Friday, January 23, 2004

Iraqi cash in Lebanon

Three stories on Lebanon:

  1. As part of the completely obvious Zionist control of American foreign policy, Donald Rumsfeld is apparently considering provoking a military confrontation with Syria by attacking Hezbollah bases in eastern Lebanon. This would cause the Syrians to intervene, and give the American neocons an excuse to attack Syria.

  2. Israeli warplanes attacked bases of the Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. The initial Israeli excuse for this was that Hezbollah had killed an Israeli soldier in Israel, provoking the expected American condemnation by lying Colin Powell, but this was later revised to an admission that the soldier was killed when he was over the border in Lebanon (!!). The Israelis had to admit the truth as a U. N. official was able to confirm that the Israeli soldier died due to being shot while in Lebanon.

  3. On January 15, Lebanese authorities in Beirut seized a private plane that had arrived from Baghdad via Jordan carrying about 19.5 billion in new Iraqi dinars, or about $12 million in U. S. dollars, in cash. Three Lebanese citizens onboard were arrested: Mazen Bsat, a prominent Beirut businessman who owns a chain of pharmacies and a company that leases planes for charter flights; Richard Juraysati, head of the external affairs department in the dissolved Lebanese militia forces, a group opposed to Syria; and Muhammad Abu-Darwish, from a prominent Shiite family from southern Lebanon. Michel Mukataf (or Mkattaf), son-in-law of the former Lebanese president Amin Gemayal (who was kicked out of his own fascist Phalangist party in Lebanon for being too anti-Syrian; the Lebanese Maronites have a more nuanced view of the Syrian situation than the hard-core diaspora Lebanese) was awaiting the arrival of the plane and was also arrested. Mazen Bsat was questioned and released, and the other three were released while the investigation continues. The New York Times report cleverly tries to insinuate that the caper involved currency speculation, but the truth is more interesting. Muhammad Abu-Darwish told investigators the money had come from the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad and was intended to buy armored cars. Iraq's interior ministry confirms that the money was payment for a contract with a British company for "the urgent delivery of sophisticated equipment aimed at dealing with the precarious security situation in Iraq." It would have been necessary for anyone taking off from Baghdad Airport to have the approval of the American occupation forces. The most recent version of the story is that the British vendor of the armored cars felt it would be easier to exchange the cash in Lebanon than in Iraq. Of course, none of this makes the slightest sense. Why would the Coalition Provisional Authority be paying for contracts by sending a bunch of Lebanese businessmen off to Lebanon to do business with a British company, and be paying for the armored cars with cash? If there was a currency conversion problem, why couldn't the conversion be done in Iraq? Even better, why not pay in American dollars and avoid the conversion problem completely? Does the Coalition Provisional Authority pay for its multi-million dollar contracts in cash? The whole scenario is absurd. Amin Gemayal, whose son-in-law was waiting for the plane, is directly connected to prominent American neocons through their shared involvement in the 'Golden Circle' of the United States Committee for a Free Lebanon (USCFL). The PNAC-style blueprint on Lebanon, entitled Ending Syria's Occupation of Lebanon: The U.S. Role, was written by Ziad Abdelnour, the leader of USCFL, and none other than Daniel Pipes. The USCFL, which is not the American branch of the Canadian Football League, promoted the passage of the recent U. S. sanctions against Syria.

There have been a lot of questions about where all the billions and billions of American dollars sent to Iraq is actually going. There has been speculation that some of it is being used to bribe government officials of two-bit countries to send their own soldiers to Iraq to die in place of Americans in the 'coalition'. In this case, it seems obvious that money is being siphoned, probably illegally, from the Coalition Provisional Authority to friends of the neocons in Lebanon, as part of a scheme to undermine the pro-Syrian government in Lebanon, and possibly provoke a war desired by the Zionists against Syria. From the Daily Star:

"An informed source was cited as saying that it was almost certain that the money intercepted by the Lebanese authorities was 'black money' sent by the Iraq-based Americans 'not just for the purpose of laundering it, but in order to be used by some local (Lebanese) politicians in order to destabilize the situation in Lebanon.' The paper said there were 'close relations' linking one of the detainees in the affair, Richard Jreisati, to US intelligence officials. 'Jreisati, who was an intelligence official for the now-dismantled Lebanese Forces (LF) militia, knew the US intelligence officials because he often coordinated with them,' it said."

Destabilizing Lebanon means destabilizing Syria. Are Americans ready to spend another $100 billion or so and hundreds more American lives to make Ariel Sharon and his American neocon pals happy?