War : Syria : the Hariri assassination


Richard Moore

This seems to be the main 'evidence' cited against Syria:

    Mehlis concluded that the complex assassination plot 
    involved several months of preparation and was conducted
    by a sophisticated group with "considerable resources 
    and capabilities."

Such evidence points equally to Mossad, who had much to gain
from a false-flag assassination, while Syria could only
lose by carrying out such an act. Somehow the question
of credible motive never enters into these kind of 
official 'investigations'. Always we are to believe that
'the enemy' acts irrationally, is some kind of 'crazed'
being - while 'our side' would never do anything under-

There were reports at the time of the assassination, which 
pointed to Israeli involvement. If, as seems likely, it 
was a false-flag event, then we are seeing the follow-
through with this UN report: the point, after all, of such
an operation is to demonize the target (Syria) and 
facilitate sanctions or attacks. Already, the operation
succeeded in ousting Syrian troops from Lebanon,
reducing the pressure on Israel in case of an attack
on Iran or Syria.



U.N. Report Sees Syrian Involvement in Hariri's Death 

By Robin Wright and Colum Lynch 
Washington Post Staff Writers 
Friday, October 21, 2005; A01 

A U.N. investigation has implicated senior Syrian and Lebanese
officials in the assassination of Lebanon's leading reformer
in a move that U.S. and European officials expect will
generate new international pressure on the Syrian government
of President Bashar Assad.

In blunt language, the report by German prosecutor Detlev
Mehlis concluded that the Valentine's Day bombing of former
prime minister Rafiq Hariri and 22 others "could not have been
taken without the approval of top-ranked Syrian security
officials and could not have been further organized without
the collusion of their counterparts in the Lebanese security

The report faulted Damascus for failing to fully cooperate
with the probe and cited several officials, including Foreign
Minister Farouk Charaa for attempting to mislead the
investigation by providing false or inaccurate statements.
Nevertheless, Mehlis said many leads now point directly to
Syrian security officials.

The findings have been eagerly awaited by U.S. and European
officials. Along with a second U.N. report on Lebanon due in
days, key members of the Security Council hope to use the
findings to increase pressure on the Assad government to end
years of meddling in Lebanon and to generally change its
behavior both at home and throughout the region, including
ending support for extremist groups.

Mehlis concluded that the complex assassination plot involved
several months of preparation and was conducted by a
sophisticated group with "considerable resources and
capabilities." Although the primary motive was political, some
of the perpetrators may have been motivated by issues
involving fraud, corruption and money laundering, he added.

Syrian officials have repeatedly denied any role in Hariri's
slaying. Earlier this week, Syrian Ambassador Imad Moustapha
said, "We are absolutely categoric in saying we had nothing to
do with Hariri." Messages to Syrian officials in Washington
and at the United Nations were not returned last night.

But Mehlis said the slaying followed a "growing conflict"
between Hariri and senior Syrian officials, including Assad.
Tensions came to a head during a 10-to-15-minute meeting
between the two men on Aug. 26, 2004. The Syrian leader
informed Hariri that he wanted to extend for three years the
term of Lebanese President Emile Lahoud, a close ally of
Damascus, in defiance of the Lebanese constitution -- a move
Hariri firmly opposed.

Mehlis's report included excerpts of interviews and statements
about the meeting, including several by Hariri's associates
and his son, alleging that the Syrian president threatened
Hariri if he opposed the plan. Saad Hariri said his father
told him that Assad said: "This extension is to happen, or
else I will break Lebanon over your head."

In a conversation between Hariri and a Syrian deputy foreign
minister tape-recorded on Feb. 1, the former prime minister
recalled the meeting with Assad as "the worst day of my life."
Hariri then told the Syrian official that Lebanon would no
longer be ruled from Syria.

Walid Mouallem, the Syrian official and a former ambassador to
Washington, warned Hariri that Syrian security services had
him cornered and not to "take things lightly," according
testimony given to the commission. Two weeks later, Hariri was

When the commission tried to follow up these leads, Syria
refused to provide substantive information, Mehlis reported.
Assad refused to be interviewed. And interviews conducted last
month produced "uniform answers" that contradicted the weight
of evidence, he added.

The commission cited one witness's testimony that a white
Mitsubishi with a tarpaulin over its flatbed was used as the
bomb carrier and crossed into Lebanon from Syria three weeks
before the attack. It was driven by a Syrian army colonel, the
report said. The day before the bombing, the same witness said
he drove a Syrian officer to the St. George area of Beirut on
a "reconnaissance exercise" -- in the area where the
assassination took place.

The report listed several officials who witnesses alleged knew
about or played an advance role in the assassination. They
included Gen. Jamil Sayyed, Gen. Mustapha Hamdan, Gen. Raymond
Azar -- senior Lebanese officials who have been arrested --
and Gen. Rustum Ghazali, Syria's most recent intelligence
chief in Lebanon. The day before the assassination, the report
said, witnesses allege that Ghazali met with the head of
Hariri's protection detail, emerging "badly shaken."

Another witness said Hamdan had accused Hariri of being
pro-Israeli and had said, "We are going to send him on a trip,
bye, bye Hariri." After Hariri's assassination, the witness
was "strongly reminded not to discuss the conversation with
anyone," the report said.

The report also cited an allegation by one witness against
Assad's brother-in-law, Maj. Gen. Asef Shawkat. The
unidentified witness told the commission that Shawkat forced
an Islamic militant, Abu Adass, to record a tape claiming
responsibility for the bombing two weeks before it occurred,
to create the misimpression that the attack was the act of a
lone suicide bomber.

Peppered with riveting detail, the report said Syrian and
Lebanese intelligence officials wiretapped Hariri's phone.

But the 54-page report said the full picture would require a
more extensive investigation, and called for the international
community to help Lebanese authorities continue the probe.
U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan announced late yesterday
that he will extend the Mehlis mandate to Dec. 15.

The Bush administration said it would not immediately comment.
"We intend to read and study it tonight very carefully and
decide tomorrow in consultations with other interested
governments what the next steps will be," said U.S. Ambassador
John R. Bolton. Diplomats expect the report to lead the
Security Council to consider action, however.

A second U.N. report on Lebanon is expected next week. It will
focus on the implementation of Resolution 1559, which calls
for the end of Syria's meddling in Lebanon and the disbanding
of armed groups that are tied to Syria.

To follow up on both reports, the United States and other
nations have been discussing language for two resolutions that
could be introduced as soon as next week to hold the
perpetrators to account and add new pressure on Syria,
according to U.S. and U.N. officials.

Mehlis's probe included more than 400 interviews and reviews
of more than 16,000 pages of documents. Among those
interviewed was Ghazi Kanaan, the former Syrian intelligence
chief in Lebanon, who committed suicide last week.

Mehlis warned that many Lebanese fear the international
community may not follow through, leaving them vulnerable to
the return of Syrian military and intelligence services and a
revenge campaign. Recent bombings and assassinations have been
carried out "with impunity," deterring potential witnesses
from testifying, he said.

© 2005 The Washington Post Company 


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