Coming Down to the Wire in Lebanon
By FRANKLIN LAMB
".....The Spy Hunt
In the Burj Abu Haider section of Beirut this morning ( pro March 14th neighborhood) this observer found two main subjects being discussed by pro-Hariri poll workers. One is the concept of “Hasana Niyabya” or Parliamentary Immunity. This is important because in addition to the 38 alleged spies arrested (made possible by Hezbollah intelligence and technology working with Lebanon’s Internal Security Force (ISF) it is rumored that following Sunday’s voting no fewer than four current members of parliament allied with the US Team are going to be arrested for spying for Israel. The post election arrest of two Cabinet Ministers and “a higher political figure” are also hinted at. They are safe until they lose their parliamentary immunity when the votes are counted creating a new parliament.....
Fake Voter ID’s
Another new issue being discussed by poll workers is Minister Fouad Siniora’s announcement this morning of the existence of “information and reports whereby cases of ID forgery have been recorded.”
Why this observer took special notice of the announcement by Siniora is because of what has been happening in some villages. It relates to what I call the “Rent Voter’ ID Initiative”. It is practiced mainly in the south and works as follows: Longtime Hezbollah Shia opponent, Ahmad al-As’ad has set up an anti-Hezbollah Shia organization called the Lebanese Option Gathering and has fielded 19 candidates against Hezbollah. He openly admits getting a large quotient of Saudi support to compete against Hezbollah in the south and the Bekaa and is thought to be allied with the pro-US Hariri team. As’ad knows his group cannot win and that the overwhelming number of Shia will vote for Hezbollah. His goal is not so much to get voters to vote against Hezbollah, but to keep them from voting for Hezbollah. Then when the votes are counted, Israel and the anti-Hezbollah centers can declare that “Hezbollah is losing support among its base, because it got fewer votes than in 2005 etc.”......"