Al-Assad to Hrawi: Does Geagea's threat also require a military solution?
Al-Assad asked Hrawi: "Won't there be a problem after Aoun? What about the other players, such as the Lebanese Forces? Does this threat require a military solution?"
Hrawi suggested that Syria "solve the problems" with Berri and Jumblatt, and "my son-in-law, Fares Bweis says he could handle Geagea's."
Al-Assad replied: "We are with you in mind and spirit. I am not opposed to your wishes. I believe that the French position is not positive, and it is necessary to contact them to clarify their true position. They are still supporting Aoun."
"We are just as concerned as you are about finding a quick solution. The situation in the region is dangerous, so our sense of urgency is no less than it was in the past. Lebanon is still a very sensitive issue for us, but the bizarre overlap of interests between regional countries is a problem."
"Then there is the problem of Iraq. There are question marks surrounding this problem. Syria's position has not changed regarding any of the problems. Now, other countries are talking about Iraq the way we used to talk."
"There are some countries that hope that other problems will not affect their political or military arrangements (such as the United States regarding the issue of Iraq and Kuwait)."
"You know, we were serious about this; we did send forces, and we did not withdraw them so as not to create the impression that our forces left. There are many reasons for us to end this quickly. We have an interest in upholding the Taif Accords."
"But we need to know the global climate and your opinion, because some world powers are now afraid that their strategy could be disturbed, (regarding the removal of Saddam from Kuwait.) However, he promised a decisive decision in light of regional and international developments."
US envoy to Damascus: We want Aoun to step down
On 7 October, Khaddam received the US Ambassador Djerejian for a long period of time, according to the minutes of the meeting.
Djerejian said: "I have a message... During the meeting between AlSharaa and Mr. Baker, Sharaa suggested the possibility of using military force against General Aoun, and, of course, Baker reminded Mr. Sharaa that the issue of Lebanon was discussed in general with President al-Assad and that the issue of a military solution was not raised."
According to the meeting's minutes, Djerejian said: "Baker expressed concerns that any military action taken by Syria against Aoun might be misunderstood and exploited by Saddam. In response, Al-Sharaa assured Baker that there were no differences between the United States and Syria on this matter."
"And as you told me, Mr. Vice President, Syria now does not intend to divert attention from what is happening in the Gulf at the present time. Al-Sharaa also told Mr. Baker during our contacts that the military solution may come through Hrawi or the Lebanese Forces."
Sharaa asserted to Baker that Syria would take into account the US perspectives. On the basis of these results, on the same day, the Minister of Foreign Affairs met with the Assistant Secretary of State, Mr. (John) Kelly..., and told him that (President) Hrawi or the army commander would carry out any military action if he got Syria's support in this action, i.e., if he was to carry out a military action, he would like Syria's support in carrying out this action."
Of course, Baker assured President al-Assad, who assured the Lebanese leadership during his meeting with Hrawi, that Syria is committed to the legitimate Lebanese government.
He told the Lebanese to think carefully before resorting to violence, warning that any action in which Syria is involved could divert attention away from the Gulf and give France and the Vatican an opportunity to oppose the Taif Accords. Therefore, President al-Assad advised the Lebanese to discuss the matter among themselves so that France and the Vatican do not take advantage of the situation.
Baker said: "In this regard, we told Kelly, when he asked about a potential military operation, that the United States would not give a green light to such an operation."
"However, we agreed that Aoun was an obstacle and that the United States would not ask Syria to support him. As the Lebanese asked us, and as Mr. Kelly reiterated to Mr. Sharaa, the United States has reasons to accept military action, as we discussed previously."
Kelly praised the political progress that the Lebanese government had recently made and confirmed that the United States does not support Aoun.
"We, rather, want him to step down."