Saturday, 1 May 2010

Who Gave Permission to US Officers to Inspect Masnaa Border?

Who gave the permission to the US officers to tour the Masnaa border and under which foundation did the visit take place?

Indeed, in the middle of the chaos created by the scandal of the security agreement signed between Lebanon and the US embassy and before Speaker Nabih Berri takes his final decision over it in the light of the campaign launched against Telecommunications Minister Charbel Nahhas, another "scandal" imposed itself…

Suddenly and without prior notice, a 'secret' inspection tour was made by a delegation comprising two officers from the so-called Office of Counter-Terrorism accompanied by a security staffer from the US embassy to the Masnaa crossing point near the Lebanese-Syrian borders.

While the visit raised tens of questions related to the sovereignty, well-informed sources told Al-Manar website that the US officers arrived to the Masnaa border with a convoy of the Lebanese Army. The US delegation, which also toured the border area around Anjar, examined the process of entry of individuals and trucks. According to the sources, it stayed at the border for around three hours and a half where it questioned officers and asked them tens of questions concerning details of their works. The delegation even examined the dorms of the military officers and stayed in the General Security office for around two hours and a half.

Yet, what was remarkable following the announcement of the 'secret' visit was how the concerned ministers sought to withdraw the ball from their court, saying that they had no relation with the whole issue. Thus, while Interior Minister Ziad Baroud said the visit was ordinary and stressed that the General Security wasn't part of it, the Foreign Ministry denied being informed of the whole visit.


Meanwhile, military sources denied to Al-Manar website claims that the US delegation's visit to the Masnaa border was made in coordination with the Lebanese Army.

While noting that the Masnaa border was a public utility, and therefore was not under the control of the army's authority, the sources emphasized that the General Security was the responsible of it. "We're not concerned with the visit," the sources stressed, adding that the visit was approved by the highest official authorities in the border.

Asked about the army's convoy which accompanied the US delegation, the sources recalled that all foreign delegations are usually accompanied by the army while touring within Lebanon, stressing that the army has no relation with the delegations' mission.

Sources from within the Internal Security Forces denied in turn claims that the US delegation has visited the police station in the Masnaa region, located in a region relatively far from the Masnaa border.


Based on all what preceded, many questions can be raised. Which political or security side coordinated the visit with the US delegation? Under which foundation did the visit take place? Is it related to the security agreement signed between the ISF chief General Ashraf Rifi and the US embassy at the time of political divisions? What's the relation between the mentioned agreement and the Lebanese Army? And if the visit was not based on the mentioned agreement, is there any other agreement, unknown by the Lebanese, with the title of "aids to counter-terrorism"? And if the visit didn't take place according to a specific agreement, did it take place under the umbrella of Resolution 1701? And is there a US attempt to modify the mentioned resolution so that it includes inspecting and controlling the Lebanese-Syrian borders?

Speaking to Al-Manar website, well-informed sources asked the Lebanese government who gave the permission for the mentioned delegation to inspect the Masnaa border. "Who gave the permission for the US delegation to accomplish the visit?" the sources wondered, noting that the whole issue contradicts the principle of national sovereignty.

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