DEBKAfile: USS Kearsarge Expeditionary Strike Group takes up position opposite Lebanese coast amid trepidation over September presidential election August 31, 2007, 11:25 AM (GMT+02:00) USS Kearsarge group Our military sources report that aboard the Kearsarge group’s vessels are members of the 22nds Marine special operations-capable Expeditionary Unit, ready to execute landings on Lebanese beaches.
Wednesday, Aug. 29, Adm. William Fallon, chief of US Central Command and the war on terror paid an unannounced visit to Beirut, although for years US generals have given the Lebanese capital a wide berth. He left after three hours, the longest time considered safe for him to stay.
Our sources reveal he reviewed with Lebanese leaders US preparations for military intervention should the September presidential election descend into civil violence or elicit an attempt by Iran, Syria or Hizballah to seize power by force. Such an attempt could leave Lebanon dangerously stranded between two rival administrations.
The posting of the Kearsage and a marine force within reach of Lebanese shores is intended as a deterrent and indicator of Washington’s willingness to send the military over to prevent Lebanon’s takeover by Iran or Syria. Adm. Fallon also inspected the measures for protecting the lives of the anti-Syrian leaders prime minister Fouad Siniora, majority party head Saad Hariri and Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, and the safety of US ambassador Jeffrey Felton, a key mover in charting US strategy for Lebanon, and the embassy staff. Portents of coming unrest were seen last week in the hasty departure from Beirut of the Saudi and UAE ambassadors under threats to their lives.
Most Arab and European missions have cut down staff in the Lebanese capital. Lebanese police are
investigating the re-appearance of a sick videogame in Beirut whose goal is the murder of the prime minister, cabinet members, Jumblatt and Maronite leader Samir Geagea, who are designated “thieves and traitors.” Its name, “The Battle of the Seraya,” refers to the government building. The game, which has been removed from stores in Beirut, depicts underground tunnels leading from the government building to the US embassy, echoing Hizballah’s reference to the Siniora government as “the Feltman Cabinet.” The government building has been guarded by tanks and three army and police battalions since the Hizballah-led opposition occupied downtown Beirut earlier this year with the declared aim of toppling the government. Source
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