US embassy cable - 85BEIRUT2048

LEBANESE FORCES FINANCES

Identifier: 85BEIRUT2048
Wikileaks: View 85BEIRUT2048 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Beirut
Created: 1985-04-04 14:34:00
Classification: SECRET
Tags: PGOV ECON LE
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
R 041434Z APR 85
FM AMEMBASSY BEIRUT
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 2509
INFO AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS
AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
S E C R E T BEIRUT 02048 
 
E.O. 12356: DECL: OADR 
TAGS: PGOV, ECON, LE 
SUBJECT: LEBANESE FORCES FINANCES 
 
1.  S-ENTIRE TEXT. 
 
2.  LEBANESE FORCES OFFICIAL WHO REMAINS LOYAL TO DEPOSED 
CHIEF FUAD ABU NADER CONTENDS THAT PART OF REBEL LEADER 
JA'JA'S APPEAL TO RANK AND FILE IS HIS PROMISES THAT 
ECONOMY MOVES INTRODUCED BY ABU NADER WOULD END.  HE 
OBSERVES, HOWEVER, THAT PROMISES WILL BE DIFFICULT FOR 
JA'JA' TO KEEP. 
 
3.  ACCORDING TO THIS OFFICIAL, LF OPERATING EXPENSES 
ALONE AMOUNT TO 26 MILLION POUNDS A MONTH, MOSTLY 
STRAIGHT SALARY PAYMENTS.  THIS FIGURE PROVIDED NOTHING 
FOR AMMUNITION REPLACEMENT (BADLY NEEDED), SPARE PARTS 
FOR EQUIPMENT (BADLY NEEDED -- ACCORDING TO OFFICIAL LF 
TANKS COULDN'T MOVE INTO ACTION NOW WITHOUT SIGNIFICANT 
REPAIR), UNIFORMS,TRAINING, ETC. 
 
4.  OFFICIAL SAID INCOME SIDE WILL PRESENT JA'JA' WITH 
DIFFICULT PROBLEM, BEFORE UPRISING, OFFICIAL SAID,INCOME 
 
5.  OFFICIAL NOTED THAT LF HAD RE-OPENED NIGHT OPERATIONS 
AT FIFTH BASIN AT BEIRUT PORT TWELVE DAYS BEFORE UPRISING 
BECAUSE OF NEED FOR FUNDS, SO JA'JA' WILL CONTINUE TO 
BENEFIT FROM THIS SOURCE.  ON OTHER HAND, HE SAID, WITH 
SYRIANS OPENING ROADBLOCK AT MADFOUN BRIDGE, LF REVENUES 
FROM BARBARA CHECKPOINT HAVE DISAPPEARED; HE OPINED THAT 
JA'JA' MIGHT GO AS FAR AS TO OFFER UP CLOSING OF 
BARBARAH CHECKPOINT AS PEACE OFFERING TO SYRIA NOW THAT 
SYRIAN ACTION HAS MADE IT FINANCIALLY IRRELEVANT.  EVEN 
ASSUMING LF TIGHTENS UP TAXATION IN AREAS UNDER ITS 
CONTROL AND PERHAPS EXPAND FIFTH BASIN OPERATIONS, IT 
WILL STILL LEAVE THEM, HE ESTIMATED, MINIMUM OF 6 
MILLION POUNDS SHORT EACH MONTH. 
 
6.  OFFICIAL OBSERVED THAT EFFECTIVENESS OF DEA OPERATIONS 
MADE EXPORTATION OF HASHISH AN UNPROFITABLE OPTION. 
 
7.  ANOTHER OPTION WOULD BE CONTRIBUTIONS BY KEY LF 
REBEL FINANCIAL ANGELS; HE MENTIONED SPECIFICALLY PIERRE 
ASHKAR AND MICHEL MURR BUT HE QUESTIONED HOW LONG THEY 
WOULD WANT TO PICK UP THE DIFFERENCE.  REMAINING OPTION 
WOULD BE ONE LF WAS MOVING TOWARD BEFORE UPRISING: 
COMBINATION OF ECONOMY MOVES AND OF SELLING MILITARY 
RESOURCES ON CIVILIAN ECONOMY.  MOVES IN THAT DIRECTION 
HAD BEGUN PRIOR TO MARCH 12 UPRISING, SPECIFICALLY 
IN COMPUTER AREA, WHERE OFFICIAL SAID LF HAS MOST 
SOPHISTICATED OPERATION IN COUNTRY; AND IN VEHICLE 
MAINTENANCE. 
 
 
BARTHOLOMEW 

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