Saudis had plan to destroy Hizbollah

December 9, 2010
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Saudi troops on parade. The regime fears Iran’s influence in Lebanon

Saudi troops on parade. The regime fears Iran’s influence in Lebanon

New revelations from the United States diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks show that Israel is not alone in its concerns regarding the power of Hizbollah in Lebanon.

One of the latest cables to be revealed includes a proposal by Saudi Arabia to create an American-backed joint Arab military force to fight Hizbollah.

The proposal was made by Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, two years ago to American special representative David Satterfield.

The Saudi regime was worried that the siege being laid at the time to centres of government in Beirut by Hizbollah and other Iranian-backed forces could trigger a collapse of Lebanon's democratically elected government and bring about the emergence of an Iran-style Islamic republic.

This, Prince Saud warned, "combined with Iranian actions in Iraq and on the Palestinian front would be a disaster for the US and the entire region".

His proposed solution was a joint military force of Arab nations that would invade Lebanon, with American and Nato backing from the air and sea, and defeat Hizbollah. The Americans turned down the plan on ground of military feasibility.

Israeli officials are also seen in the WikiLeaks cables to be warning their American counterparts of Hizbollah's designs.

In a cable from earlier this year, IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazi is quoted as saying that the attack on a convoy of Israeli diplomats in Jordan in January was carried out by Hizbollah in an attempt to avenge the death of its military commander, Imad Mughniyeh, who was assassinated by a car bomb in Damascus in 2008.

No-one has taken responsibility for Mughniyeh's killing but Hizbollah have blamed Israel's Mossad. Lt-Gen Ashkenazi and other senior Israeli officials warned that an attack by Hizbollah against Israeli targets could cause a massive retaliation by Israel against the Shia movement's positions and arms caches in Lebanon and bring about another war.

Both Israel and the Arab regimes in the region see Hizbollah as the proxy of Iran which bankrolls the movement to the tune of a $1 billion a year.

WikiLeaks cables revealed last week showed that senior Arab figures, including the King of Saudi Arabia, had urged the American administration to launch a military strike against Iran to destroy its nuclear programme.

    Last updated: 1:50pm, December 9 2010