US embassy cable - 85BEIRUT1653

SYRIA RATTLES ITS SABER

Identifier: 85BEIRUT1653
Wikileaks: View 85BEIRUT1653 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Beirut
Created: 1985-03-16 15:08:00
Classification: SECRET
Tags: PREL PGOV LE SY
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
O 161508Z MAR 85
FM AMEMBASSY BEIRUT
TO SECSTATE WASHDC NIACT IMMEDIATE 2224
AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS NIACT IMMEDIATE
AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV NIACT IMMEDIATE
AMEMBASSY RIYADH NIACT IMMEDIATE
S E C R E T BEIRUT 01653 
 
E.O. 12356: DECL: OADR 
TAGS:  PREL, PGOV, LE, SY 
SUBJECT:  SYRIA RATTLES ITS SABER 
 
1.  SECRET ENTIRE TEXT. 
 
2.  MOD SOURCES HAVE INFORMED EMBASSY OF THE 
FOLLOWING: 
 
SYRIAN LINES IN THE NORTH HAVE NOT REPEAT NOT 
CHANGED.  HOWEVER, REDISPOSITION OF UNITS HAS 
TAKEN PLACE TO INCLUDE POSITIONING OF TWO STALIN 
MULTIPLE 36 TWO ROCKET LAUNCHERS AND A PLATOON 
(5) OF TANKS ON KEY TERRAIN FEATURE (OVERLOOKING 
VILLAGE OF IBRIE WHICH FACES THE CAZA OF 
JUBAYL (BYBLOS) WHICH IS JA'JA'S TURF.)  ADDITIONALLY, 
WHAT APPEARS TO BE SYRIAN ARMORED BATTALION (20- 
25 TANKS) HAS TAKEN UP POSITIONS BETWEEN BATROUN 
AND SHIKA.  3,000 TROOPS OF THE PALESTINE LIBERATION 
ARMY ALSO HAVE MOVED INTO POSITIONS AROUND 
BISHRI, WHICH IS HOME VILLAGE OF JA'JA', AND THEY 
ARE FORTIFYING THESE POSITIONS. 
 
3.  COMMENT:  ALL REDISPOSITIONS ARE WITHIN 
EXISTING SYRIAN LINES.  THAT SAID, THEY SEND 
A CLEAR AND OBVIOUS SIGNAL. 
WE HAVE NO INDEPENDENT CONFIRMATION OF THIS 
INFORMATION.  BUT IF THE SYRIANS USE FORCE 
AGAINST THE DISSIDENTS IT WILL HAVE DEVASTATING 
IMPACT ON THE ENTIRE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY AND COULD 
WELL FORCE THEM TO RALLY ROUND THE FLAG CARRIED 
BY THE JA JA GROUP.  WE WOULD ALSO BE BLAMED 
BY SOME--CITING OUR "DEFACTO ALLIANCE" WITH THE 
SYRIANS AGAINST THE DISSIDENTS--AND SUBJECTED TO 
APPEALS TO INTERCEDE WITH THE SYRIANS. 
 
4.  SYRIA MAY, INDEED, BE ONLY RATTLING ITS 
SABER AT THIS POINT.  WASHINGTON AND DAMASCUS 
MIGHT NONETHELESS CONSIDER APPROACHING SARG 
TO CITE REPORTS OF SYRIAN REDISPOSITIONS AND TO 
SAY THAT CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY IS WORKING POLITICAL 
SOLUTION TO THE INTERNAL DISPUTE AND SYRIAN USE 
OF FORCE WOULD BE COUNTERPRODUCTIVE AND 
DAMAGING FOR UNITY AND STABILITY OF LEBANON.  END 
COMMENT. 
 
5.  DAO REPORT IRR 6 857 0135 85 CONTAINS FURTHER 
INFORMATION ON THIS SUBJECT. 
 
BARTHOLOMEW 

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