Arsal battles represent partial scene of the regional collapse taking place from Iraq to Gaza, passing by Syria and Lebanon. These battles are considered as the most dangerous aspects of Syrian war’s spilling into Lebanon.
Western diplomats in Beirut share this pessimistic view to the ongoing battles between the Lebanese army and ISIL militants in Arsal and its outskirts.
The scenario of the 2007 Nahr al-Bared conflict is still in mind of these diplomats, however they agree that the “current situation is the more dangerous.”
US Ambassador to Lebanon David Hale visited army commander General Jean Qahwaji earlier on Sunday, hours after the clashes erupted in Arsal. Such visit proves the gravity of the battle in against gangs who set up a cohesive plan to force security forces out of Arsal in a bid to take control of the town and its people.
Diplomatic sources report that the US has not and will not refrain from supporting the Lebanese army, which on its part rely on this support in its battle.
These sources also question the reasons behind the delay in the delivery of the French weapons to the Lebanese army especially that Saudi Arabia had paid for the aid worth $3bn.
Following the eruption of the clashes in Arsal, European and Western diplomats in Lebanon were concerned over the war against militant groups who adopt the strategy of attack in retreat in a bid to exhaust the army.
However, when Arsal battle started on Sunday, these diplomats regain some optimism: “although the situation is dangerous, it’s obvious that the Lebanese army is surly able to regain control.”
The diplomats consider that the explosion of the situation in Arsal was expected, based on information, which were available months ago, about arming the Syrian refugees in the area and sowing discord between them and people in the northern Bekaa who belong to various sects.
This plan was waiting the “Zero Hour” which was quickened directly as the commander of Fajr Al-Islam Brigade; the wanted Imad Jomaa was arrested by the Lebanese army, according to the diplomats.
Meanwhile, the thing which holds the attention is the diplomats’ acknowledgment, in the private meetings, that Hezbollah had essential role in confronting the terrorists’ attacks in Lebanon. The diplomats also liken Hezbollah’s preemptive strike in Qusair and Qalamoun to the strikes launched by the US against al-Qaeda in Afghanistan in a bid to prevent the global terror group from carrying out abroad attacks.
The diplomatic sources also acknowledge that without Hezbollah’s preemptive actions, the Syrian war would have transferred to Lebanon.
Concerning south Lebanon, the diplomatic sources say that this area witnesses balance of power which was apparent recently, since the outbreak of Gaza war. They consider that the Israeli army was engaged in its war against Hamas in Gaza, while Hezbollah was fighting the terrorists in Syria, leading to a balance which prevents an imminent war between the two sides, especially on the Lebanese territories.
On the other hand, the diplomatic sources warned that the terror threat in the region is serious, noting that terrorism grows by vacuum and weakness within institutions in several countries.
Source: Assafir Newspaper