December 31, 2005

Khaddam Speaks Out

From the Beeb:

A senior Syrian official has said President Bashar al-Assad threatened former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri only months before his death.

Syria's former Vice-President, Abdul Halim Khaddam, said "Hariri received many threats".

The ex-Lebanese premier, who had become a critic of Syria, died in a bomb attack in Beirut in February.

A UN investigation has implicated Syria in the assassination. Syria denies it was involved.

UN investigator Detlev Mehlis said several sources had said they had been told by Mr Hariri that Mr Assad had threatened "to break Lebanon over [his] head", if he did not support the extension of Lebanese President Emil Lahoud's term.

Mr Khaddam told al-Arabiya television: "Assad told me he had delivered some very, very harsh words to Hariri... something like 'I will crush anyone who tries to disobey us'."

He said Syrian intelligence services could not have carried out such an assassination without the approval of Mr Assad, but he added: "We have to wait for the findings of the UN report." [my emphasis]

Former Syrian VP Khaddam is a long-time player in Syrian politics, indeed he's been active at the highest levels of government there for decades. Could this broadside signal the intensification of a power struggle, one that will increasingly take place in the public eye rather than in the shadows of Damascene court intrigues? Perhaps, and we'll have more on all this soon. Regardless, it's certainly not a good development for Bashar, who can now likely count more emboldened domestic opposition to his quite large list of woes, including the increasingly low esteem he's regarded with in precincts Washington, Paris (Hariri was very close to Chirac) and beyond.

Posted by Gregory at December 31, 2005 11:38 PM | TrackBack (0)
Comments

Just a small correction and a small remark:

Khaddam in his interview actually said that in Syria, an individual security Branch "can not" act alone in such a matter. The implications are:

1) The assasination could not have been caried by a single Syrian security branch acting on it's own (i.e. Rustum Gazzaleh),

2) if it was carried by a Syrian security Branch, other security Branches would have been in the know.

3) Some one else other than Syrian Intelligence could have done it.

So the reference was not to Assad or to Assad's knowledge or approval.

As to his "bombshell" that Assad threatened Hariri, he mentioned that this incident was "months before the assasination". Anyway, it is not a new piece of information, such "threat that Assad will break Lebanon on the head of so and so..." is an old story that has been in circulation for many months and Sherlok Mehlis has refered to it in his "findings".

Just to set those peices of the record straight in this big artificial fiasco where a nation like Syria assasinates one of its staunchest supporters, after making it public that they do not like the he way he acts, and after he serves them once again by agreeing to and cooperating in the extension of President Lahoud, and while Syria knows that it is under heavy scrutiny by the US/UN.

Not only that, but judging by the shear number of people involved in the "provocations, planing and execution and the knowledge" of a supposdely very meticulous and secret covert operation, it seems that Syrian Intelligence has only missed ringing up the CNN desk on Feb 14 to inform them about its intention to "assasinate" Harriri..... !

Best of all, where was the CIA, GCHQ, Mossad, DSST, MI6 and the rest of the pack while the Syrians and thier Lebanese bed partners were planning all this... food for the thought, is it not!

RIP sane minds....

Posted by: ausamaa at January 9, 2006 05:32 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink
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