How Is Lebanon's Sighting of Israeli 'Spy Gear' Linked to the Hariri Tribunal?

Lebanese Foreign Ministry says it has submitted an official complaint to the UN Security Council after it found espionage devices in mountains near Beirut.

The Israeli spy cameras whose discovery the Lebanese Army announced on Wednesday were first spotted several years ago.

The cameras and the transmitter antennas, some of them bearing labels and serial numbers in Hebrew, were found on the peaks of two mountains in central Lebanon, apparently by Hezbollah members.

It is likely that last week's press releases were timed to divert local public attention away from the anticipated release of the results of the International Court of Justice investigation into the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri while highlighting Israeli intervention in Lebanese affairs while painting Hezbollah, with the Lebanese Army at its side, as defending the state against foreign aggression.

The international tribunal in The Hague was scheduled to issue its report this week, but it may be postponed yet again, until after Christmas. Israeli military sources say this may heighten tensions within Lebanon and could even jeopardize the government of Prime Minister Saad Hariri, Rafik Hariri's son.

The Israel Defense Forces is closely monitoring the situation in Lebanon. According to intelligence assessments, while Hezbollah does not want a military confrontation with Israel, at this point, if internal pressure within Lebanon intensified, the organization might create a provocation in the form of firing rockets at the Galilee or shooting at IDF troops near the border.

Meanwhile, the Lebanese Foreign Ministry said in a statement yesterday that it has submitted an official complaint to the U.N. Security Council over two "espionage devices" it claims Israel installed in Lebanese territory.

"Israel installed two espionage systems in the regions of Barouk and Sannine to receive and transmit communications and to serve as a link between Israeli spy posts on Lebanese territory and the [Israeli] border post of Roueisat al-Alam," said a ministry statement published by state news agency ANI, in "a flagrant violation of Lebanese sovereignty, international law and Security Council Resolution 1701."

In related news, the AFP news agency on Friday quoted a French official as saying that his government has promised to deliver 100 anti-tank missiles to the Lebanese Army by the end of February.

The U.S. House of Representatives in August said it opposed the deal, on the grounds that the missiles might be used against Israel at the encouragement of Hezbollah.