US embassy cable - 85BEIRUT172

CHRISTIAN CHURCHES BOMBED IN TRIPOLI

Identifier: 85BEIRUT172
Wikileaks: View 85BEIRUT172 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Beirut
Created: 1985-01-10 16:42:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PINT LE
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
R 101642Z JAN 85
FM AMEMBASSY BEIRUT
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 1309
INFO AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS
AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
C O N F I D E N T I A L BEIRUT 00172 
 
E.O. 12356: DECL: OADR 
TAGS:  PINT, LE 
SUBJECT:  CHRISTIAN CHURCHES BOMBED IN TRIPOLI 
 
1.  (U)  THERE HAVE BEEN SEVERAL ATTACKS AGAINST 
CHRISTIAN INSTITUTIONS IN TRIPOLI DURING THE 
PERIOD JANUARY 8-9.  TWO CHURCHES, MARONITE AND 
GREEK ORTHODOX, WERE BOMBED ON TUESDAY, CAUSING 
SERIOUS DAMAGE, WHILE ANOTHER GREEK ORTHODOX 
CHURCH AND AN EVANGELICAL INSTITUTION WERE DAMAGED 
IN ATTACKS WEDNESDAY.  A CHRISTIAN CEMETARY WAS 
ALSO BOMBED WEDNESDAY NIGHT. 
 
2.  (U)  ISLAMIC UNIFICATION MOVEMENT (TAWHIID) 
HAS ISSUED TWO CONSECUTIVE CONDEMNATIONS OF THE 
ATTACKS, NOTING THAT TRIPOLI HAS TRADITIONALLY 
BEEN AN EXAMPLE OF RELIGIOUS UNITY, AND DEPLORING 
EFFORTS "TO FRIGHTEN THE CHRISTIANS OUT OF THE 
CITY."  WEEKLY MEETING OF ISLAMIC DAR AL-FATWA 
WEDNESDAY ALSO CONDEMNED THE BOMBINGS, AS DID 
BRIG. OTHMAN OTHMAN, DIRECTOR GENERAL OF 
INTERNAL SECURITY FORCES DURING A VISIT TO 
TRIPOLI WEDNESDAY. 
 
3.  (C)  CHRISTIAN NOTABLE AND LEBANESE FORCES 
CHARTER MEMBER, CHARLES MALIK, TOLD POLOFF THAT 
FOUR CHRISTIANS HAVE, AS WELL, BEEN MURDERED ON 
ROADS NEAR TRIPOLI, AND THAT CHRISTIAN RESIDENTS 
OF AREA FEAR FOR THEIR LIVES.  HE SAID THAT 
"LEBANESE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY" IS THINKING OF 
PREPARING A DEMARCHE TO STATE DEPARTMENT ON 
TRIPOLI VIOLENCE. 
 
4.  COMMENT (C):  AS ALWAYS IN BEIRUT, LIST OF 
POSSIBLE PERPETRATORS OF THESE ATTACKS IS A LONG 
ONE, BEGINNING WITH TAWHIID ITSELF.  MANY 
OBSERVERS ATTRIBUTE BOMBINGS, WHICH COME SOON 
AFTER RECENT DEPLOYMENT OF LAF INTO TRIPOLI 
AS PART OF NORTHERN SECURITY PLAN, AS EFFORT 
TO EMBARASS GOL (WHILE AT SAME TIME INTIMIDATING 
CHRISTIANS).  ELABORATING ON THIS HYPOTHESIS, 
CHRISTIAN LEBANESE EMBASSY EMPLOYEE FROM KOURA 
REGION HAS TOLD US THAT MUCH BLAME IS BEING LAID 
AT FEET OF STILL-ACTIVE COMMUNISTS IN TRIPOLI, 
WITH RATIONALE BEING THAT LATTER ARE TRYING TO 
DISRUPT SECURITY PLAN THERE AND PLACE THE BLAME 
ON TAWHIID "PRINCE" SHA'BAN, WHO RECENTLY 
BOASTED IN A PUBLIC SPEECH THAT THE COMMUNISTS 
HAD BEEN CRUSHED IN TRIPOLI.  A SIMILAR ARGUMENT, 
HOWEVER, COULD BE MADE THAT TAWIID'S MAIN RIVAL 
IN TRIPOLI, THE ARAB DEMOCRATIC PARTY, IS 
BEHIND BOMBINGS. 
 
BARTHOLOMEW 

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