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Friday, April 1

Are Turkey and Al Saud trying to further destabilize Lebanon? UPDATED April 6

UPDATE

According to this March 3 report from Sputnik, Greece's Coast Guard intercepted the ship that Col. Neriah is referring to (see below) and that it had six containers, two of which were loaded "with weapons and ammunition."  Two, not six as Neriah claimed.  

In addition, while he termed the intercept a coincidence, he also spoke of 'intelligence' bringing the ship to the attention of Greek naval authorities.  So it's not clear to me whether this was a complete accident, as I wrote originally, or "coincidence" as Neriah termed it -- in particular because the Sputnik report specifically named the Coast Guard intercepting the ship.  

He also mentioned the weapons shipment is "one of the things that Turkey has been doing over the past four years."  So within the grand scheme of Turkey's weapons shipments -- at least to Syria -- two versus six containers isn't a big mistake. And it's possible that Sputnik got the number of weapons/ammo containers wrong.  

I don't think any of this overturns Neriah's reasonable concern that Turkey is now trying to destabilize Lebanon. But I did want to mention the discrepancy about the containers.  

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The John Batchelor show featured reports last night that provided updates on hotspots in the vast landscape of conflicts in the Middle East -- Jordan, Turkey, Gaza-West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, Iran. But here I want to focus on his discussion with Israeli Col. Jacques Neriah, PhD at the Jerusalem Center in Israel about Turkey and Neriah's conjecture that Erdogan is trying to make so much mess in Lebanon that Hezbollah fighters in Syria will be forced to return to to defend the homeland. 

This question first surfaced when (by pure accident) Greek port inspectors discovered six shipping containers of weapons sent from Turkey to Lebanon via Tripoli. 

Now who would they be shipping those weapons to?  That's what Col Neriah wanted to know. Certainly not Hezbollah. But the Saudis, who also want Hezbollah out of Syria, have a large footprint in Lebanon and control some (if not all) of the takfiri groups, as FARS would call them, in the country.   

The discussion starts at the 10:15 mark on the podcast. Here is Neriah's March 27 report for the Jerusalem Center, on which the discussion is based.

This is bad news if Neriah is right but even if his concerns are overblown it is by now painfully clear that Turkey is a very bad actor in its own neighborhood and that it has greatly abused its membership in NATO. The question is what NATO is going to do about this.  

Just how bad the situation is with Turkey was outlined last night on the Batchelor show by Gregory Copley. So that's another discussion bound to send people at NATO to the aspirin bottle.

As to what NATO's most powerful members are going to do about Al Saud -- nothing, it seems, except try to sell them more weapons.  

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