Title: Lebanon: Domestic Crisis Averted, for Now, in Wake of Prime Minister's Resignation

Release Date: 2017-09-13

Document Date: 2005-04-25

Description: The SIGINT National Intelligence Officers advised NSA and intelligence community leadership on the potential crisis brewing in Lebanon.

Document: DYNAMIC PAGE -- HIGHEST POSSIBLE CLASSIFICATION IS
TOP SECRET // SI / TK // REL TO USA AUS CAN GBR NZL

(U) Lebanon: Domestic Crisis Averted, for Now, in Wake of Prime
Minister's Resignation
FROM:
SINIO for Near East & South Asia (S17)
Run Date: 04/25/2005
FROM:
SINIO for Near East & South Asia (S17)
Situation remains troublesome in Lebanon (U)
(S//SI) The SINIO* Council advised Lt.Gen. Hayden and the Extended
Enterprise leadership on 19 April 2005 of the potential dangers stemming
from the ongoing situation in Lebanon. We also shared this SINIO
Advisory with the National Intelligence Officer for Warning and the
Assistant Director of Central Intelligence for Collection. In the wake of
Syria's withdrawal from Lebanon, the anti-Syria opposition has gained
momentum, but the effort to form a new government has met serious
challenges. If the new government cannot hold parliamentary elections by
the end of May, a simmering climate for instability in the fragile country
may boil over into a violent power struggle.
(U) Recent months' events in Lebanon continue their overall slide toward
a potential crisis. Pro-Syrian Prime Minister (PM)-designate Omar Karami,
unable to form a new government after nearly 7 weeks of deadlock,
stepped down for a second time on 13 April and moderate Najib Mikati
was appointed acting PM on 16 April. Mikati quickly formed a government
empowered to hold critical parliamentary elections by the end of May, but
its stability is questionable -- the Education Minister resigned on 21 April
without explanation. Syrian claims that its hasty withdrawal from
Lebanon, in compliance with UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR)
1559, would precipitate a security crisis could still be borne out, and
provide justification for Syria to redeploy in response to a Lebanese
"request" for Syrian assistance to restore order. While unlikely, the worstcase scenario presents a threat to Lebanon-Israel border security and
would deal a blow to the Administration's Greater Middle East Initiative if
Lebanon's drive to throw off the Syrian yoke is thwarted.
(U) Since the September 2004 adoption of UNSCR 1559, anti-Syria
oppositionists have gathered momentum. Opposition elements in the
Lebanese government, sectarian leaders, and supporters from the
populace were mobilized, to a degree, and governmental changes began
to alarm Damascus. The 14 February assassination of former PM Rafiq
Hariri appeared to be the last straw for those opposed to the Syrian
presence and who held Syria responsible for Hariri's death. Tens of
thousands demonstrated in Beirut, demanding that Syria quit Lebanon,
but a Hizballah-staged counter rally drew an estimated 1 million
supporters who clamored for Syria to remain. International pressure
prompted Syria to implement a withdrawal, which President al-Asad
assured the UN would be complete prior to May elections. Failing to form
a government, Karami resigned in late February, but was reappointed on
9 March, a sign of Damascus' continued control over Beirut. The
appointment of Mikati, a moderate pro-Syrian legislator and confidante of
Syrian President Bashar al-Asad, came as a compromise on the part of the
opposition, aimed at salvaging the election schedule.
(S//SI) The SIGINT system is responding to these events, but stands to

SERIES:
(U//FOUO) SINIO
Council
Intelligence Issues
1. China:
Modernizing
and Mobilizing
Its Strategic
Strike
Capabilities
2. China: The
Near-Term
Potential for
Economic,
Political, and
Social Crises
3. Al-Qa'ida: An
Emerging
NarcoSupported
Terrorist
Group?
4. Venezuela's
President
Chavez:
Castro's
Ideological
Successor
5. Lebanon:
Domestic
Crisis Averted,
for Now, in
Wake of Prime
Minister's
Resignation
6. SIGINT
Monitors
Global Spread
of Avian Flu

be resource-strained if they deteriorate into cross-border (e.g., IsraelHizballah) security flare-ups, internal crisis, or threats to U.S. interests or
Allies. NSA has raised its WATCHCON level for the Lebanon Internal
Warning problem from WC IV to WC III.
(U//FOUO) See our website for the complete text:
.

(U) Acting Prime Minister Najib Mikati (Reuters)
*(U) SINIO = SIGINT National Intelligence Officer

"(U//FOUO) SIDtoday articles may not be republished or reposted outside NSANet
without the consent of S0121 (DL sid_comms)."

DYNAMIC PAGE -- HIGHEST POSSIBLE CLASSIFICATION IS
TOP SECRET // SI / TK // REL TO USA AUS CAN GBR NZL
DERIVED FROM: NSA/CSSM 1-52, DATED 08 JAN 2007 DECLASSIFY ON: 20320108

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