Assad to Beirut: Sack Lebanese army chief or more air raids. Jordan feared next

The Syrian conflict spread in earnest to Lebanon Monday, March 18, when the Syria Air Force carried out bombing runs over Syrian rebel jumping-off bases inside Lebanon that are used for their attacks on government forces.

debkafile can disclose exclusively that Saturday, March 16, Syrian ruler Bashar Assad sent an ultimatum to Lebanese President Michel Sleiman through intelligence channels consisting of three stipulations:

1. Sack Lebanese army chief Gen. Jean Kahwaji without delay. Assad accused the general of refusing to deploy the Lebanese army for cracking down on Syrian rebel bases of operation in Lebanon and so stemming the flow of rebel strength into the embattled country.

2.  The Lebanese president, himself a former army chief, was required to take responsibility for army action to purge the Lebanese border region of rebel forces.

3.  President Sleiman was given 48 hours to order the Lebanese army into operation against the Syrian rebels. When this did not happen, Assad made good on his threat. As soon as his ultimatum expired Monday afternoon, he sent his air force into action across the border into Lebanon.

It appears that the Syrian ruler timed his war action against Lebanon to coincide with President Barack Obama’s visit to Israel and Jordan, starting Wednesday, March 20. He may be planning further escalation as the week goes on.

Full article: Assad to Beirut: Sack Lebanese army chief or more air raids. Jordan feared next (DEBKAfile)

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