Lebanon’s national security chief says he has uncovered a network of Syrian spies meddling in security affairs, as investigators probe an explosive device that ripped through a commercial area in the city’s port early this month.
According to Michael Houlan, a security analyst and a former civil servant, this development would be of grave concern to many of the country’s elites and even some of its military commanders, who are planning for war with Israel.
“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” Houlan said. “The threat that we are talking about is not to national security alone but even to the security of the country’s army and security services.”
Armed militias from Hezbollah, the powerful Iranian-backed militia, reportedly sent operatives on spy missions and even held multiple conversations with Hezbollah officers in the immediate aftermath of the port explosion.
“What you are hearing from those sources is indeed quite alarming,” one former top official told The Daily Beast. “I cannot confirm or deny it, but people I have spoken to believe that a dialogue was held between the operative and Hezbollah commanders about the direction of the country, and what will happen to Lebanon in the event of a war.”
Another source close to the situation said the threat is not just present for the Lebanese, but is “pervasive in all Arab countries.”
Hezbollah is barred from international, official military conflict, but it has still been deploying its fighters in Syria. With the latter country still in the throes of a civil war, many of Hezbollah’s officers have been developing their military skills to defend the Shiite Lebanese against the possibility of a long war with Israel.