US embassy cable - 85BEIRUT2434

LF COMPLETES WITHDRAWAL FROM SIDON, AND ISRAELIS LEAVE THE WEST BIQA'

Identifier: 85BEIRUT2434
Wikileaks: View 85BEIRUT2434 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Beirut
Created: 1985-04-25 14:13:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PGOV PREL LE
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
O 251413Z APR 85
FM AMEMBASSY BEIRUT
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2792
INFO AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L BEIRUT 02434 
 
E.O. 12356:  DECL:  OADR 
TAGS:  PGOV, PREL, LE 
SUBJECT:  LF COMPLETES WITHDRAWAL FROM SIDON, AND 
ISRAELIS LEAVE THE WEST BIQA' 
 
REFERENCE:  BEIRUT 2408 
 
1.(U)  LOCAL PRESS REPORTS THE COMPLETION ON APRIL 24 
OF THE WITHDRAWAL OF 450 LF MILITIAMEN FROM THE SIDON 
AREA TO EAST BEIRUT.  HOWEVER, THESE REPORTS 
CONTINUE, LAF UNITS HAVE STILL NOT OCCUPIED THE 
FORMER LF POSITIONS EAST OF THE CITY, AND SPORADIC 
EXCHANGES OF FIRE CONTINUE TO MAR THE CEASE-FIRE.  LF 
MILITIAMEN NATIVE TO THE AREA ARE SAID TO REMAIN 
ARMED AND IN UNIFORM.  SCATTERED FIGHTING WAS 
REPORTED ON BOTH MAIN AXES OF CONFRONTATION WITH LF 
FIGHTERS IN QAYAA EXCHANGING FIRE WITH THE LAF, AND 
PALESTINIANS FROM THE MIYAH MIYAH CAMP FIRING MORTAR 
ROUNDS INTO THE VILLAGE OF MIYAH MIYAH.  LF OFFICIALS 
DENY THAT THE CHRISTIANS RETURNED FIRE, BUT THE 
PALESTINIANS CLAIM NINE WERE WOUNDED BY CHRISTIAN 
FIRE.  THE CITY REMAINS TENSE. 
 
2.(U)  PRESS REPORTS ALSO DESCRIBE THE APRIL 24 
ISRAELI WITHDRAWAL FROM THE WESTERN BIQA', JABAL 
BARUK, AND JAZZIN.  THE NEW ISRAELI FRONT LINE THUS 
STRETCHES FROM THE COAST EAST ALONG THE LITANI RIVER, 
THEN NORTHEASTERLY TO KFAR HUNA, AND EAST AGAIN TO 
MT. HERMON.  ALTHOUGH THEY HAVE REPORTEDLY DISMANTLED 
THEIR POSITIONS IN AND AROUND TYRE, THE ISRAELIS HAVE 
NOT YET LEFT THE CITY.  AS THEY LEFT THE WESTERN 
BIQA', THEY DROPPED LEAFLETS WARNING THE LOCAL 
INHABITANTS AGAINST COOPERATING WITH THE SHIA 
RESISTANCE FIGHTERS:  "WE MUST REMIND YOU THAT THE 
ISRAELI FORCES WILL NOT HESITATE TO DEAL FIRMLY AND 
WITHOUT MERCY WITH THOSE WHO COOPERATE WITH 
TERRORISM." 
 
3.(U)  OF THE NEWLY EVACUATED AREAS, ONLY THE WEST 
BIQA' HAS BEEN OCCUPIED BY THE LAF, ACCORDING TO 
PRESS REPORTS.  THERE, UNITS OF THE SHIA FIRST 
BRIGADE WERE WARMLY GREETED BY AREA RESIDENTS.  PSP 
FORCES, HOWEVER, OCCUPIED THE STRATEGIC HILL OF JABAL 
BARUK, ALTHOUGH THE ISRAELIS HAD DISMANTLED THEIR 
INSTALLATIONS BEFORE DEPARTING.  THE SITUATION IN 
JAZZIN, REPORTED REFTEL, REMAINS UNCLEAR. 
 
4.(C)  COMMENT.  EMBASSY CONTACTS HAVE LONG INDICATED 
THAT PSP LEADER WALID JUMBLATT INTENDED TO OCCUPY 
JABAL BARUK ONCE THE ISRAELIS LEFT.  IT IS UNLIKELY 
HE WILL BE CONVINCED TO YIELD THIS STRATEGIC POSITION 
TO AN LAF FORCE HE DOES NOT CONTROL.  END COMMENT. 
 
BARTHOLOMEW 

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