Crossfire War – TEHERAN WATCH – West Asia Theatre: Teheran – Beirut – Damascus/Moscow – Paris – Rome – Berlin – Washington – Cairo; Lebanon Pm Siniora Arrives in Moscow – Fleeing Beirut With “trustworthy” Information
Night Watch: MOSCOW – AFP reports that Lebanon Prime Minister Fuad Siniora arrived in Moscow late Thursday night, supposedly to convince Russia President Vladimir Putin to use Moscow’s influence to end the crisis and demonstrations, which have now been going on for two weeks. Though the variety of news items AFP quotes from RIA Novosti and ITAR-TASS give the impression that Syria is being discussed that is obviously not the case. Damascus is within Teheran’s sphere of influence just as Beirut now is. There was even a quote from Siniora who supposedly stated the protests have no future. It is his leadership of Lebanon that has no future and he probably should have taken a lot of luggage for a long stay, otherwise his existence could go the way of Rafik al-Hariri and Pierre Gemayel, assassinated by Teheran. [ASHRQALAWSAT]
In essence what Putin and Moscow have done is received an agent of the West – Russia on the run in search of a refuge a safe house. Putin’s career in the KGB has prepared him well for this service and that was the hint given through RIA that Siniora may have “trustworthy” information. He may right now be going through a debriefing. For instance, Siniora may know who the new Ministers will be in the expanded cabinet of 30 instead of 24. I would guess the Christian leader Michel Aoun could become the new Prime Minister as the result of early elections. The current President Emile Lahoud could head the government until elections are held. If Nabih Berri does not win the election, he would still have a powerful cabinet position and Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah could become either Foreign Minister or the Speaker of Parilament unless he won the election. With enough support from Sunnis and nationalists that is not impossible since he is now the most powerful leader in the country as a result of Hezbollah surviving the summer war against Israel.
All the political leaders and parties, which were part of Siniora’s government, are tainted by the close relations with the West. Hezbollah may also have convinced many Lebanese the Siniora administration was betraying the country by secretly working with Israel. I suspect the opposition coalition will announce, perhaps today, that Siniora’s trip to Moscow actually means he has quit his own government, which in effect has now fallen. Since the army announced, at the beginning of the demonstrations, they could not control the situation they will agree with the opposition. Announcements would then be made concerning the new elections as Hezbollah prepares for the next wave of war, which will not only target Israel but also the European forces in UNIFIL. Moscow sent a unit of Chechen fighters to Lebanon as part of UNIFIL. Putin may inquire of Siniora how serious is the threat to them.
The head of Moscow’s Middle East Institute Yevgeny Satanovsky summed up the former Prime Minister’s situation, “Siniora has come knocking on the door…” Moscow’s door was about the only one open to him.