US embassy cable - 86BEIRUT33

SYRIA AND IRAN IN LEBANON

Identifier: 86BEIRUT33
Wikileaks: View 86BEIRUT33 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Beirut
Created: 1986-06-21 10:24:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PREL SY IR LE IS
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
O 211024Z JUN 86
FM AMEMBASSY BEIRUT
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7913
INFO AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY
ARAB-ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
AMCONSUL JEDDAH
AMEMBASSY KUWAIT
AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
C O N F I D E N T I A L BEIRUT 033 
 
E.O. 12356: DECL: OADR 
TAGS: PREL, SY, IR, LE, IS 
SUBJECT: SYRIA AND IRAN IN LEBANON 
 
REFTEL: DAMASCUS 3747 
 
1. CONFIDENTIAL - ENTIRE TEXT. 
 
2. WE READ WITH CONSIDERABLE INTEREST REFTEL ON THE 
JOCKEYING OF SYRIAN AND IRANIAN INTERESTS IN LEBANON. 
EMBASSY BEIRUT, HOWEVER, MIGHT WELL EMPHASIZE DIFFERENT 
POINTS IN JUDGING THE STATUS OF SYRIAN, IRANIAN, AND 
ISRAELI POLICY IN LEBANON. 
 
3. WE JUDGE THAT SYRIA AND ISRAEL ARE IN A CLASS BY 
THEMSELVES IN TERMS OF ABILITY TO EXERCISE POWER 
IN LEBANON. THEY BORDER ON LEBANON; THEY CONTINUOUSLY 
PROJEC CONVENTIONAL MILITARY POWER INTO LEBANON; 
AND, THEY BOTH HAVE ESTABLISHED NETWORKS OF LEBANESE 
FRIENDS AND ALLIES. OF THESE THREE INGREDIENTS OF POWER 
IRAN HAS ONLY A LESS EXTENSIVE, BUT GROWING, NETWORK 
OF FRIENDS AND ALLIES. 
 
3. WE AGREE WITH DAMASCUS REFTEL THAT THE ASPIRATIONS 
OF FUNDAMENTALIST IRAN AND SECULAR SYRIA IN LEBANON ARE 
IN CONFLICT. PRACTICALLY EVERYWHERE, HOWEVER, THE 
IRANIANS ARE PLAYING CATCH-UP BALL AGAINST SUBSTANTIAL 
SYRIAN ADVANTAGES. FOR EXAMPLE, OUR INTERPRETATION OF 
SEVERAL RECENT PHENOMENA WOULD BE DIFFERENT: 
 
--THE TRUCE IN THE CAMPS WAR ARRANGED BY IRANIAN 
DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER BESHARATI WAS EXCEPTIONALLY 
TRANSITORY; IT LASTED ONLY LONG ENOUGH TO EVACUATE 
A HANDFUL OF PALESTINIANS FROM THE CAMPS. GIVEN 
IRAN'S LACK OF LEVERAGE OVER AMAL AND THE PALESTINIANS, 
THE SIGNIGICANCE OF THIS TRUCE WAS HEAVILY DISCOUNTED 
BEFORE IT WENT INTO EFFECT. 
 
--ALTHOUGH THE IRANIAN REVOLUTION MAY BE THE MOST 
DYNAMIC MOVEMENT IN THE MIDDLE EAST OVER THE PAST 
DECADE, IT IS OUR FIRM IMPRESSION THAT A MAJORITY 
OF LEBANESE SHIA CONSIDER IT TO BE MORE THREATENING 
THAN ALLURING. OF COURSE IT HAS ALLURE FOR THE MORE 
FUNDAMENTALIST ELEMENTS, BUT THEY ARE STILL A MINORITY. 
EVEN HIZBALLAH'S SHAYK FADLALLAH MAINTAINS THAT IRAN'S 
REVOLUTION CANNOT BE DUPLICATED IN LEBANON. 
 
--SYRIA'S FORBEARANCE IN NOT CLAMPING DOWN ON IRANIAN 
ACTIVITIES IN LEBANON SEEMS TO BE A PRODUCT OF SYRIAN 
CONFIDENCE IN ITS ABILITY TO DO SO AND ITS SENSITIVITY 
REGARDING IRANIAN-SYRIAN TIES. WE DO NOT BELIEVE 
THAT IT IS BROUGHT ABOUT BY A LACK OF CAPACITY. 
 
 
MCNAMARA 

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