U.S. and Israeli targets and public figures in different parts of the world." But, he added, the plan was foiled when the CIA arrested him and seized a computer disk that contained the information required to carry out the attacks. He said Islamic fundamentalists, particularly Osama Bin Laden, possess chemical and biological weapons and will use them. Bin Laden has been accused of masterminding the bombing of two U.S. embassies in east Africa last year.

Iran, Iraq Envoys Allowed to Enter U.S Secret Labs
21 April 1999

Scientists from Iran and Iraq, countries believed to be seeking intermediate ballistic missile and nuclear weapons, have been permitted to tour leading U.S. weapons laboratories, said Fred Upton, chairman of the House Commerce Committee Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee. Upton said he was stunned by testimony over the ease in which foreign scientists are allowed access to facilities and information that will help the weapons program of nations hostile to the United States. "My concern goes to the very heart of this peculiar arrangement," Upton said, "and whether we are doing all that we should to give counter-intelligence training to those American scientists who must interact with foreign scientists, either here or abroad."

In Search of Bassel Assad's Fortune
22 April 1999

Bashar Assad
Bashar Assad

According to informed sources, the son of Syrian president Hafez Assad, Bashar, who is being groomed to take over from his father, traveled to Europe in July and September of last year using the alias "George Awad." He visited France on both occasions and successfully escaped the attention of French intelligence for a few days. He also traveled to Geneva and Luxembourg, where he met with officials from the Banque Generale du Luxembourg. Sources report that the objective of this trip was to gain possession of a fortune estimated at $5 billion that his brother, Bassel Assad, acquired prior to his death in a mysterious car accident in 1994.

The massive sum of money is said to stem from highly favorable oil deals put together by Syria with Gulf countries just after the 1991 Gulf war. Buying oil at far below market price, Syria sold part of the shipments abroad and pocketed the difference, pouring the cash into accounts in Switzerland and Luxembourg. Because the accounts were in the name of a dead person, Bashar had to negotiate directly with the banking establishments in question, as no intermediary could legally represent him.

Syria, Iraq Discuss Security Cooperation

Arab diplomatic sources have said that Bashar , the son of Syria's President Assad, and Qusay, youngest son of Iraq's President Saddam Hussein , met recently on the common border and discussed the prospects for security and political cooperation between the two countries. Assad appears to be grooming Bashar as his heir and has given him greater responsibility for dealing with Syria's relations with Arab states.

Canada Rapidly Becoming Haven for Terrorists
25 April 1999

Canada's spy chief Ward Elcock recently said that "Canada is becoming the world's premier haven for international terrorists." With the possible exception of the U.S., there are more international terrorist groups active in Canada than anywhere in the world. The service's counter-terrorism branch is investigating more than 50 organizations and about 350 individuals. Among these groups are Hezbollah and other Shi'ite Islamic groups, several Sunni Islamic extremist groups - including Hamas, the IRA, the Tamil Tigers, the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and several Sikh terrorist groups.

Individuals and groups in Canada have been directly or indirectly linked to the World Trade Center bombing in New York, suicide bombings in Israel, the murder of tourists in Egypt, and the 1996 bombing of US soldiers at the Khobar Towers barracks in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.

Iran Recruiting ex-Soviet Scientists to Work on Germ Warfare
25 April 1999

A report in the Electronic Telegraph said that Iran has already obtained at least five scientists from the former Soviet Union who are experts in biological weapons. The report quotes American officials as saying that Iran "is systematically approaching scientists in Moscow with offers of up to $5,000 a month." Iran denied the allegations.

Next World War Could be Fought on the Internet
26 April 1999

CNN reported that President Clinton requested $2.8 billion of America's budget for combating "exotic forms of terrorism" which it said could be anything from chemical warfare to online attacks. The President was quoted as saying that these issues will "dominate national defense in the next century." The report said that the budget request included expenditures for hiring "computer experts who could respond quickly to electronic terrorist attacks."

Russia to Equip Libya with Air Defense Missiles
26 April 1999

The head of the Russian firm that makes S-300 air defense missiles said today that the lifting of UN sanctions against Libya has created an opportunity to sell such a system to that country, Reuters reported. Yuri Rodin-Sova of Defense Systems told the Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper that he would propose the setting up of an air defense infrastructure in Libya based on the S-300PMU1 and the S-300PMU2 surface-to-air missile systems. He also said that the proposed Libyan air defense system would include modernized versions of older Russian air defense mechanisms because it would be "cheaper" for Libya. Russia's S-300 anti-aircraft system of surface-to-air missiles has a range of 90 miles (150 km). Although Rodin-Sova's company does not have the authority to directly sell the missiles abroad, Russia's main arms export agency, Rosvooruzheniye, is reported to be keen on boosting exports and opening up markets in the Middle East.

Jordanian police
Jordanian policemen arrest a relative of an accused terrorist outside the Jordanian state court

Islamic Militants in Jordan Sentenced
27 April 1999

Jordan's State Security Court sentenced nine members of the Islamic fundamentalist Reform and Challenge group to 15-year prison terms for their alleged involvement in a series of car-bomb attacks last year in Amman.

Two Tons of U.S. Nuclear Material Missing
28 April 1999

An investigation by the Department of Energy into the security of U.S. nuclear facilities against terrorist attacks determined that there are more than 5,000 lbs of plutonium missing or unaccounted for, 2,400 lbs alone from its Rocky Flats weapons factory near Denver.

A Russian-Iranian Partnership?
29 April 1999

The Paris-based Arabic news magazine, Al-Watan Al-Arabi, reported today that Iran is seeking to establish an alliance with Russia in order to thwart possible US intervention in the region.

Citing a US intelligence report, the magazine said that an Iranian "military-security delegation" headed by an intelligence official "very close" to Iranian leader Ali Khameini paid a secret visit to Moscow recently. The Iranian delegation presented the Russians with a detailed shopping list for Russian weapons that included modern defensive systems and long-range rockets. Also, the delegation requested Russian nuclear experts "under the pretext" of expediting the work at the Bushehr nuclear energy project, under contract to Russia.

The Iranian delegation expressed fears that "what was happening in Yugoslavia and what has happened and is continuing to happen in Iraq" may be part of a US plan to use NATO to set up a precedent in foreign military intervention that might threaten Iran in the future. The delegation stressed that only the establishment of a political and military alliance with Russia could ensure Iran's safety from a US/NATO attack. Iran on its part promised Russia not to repeat its support of fellow Muslims in Kosovo like it did in Bosnia.

Seven Nations Listed as Sponsors of Terrorism by State Department
2 May 1999

Reuters reported that the U.S. State Department reaffirmed its earlier designation of Iran, Iraq, Cuba, Libya, North Korea, Sudan and Syria as governments that sponsor terrorism. The report stopped short of adding Afghanistan to the list, but said the Taliban regime is not fully cooperating with anti-terrorism efforts. It also mentioned that Pakistan officially supports Kashmiri insurgent groups that employ terrorist violence.

Bin Laden Planning to Establish Base in Somalia
3 May 1999

Security sources in Cairo said today that Saudi dissident Osama Bin Laden is planning to establish a base in Somalia. Bin Laden, apparently worried that Afghanistan will soon succumb to American pressure and expel him from the country, is said to have chosen Somalia because the East African country lacks any central government authority. In an apparent move to preempt such a development, U.S. diplomats have informed Somali warlord Hussein Aideed that the U.S. will withdraw American nationally granted to his family members if he cooperates with Bin Laden.

CIA: Russia Ties with Syria, Iran Growing Stronger
6 May 1999

The French weekly L'Express quoted a new CIA report as stating that Moscow's ties with Damascus and Teheran are becoming central to its Middle East policy. The report cited Russia's extensive transfers of weapons, training, and technology to Iran. It also noted that some missile and nuclear weapons technology provided to Iran is being relayed to Syria. The report also highlighted the recent visit by a Russian military delegation to both countries.

Israel Purchases Uranium Production Facility in Kazakhstan
7 May 1999

According to press reports in Israel and abroad, Yujan Karimov, chairman of Tselinny Gorno-Khimicheskii Kombinat (TGK) in Kazakhstan announced that he had signed a contract to sell the country's largest uranium factory to the Africa-Israel Investment Company Limited.

Lebanese Army Arrests 8 for Alleged Attacks on Syrians
11 May 1999

Lebanese army intelligence said it had arrested eight people suspected of carrying out attacks against Syrian targets in and around Beirut. Two of the men, Dani Habib and Tony Khoury, were said to be responsible for two grenade attacks--one near a Syrian military position in the Hadath area southeast of Beirut in December and a second during the first week of May on a parking garage in the Hazmieh neighborhood of east Beirut, where many Syrian workers live. There was no reports of casualties in either attack. The statement by Lebanese Army Intelligence did not give the identities of the five other suspects.

SCIRI Reports Clashes in Iraq between Government, Opposition Forces
11 May 1999

The Iran-based Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) reported heavy fighting between Iraqi government soldiers backed by tanks and artillery and opposition forces around the city of Nasiriya in southern Iraq. The statement added that many people were arrested and several houses destroyed, but gave no information as to the number of casualties on either side.

Secret Talks between Jordan and Israel
11 May 1999

Ha'aretz reported today that Jordan's military intelligence chief, Gen. Mohammad al-Abadi, made a secret visit to Israel last month to meet Israeli army chief, Gen. Shaul Mofaz, and other senior officers. The newspaper said Abadi conveyed a message from Jordan's King Abdullah II to reaffirm that Jordan would continue the strategic cooperation established under the 1994 peace treaty.

Back to Top

1999 United States Committee For A Free Lebanon. All rights reserved.

MEIB Main Page