I would not want to be Lebanon’s Defense Minister Elias Murr right now.
As reported by The L.A. Times, a cable from the U.S. Embassy in Beirut revealed by WikiLeaks alleges that Murr assisted the U.S. and Israel in the targeting of Hezbollah:
Lebanon’s Defense Minister Elias Murr told Americans the army would stay out of the way if Israel tried to wipe out Hezbollah, according to a secret March 2008 conversation revealed in a diplomatic cable revealed by WikiLeaks.
[Updated at 7:53 a.m.: The cable originated from the U.S. Embassy in Beirut and was sent to the State Department in Washington.]
“Making clear that he was not responsible for passing messages to Israel, Murr told us that Israel would do well to avoid two things when it comes for Hizbollah,” the cable read.
“One, it must not touch the Blue Line or the UNSCR 1701 areas as this will keep Hizbollah out of these areas,” the memo read, referring to the southern Lebanese area now patrolled by thousands of international troops.
“Two, Israel cannot bomb bridges and infrastructure in the Christian areas,” Murr was cited as saying.
Murr is denying the assertions:
Defense Minister Elias Murr was reportedly giving U.S. diplomats advice to pass on to Israel for any Israeli attack on Hizbullah, the Los Angeles Times quoted a leaked WikiLeaks cable as saying.
Murr has dismissed the cables as “incomplete and inaccurate.”
“The aim behind this is to sow discord in Lebanon,” said Murr aide George Soulage.
Soulage said that while the minister did meet with Michele Sison, who was the U.S. ambassador in 2008, a cable published in Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar on Thursday did not accurately reflect the tenor of their talks.
Murr’s denials likely will have little impact on Hezbollah, which already is suspected of assassinating former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Harriri. A likely indictment of senior Hezbollah officials in the Harriri killing has Lebanon gripped with fear of a renewed civil war, and possible Hezbollah takeover of Beirut.
WikiLeaks has exposed Murr — a friend of the United States — to grave danger, and puts all of Lebanon at risk.