US embassy cable - 85BEIRUT1668

SYRIAN EXERTS PRESSURE ON LEBANESE FORCE DISSIDENTS

Identifier: 85BEIRUT1668
Wikileaks: View 85BEIRUT1668 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Beirut
Created: 1985-03-17 10:48:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PGOV PREL LE
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
O 171048Z MAR 85
FM AMEMBASSY BEIRUT
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2237
INFO AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV PRIORITY
AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L BEIRUT 01668 
 
E.O. 12356: DECL: OADR 
TAGS:  PGOV, PREL, LE 
SUBJECT:  SYRIAN EXERTS PRESSURE ON LEBANESE 
FORCE DISSIDENTS 
 
REFS:  (A) DAMASCUS 1787, (B) BEIRUT 1653, (C) BEIRUT 164 
 
1.  CONFIDENTIAL ENTIRE TEXT. 
 
2.  SYRIA CONTINUES TO EXERT POLITICAL AND MILITARY 
PRESSURE AGAINST DISSIDENT ELEMENTS OF THE 
LEBANESE FORCES.  STATEMENTS FROM DAMASCUS BY 
SYRIAN AND LEBANESE LEADERS HINT AT RETALIATION 
IF THE REVOLT CONTINUES.  AFTER MEETING WITH 
PRESIDENT ASSAD, FORMER PRESIDENT SULEIMAN 
FRANJIEH MET ON MARCH 16 WITH MINISTERS BARRI 
AND JUMBLATT IN DAMASCUS.  AFTERWARD, THEY 
ISSUED A STATEMENT INCLUDING A VEILED THREAT: 
"THE ACTION UNDERTAKEN IN CERTAIN REGIONS OF 
LEBANON BY A GROUP WITH SUSPECTED TIES TO 
ISRAEL AND SUPPORTED BY THE UNITED STATES 
THREATENS THE UNITY, PEACE, AND EXISTENCE OF LEBANON 
AND COULD LEAD TO RENEWED CIVIL WAR."  THIS IS 
ONLY THE LATEST IN A SERIES OF MENACING STATEMENTS 
ISSUING FROM THE SYRIAN CAPITAL. 
 
3.  ON THE MILITARY FRONT, THE SITUATION DE- 
SCRIBED  IN REFTEL B CONTINUES.  THERE ARE 
NO INDICATIONS OF ANY INTENTION TO ENGAGE 
LF UNITS AT MADFOUN.  TO THE CONTRARY, L'ORIENT- 
LE JOUR REPORTS PM KARAMI SAYING PRIVATELY THAT 
SYRIAN FORCES WOULD NOT INTERVENE WITHOUT AN 
OFFICIAL GOL REQUEST. 
 
4.  JA' JA' AND HIS DISSIDENTS ARE RESPONDING TO 
THIS SYRIAN INTIMIDATION.  THEY SHOW GREAT 
CONCERN AT SYRIAN TROOP MOVEMENTS (SEPTEL).  IN 
ADDITION, THE CHRISTIAN DECISION MOVEMENT (CDM) 
EMERGENCY COUNCIL STATED ON MARCH 16, FOR THE 
THIRD CONSECUTIVE DAY, ITS AVERSION TO THE USE 
OF FORCE AND ITS PREFERENCE FOR A POLITICAL 
ROLE.  IT ALSO DECLARED ITS WILLINGNESS TO OPEN 
CONTACTS WITH THE SYRIANS AND ALL OTHER CONCERNED 
PARTIES.  COMMAND COUNCIL MEMBER KARIM PAKRADOUNI 
HAS NOW HAD TWO CONVERSATIONS WITH SYRIAN FIRST 
VP KHADDAM IN WHICH HE DENIED ANY CDM TIES TO 
ISRAEL.  THE MOVEMENT SEEMS TO BE MAKING THE 
MAXIMUM EFFORT TO ALLEVIATE SYRIAN CONCERNS. 
 
5.  IN RESPONSE TO PM KARAMI'S MARCH 15 BLAST AT 
THE DISSIDENTS (SEPTEL), THE JA'JA' FORCES 
HAVE PROPOSED THE FORMATION OF A CHRISTIAN NATIONAL 
COUNCIL TO SERVE AS A FORUM FOR UNIQUELY CHRISTIAN 
VOICES.  THIS IS AN IDEA  WHICH HAS BEEN DUSTED 
OFF AT INTERVALS SINCE 1981.  ONLY TIME WILL 
TELL IF IT IS ONCE AGAIN A NON-STARTER. 
 
6.  THE SITUATION ON THE GROUND REMAINS TENSE BUT 
QUIET.  TRAFFIC CONTINUES UNIMPEDED ALONG THE 
COASTAL HIGHWAY FROM BEIRUT AS FAR NORTH AS 
MADFOUN.  AT MADFOUN, HOWEVER, WHILE NORTH- 
BOUND TRAFFIC IS PERMITTED THROUGH, TRAFFIC 
FROM TRIPOLI SOUTH TOWARD BEIRUT IS HALTED AND 
TURNED BACK. 
 
 
BARTHOLOMEW 

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