Ashkenazi warns of Hizbullah takeover in Lebanon

During Canada visit, IDF chief of staff says publication of Hariri tribunal's findings will likely lead to coup d'etat in Beirut.

Hizbullah parade 311 AP (photo credit: AP)
Hizbullah parade 311 AP
(photo credit: AP)
Publication of the findings of a United Nations probe into the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri could lead Hizbullah to violently take over Lebanon, IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.- Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi warned on Monday.
Earlier this month, Hizbullah boycotted a round of talks regarding the tensions that surround a UN tribunal’s investigation of the 2005 assassination of Hariri.
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Ashkenazi told his Canadian counterpart, Gen. Walt Natynczyk, during talks in Ottawa on Monday that violence could erupt in Lebanon following the publication of the report, which is expected to point to top Hizbullah operatives as having been behind the assassination.
“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.
On Tuesday, Ashkenazi will head to Washington for talks with Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and top officials in the Pentagon.
During those talks, Ashkenazi will share Military Intelligence’s assessment that tough sanctions on Iran could be effective in getting the regime to suspend its enrichment of uranium.
“The regime is radical but not suicidal,” Ashkenazi told Natynczyk on Monday.