War : Syria : US demands action


Richard Moore

    Earlier, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the 
    international community would have to "seriously consider 
    how it demands accountability".

Wouldn't it be something if the UN actually did demand
accountability, from those guilty of the greatest crimes,
such as the U.S. who massacred thousands of civilians in
Iraq, and Israel, who has violated more UN resolutions
than any other nation.



US demands action on Syria report 

The UN should act swiftly on a "deeply disturbing" report
implicating Syria in Lebanese ex-PM Rafik Hariri's murder,  US
President George W Bush has said.

A UN probe has found evidence pointing to Syrian and Lebanese
links in his bomb death - claims which both deny.

The UN Security Council will discuss the report and could
impose sanctions.

But the UN investigator who wrote the report has had to defend
his decision to remove the names of five top Syrians from one
section of the final draft.

The names included those of the brother and brother-in-law of
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad  - Maher al-Assad and Asef
    Assassins had considerable resources and capabilities 

    Evidence suggests both Syria and Lebanon were involved
    Crime was prepared over several months 
    Hariri's movements and itineraries were monitored
    Highly unlikely Syrian or Lebanese intelligence were not 
    aware of assassination plot

German Detlev Mehlis insisted at a hastily-arranged news
conference that the names had been removed only to maintain
their "presumption of innocence", once he learned that his
confidential report was to be made public.

In the removed section, a witness names the presidents'
relatives as being among five senior Syrians who decided in
2004 to kill Mr Hariri.

The names of three of the five men - plus other senior Syrian
and Lebanese officials - remain elsewhere in the report, some
accused by witnesses of direct involvement in the plot to kill
Mr Hariri.

The report also concluded that the Syrian government had not
co-operated fully with the inquiry.

In the US, President Bush said the UN should convene a session
as soon as possible to discuss the report.

"Today, a serious report came out that requires the world to
look at it very carefully and respond accordingly," he said.

Earlier, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the 
international community would have to "seriously consider how
it demands accountability".

'False information' 

The report, prepared at the request of UN Secretary General
Kofi Annan, says the car bombing that killed Mr Hariri could
only have been carried out by a group with extensive

As well as evidence pointing to Syrian involvement, the UN
investigators also said they had also found evidence of
Lebanese collusion in Mr Hariri's death in February.

The question for us all now is what sanctions can we bring
against the guilty?
Ian, Whitwick, England 

Mr Hariri's assassination - for which the likely motive was
political - was complex and had obviously been planned for
months, the report says.

The UN Security Council will be briefed on 25 October by Mr

Both Syria and Lebanon have denied the allegations of official

Syria's Information Minister Mehdi Dakhlallah condemned the
findings as "politically biased" deceptions and said the
report was "far from the truth".

The Lebanese presidency issued a statement denying that the
brother of a key figure in the inquiry had called President
Emile Lahoud minutes before the truck bomb exploded.

"The press office in the presidential palace categorically
denies this information, which has no basis in truth and is a
part of a pressure campaign against the president," it said.

'Impending crisis'

Syria was the main power in Lebanon until its military
withdrawal earlier this year in the wake of an international
outcry over Mr Hariri's death.

The BBC's Ian Pannell in Damascus says it is widely believed
that the Syrian authorities were angered by Mr Hariri's
growing opposition to their influence in Lebanon.

Although President Assad has consistently denied any
involvement in the killing, the report will add to the sense
of impending crisis felt in the country, our correspondent

Syria finds itself almost completely isolated, with little
support from other Arab nations, and faces the prospect of
crippling UN sanctions, he adds.

Since Mr Hariri and 22 other people were killed on 14
February, a series of bomb attacks has  targeted anti-Syrian
journalists and politicians as well as Christian areas in

Mr Hariri's son, Saad, has said he wants those implicated by
Mr Mehlis' report to be tried by an international court.

Troops have been deployed in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, and
other cities in case of violence following the inquiry's

Story from BBC NEWS: 
Published: 2005/10/21 19:38:28 GMT 



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