What caused yesterday’s incident according to the above sources approximate the following:
Feltman was beside himself, as were many in the State Department and on Capitol hill, by the reception Lebanon gave to Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad earlier in October. At the time, Feltman was in Saudi Arabia discussing his claimed creation and pet project, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. He spoke to increasingly unsympathetic Saudi ears what he thought was “a really great plan” how to solve the growing STL problem which he admitted Washington and Tel Aviv had underestimated.
The Saudis told Feltman they would discuss the matter with the Syrians, who would contact Hezbollah.
Feltman had planned to drop in on Damascus but instead he tore over to Lebanon, on White House short notice orders, and told his friend, Druze leader Walid Jumblatt. His mission was to denounce Ahmadinejad’s visit as “provocative, creating instability, and not helpful to the “peace process.”
Lebanon yawned at his airport statements, including the identical one that Hilary Clinton made earlier in Bosnia: “With respect to President Ahmadinejad’s visit to Lebanon, the United States supports the integrity and sovereignty of Lebanon. We reject any efforts to destabilize or inflame tensions within Lebanon. We are very committed to supporting the Lebanese Government as it deals with a number of challenges in its region.”
To many Lebanese, it was Mr. Feltman’s visit that violated Lebanon’s stability and sovereignty. His problems began to increase and he found that Lebanon was still largely in a state of rapture over the Iranian Presidents visit and the juicy prospects for up to S10 billion in trade (having already received $ 1 billion in aid) between Iran and Lebanon. His meeting with Lebanon’s President Suleiman and Prime Minister Saad Hariri were perfunctory. Parliamentary Speaker Berri, ally of Hezbollah, even declined to meet with Feltman, citing a “conflict of schedule”, which one Amal source joked meant Berri wanted to watch the latest Sherlock Holmes movie with his family. Some did complain in the media about Feltman not observing ‘diplomatic protocol’ by not giving advanced notice and expecting Lebanese officials to clear their weekend relaxation time to be at his beck and call.
But what apparently really caused Feltman to urge to STL to squeeze Hezbollah by sending its investigators to Dahiyeh to signal that the Tribunal was impossible to stop, was the rejection by all factions but the Lebanese Forces, of the Feltman Plan. Its reported essence, now apparently scrapped, was as follows:
Given that Washington realized that there is no way that the Tribunal is going to work out, it is best to find a way to trash it. Feltman has a “Dead men don’t talk” plan. Imad Mughniyah, who many thought was dead these past 26 years, was really killed this time on February 12, 2008 in Damascus. Beirut sources reveal that Israel, who killed Mughniyah, aimed for February 14, not the 12th in order to deliver the message that it can carry out an assassination at will and on any date. Israel wanted to kill Mughniyah on the same day they killed Hariri, i.e. February 14. But they missed their target date by less than 48 hours due to “mission correction contingencies”.
Feltman believes, but has never been able to prove, according to former CIA agent Robert Baer, that Mughniyah might have been involved in anti-American acts in April of 1983, (US Embassy), October of 1984 (US Marine barracks) and other so-called “terrorist” activities.
Earlier this month, Feltman sent a message to Hezbollah to the effect that if Hezbollah will go along with blaming Mughniyah for killing Hariri, that works for the Americans because it will be circumstantial evidence that he also did acts of terrorism in the 1980’s, so all files could be closed once and for all. He told more than one person he met with in Beirut this month that he thought his was “a really great plan.”
Apparently Secretary Clinton and President Obama did too.
Hezbollah did not.
One knowledgeable source explained: “Feltman’s project is unimaginable. First, Hezbollah had nothing to do with Prime Minister Hariri’s assassination. Secondly, if even a 9 year old Madhi scout or one of our street sweepers committed an offense the Party would accept full responsibility. We are one. Nasrallah has made this clear. We would never betray one of our own or allow a false charge to be made against him or her.”
One party member told this observer: “Feltman knows exactly what he is doing and it’s an infantile attempt to set up the National Lebanese Resistance. It is well known that he has spent the past more than six years hatching a series of projects with the Israelis to destroy the resistance to Israel’s occupation of Palestine and advance Israel’s plan for territorial gains in Lebanon. The attempted destruction of Hezbollah’s fiber optic communications network, airport security, an airbase at Kleit, Nahr al Bared’s destruction, and various Salafist projects to note just a few, carry his signature. All aimed at starting another Lebanese civil war or at least a Shia-Sunni conflict. The Tribunal is just the lasted but not the last of these.”
Another Dahiyeh source explained; “If Hezbollah were to sacrifice Imad Mughniyah or any of its members, Feltman and the Israelis would shout, ‘See, the Shia killed the Sunni so let’s go hang them!’ He tried to trick Hezbollah.”
So Feltman may have messaged the STL investigators to “do your job” on Wednesday.
The “ladies” of Dahiyeh sent a return message.