'Hizbullah Lebanon takeover could follow Hariri tribunal'

Military Intelligence official says civil unrest could follow implication of Hizbullah members in former PM's murder.

By REBBECA ANNA STOIL,
December 7, 2010 18:31
1 minute read.
Slain Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri

311_Rafik Hariri. (photo credit: Associated Press)

Military Intelligence on Tuesday expressed fears that a Hizbullah takeover of the Lebanese government could follow the release of a UN tribunal's findings on the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri. It has long been rumored that certain members of Hizbullah could be implicated for the 2005 murder.

Colonel Yossi Adler, a senior official in Military Intelligence's Research Division told a meeting of the  Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee (FADC) that civil unrest, followed by a Hizbullah takeover of Lebanon was a worst case scenario, but a possibility nonetheless.

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In a recent intelligence assessment, Yossi Baidatz, head of Military Intelligence’s Research Division, told the FADC that Hizbullah is capable of taking control of key aspects of Lebanon's government within a matter of a few hours.

Last month IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.- Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi similarly warned that the findings of the United Nations probe into the assassination of Hariri could lead Hizbullah to violently take over Lebanon.

Ashkenazi told his Canadian counterpart, Gen. Walt Natynczyk, during talks in Ottawa that violence could erupt in Lebanon following the publication of the report.

“The radicals are gaining strength in Lebanon,” Ashkenazi told Natynczyk, according to an officer accompanying the chief of General Staff on his trip to North America. “The publication of the report could destabilize Lebanon and be used as an excuse by Hizbullah to complete its takeover over the entire country.”

Ashkenazi said that UNIFIL was effective in disrupting Hizbullah’s activities in southern Lebanon but was failing to stop the group from building up its military capabilities.


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