US embassy cable - 85BEIRUT1640

JA'JA'S "CHRISTIAN DECISION MOVEMENT" AND RECONCILIATION EFFORTS

Identifier: 85BEIRUT1640
Wikileaks: View 85BEIRUT1640 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Beirut
Created: 1985-03-15 16:19:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PGOV PINS LE
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
O 151619Z MAR 85
FM AMEMBASSY BEIRUT
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2214
INFO AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV PRIORITY
AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BEIRUT 01640 
 
E.O. 12356:  DECL: OADR 
TAGS:  PGOV, PINS, LE 
SUBJECT:  JA'JA'S "CHRISTIAN DECISION MOVEMENT" 
AND RECONCILIATION EFFORTS 
 
REF: BEIRUT 1635 
 
1.  (U) SUMMARY. A COMMITTEE CHAIRED BY THE 
MARONITE PARTIARCH CONTINUES ITS EFFORTS TO 
RECONCILE DIFFERENCES WHICH ERUPTED ON MARCH 13 
WITHIN THE LEBANESE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY BETWEEN 
JA'JA'S "CHRISTIAN DECISION MOVEMENT" AND 
PHALANGISTS LOYAL TO THE PRESIDENT.  THERE HAS 
BEEN NO SUBSTANTIAL PROGRESS SO FAR, BUT 
RECONCILATION EFFORTS CONTINUE. 
 
2.  (U) THE SITUATION ON THE GROUND REMAINS 
LARGELY UNCHANGED, WITH JA'JA'S MILITIAMEN 
CONTROLING MOST OF THE CHRISTIAN REGION FROM 
JUBAYL (BYBLOS) SOUTH TO THE DOG RIVER AND ALSO 
MUCH OF EAST BEIRUT ITSELF, INCLUDING 
ASHRAFIYAH.  PHALANGE MILITIAMEN LOYAL TO THE 
PRESIDENT CONTROL ONLY THE METN, THE GEMAYEL 
FIEFDOM SITUATED BETWEEN THE AREAS HELD BY 
JA'JA'.  ALL OF THESE AREAS REMAIN TENSE BUT 
CALM, EXCEPT FOR SOME ISOLATED CLASHES BETWEEN 
RIVAL LF GROUPS AT DAWRA (NEAR BEIRUT PORT) ON 
MORNING OF MARCH 15.  END SUMMARY. 
 
3.  (U)  THE SEVEN-MEMBER CHRISTIAN 
RECONCILIATION COMMITTEE, ESTABLISHED BY THE 
CHRISTIAN CONCLAVE CONVOKED URGENTLY BY GEMAYEL 
AT THE PRESIDENTIAL PALACE FOLLOWING JA'JA'S 
MARCH 13 UPRISING, MET FOR THE SECOND TIME IN 
BKERKE ON MARCH 14.  AT THIS SECOND MEETING, THE 
RECONCILIATION COMMITTEE, WHICH IS CHAIRED BY 
MARONITE PARTRIARCH KHURAYSH, WAS ABLE TO MEET 
WITH VARIOUS LF OFFICIALS, INCLUDING FOR THE 
FIRST TIME JA'JA' HIMSELF AND HIS MAIN 
SUPPORTERS.  BESIDES THE PARTRIARCH, THE 
RECONCILATION COMMITTEE INCLUDES CHRISTIAN MP'S 
ELIAS HRAOUI, MICHEL MURR, KHATCHIG BABIKIAN, 
GEBRANE TOK, MIKEAL DAHER, AND KHALIL ABUHAMAD. 
AT THE MARCH 14 BKERKE MEETING, THEY MET WITH THE 
FOLLOWING MEMBERS OF THE LF COMMAND COUNCIL: 
SAMIR JA'JA', ELIE HOBEIKA, TONY BRIDI, CHARLES 
GHOSTIN, NAOUM FARAH, ELIE ASSWAD, SAMIR TAWILE, 
AND FAWZI MAHFUZ.  LF COMMANER FUAD ABU NADIR DID 
NOT ATTEND, BUT HIS PREDECESSOR, FADI FREM, DID. 
 
4.  (U) JUDGING FROM THE COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AFTER 
THE BKERKE MEETING, LITTLE PROGRESS WAS MADE 
DURING THIS FIRST ENCOUNTER WITH JA'JA'.  "THE 
CHRISTIAN DECISON MOVEMENT," AS JA'JA'S GROUP NOW 
OFFICIALLY CALLS ITSELF, REAFFIRMED ITS POLITICAL 
NATURE, ITS DESIRE TO AVOID VIOLENCE, AND ITS AIM 
OF "REINFORCING THE INDEPENDENCE AND GLOBALITY OF 
CHRISTIAN DECISION ACCORDING TO DEMOCRATIC 
RULES."  IN THE COMMUNIQUE, JA'JA'S MOVEMENT ALSO 
REAFFIRMED ITS RESPECT FOR EXISTING LAWS AND 
DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTIONS.  IT CLAIMED THAT IT WAS 
"PURELY AND UNIQUELY LEBANESE CHRISTIAN," I.E., 
NOT ISRAELI BACKED.  FOLLOWING THE MEETING, 
HOBEIKA CALLED FOR THE REMOVAL OF ROADBLOCKS 
WHICH HAVE ISOLATED CERTAIN CHRISTIAN AREAS, MOST 
NOTABLY THE ROADBLOCK ESTABLISHED BY LOYALIST 
FORCES AT THE NORTHERN EXTREMITY OF THE METN 
IMMEDIATELY SOUTH OF THE DOG RIVER TUNNEL ON THE 
COASTAL HIGHWAY BETWEEN DUBAYYAH AND JUNNIYAH. 
 
5.  (U) FOLLOWING THE BKERKE MEETING, THE 
RECONCILIATION COMMITTEE REPORTEDLY TOLD 
PRESIDENT GEMAYEL THAT (A) JA'JA'S MOVEMENT WAS A 
MATTER WITHIN THE PHALANGE PARTY AND BETWEEN THAT 
PARTY AND THE LEBANESE FORCES AND (B) THAT JA'JA' 
HAD NO INTENTION OF LEADING A COUP D'ETAT.  THE 
RECONCILATION COMMITTEE THEN MET WITH THE 
PHALANGE PARTY POLITBURO. 
 
6. (C) SIMULTANEOUSLY FOLLOWING THE BKERKE 
MEETING, JA'JA' AND HIS MAJOR SUPPORTERS MET AT 
THE HOME OF BASHIR GEMAYEL'S WIDOW, SOLANGE, AND 
FORMED AN "EMERGENCY COMMITTEE" COMPOSED OF ABU 
NADIR, JA'JA', HOBEIKA, FREM, BRIDI, GHOSTIN, 
KARIM PAKRADUNI, AND GEORGES ADWAN.  SO 
FAR, THE PURPOSE OF THIS COMMITTEE HAS NOT BEEN 
ANNOUNCED BUT NAOUM FARAH (SEPTEL) CONFIRMED 
THAT IT IS AN EMBRYONIC POLITBURO OR COMMAND 
COUNCIL FOR JA'JA'S "CHRISTIAN DECISION MOVEMENT." 
 
7.  (U) EARLIER ON MARCH 14, PRESIDENT GEMAYEL 
RECEIVED GENERAL MUHAMMAD KHOLI, AN EMISSARY SENT 
BY SYRIAN PRESIDENT ASSAD REPORTEDLY TO REAFFIRM 
SYRIAN SUPPORT.  IT SEEMS HIGHLY UNLIKELY AT THIS 
POINT THAT SYRIAN VICE PRESIDENT KHADDAM WILL 
RETURN TO LEBANON ON MARCH 16 TO CONTINUE THE 
INTERCOMMUNAL POLITICAL TALKS UNTERTAKEN LAST 
MARCH 9-10 AT BIKFAYYA. 
 
8.  (U) IN REACTION TO JA'JA'S CHALLENGE, DRUZE 
LEADER WALID JUMBLATT, SPEAKING FOR THE NATIONAL 
DEMOCRATIC FRONT, LENT SUPPORT TO THE PRESIDENCY 
AND VEHEMENTLY CRITICIZED JA'JA'S MOVEMENT AS "AN 
ISRAELI ATTEMPT TO TORPEDO THE POLITICAL ACCORD 
BEING DRAWN UP UNDER THE AUSPICES OF SYRIAN 
LEADERS."  THE NDF REITERATED ITS SUPPORT FOR THE 
"SYRIAN OPTION." 
 
9. (C) LATE NOTE:  ACCORDING TO NAOUM FARAH (SEPTEL), 
THE "CHRISTIAN DECISION MOVEMENT" DOES,IN FACT, 
SUPPORT THE REOPENING OF THE DOG RIVER TUNNEL AND 
SEVERAL BRIDGES BLOCKED BY PHALANGE MILITIAMEN FROM 
THE METN LOYAL TO GEMAYEL.  AS OF EARLY AFTERNOON 
MARCH 15, THE LATTER HAD AGREED TO REMOVE THE 
BLOCKADES AND TURN THE CHOKE POINTS OVER TO THE LAF. 
 
 
BARTHOLOMEW 

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