July 9, 2007, 12:37 PM (GMT+02:00) www.debka.com
Damascus is also moving home Syrian students at Lebanese universities due to "unstable conditions."
Our Washington sources connect the cancellation of defense secretary Robert M. Gates four-tour national Latin American tour this week, among other things, to the deteriorating security situation in the Middle East and Gulf.
Sunday, DEBKAfile disclosed that Iran, Syria Hizballah feared stoking major conflagration in Lebanon to forestall Security Council reprimand on July 16. Saudi and Lebanese intelligence report sighting hectic preparations by Iran, Syria and the Hizballah to foment major trouble in Lebanon up to and after mid-July. They intend the eruption to throw off track the July 16 UN Security Council session called to castigate their non-implementation of its Resolution 1701, especially their defiance of the clauses banning the continued arms smuggling to Hizballah from Iran and Syria.
Our Washington sources report that ahead of the session, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice appealed to a number of European and Asian governments for contingents to bolster the UN force patrolling South Lebanon. None refused outright, only explaining they were short of military manpower. This would also apply to the United States.
DEBKAfile's intelligence sources expect the ructions already gripping Lebanon to escalate from mid-July and climax in the first week of September, when the pro-Syrian president Emil Lahoud ends his tenure. Damascus, Tehran and Hizballah are aiming to bring down the pro-Western Fouad Siniora's government in Beirut or at least shrink its jurisdiction to a number of neighborhoods in the capital similar to Nouri al Maliki's administration in Baghdad.
Word has reached Riyadh from Damascus indicating that president Bashar Assad plans to use the showdown in Lebanon to ignite war clashes in all of Lebanon and against Israel on two fronts, the Golan and the Gaza Strip.