19 décembre 2008, câble (#cablegate #liban) explosif ; l’actuel premier ministre Mikati discute avec l’ambassadrice américaine au Liban. Les Américains commentent la rencontre ainsi : Mikati se présente à eux comme un « ennemi du Hezbollah », attendant l’occasion de redevenir Premier ministre.
En voici les passages les plus intéressants.
Lebanon : With DAS Hale, Mikati calls Hizballah a “Tumor” needing removal
Responding to a question about the prime minister post in the event of a March 8 victory, Mikati said he would refuse the position under the circumstances because he would not be representing the Sunni population. Citing the unsuccessful governments of Salim Hoss and Omar Karami, Mikati said becoming prime minister without the full support of the Sunni community would always result in failure. Mikati said he was “not ready to fail.”
Describing President Michel Sleiman as quiet and unchallenging, Mikati said he had not yet seen in Lebanon the results of Sleiman’s efforts, domestically or from his many trips abroad. However, Mikati assessed Sleiman was trying to demonstrate his wisdom and judgment before serving as arbitrator, the traditional role of Lebanon’s presidents. According to Mikati, once Sleiman is arbitrator, he can govern. Nonetheless, Mikati described as “worrisome” a December 17 conversation with Sleiman in which the President said his job was easier than what he had expected. Mikati told DAS Hale and the Ambassador he had counseled Sleiman to create strong state institutions to counter Hizballah’s mini-state.
The Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and the Maronite Patriarch, traditional strongholds of presidential support, are not stalwartly pro-Sleiman, according to Mikati. He described the LAF as polarized toward March 8 with most officers supporting Hizballah and opposition Christian leader Michel Aoun. Mikati described Sleiman as unsure he had the LAF’s full support. Fear of fracturing the army had probably also prevented then LAF Commander Sleiman from taking any drastic decision between 2005 and 2008, Mikati said.
Mikati, speaking as a “statesman,” argued Lebanon could not survive with a Hizballah mini-state. Regardless of his personal views on the group, Mikati said he was expecting Hizballah to bring Lebanon to a “sad ending.” He assessed that Hizballah was just like a tumor that, whether benign or malignant, must be removed.
On Hizballah’s goals in Lebanon, Mikati assessed Iran was using the group to create a military base on the Mediterranean. Ayatollah Khomeini’s goal to export the Islamic revolution to the west required a launching point, which, according to Mikati, is Lebanon. This goal will take time but Hizballah is patient, he said. DAS Hale told Mikati that peace with Israel was the most direct way to counter such intentions. Mikati agreed that peace with Israel would be a “happy ending,” but questioned whether Syria would make an agreement without Iranian permission.
Mikati argued that neutralizing Syria would enable the GOL to “gain time” on Hizballah.
Talking with the Ambassador before DAS Hale’s arrival, Mikati described the Russian gift of MIG-29 fighter planes – which received extensive local media coverage in recent days – as “strange.” He questioned whether Defense Minister Murr asked specifically for the planes or if the Russians had chosen independently to offer them. Mikati said the planes would be “impossible” to maintain and small helicopters would have been more useful for the LAF.
Comment: Mikati clearly was presenting himself for our benefit as a foe of Hizballah, as he is looking forward to potential opportunities to return to the Prime Ministry. End comment.