IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi warned Monday that Hizbullah could sieze power in Lebanon.
Ashkenazi met in Canada with his Canadian counterpart, the Chief of the Defense Staff of the Canadian Forces, General Walter Natynczyk. The meeting was held as part of a series of work-related meetings that Ashkenazi is holding during his official visit to Canada and the United States.
Ashkenazi told his Canadian hosts that he is concerned over the possible ramifications of the UN probe into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, and said that the publication of the probe's findings may result in Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah seizing power in Lebanon.
It has been previously reported that the U.N. Special Tribunal for Lebanon is preparing to issue an indictment in the assassination, and it is widely believed that Hizbullah terrorists will be among those accused of the murder. Nasrallah on his part has threatened dire repercussions if such an indictment is handed down, and has gone so far as to provide supposed proof of Israel’s involvement in the murder.
During his meeting in Canada, Ashkenazi said that a small group within the Lebanese Army is assisting Hizbullah and mentioned recent visits by current Lebanese PM Saad Hariri (son of Rafik Hariri) and Druze leader Walid Jumblatt to Syria for talks with President Bashar Assad as aimed at ensuring their "survival."
Ashkenazi also mentioned what he called the “radical axis” in the Middle East, which he said is gaining strength, and praised Canada for its participation in training a future Palestinian Authority security force in Judea and Samaria.
Ashkenazi also observed a training exercise of Canada's special forces. While in Canada he will meet with the Canadian Minister of National Defense, Peter MacKay, and hold talks with defense and military officials. Ashkenazi will also tour a Canadian military base and meet with troops who recently returned from combat duty in Afghanistan. He is also expected to visit the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa. Aside from meeting with defense and military officials, Ashkenazi will also meet with leaders of the Jewish community in Toronto. He will conclude his visit later this week in the US, where he will meet with his American counterpart and senior officials in the Obama administration.
Pictures courtesy of the IDF Spokesperson