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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
07BEIRUT280 2007-02-21 16:20:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Beirut
Cable title:  

LEBANON: SHIA POLITICIAN REPORTS ON HIZBALLAH

Tags:   PGOV PREL PTER LE SY IS 
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DE RUEHLB #0280 0521620
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O 211620Z FEB 07
FM AMEMBASSY BEIRUT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7487
INFO RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO PRIORITY 0899
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L BEIRUT 000280 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

NSC FOR ABRAMS/DORAN/MARCHESE/HARDING

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/21/2017
TAGS: PGOV PREL PTER LE SY IS
SUBJECT: LEBANON: SHIA POLITICIAN REPORTS ON HIZBALLAH
PRESENCE IN BAALBEK

REF: BEIRUT 00219

Classified By: Ambassador Jeffrey D. Feltman. Reason: Section 1.4 (b)
.

SUMMARY
-------



1. (C) In a follow-up communication to a meeting held on
2/7, a moderate, non-Hizballah Shia political leader from
Baalbek informed the Embassy that Hizballah has transferred
"most" of its missile inventory from south Lebanon to the
Baalbek district, where they exercise near complete control.
Dureid Yaghi, a secular Shia member of Walid Jumblatt's
Progressive Socialist Party, maintained that ISF and LAF
forces assigned to the Baalbek district are either
sympathetic to Hizballah or have been compelled to accept the
situation and ignore illicit activity. End summary.



2. (C) Mr. Yaghi, who is Deputy Secretary of the
Progressive Socialist Party, and as such, a supporter of the
pro-reform March 14th movement, met with the Ambassador on
February 7 (reftel), at which time he indicated he would
provide additional information regarding Hizballah's
activities in his home district. Yaghi is a native of
Baalbek, and even though he is in a distinct political
minority in the Hizballah-dominated province, he has a wide
network of contacts.



3. (C) According to this source, Hizballah has relocated
"most" of its missile inventory from south Lebanon to 52
bases in the Baalbek province. The areas surrounding these
bases are strictly controlled by the terrorist organization.
Four base areas specifically mentioned were: Ain el Bnaiye,
located on the main road between Baalbek and Serghaya (on the
Syrian border), Wadi Faa'ra, near the village of Halabta,
Hirfid, and Chmistar.



4. (C) Although there are Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and
Internal Security Forces (ISF) units located throughout the
district, the personnel are reportedly either reluctant to
interfere with illegal Hizballah activities or are
sympathetic with the organization's aims. In particular,
Yaghi maintained that the LAF G-2 in the district (family
name: Hajj Hassan) is "close" to Hizballah and effectively
hinders legitimate security service operations. Reportedly,
those LAF officers who attempt to stop suspect Hizballah
shipments are quickly removed from duty. Recently, local
residents who are not supporters of Hizballah were encouraged
when the Ministry of Defense announced new rotations of
security personnel, but as yet have not seen its
implementation.



5. (C) Due to the extreme poverty in the district,
Hizballah, with its cash grants and other services, exercises
considerable sway over almost every aspect of Baalbek life,
even though the organization's "save-its-own-skin" behavior
during last summer's conflict with Israel did not win it any
admiration from the area's inhabitants. Yaghi, as he had
said in his previous meeting, again stated that genuine
opportunities exist in Baalbek for either governmental or
civil society organizations to offer services. Such action
would compete with the selective social system operated by
Hizballah and would diminish that organization's influence
and ability to operate with impunity in the district.
FELTMAN