Sunday, May 16, 2010

Massive wall in eastern Lebanon threatens one of Israel's primary water sources

From a DEBKAfile Exclusive Report May 15, 2010:

Hizballah and Syria are building a massive fortified wall, running from Rashaya Al-Wadi on the western, Lebanese slopes of Mt. Hermon (85 kilometers southeast of Beirut) in the south, to the Lebanese Beqaa Valley town of Aita el-Foukhar, in the north...

The structure, 22 kilometers long in parallel to the Lebanese-Syrian border promises to be one of the biggest fortified structures in the Middle East. It is designed as an obstacle against any Israeli tank forces heading through Lebanon toward the Syrian capital, Damascus. When it is finished, the barrier will isolate a key Lebanese border region - 14 kilometers wide and 22 kilometers long - from the rest of the country and place it under Hizballah-Syrian military control.

This region is inhabited most by Druzes and Christians.

The project became possible in the last year, after Lebanon's Druze leader, Walid Jumblatt, turned away from his pro-Western allegiance and threw in his lot with the pro-Syrian camp, lining up with Syrian president Bashar Assad and Hizballah's secretary Hassan Nasrallah and buying into the military alliance headed by Iran.

Behind the rising wall, Hizballah and Syria can freely smuggle weapons across concealed from outside surveillance, while deepening Syria's footprint in Lebanon. ...Syria intends to keep that region off-limits to Lebanese military access -except for Hizballah. Syrian troops, officers and arms stores are to be based there and maintained in a state of war readiness.

Syria stands to gain another prime strategic asset with its control of Rashaya Al-Wadi, at the southernmost point of the new wall: This scenic village commands the Taim valley, whence flow a number of water courses that feed the River Jordan and the Sea of Galilee; for the first time in many years, Damascus will be placing a hand on one of Israel's primary water sources.

...the project is so immense and the work so intensive, that shops in Damascus have run out of cement, forcing many other construction works in Syria to a standstill.
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