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News Categories » Files » Files » Wikileaks

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July War Cables—Fatfat: Hizbullah Is an External, Not Internal Issue
MGLE01: S/CT CRUMPTON MEETING WITH INTERIOR MINISTER FATFAT

id: 65865
date: 5/30/2006 13:02
refid: 06BEIRUT1682
origin: Embassy Beirut
classification: SECRET
destination:
header:
VZCZCXRO1414
PP RUEHAG RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHKUK RUEHMOS
DE RUEHLB #1682/01 1501302
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 301302Z MAY 06
FM AMEMBASSY BEIRUT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3724
INFO RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY

----------------- header ends ----------------
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 BEIRUT 001682
SIPDIS
SIPDIS
NSC FOR ABRAMS/WERNER/DORAN/SINGH
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/23/2016
TAGS: PTER, MASS, PREL, PGOV, LE
SUBJECT: MGLE01: S/CT CRUMPTON MEETING WITH INTERIOR
MINISTER FATFAT

Classified By: Jeffrey Feltman, Ambassador. Reason: Sections 1.4 (b)
and (d).
1. (S) SUMMARY: In a May 23 meeting, Acting Interior
Minister Ahmad Fatfat, accompanied by Internal Securtity
Forces Director General Ashraf Rifi, told Counterterrorism
Coordinator Crumpton, the Ambassador, and emboff that his
highest priority regarding counterterrorism in Lebanon was
reconstructing the Internal Security Forces (ISF) through
training and equipment. Citing political difficulties, he
dismissed S/CT Crumpton's suggestion of forming a Lebanese
intelligence entity at the policy level as not needed.
Fatfat said the GOL received the bulk of its regional
intelligence from the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and
Qatar. Fatfat also predicted that if Hamas fails it was will
replaced by something worse. Regarding reports of Sunni
unrest in the north, Fatfat said the conditions are there but
not the mind-set for extremism. End summary.
2. (S) Ambassador Crumpton opened the meeting by asking
Fatfat what was his biggest concern is regarding
counterterrorism. Fatfat readily replied that the
reconstruction of the ISF was his highest priority.
Repeating much of what Rifi had told Ambassador Crumpton
earlier (septel), Fatfat said that when he took office, there
were 13,000 ISF personnel. Currently, the ISF personnel
level is 19,000, with expectations that this will grow to
21,500 within a year. Thus, training and equipping personnel
is essential to combat terrorism. Fatfat thanked Ambassador
Crumpton for USG support for Lebanon and the ISF. In turn,
S/CT Crumpton congratulated the ISF on its successes, stating
that, "your success is our success" and each success
justified more USG resources.
3. (S) Ambassador Crumpton noted that, while the ISF and
others seem to be doing a good job on the ground with
counter-terrorism efforts, there seems to be a disconnect
with the political leadership of the country. With
politicians perhaps not understanding the nature of the CT
threat, Ambassador Crumpton asked Fatfat's views for a truly
Lebanese intelligence council which would provide guidance at
the policy level. Fatfat responded that it was not needed,
as intelligence was provided by various GOL entities,
including the ISF. He also hinted at political differences
between the various services, suggesting that an interagency
council would not, in the end, be a forum for frank exchange
of information. Fatfat also said that Lebanon receives the
bulk of its regional intelligence from Saudi Arabia, U.A.E.
and Qatar.
4. (S) In response to Ambassador Crumpton's question about
working with Hizballah, Fatfat responded that Hizballah was
helpful with problems inside Lebanon, where it "has a
Lebanese approach." But, when one looks beyond Lebanon's
borders, then Hizballah is a problem, such as in dealing with
regional affairs. Speaking of Hizballah's support for Hamas,
Fatfat observed that if Hamas failed, something worse would
take its place. He also claimed that Hamas "is not so
fundamentalist now."
5. (S) Ambassador Crumpton then said that he had heard
reports of Sunni discontent in northern Lebanon and that we
were aware of worrying rumors of growing Sunni extremism.
Fatfat replied that both he and General Rifi are Sunnis from
northern Lebanon, and his own parliamentary constituency
includes Tripoli. He agreed on the point of Sunni
discontent, but stressed the problems were social and
economic, not political. He stated that the conditions are
there for extremism, but not the mind-set for extremism.
While there is Sunni extremism in northern Lebanon, it is
still a small, containable problem, not something widespread.
In response to Ambassador Crumpton,s question about what
Fatfat would recommend to combat extremism, Fatfat
immediately responded: "better conditions for the
Palestinians."
6. (C) S/CT Crumpton asked if Fatfat is in contact with the
new government in Iraq. Fatfat said he was, but that his
counterpart in the Iraqi government has not been named.
Ambassador Crumpton asked for Fatfat,s assistance in making
the transition in Iraq successful and congratulated Fatfat
for Lebanon's partnership with Jordan.
7. (C) In closing, Ambassador Crumpton brought up Fatfat,s
and Rifi,s upcoming trip to Washington. He mentioned that
DHS may coordinate the trip and it would be beneficial if
Fatfat or Rifi could meet with Ambassador Negroponte. Fatfat
BEIRUT 00001682 002 OF 002
implied that it would be most useful for General Rifi to
address counterterrorism, rather than himself.

FELTMAN

16-04-2011 | 11:35


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