Friday, October 21, 2005

Syria and the Mehlis report

The report confirms that Syria and Lebanon security officials planned and executed the terrorist act that led to the Rafik Hariri murder.

You can find the full report here or, if you are lazy, an executive summary here:

8. Building on the findings of the Commission and Lebanese investigations to date and on the basis of the material and documentary evidence collected, and the leads pursued until now, there is converging evidence pointing at both Lebanese and Syrian involvement in this terrorist act. It is a well known fact that Syrian Military Intelligence had a pervasive presence in Lebanon at the least until the withdrawal of the Syrian forces pursuant to resolution 1559. The former senior security officials of Lebanon were their appointees. Given the infiltration of Lebanese institutions and society by the Syrian and Lebanese intelligence services working in tandem, it would be difficult to envisage a scenario whereby such a complex assassination plot could have been carried out without their knowledge.

It is going to be interesting to watch Assad wriggle out of this one. As I said yesterday, he can either use the report to eliminate all those who present a danger to him if he complies with US requests or, if he is not in charge anymore, succumb.

, , , ,

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

From the mehlis report:

95. The structure and organization of the Syrian and Lebanese intelligence services in Lebanon at the time of the blast, including protocols for reporting, shows a pervasive impact on everyday life in Lebanon. Good examples of this are documents collected from the former Syrian Intelligence post, Villa Jabr, at Bologna Forest, Lebanon and an intercepted telephone conversation between General Ghazali, head of Syrian intelligence in Lebanon, and a prominent Lebanese official on 19 July 2004, at 0945 hrs (excerpt):
“Ghazali:I know it is early but I thought we should keep up you posted. The President of the Republic told
me this morning that they are two to rule the country the Prime Minister and him. He said that
things cannot continue this way. The Prime Minister is always irritating him and we are always
shutting him up and yelling at him. He made it clear he cannot continue this way.
X: Take it easy on me. Can you appoint a new Government at this time?
Ghazali: Yes we can appoint one. What could be the problem? We can name Botros Harb.
Ghazali: Let me tell you one thing. Let the worker’s movement take the street on the 20th in Solidere and
X: Let’s speak it over. Take it easily. I have to take into consideration the best interests of Syrian and
Ghazali: We are keen on Syria’s best interest but I am now talking about Rafik Hariri.
X: So, the decision is taken.
Ghazali: I wish to tell you one thing. Whenever we need to speak to Hariri we have to suck up to him and
he does not always answer.
X: To hell with him. What do I care about him?
Ghazali: What do I care about him? The President can’t stand him so why should I?
X: Fine, may he rot in hell …
Ghazali: No. Let him be the laughing stock and be pointed at as the person who ruined and indebted the
country. Let the people take the street in Koraytem and Solidere; let the manifestations continue
until he is forced to resign like a dog.
X: What about another option. I send him a message saying: Resign God damn it.
Ghazali: No, don’t send him a message or else he will say they forced me to resign. Let the street … you
know what I mean. Or else he will use this as a bargaining card with his American and French
X: So shall we leave things to the street?
Ghazali: This is better.
X: Let’s go for it.”