A highly sensitive Saudi tip-off reaching Western intelligence agencies, including Israel, on Nov. 14, gave advance warning that Iran and Hizballah were plotting a major terrorist operation in Beirut as a diversionary stunt, DEBKAfile’s exclusive intelligences sources report. The warning was received three days before twin suicide bombings struck the Iranian embassy in Beirut and the Hizballah stronghold suburb of Dahya Tuesday, Nov. 19, killing 25 people and injuring nearly 150.
It was on DEBKAfile’s desk Sunday, Nov. 17.
Saudi intelligence chief Prince Bandar al Sultan explained that Tehran and Hizballah needed a powerful diversionary stunt to draw attention away from the consignment against their will of more than 3,000 Hizballah troops who were forced to return to the Syrian battlefield in the last ten days
There is no such organization as Abdullah Azzam Brigades, which took responsibility for the twin attacks in Beirut “on behalf of al Qaeda,” DEBKAfile’s counterterrorism experts report. They are a random group of terrorists hired by Hizballah for ad hoc missions like, for instance, the Grad rocket attacks from South Lebanon aimed recently against Israel targets according to a list provided by Hizballah officers.
Bashar Assad told Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah and his friends in Tehran that he was up against the biggest battle of the Syria war, which he could not afford to lose, in the Qalamun Mountains northwest of Damascus.
Another 3,000 Hizballah fighters are standing by in Beirut ready to go across after the first batch as reinforcements.
Assad depends heavily on winning this battle because of three key strategic objectives: