Mar. 29, 2016
- Is Turkey Planning to Destabilize Lebanon? – Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah
The Turkish leadership saw the uprising in Syria and Egypt as an opportunity to intervene and change the regimes opposed to Turkey’s policies in the Middle East and replace them with Islamic regimes close to Turkey’s ideological stand. In both countries, the Islamic opposition was headed by the Muslim Brotherhood, natural allies of Turkish President Erdogan.
In Syria, Turkish Military Intelligence (MIT) was instructed to assist rebel factions opposed to the Assad regime almost from the very first days of the civil war. Turkey chose to shelter, train, arm, and finance rebel groups, and allow almost total free movement of jihadists inside Turkey en route to their units in Syria.
It now appears that in its efforts to destabilize Assad, Turkey may have chosen to take advantage of the already boiling situation inside Lebanon between Hizbullah and its Sunni opponents and try to provoke a renewed civil war in Lebanon, a situation that would force Hizbullah to withdraw its troops from Syria and return home to fight. Sending weapons to radical Sunni Islamists in northern Lebanon is but the tip of the iceberg. A ship loaded with weapons supposedly destined for Muslim radicals in northern Lebanon was intercepted by the Greek Coast Guard on February 28, 2016.
Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah was formerly Foreign Policy Advisor to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Deputy Head for Assessment of Israeli Military Intelligence. (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)