Lebanon defense chief worked with U.S. against Hezbollah, leaked cable says

Defense Minister Elias Murr is described giving U.S. diplomats advice to pass on to Israel for any Israeli attack on Hezbollah. Another cable refers to hitherto-secret U.S. spy flights over Lebanon.

December 03, 2010|By Borzou Daragahi and Meris Lutz, Los Angeles Times

U.S. diplomats complained in the cables that Britain wouldn’t allow Americans to stage the flights from an airbase it controls in Cyprus. Britain, U.S. diplomatic officials bristled, wanted assurances that the entire Lebanese Cabinet, which included Hezbollah, and not just Murr had signed off on the missions and that captured Hezbollah members would not be tortured. They also worried that Cypriots would be outraged to learn of the missions and “could turn off the utilities at any time.”

American officials dismissed the worries.

“This seems to be an unnecesary layer of bureaucracy,” London-based U.S. diplomat Maura Connelly, who now serves as U.S. envoy to Lebanon, told her superiors in April 2008.

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