The War Files (Part X) – The Christian Infighting Of 1985

Geagea, Hobeika, and Pakradouni in 1985

Pakradouni, Geagea, and Hobeika  in 1985

This month marks the 40th anniversary of the Lebanese Civil War that started on the 13th of April 1975. This is why I’ve decided to publish WikiLeaks cables from the war era, every day till the 13th of April. I think it would be interesting to look at things from a different point of view, and since it’s not the Lebanese who are telling the stories, I believe it offers a unique insight on the civil war. Although there are a lot more cables on WikiLeaks, I won’t republish them all  in order to focus on the most relevant ones. I hope you enjoy reading them.

In the last years of the war, a lot of the battles happened between militias belonging to the same sectarian group. In today’s post, we look at some of the cables covering a period of inter-Christian fighting during the war (here, it’s between Amine Gemayel – the president, and members of the Lebanese Forces). You’ll find the names of Pakradouni, Gemayel, Michel Murr and Geagea (among others). The cables are organized chronologically.

JA’JA’S MOVEMENT COMMUNIQUE
1985 March 15, 17:45 (Friday)
85BEIRUT1645_a
UNCLASSIFIED
UNCLASSIFIED
— Not Assigned —
1. ON MARCH 14, SAMIR JA’JA’S FORCES, NOW CALLED THE “CHRISTIAN DECISION MOVEMENT,” ISSUED THE FOLLOWING COMMUNIQUE OUTLINING THEIR AIMS.
2. BEGIN TEXT. “THERE HAVE BEEN A LOT OF QUERIES LATELY ABOUT WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO THE AUTONOMOUS DECISION OF THE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY, ON WHETHER THIS COMMUNITY HAD ACTUALLY LOST THE INITIATIVE, ON WHETHER SUBSISTANCE AND INSTITUTIONAL UPHEAVAL EMBODIED BY BASHIR GEMAYEL’S POLICY HAS BEEN OVERSTEPPED BY TIME AND ON WHETHER CHRISTIAN INSTITUTIONS FOR CONSULTATION AND DECISION HAVE BEEN CRIPPLED OR HAVE JUST FALLEN INTO DISUSE, THE STATEMENT SAID. “IN ANY CASE, WHAT IS THE ALTERNATIVE? THE STATE- MENT ADDED. SOME SAY IT SHOULD BE THE POLITICAL COMPROMISES UNDERWAY WHILE OTHERS SPEAK, AFTER THE FALL OF INTERNATIONAL GUARANTEES, OF REGIONAL GUARANTEES INSTEAD. WHATEVER THE CASE MAY BE, ALL THESE MATTERS CAN BE DISCUSSED. BUT WHAT IS CRYSTAL-CLEAR IS THAT THERE CAN BE NO SOLID POLITICAL SOLUTION UNLESS COUPLED WITH AN ADEQUATE BALANCE OF FORCES BEARING CLEAR-OUT FEATURES AND AN UNEQUIVOCAL POLITICAL STRATEGY TO GO ALONG WITH AN AUTONOMOUS DECISION FREED FROM ALL TRUSTEESHIPS. “THE RESTORATION OF THE DECISION AND THE SOCIAL CENTRALIZATION OF IT CAN, ALONE, PROVIDE THE PROPER FRAME FOR ANY SERIOUS DISCUSSION LIKELY TO LEAD US TO THE KIND OF PEACE ASPIRED TO, FOR WE REJECT THE PEACE RESULTING FROM SUBMITTING TO OTHER PEOPLE’S WILL. “THE CHRISTIAN DECISION MOVEMENT HAS PROVIDED THE ANSWER TO ALL THESE QUERIES. THIS MOVEMENT ACTUALLY CONSTITUTES THE ORGANIZED EXPRESSION OF THE WILL OF THE BASE OF ALL CHRISTIAN IN- STITUTIONS IN RECUPERATING THE DECISION AND THE INITIATIVE, AND THERE CANNOT BE, FROM THIS DAY FORWARD, NO RELIANCE BUT ON THE AUTONOMOUS DECISION AND NO GUARANTEE BUT THROUGH POLICIES THAT INCARNATE THIS DECISION. “FROM THIS DAY FORWARD, THE SECURITY OF THE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY WILL NOT BE DEPENDING ANYMORE ON THE CHANGES OF INTERNATIONAL OR REGIONAL POLICIES AND THERE WILL BE NO POLITICAL WILL LINKED TO THE MOODS AND DISPOSITIONS THAT GOVERN POLITICAL INTERCOURSE IN THIS TORMENTED COUNTRY. “FROM THIS DAY FORWARD, THERE WILL BE NO CHRISTIAN SOCIETY WITH A CRIPPLED WILL AND KEPT DEPRIVED OF POLICYMAKING AT HOME AND ON THE REGIONAL PLANE AS WELL, AND RULED BY VIOLENT WARRING STRATEGIES. “THE BASIS FOR AN OBJECTIVE COOPERATION WITH A REALITY OF THE KIND WE HAVE DEPICTED IS CLEAR AND CAN BE DEFINED, IN BRIEF, AS FOLLOWS: “EXTREMISM CANNOT BE DETERRED OTHERWISE THAN BY STEADFASTNESS, AND HEGEMONY AND DISCRIMINATORY PHENOMENA CANNOT BE HANDLED BUT THROUGH CLEAR POLITICAL WILLS AND IDEAS AND ADEQUATE EXECUTIVE INSTRUMENTS. “ONLY WHEN THE CHRISTIAN FREEDOM OF DECISION IS RESTORED AND THE STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES OF IT CLEARLY DEFINED CAN NEGOTIATION AND INTERCOURSE WITH ALL SIDES BECOME POSSIBLE, ON THE HOME FRONT AND ON THE REGIONAL LEVEL. OTHERWISE, WE WOULD BE ENGAGED INTO A DANGEROUS TURNING POINT LIKELY TO WIPE OUT WHAT IS LEFT OF OUR ENERGIES, OUR CREDIBILITY AND OUR EFFICIENCY. “THE CHRISTIAN DECISION MOVEMENT CONSIDERS THAT THE SETTING UP OF NEW BASES FOR DEALINGS AND DIALOGUE HAS BECOME AN INDISPENSIBLE PRE- REQUISITE FOR LIBERATING THE LEBANESE INDEPENDENT DECISION WHICH, ALONE, IS CAPABLE OF ALLOWING US TO FACE SUCCESSFULLY THE SECOND DECADE OF OUR BITTER STRUGGLE. TO ACHIEVE THIS, WE MUST: “FIRSTLY, RESHUFFLE THE ORGANIZATIONAL AND IN- STITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK OF THE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY; “SECONDLY, REBUILD THE SOCIAL SECURITY OF THE CHRISTIANS ON NEW FOUNDATIONS BASED UPON: A) AN INSTITUTIONAL AND CENTRAL CHRISTIAN INDEPENDENT DECISION; B) A CO-ORDINATING, CONSULTATIVE AND EXECUTIVE FRAMEWORK GROUPING THE VARIOUS SOCIAL AND CHURCH LEADERSHIPS; C) ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL STRATEGIES OF A COMPLEMENTARY NATURE AIMED OVERRUNNING ALL STANDING DIFFICULTIES. AND THE MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL THIS IS THE CORRECTION OF THE STRUCTURES AS TO ENSURE THEIR ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL EFFICIENCY; D)LEGAL INSTITUTIONS ACTUALLY PERFORMING THEIR NATIONAL OVERALL REPRESENTATIVE ROLE; E) AN ETHNIC AND CULTURAL IDENTITY WITH CLEAR- CUT FEATURES AND CULTURAL AND EDUCATIONAL BALANCED STRATEGIES. “CHRISTIAN LEBANESE, “WE ARE A PEOPLE WHOSE ENTITY IS BASED UPON RESPECT AND COMMITMENT TOWARDS ALL CAUSES INVOLVING THE FATE OF MAN OR HIS DIGNITY AND WHEREVER MAN’S LIBERTIES ARE JEOPARDIZED OR UNSECURE. “THERE CAN BE NO HAZARDS IN CHRISTIANITY BUT DECISIONS INSPIRED BY THE HOLY GOSPEL, BY JESUS-CHRIST’S OWN WORDS: SPEAK ALWAYS THE TRUTH AND BE STRAIGHT- FORWARD: NO FOR NO AND YEST FOR YES”.
END TEXT.
BARTHOLOMEW
JA’JA’S “CHRISTIAN DECISION MOVEMENT” AND RECONCILIATION EFFORTS
1985 March 15, 16:19 (Friday)
85BEIRUT1640_a
CONFIDENTIAL
CONFIDENTIAL
— Not Assigned —
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
SOLVING THE CHRISTIAN CRISIS: THE PHALANGE VIEW
1985 March 18, 18:23 (Monday)
85BEIRUT1683_a
SECRET
SECRET
— Not Assigned —
VIEW
1. SECRET ENTIRE TEXT.
2. SUMMARY: AMBASSADOR CALLED ON MINISTER OF PTT JOSEPH HASHEM MARCH 18. HASHEM IS A PHALANGE PARTY LEADER AND CLOSE ASSOCIATE OF PRESIDENT GEMAYEL. HE IS ON THE COMMITTEE OF THREE (WITH KARIM PAKKRADOUNI REPRESENTING THE DISSIDENTS AND MICHEL MURR AS THE THIRD MAN WITH LINKS BETWEEN BOTH SIDES) THAT HAS BEEN CHARGED WITH HAMMERING OUT A SOLUTION. HASHEM SAID HE HAD JUST LEFT A PHALANGE POLITICAL BUREAU MEETING TO MEET WITH THE AMBASSADOR AND WOULD SHORTLY BE GOING INTO A MEETING OF THE THREE-MAN COMMITTEE TO FINISH A COMMUNIQUE WHICH WOULD “REASSURE EVERYONE.” THE CHIEF ELEMENT OF THE COMPROMISE APPEARS TO BE A RESTRUCTURING” OF THE PHALANGE AND THE LF WHICH WOULD GIVE THE LF DISSIDENTS MORE OF A VOICE AND MORE INDEPENDENCE. HASHEM SAID THAT THE USG HAD CONSIDERABLE INFLUENCE IN THE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY AND APPRECIATED WHAT THE AMBASSADOR HAD BEEN SAYING. AMBASSADOR EXPRESSED SATISFACTION WITH PROGRESS ON THE POLITICAL SOLUTION BUT NOTED IT SHOULD NOT COME AT PRICE OF WEAKENING THE POSITION OF THE PRESIDENT, OR THE COHESION OF THE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY, AND THE COMMITTMENT TO REALISM AND FLEXIBILITY IN THE POLITICAL REFORM PROCESS. END SUMMARY.
3. HASHEM ARGUED THAT THERE WERE NO MAJOR POLITICAL DIFFERENCES WITH THE DISSIDENTS, WITNESS THEIR OWN CONTACTS WITH SYRIA (A REFERENCE TO PAKRADOUNI’S DISCUSSIONS WITH KHADDAM OVER THE LAST FEW DAYS.) HE SAID THE PHALANGE PARTY STRUCTURE HAD NOT BEEN REVAMPED FOR TEN YEARS AND IT WAS NORMAL TO THINK OF RESTRUCTURING IT NOW IN A WAY THAT WOULD GIVE THE DISSIDENTS MORE PARTICIPATION AND POSITION, POLITICAL, MILITARY, AND FINANCIAL. THIS WAS THE FOCUSS OF THE CURRENT COMPROMISE EFFORT. THERE WOULD PROBABLY ALSO BE A “NATIONAL CHRISTIAN COUNCIL” WHICH WOULD BE A BROADENED LEBANESE FRONT REPRESENTING ALL CHRISTIAN GROUPS. IT WOULD BE ADVISORY AND NOT “PARLIAMENTARY” (AND THEREFORE WOULD NOT UNDERCUT THE PRESIDENT’S AUTHORITY OR SMACK OF AN INDEPENDENT CHRISTIAN “CANTON”.) HASHEM SAID THE CHIEF CONCERN WAS THAT THE LEBANESE FORCE MOVEMENT THREATENED TO UNDERCUT THE PRESIDENT, TRIGGER ADVERSE REACTIONS FROM THE LEBANESE MOSLEMS AND FROM SYRIA, AND UNDERMINE THE EFFORTS AT REACHING POLITICAL ACCOMODATION. HE KNEW THE USG SHARED THESE CONCERNS AND THE AMBASSADOR WAS MAKING THIS CLEAR TO “ALL SIDES.”
4. HASHEM SAID HE THOUGHT CONSIDERABLE PROGRESS HAD BEEN MADE IN THE THREE-MAN COMMITTEE. HE HAD BEEN DISCUSSING THE ISSUE JUST NOW IN THE SESSION OF THE PHALANGE POLITICAL BUREAU WHICH HE HAD LEFT TO MEET WITH THE AMBASSADOR. HE WOULD BE MEETING WITH MURR AND PAKRADOUNI UPON LEAVING THE MEETING WITH THE AMBASSADOR AND THOUGHT THEY WOULD BE ABLE TO REACH A COMMUNIQUE WHICH WOULD “REASSURE EVERYONE.”
5. THE AMBASSADOR SAID THAT SINCE HASHEM WAS SO WELL AWARE OF THE USG VIEWS ON THE SITUATION HE WOULD NOT REPEAT THEM IN DETAIL. HE HOPED THAT HASHEM WAS RIGHT THAT THE LF DISSIDENTS DID NOT DIFFER GREATLY FROM THE MAIN POLITICAL LINES THE PRESIDENT AND THE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY WERE ON. THAT SAID, MUCH OF WHAT THEY SAID IN THE PAST, AND INDEED NOW, RAISED QUESTIONS AS TO WHETHER THEY WOULD SHOW THE REALISM AND FLEXIBILITY REQUIRED TO PROTECT THE NATION’S DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTIONS STARTING WITH THE CHRISTIAN PRESIDENCY, WORK POLITICAL REFORMS WITH THE MOSLEMS, PRESERVE THE WELL-BEING OF THE CHRISTIANS, AND CONTAIN SYRIAN INFLUENCE. IF THE COMPROMISES BEING WORKED ON IN THE THREE-MAN COMMITTEE BEGAN A PROCESS WHICH WOULD UNDERCUT THESE OBJECTIVES, THEN IT WOULD MEAN A PYRRHIC VICTORY FOR THE CHRISTIANS AND FOR LEBANON.
6. HASHEM SAID THAT HE FELT THINGS WERE ON TRACT TOWARD A SOLUTION WHICH WOULD ASSURE EVERYONE (INCLUDING THE MOSLEMS AND SYRIA) THAT LEBANON’S “POLITICAL SYSTEM AND POLITICAL LINE” WILL BE MAINTAINED. HE SAID HE WAS NEVERTHELESS CONCERNED THAT SOME INDIVIDUALS AMONG THE LF DISSIDENTS ESPECIALLY IDENTIFIED WITH ISRAEL COULD OBSTRUCT THE PROCESS. HE THOUGHT THE USG COULD HELP HEAD THIS OFF BY GETTING THE RIGHT WORD TO THESE IN- DIVIDUALS AND TO THE ISRAELIS. THE AMBASSADOR REPLIED THAT HE WAS SATISFIED THAT THE ISRAELIS WERE NOT A MAJOR FACTOR IN EITHER THE GENESIS OR THE DIRECTION OF THE LF DISSIDENT MOVEMENT. DAVID KINCHE HAD YESTERDAY MADE THIS PUBLIC AND UNDERSCORED THE LIMITS OF THE ISRAELI INTEREST AND ROLE IN WHAT WAS HAPPENING INSIDE THE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY. IN FACT, THE ISRAELIS HAVE NO INTEREST IN SIGNIFICANTLY “RE-ENGAGING” IN LEBANON BY PLAYING A MAJOR ROLE IN THIS FRACAS — OR ITS CONSEQUENCES. THE ISRAELIS ARE ON THEIR WAY OUT OF LEBANON, AND NOT ON THEIR WAY BACK IN (HASHEM NODDED AGREEMENT TO THIS LAST STATEMENT.)
7. HASHEM CLOSED CONVERSATION BY REFERRING TO AMBASSADOR’S UPCOMING MEETING WITH KARIM PAKRADOUNI (ANNOUNCED OVER THE LF CONTROLLED VOL.) HE REITERATED THAT THE U.S. HAS CONSIDERABLE INFLUENCE IN THE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY. HE, THEREFORE, THOUGHT IT IMPORTANT THAT THE AMBASSADOR MAKE CLEAR IN ANY CONTACTS WITH THE DISSIDENTS THAT THEY SHOULD NOT UNDERMINE LEBANON’S “POLITICAL SYSTEM AND POLITICAL LINE”, AND THAT THEY WILL HAVE NO SUPPORT FROM THE OUTSIDE, FROM EITHER THE U.S. OR OTHERS IF THEY DO. THE AMBASSADOR SAID HE HAD MADE THE USG VIEW CLEAR IN ALL HIS CONTACTS AND WILL CONTINUE TO DO SO.
8. COMMENTS: HASHEM WAS OBVIOUSLY TIRED FROM THE UNENDING SERIES OF LATE-NIGHT MEETINGS THAT HE AND ALL OTHER ACTORS IN THE MELEE HAVE BEEN LIVING THROUGH. HE DID NOT APPEAR SPECIFICALLY ENTHUSIASTIC ABOUT THE POLITICAL COMPROMISE THAT IS SHAPING UP, AND CERTAINLY DID NOT CONVEY THE IMAGE OF A MAN READY TO CLAIM SUCCESS IN PUTTING THE GENI BACK IN THE BOTTLE. IT WILL BE INTERESTING TO SEE WHAT PAKRADOUNI HAS TO SAY IN HIS MEETING WITH THE AMBASSADOR LATER TODAY. END COMMENT.
BARTHOLOMEW
CHRISTIAN DECISION MOVEMENT RESPONDS TO CONTINUING SYRIA PRESSURE
1985 March 18, 14:30 (Monday)
85BEIRUT1676_a
CONFIDENTIAL
CONFIDENTIAL
— Not Assigned —
1. CONFIDENTIAL ENTIRE TEXT.
2. THE FOCUS OF SYRIAN PRESSURE ON DISSIDENT CHRISTIANS HAS SHIFTED TO THE POLITICAL ARENA AND THE USE OF LEBANESE MUSLIM LEADERS. SYRIAN VICE PRESIDENT KHADDAM HAS CANCELLED HIS MARCH 18 VISIT TO BEIRUT. THE WEEKLY WEDNESDAY MEETING OF THE LEBANESE CABINET HAS ALSO BEEN POSTPONED BECAUSE MINISTERS JUMBLATT AND BARRI WOULD NOT ATTEND. JUMBLATT IS IN MOSCOW, WHILE BARRI CLAIMS THAT THE ROAD TO BAABDA IS UNSAFE. THE IMPLICATION IS THAT THE ROAD WILL NOT BE SAFE UNTIL THE CHRISTIAN DISSIDENTS ARE BROUGHT INTO LINE. IN A SPEECH IN MUKHTARA SUNDAY TO COMMEMORATE THE EIGHTH ANNIVERSARY OF THE ASSASSINATION OF KAMEL JUMBLATT, WALID JUMBLATT URGED HIS SUPPORTERS TO REASON FOR A POSSIBLE NEW ROUND OF FIGHTING. HE THREATENED TO “BREAK THE NECKS” OF THE CHRISTIAN REBELS. AT A PRESS CONFERENCE SCHEDULED FOR LATE TODAY (3/18), BARRI IS EXPECTED TO STEP UP THE POLITICAL PRESSURE AGAINST JA’JA”S CHRISTIAN DECISION MOVEMENT (CDM).
3. IN THE FACE OF THIS CONTINUING PRESSURE, RECONCILIATION EFFORTS CONTINUE WITHIN THE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY. A TRIPARTITE COMMITTEE COMPOSED OF MINISTER OF PUBLIC HEALTH JOSEPH AL-HASLEM, FORMER MINISTER AND PHALANGE POLITICAL ALLY MICHEL AL-MURR, AND CDM EMERGENCY COMMITTEE MEMBER KARIM PAKRADOUNI HAS BEEN MEETING TO DRAFT A POLITICAL AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE FACTIONS. L’ORIENT-LE JOUR REPORTS THAT THIS COMMITTEE HAS SUCCEEDED IN HAMMERING OUT THE OUTLINES OF AN AGREEMENT BASED ON THE FOLLOWING POINTS: – KEEPING CURRENT LEADERS IN PLACE – RESTRUCTURING THE PHALANGE PARTY – CLARIFYING RELATIONS BETWEEN THE PHALANGE AND THE LF – MAINTAINING THE AUTONOMY OF THE LF – PUSHING FOR THE RAPID CREATION OF A CHRISTIAN NATIONAL COUNCIL DETAILS OF THE AGREEMENT HAVE NOT BEEN RELEASED PENDING THE MARCH 18 MEETING OF THE PHALANGE PARTY POLITICAL BUREAU.
4. IN A MARCH 17 PRESS CONFERENCE HELD IN JOUNIEH, PAKRADOUNI TRIED TO PRESENT THE CDM IN A MANNER WHICH WOULD ALLAY SYRIAN CONCERNS. REFTEL PROVIDES THE TEXT OF THE CONFERENCE. FOLLOWING ARE THE MAJOR POINTS: A. CDM’S MAJOR PRINCIPLES ARE 1) SUPPORT FOR THE UNITY OF LEBANON AND ITS FULL LIBERATION; 2) SUPPORT FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A NEW FORMULA FOR MUSLIM-CHRISTIAN RELATIONS; AND 3) ACTION TO GUARANTEE THE SECURITY OF THE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY. B. CDM’S “UPPERMOST OBJECTIVE” IS THE SPEEDY ELECTION OF A NATIONAL CHRISTIAN COUNCIL TO SERVE AS A CHRISTIAN PARLIAMENT. C. CDM HAS RECEIVED NO AID FROM ISRAEL. HOWEVER, PAKRADOUNI QUALIFIED THIS DENIAL BY ADDING, “THE COLLECTIVE LEADERSHIP HAS NOT YET DECIDED ITS POLICY TOWARD ISRAEL.” D. CDM DOES NOT INTEND TO HARM THE PRESIDENT OR THE PRESIDENCY. HE STATED, “WE WANT THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC TO REMAIN ABOVE PARTY AND SECTARIAN DISPUTES. WE WANT HIM TO BE THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC-OF ALL LEBANON- AND WE DO NOT WANT HIM TO BE MERELY THE PRESIDENT OF THE CHRISTIANS OR OF MILITIAS.” E. CDM IS A “COUP” WITHIN THE LF AND THE PHALANGE PARTY AIMED AT MAKING THE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY MORE DEMOCRATIC. F. CDM SEEKS DIRECT MUSLIM-CHRISTIAN NEGOTIATIONS, ESPECIALLY WITH MINISTERS BARRI AND JUMBLATT, AIMING TOWARD A “PEACEFUL CO-EXISTENCE CHARTER.” G. CONTACTS WITH THE SYRIANS WILL CONTINUE. PAKRADOUNI WILL MAKE A THIRD CALL TO SYRIAN VP KHADDAM. FURTHER, HE STATED THAT HIS “COMMUNICATIONS WITH SYRIAN OFFICIALS PERMIT ME TO SAY THAT THERE WILL BE NO SYRIAN INCURSION INTO OUR AREAS.” H. CDM OPPOSES THE REMOVAL OF THE BARBARA CHECKPOINT.
5. COMMENT: IT IS INTERESTING TO NOTE THAT THE CDM ORIGINALLY CRITICIZED PRESIDENT GEMAYEL FOR DEALING WITH THE SYRIANS AND FOR MAKING CONCESSIONS AS PRESIDENT THAT HE WOULD NOT HAVE MADE AS A STRICTLY CHRISTIAN LEADER. NOW, FACED WITH THE POLITICAL REALITIES OF THEIR SITUATION, THE CDM LEADERSHIP IS BOTH DEALING DIRECTLY WITH THE SYRIANS AND ENCOURAGING PRESIDENT GEMAYEL TO REMAIN ABOVE THE SECTARIAN FRAY. END COMMENT.
6. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION HAS ALSO SURFACED CONCERNING THE STATUS OF TITULAR LF COMMANDER FUAD ABU NADER. IN HIS PRESS CONFERENCE, PAKRADOUNI ASSERTED THAT, “FUAD ABU NADER IS STILL THE COMMANDER OF THE LEBANESE FORCES. HE HAS SUPPORTED IN AN OFFICIAL STATEMENT THE POLICY OF THE UPRISING WITHIN THE LEBANESE FORCES. A TEMPORARY COLLECTIVE LEADERSHIP CALLED THE ‘EMERGENCY COMMITTEE’ HAS BEEN FORMED. WE WILL SOON ANNOUNCE A NEW LEADERSHIP FOR THIS COMMITTEE.” ABU NADER IS THUS STILL FUNCTIONING AS A LEADER OF THE LF, THOUGH THE DEGREE OF HIS PRESENT INFLUENCE AND HIS FUTURE PROSPECTS REMAIN UNCLEAR.
BARTHOLOMEW
JA’JA’-PHALANGE STALEMATE DRAGGING OUT
1985 March 30, 08:31 (Saturday)
85BEIRUT1952_a
SECRET
SECRET
— Not Assigned —
1. S-ENTIRE TEXT.
2. PHALANGE POLITBURO MEMBER ALFRED MAHDI, WHO REMAINS PERSONALLY CLOSE TU JA’JA’, 29 MARCH PROVIDED CHARGE WHAT WE SENSE IS ACCURATE WRAP-UP OF CURRENT STATE OF PLAY BETWEEN JA’JA’ FORCES AND PHALANGE.
3. MAHDI SAID CURRENT INTERMINABLE DISCUSSIONS ABOUT REORGANIZED PHALANGE PARTY, ENLARGED LEBANESE FRONT, AND NEW CHRISTIAN COUNCIL REPRESENT DESIRE OF BOTH CHRISTIAN DECISION MOVEMENT (CDM) AND PHALANGE TO STRING OUT NEGOTIATIONS.
4. PHALANGE SEES TIME AS BEING ON ITS SIDE AS IT ATTEMPT TO EXPLOIT DISAFFECTION AND SPLITS IN CDM RESULTING FROM GROWING AWARENESS OF LACK OF SPECIFIC REALISTIC POLICIES AND OF DANGERS CDM HAS CREATED OF SYRIAN INTERVENTION AND WEAKENED CHRISTIAN UNIT.
5. CDM SEES TIME ON ITS SIDE AS IT ATTEMPTS TO SEDUCE REMAINING GEMAYEL BACKERS AMONG LF IN METN, TO REASSURE SYRIANS WHILE OPENING UP DIRECT CONTACT WITH THEM (NUMEROUS SOURCES REPORT HOBEIKA HAS REGULAR CONTACT WITH RIFFAT), AND TO STRENGTHEN ITS APPEAL AT GRASSROOTS LEVEL. (WITNESS JA’JA’S SFEECH TO STUDENTS BEIRUT).
6. MAHDI BELIEVES THAT TIME IS RUNNING OUT FOR THIS SPARRING AND STALLING AND THAT TWO SIDES MUST NOW BEGIN TO GRAPPLE WITH REAL PROBLEMS AND SEEK GENUINE SOLUTIONS. HE SAID THAT ALTHOUGH HE HAS NOT SEEN GEMAYEL SINCE MARCH 14, HE BELIEVES GEMAYEL SHARES HIS VIEW THAT TWO SIDES MUST SERIOUSLY PURSUE RESOLUTION OF THEIR DIFFERENCES. IF NEGOTIATIONS CONTINUE TO DRAG ON UNCONCLUSIVELY, MAHDI SAID, ALL DANGERS PREDICTED BY BOTH SIDES WILL COME TRUE — SYRIAN INTERVENTION, WEAKENED AND DIVIDED CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY, SHARP MUSLIM REACTION, ETC. IN ADDITION, MAHDI SAID INCREASINGLY DANGEROUS SITUATION IN SOUTH, CUTTING OFF OF NORTH, AND DEGRADATION OF SECURITY IN WEST BEIRUT, CREATES BACKDROP OF EVENTS WHICH REQUIRES THAT RESOLUTION OF THIS INTERNAL CHRISTIAN QUARREL COME RAPIDLY.
7. COMMENT: MAHDI’S COMMENTS EXPLAIN IN PART LIMITED PROGRESS MURR/HASHIM/PAKRADUNI COMMITTEE HAS MADE IN LAST WEEK, AND OFFER LITTLE OPTIMISM FOR NEAR TERM PROGRESS.
LYNE
LEBANESE FORCES FINANCES
1985 April 4, 14:34 (Thursday)
85BEIRUT2048_a
SECRET
SECRET
— Not Assigned —
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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