Tuesday, December 7, 2010

WikiLeaks: Saudis proposed Arab force to invade Lebanon & fight Hezbollah

From the AFP:
Saudi Arabia proposed setting up an Arab force to fight Hezbollah militants in Lebanon with the help of the United States, UN and NATO, a leaked US diplomatic cable said Tuesday.

In a meeting in May 2008 with US ambassador to Iraq David Satterfield, Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal said a "security response" was needed to the "military challenge" posed to Beirut by the Iran-backed militants.

The Saudi prince feared a Hezbollah victory against the Lebanese government led by then prime minister Fuad Siniora would eventually lead to Iran's takeover of the country.

There was a need for an "Arab force" to create and maintain order in and around Beirut, he argued...

Such a force would be aided by UNIFIL troops deployed in southern Lebanon, while the "US and NATO would need to provide movement and logistic support, as well as naval and air cover," the cable added...

What was needed was an "Arab force" drawn from Arab "periphery" states to deploy to Beirut under the "cover of the UN," Saud said, accusing the UN troops in southern Lebanon of "sitting doing nothing."

But Satterfield said there were real questions about the "political and military" feasibility of such a scheme, and winning a new mandate for UNIFIL would be difficult.

A US diplomatic memo released earlier by WikiLeaks showed Saudi Arabia is obsessed by what it sees as a threat from Iran [and Iran's nuclear aspirations]...

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