Former Lebanese president elaborates on Rafik Hariri’s bribe to bomb southern Lebanon

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By  Fadi Boudieh and Mehdi Azizi

May 8, 2020 – 11:24

TEHRAN– The former Lebanese president Emile Lahoud referred to Rafik Hariri’s half a million-dollar bribe to bomb southern Lebanon which made Lahoud demand his own resignation.

Emile Lahoud is the 15th President of Lebanon from Nov. 24, 1998, to Nov. 23, 2007. He was born on January 12, 1936, in the town of Baabdat. He is the son of General Jamil Lahoud, who played a key role in establishing the Lebanese army and strived to achieve independence for the country.

In an interview with Mehr News Agency, Emile Lahoud discussed a number of regional and global issues. This is the second and final part. The first one was previously published on Monday.

What is your assessment of the latest events in Lebanon? Are there still efforts to destroy the weapons of The Resistance and Hezbollah in Lebanon? Especially since all the plans and scenarios for disarming the Resistance failed?

Since the beginning of 2005, when Rafiq Hariri was assassinated, I have only spoken to the media once a year, after the anniversary of Lebanon’s independence, because I was the army commander at the time and was speaking on the anniversary of the army’s feast.

Rafiq Hariri was a businessman and was always looking for making more profit. When I was commander of the army, he offered me half a million dollars a month to buy army officers, but I strongly opposed him. When I became president, he offered me the same thing again, but as someone who believed in the rights and interests of the Lebanese people and the importance of resistance to deter Israeli threats, I strongly opposed the offer. Due to my thorough familiarity with military affairs, I strongly opposed the merger law (Hezbollah’s integration into the military), while the Lebanese authorities at the time insisted on doing so.

In 1993, I was the commander of the army, and I did not know Hafez al-Assad, the then president of Syria, and all Lebanese politicians opposed the merger of the army and complained to Hafez al-Assad. He further told them that Lahoud is right and that the merger should take place.

In 1993, when bombing Israel was planned, Rafik Hariri, Abu Jamal, al-Shahabi, and Ghazi al-Kanaan said that it was the right of the Lebanese government to get rid of Hezbollah. Hariri told me that the Lebanese Supreme Council of Defense was going to pass a resolution in order to terminate Hezbollah and that all I had to do was to hit (bomb) Hezbollah in the south.

My conscience would not allow me to bomb the Lebanese in their homes, and I demanded my resignation and told them to find someone else as commander of the army. Of course, I had predicted that they would not be able to pass the resolution in the Supreme Council of Defense. Despite this, they made their decision and informed me of the order to attack Hezbollah in southern Lebanon.

After the order was issued, as I entered my office, I saw a map prepared by the commander of the international forces for the destruction of Hezbollah. The commander of the international forces was affiliated with the intelligence service in which Jamil al-Sayyid and Michel Rahbani were playing a part in. I asked them to ignore the plan, but they refused, then I told them to look for another commander for the army.

The then foreign minister Farès Boueiz called and asked me to launch a missile attack on Hezbollah’s positions. I told him I was no longer in the army. During a trip to Damascus, Jamil al-Sayyid met with Mohammed Nasif and informed Hafez al-Assad of this issue, which surprised him. It was later revealed that Abu Jamal, al-Shahabi, Ghazi Kanaan, together with Rafik al-Hariri had made the decision.

For the first time, Hafez al-Assad wanted to meet with me. At that time, if this decision was made, Hezbollah could only resist for 2 hours. I said this to show that Lebanon is built on a mountain of corruption and commercial profit. Here, I need to mention the election law in Lebanon. I consider the election law in Lebanon to be a purely Israeli because each of the foreign parties, including France, the United States, and Saudi Arabia, is working to secure Israel’s consent to support their tribes in the Lebanese elections. I believe that the new election laws in Lebanon can save the country politically from the shackles of religious tribalism.

Can the government of Hassan al-Diab make a serious change? Given your political experience and knowledge of Lebanese political leaders, can the new prime minister implement these changes, especially since the region is undergoing new developments?

Hassan Diab is able to make changes, and he is an honorable man and follows a school that has taught us responsibility. It should be noted that the credentials of the cabinet ministers have been approved by Parliament, which has come to power on the basis of religious divisions. Most cabinet members are out of politics, and each has its own authority in parliament. Therefore, al-Diab had no choice but to make some concessions. In my opinion, Hassan al-Diab has done 100 times better than al-Hariri. If Hariri remained prime minister, things would certainly not have gotten any better.

In the tenth month of last year, when the entire Lebanese nation sought the survival of al-Hariri as prime minister, I explicitly stated that Hariri should leave because, due to his presence, the country’s affairs would not improve. So I announced that he should be replaced by al-Diab whom I didn’t know well at the time. However, after watching him closely for a while, I realized that he is a very good person and has taken the right path. I also stated that we must form an interim government to assume certain duties and responsibilities.

These tasks include monitoring individuals who have transferred their money out of Lebanon and whose assets must be transferred to Lebanese banks and the Lebanese economic cycle; the policy brings in $ 20 billion in foreign currency to the country. Unfortunately, they deny this today. Recently, Lebanese central bank governor Riad Salamé falsely claimed that there was no such amount, despite the $ 20 billion. Therefore, I believe that returning such money to Lebanon could solve the problem of the dollar or foreign currency in the country and reduce prices.

Today, decisions are being made in the Lebanese cabinet, but it is clear that cabinet members will not be able to prosecute the powerful corrupted individuals and punish them. It seems that today everyone is satisfied that we cannot provide the necessary foreign currency for our country; We have not borrowed money for seven months, and this is due to the fact that the Lebanese authorities have decided to use the deposited property instead of borrowing.

Here, I warn the government and the country’s political rulers not to encroach upon people’s property, because protecting this property is part of the people’s sacred rights. If the government plays with this property, I will be the first to stand up to it. We did not allow Israel to take our rights, so how can we allow government officials to oppress the rights of the people with their corruption.

End of part 2 of the interview

السيّد: ما قاله بيفاني يُسقط دولة والمطلوب لجنة تحقيق برلمانية بالجرائم المالية

مارس 8, 2019 

شدّد النائب اللواء جميل السيّد، أنّ «ما قاله المدير العام لوزارة المالية آلان بيفاني يجب ألاّ يمرّ مرور الكرام، ليس لأنه فقط يتعلق بمسألة الرئيس فؤاد السنيورة، ولكن يتعلق بالإطار العام الذي من خلاله تمارس الدولة مهامها في المجالات المالية على مستوى الصرف والنفقات والجبايات»، مشيراً إلى أن «ما قاله بيفاتي لا يسقط رئيساً ولا وزيراً، بل يسقط دولة من أعلاها إلى أدناها».

وقال السيّد في مؤتمر صحافي في مجلس النوّاب أمس: «حتى يكون الرئيس السنيورة أو غيره قد سمح لنفسه بهذا الإجرام المالي، فالسؤال هو أين كانت المجالس النيابية المتعاقبة ومراقبتها ومحاسبتها للوزارات والحكومات؟».

أضاف: «بالأمس صوتنا نحن هنا، على ثلاثة اقتراحات تتعلق بالصرف المالي، وهي مخالفة للدستور والقوانين ولأبسط قوانين المحاسبة العمومية، قرار منح سلفة خزينة للكهرباء 790 مليار ليرة خلافاً للقانون، الإجازة لسندات الخزينة لكي تستدين الحكومة أربعة مليارات و800 مليون خلافاً للقانون والسماح للحكومة الصرف على القاعدة الإثني عشرية لأنه لا توجد موازنة، خلافاً للدستور».

وأشار إلى أنّ «كلّ مشروع مقدّم بعشرة أسطر من دون بيانات مرفقة به، عشرة أسطر وتوقيع نواب يقدم باسم الحكومة. نحن اعترضنا على الاقتراحات الثلاثة، وغيرنا من النواب اعترضوا عليها، والأغلبية سارت بهذه المخالفات».

وأعلن «أن هناك جرائم مالية ارتكبت في زمن السنيورة وقبله وبعده، أصلها أسباب، ونقول من خلال كلام المدير العام أنّ المستندات كانت مرمية للجرذان والعفن، وتسجيلات مزوّرة بصرفيات سجلت هناك وصرفت، هناك هبات تصرف من دون أن تدخل في خزينة الدولة، أوامر رؤساء تخترع مراسيم وهمية أي الوزراء، مراسيم وهمية خاصة تفتح حسابات خارج الخزينة وخارج المراقبة، وكلّ حسابات مالية تدخل إلى مصرف لبنان تفتح في الخارج بحسابات خاصة حوالات مزورة، وهذا كلامه. أتعلمون ماذا تعني حوالات مزورة، فوائد قروض غير مسجلة، حتى يظهر أنك غير مديون إلى هذه الدرجة. قرض جرى أخذه من دون موافقة مجلس النواب. لا يوجد قرض في القانون والدستور إلا ويجب أن يمرّ في مجلس النواب».

وقال: «لقد أخذ القرض وجرى تسديده من دون معرفة مجلس النواب. ويقول أحد الوزراء له، «خلصني منك، حدّد لي سعرك». لمن، للمدير العام. هذه القصة بصراحة وكما أقولها بحجم المخالفات، مع احترامنا لأي قاض. هناك قضاة جيدون وقضاة غير جيدين، هذه أكبر من حجم مدع عام مالي. بصراحة هذا الملف وملفات أخرى مشابهة قد تكون موجودة في أماكن أخرى ويجب أن تكشف، حتى لا يقال هناك «فلاحة على كتف واحد».

وأكد أنّ «الفساد فساد، لا دين له ولا طائفية ولا ربّ، وصودفت «المالية» لأنها تحمل العبء المالي والاقتصادي للبلد وهي المكان الأساسي للانضباط والفلتان والتي تمسك مفاصل القانون والمحاسبة العمومية». وقال: «هذا الملف أكبر من قدرات المدعي العام المالي ولو كان من الأنبياء. وبالتالي ينبغي أن يضاف إليه، وهذا ما سوف اقترحه، لجنة تحقيق برلمانية مع مهلة محدودة، بما أنّ الأرقام موجودة، مهلة محدودة لا تتجاوز الشهر أو الشهرين وإلاّ يكون هذا المجلس، بمن فيه أنا، قد ارتكبنا خيانة تجاه الأمانة التي أعطانا إياها الناس والرأي العام».

وتابع: «إذاً، أول عمل للمجلس هو المراقبة المالية وأهم أمر في الدستور مسألة الإنفاق وتحديد أصوله وأصول الموازنات والسلفات المنصوص عنها أكثر من السياسة لسبب بسيط، لأنّ الأمانة في الدولة قبل كلّ شيء هي أمانة المال التي هي الأمانة الكبرى للمجلس، و90 في المئة في الدولة المراقبة فيها هي مراقبة المال، إذا فسد هنا فسد كلّ شيء».

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جميل السيّد

https://youtu.be/4d9b6sr3IFs

يونيو 8, 2018

ناصر قنديل

– لأيام متتالية يتحدث النائب اللواء جميل السيد من منصة الشهود في المحكمة الدولية التي أنشئت لاستكمال مهمة من اغتالوا الرئيس رفيق الحريري بتوجيه الاتهام لكل من سورية والمقاومة. والواضح من متابعة الشهادة وما يُدلي به اللواء السيد وكيفية تفاعل المحكمة وأركانها مع شهادته أنه قد نجح بصورة لا لبس فيها في توظيف هذه المنصّة بقوة الحقائق التي يُدلي بها مقابل كمية الأكاذيب التي جرى التفوّه بها من هذه المنصة نفسها على ألسنة شهود الخمسة نجوم الذين استُجلبوا إليها لمنح المصداقية لكميات الكذب المبرمج الذي فقد مصداقيته مع سقوط شهود الزور، الذين طبعوا مرحلة لجنة التحقيق الدولية، بمثل ما طبعت شهادات السياسيين اللبنانيين مرحلة عمل المحكمة، ولأن هؤلاء السياسيين يعرفون أنّ جميل السيد يعرف، وأنّه يعرف أنّهم يعرفون، وأنّهم يعرفون أنّه يعرف أنّهم يعرفون، فلن يجرؤ أحد منهم على مساجلته بدقة ما قال أو بصدقه أو بكونه الحقيقة التي يملك السيد الكثير مما يقوله لتأييده لو تجرأ أيّ من هؤلاء على الطعن بواقعة واحدة مما قال.

– جوهر ما ترتكز عليه إفادة اللواء السيد هو تقديم صورة مغايرة لعلاقة الرئيس رفيق الحريري بكل من سورية وحزب الله عشية اغتياله على خلفية ما ترتب على صدور القرار الأممي 1559 الذي دعا للانسحاب السوري من لبنان ونزع سلاح المقاومة. والصورة التي رسمت من منصة المحكمة وقرارها الاتهامي محورها، أن سورية وحزب الله كانا مع حلفائهما على ضفة مواجهة القرار الأممي الذي كان الحريري عراباً له، وأنه قتل في قلب هذه المعركة، على خط تماس اسمه قانون الانتخابات والانتخابات النيابية التي صُمّمت لإسقاطه وتحجيمه. فجاء السيد ليقول العكس تماماً أن الحريري كان في قلب جبهة سورية وحلفائها، رغم خلافه مع الرئيس إميل لحود، ورغم علاقاته القوية بالغرب الذي وقف وراء القرار 1559.

– من موقعي كواحد من قلائل واكبوا عن قرب تفاصيل تلك المرحلة، ولم ينجُ من الاتهام بالشراكة في اغتيال الرئيس الحريري، في اليوم ذاته لتوقيف اللواء السيد ورفاقه الثلاثة في 30 آب 2005، ومداهمة منزلي وإعلاني مشتبهاً به خامساً في مؤتمر صحافي مشترك للرئيس فؤاد السنيورة ورئيس لجنة التحقيق الدولية ديتليف ميليس، سأورد بعضاً مما قلته للجنة الدولية التي قابلت محققيها في ذلك اليوم نفسه، عندما تحدّيْت اللجنة في مؤتمر صحافي عقدته على الحدود اللبنانية السورية، عائداً من دمشق لقناعتي أن مداهمة منزلي وإعلاني مشتبهاً به في الاغتيال يهدفان لبقائي فيها تمهيداً لملاحقتها، وفقاً للفصل السابع بتهمة إيواء مطلوبين للتحقيق.

– في الإفادة التي امتدت لإثنتي عشرة ساعة متصلة من الخامسة بعد الظهر إلى الخامسة صباحاً، تحوّلت من مشتبه به إلى شاهد، بعدما نصح أصدقاء اللجنة من يقف وراءها بالتراجع عن اتهامي لأن قرار مجيئي من دمشق إلى بيروت وتحدّي اللجنة أكسبني براءتي أمام الرأي العام، ومواصلة الاتهام ستُضعف مصداقية اللجنة وصدقية اتهاماتها الأخرى. أطلعت اللجنة على وقائع لقائي الأخير بالرئيس رفيق الحريري في الرابع من شباط 2005 بناء على طلبه، لمناقشة ما قال إنها أمور وطنية يعتقد بأنني لن أتاخر عن تلبية دعوته، مضيفاً بعرف أنك زعلان من الكلام عن ودائع سورية بس أنت ما بتوقف عند قصص صغيرة قدام القصص الكبيرة ، فلبّيت دعوته صبيحة السبت 4 شباط رغم الفتور الذي ساد علاقتنا بعد الذي نُقل عن لسانه، ولمدة ساعتين تناقشنا وانتهينا بشبه اتفاق. تحدّيت اللجنة أن تسترجع تسجيلات ذلك اللقاء في منزل الرئيس الحريري والذي شارك في دقائق منه اللواء وسام الحسن الذي كان في صلب عمل اللجنة تلك الأيام، طالباً أخذ إفادته حول صحة ما أقول، ومقارنة كلامي عن وقائع هذه الجلسة بما تقوله التسجيلات.

– كان محور كلام الرئيس الحريري طلب تفسير التناقض الصارخ بين موقفي المعلَن في كل منبر عن رفض مشروع قانون الانتخابات النيابية الذي يقوم على القضاء ويتبنّاه الرئيس لحود والوزير سليمان فرنجية كوزير للداخلية، وبين ما قيل للرئيس الحريري أنه مشروع الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد لتحجيمه، ليدخل في الموضوع، الذي من أجله اللقاء. فقلت للرئيس الحريري الجواب بسيط. وهو أنني أرسلت بطلب موقف الرئيس الأسد مما يُشاع عن القانون، وأبديت رأيي بهذا المشروع. وكان الجواب أن الرئيس الأسد على الحياد، طالما حلفاء سورية منقسمون حول القانون. فالرئيس لحود والوزير فرنجية يريدانه والرئيس نبيه بري وحزب الله يعارضانه، والجواب هو أن لا إحراج لسورية في أن يختار أيّ من أصدقائها أو حلفائها أحد الخيارين، لتكون دهشة الرئيس الحريري مضيفاً، إذن أنا فايت بالحيط ، بافتراض معركة مع سورية والرئيس الأسد حول القانون. ويُضيف هل من فرصة برأيك لترميم جبهة حلفاء سورية حول موقف موحّد، وأجيب بالتأكيد.

– في تلك الجلسة قرّر الحريري أن يبادر للتذكير بموقفه الرافض للقرار 1559 عبر نشر كلام منسوب إليه في الصفحة الأولى من جريدة السفير ليوم السبت 5 شباط تحت عنوان صغناه معاً الـ 1559 يُقسِم اللبنانيين والطائف يوحّدهم ، وتوافقنا على قيامه بمناقشة تفصيلية لصيغ قانون الانتخاب مع السيد حسن نصرالله، الذي كان خيار الرئيس الحريري أن يتابع معه، وقمت بعد هذه الجلسة بنقل ما دار فيها للرئيس بري والسيد نصرالله وأرسلت مضمونَها للرئيس الأسد وتلقيتُ تشجيعاً وتأييداً للمتابعة، فيما أبلغني السيد نصرالله أنّه سيتابع عبر القنوات القائمة مع الرئيس الحريري هذا الطلب، وبعد أيام جرى اغتيال الرئيس الحريري، وكشف السيد نصرالله بعدها علناً عن لقاء جمعهما، وعن ترتيبات للقاء يجمع الرئيس الحريري بالرئيس الأسد.

– تستحق إفادة اللواء السيد التقدير لقيمتها السياسية الهامة في منح الرواية الحقيقية لكون اغتيال الرئيس الحريري محاولة اغتيال لسورية وللمقاومة، وتوظيفاً لدماء الرئيس الحريري في تطبيق القرار 1559 الذي رفض منح مكانته وزعامته لتنفيذه، فصار دمه أهمّ من حياته، حتى لدى صديق شخصي له كالرئيس الفرنسي جاك شيراك، وصار لسان حال حلفائه بعد اغتياله، ليس مهماً مَن قام بالاغتيال، المهم أنه بات ممكناً توظيف حرارة الاغتيال للانتقام من الخصوم، ومَن يُجنّد شهود زور أو يصمت على تجنيدهم، لا يمكن أن تكون الحقيقة هدفاً له.

– قال لهم جميل السيد استحوا… أم أن اللي استحوا ماتوا؟ .

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Three Reasons Why Syria’s Man in Lebanon Was Arrested

Former Lebanese Information Minister Michel Samaha. (photo by REUTERS/ Khaled al-Hariri)

By:Elias Muhanna posted on Thursday, Aug 9, 2012

What to make of today’s arrest of former Lebanese minister Michel Samaha?
The silver-tongued politician, well-known for his close ties to the Syrian government and its allies in Lebanon, was arrested Thursday morning at his home in a Beirut neighborhood. A group of police officers reportedly stormed the apartment at dawn, while the couple was still in their pajamas, “armed as though they were going to go liberate something,” said Samaha’s wife, Gladys.
Within a few hours, a Lebanese TV station was reporting that Samaha had confessed under interrogation that he had participated in a plan to transfer “explosives from Syria to Lebanon in order to carry out bombings in North Lebanon, particularly in the area of Akkar, with Syria’s knowledge.”
As of the time this post went to press, no official word had come out regarding the reasons for Samaha’s detainment or his alleged confession.
In the meantime, though, here are three reasons to pay close attention to this story:
1. This doesn’t happen in Lebanon.

Yes, we all remember the days when high-ranking security officials were dragged into custody by the Lebanese armed forces because of their alleged involvement in the assassination of Rafiq al-Hariri.

But that was then and this is now. The likelihood that a figure with Samaha’s profile (and connections) could be unceremoniously tossed in the back of paddy wagon without a shred of evidence is very slim. Leaks suggest that the Internal Security Forces (ISF), had gathered substantial evidence of Samaha’s involvement in the alleged plot including telecoms, video and audio surveillance, and witness testimony. If the evidence is thin, there are going to be major consequences.
On the other hand, there is something implausible about the story. Even if one were to assume that the alleged plot existed and that Samaha had knowledge of it, it seems highly unlikely that he would have been involved on an operational level.
2. The fragility of the Lebanese government.


The current Lebanese government, headed by Prime Minister Najib Mikati, is already looking very fragile as it is. Divisions in recent weeks between its main primary bloc leaders over such issues as Lebanon’s energy policy have softened the ground for a potential walk-out. This was before the cabinet approved a controversial new electoral law based on proportional representation that seems doomed to die in Parliament.

With the arrest of Samaha, Prime Minister Mikati has significantly gone out on a limb. If Hezbollah decides to demand Samaha’s release on pain of the government’s collapse, Mikati will have few cards to play. On the one hand, he will find it politically impossible to go against the ISF, given that Samaha is being accused of involvement in a plot to sow strife in Sunni areas. Mikati, who has long been painted by the Future Movement (Lebanon’s main Sunni party, currently sitting in opposition) as a fig leaf for Syria and Iran’s allies, is eager to maintain his bonafides as a leader in the Sunni community. Being seen as kowtowing to Hezbollah would be political suicide for Mikati less than a year before the next parliamentary elections.
On the other hand, if Hezbollah keeps mum about Samaha’s arrest, Mikati will come off looking like a crime-busting superhero.
3. A sectarian rumble looming in Lebanon’s security services?
Samaha was arrested by the ISF, the leadership of which is said to be under the sway of the Future Movement. Within minutes of the incident, Samaha’s friends and associates were calling it a brazen political move.
Jamil al-Sayyid, the former director of the General Security Service who endured a years-long detainment for suspected, but never proven, links to the Hariri assassination, railed today against Samaha’s arrest.

He pointed out, among other things, that the arrest last May of an Islamist named Shadi al-Mawlawi threw the Sunni community into a fit, mainly because the arrest was carried out by the General Security Service, which is seen as being close to Hezbollah.

How can someone like Samaha be dealt with so crudely, al-Sayyid demanded, when a nobody like Shadi al-Mawlawi could be promptly released with an apology?
There seems to be a hidden war taking place between Lebanon’s military-intelligence branches. So far, there have been few public casualties of that war, but if the stakes keep rising as they did today, that may change rapidly.
Elias Muhanna is an assistant professor at Brown University and the author of QifaNabki.com, a blog on Levantine political affairs. Follow him on Twitter @QifaNabki

Saad al-Hariri Caught On Tape with “False Witness” Muhammad Zuhair al-Siddiq

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The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

’’Al Jadeed’’ TV Broadcasts new ’’Truth Leaks’’ Series Thursday – Al-Manar TV Refutes Hariri’s Claim His Father Paid the Costs of Sharaa Treatment

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Local Editor

Deputy News and Political Program Manager at Aljadeed TV, Karma Khayyat, revealed that new recordings will be broadcasted starting Thursday, part of the “Truth Leaks” series broadcasted earlier on the assassination of former PM Rafiq Hariri.

The recordings to be broadcasted are expected to include, fist of all, a five-hour recording for former Defense Minister Elias El Murr, followed by others for former MP Eli Ferezli, Maj. Gen. Jamil Sayyed, and false witness Hussam Hussam.

In an interview with Sawt Al Mada radio, Khayyat confirmed that her TV station possesses the recordings for some time now, but the examination of the sounds and voices took some time before becoming ready to be broadcasted.

Concerning what Special Tribunal for Lebanon’s General Prosecutor Daniel Bellemare said, claiming that broadcasting these leaks is considered to be a breach of law, Khayyat said that Bellemare should look for the breach inside the tribunal, clarifying that those were official documents that were leaked to public.

In this context, Karma Khayyat referred that the CBC news and other Medias that leaked information about the STL investigations, have breached the law.

Karma stated that she is ready for any investigation on this level, but stressed that the source will not be revealed.

Al-Manar TV Refutes Hariri’s Claim His Father Paid the Costs of Sharaa Treatment

19/01/2011 “My father did not like [Syrian Vice President] Farouq al-Sharaa.. The people do not feel friendly towards him and my father in spite of that bear the costs of his treatment when he came from Damascus to the American University Hospital. My father was very tense and asked his private doctors to treat him and they were the best doctors despite the Sharaa had always had political problems with my father,” Head of the caretaker government Saad Hariri was recorded as saying during a sit-down with a UN investigator.

Al-Jadeed Channel broadcast late Sunday Hariri’s recorded sit-down with UN investigator Lajmi Mohammad Ali on July 30, 2007, which was authenticated by Hariri’s office.

Hariri’s statement was refuted by Al-Manar TV that “Hariri simply invented not only political facts but also personal ones that didn’t even happen.”

Al-Manar obtained a copy of the check, that worth thirty thousand dollars, that Sharaa had paid for the hospital on December 8, 1999.
The hospital rejected the check considering that it’s an honor that Sharaa being treated in the hospital. But he didn’t accept this gesture since the Syrian government doesn’t accept such a gesture from a non-governmental side. So, the Syrian Vice President donated the money to the University’s scholarships fund.
The story did not end at this point, said the report yesterday, another document, which is a formal letter from the American University in Beirut to Sharaa, on the same date, in which it thanked him for the donation and hoped he get well soon.

When mini-Hariri grovels before Prince Muhammad Bin Nayif

As-Safir today reported that mini-Hariri issued this statement apologizing to Prince Muhammad Bin Nayif after the latter refused to answer many calls from the former.  Here is the Hariri-owned Daily Star: ““No one can put in the mouth of Prime Minister [Saad] Hariri a word against this man [Prince Mohammad Bin Nayef] … who is a model to follow in terms of qualifications, activeness and success and who hails from a great family dedicated to serving their country and Arab causes,” the statement added.

Posted by As’ad at 8:59 AM

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Justice, or a Death Blow for Lebanon?

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expects to hear the UN-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) deliver indictments in the investigation of ex-Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri’s 2005 murder imminently.

Tension is rife as speculators ply their trade, and the country has split into predictable camps — those who believe the STL is an “Israeli Project” bent on destroying its biggest regional foe, the Lebanese resistance group Hezbollah, and those who back the Tribunal, possibly also in hopes that it will neuter the ever-growing strength of Hezbollah and its regional allies.

Nobody seems to focus much attention on the actual murder victim and the 22 others who died alongside him in the massive truck bomb five years ago.

Perhaps that is because Lebanon has seen oh so many assassinations in its decades of civil war, invasions and occupations. So what is one more? And why should this one count more than another?
Quite right. The murder of this Lebanese man has come to symbolize so much more — it is often said that Hariri became “greater” in death than in life.

In identifying through anonymous sources in a May 2009 Der Spiegel article Hezbollah members as the main culprits in the assassination, the STL investigation has drawn the two “blocs” in the Middle East to the political — and potentially military — battleground.

Three years of investigations that appeared wholly focused on Syria were thrown by the wayside in early 2009 and the STL’s laser beam shifted to Hezbollah. Opportunistically, many say, as Syria began to be courted at the highest levels of government by the West — away from its regional friends Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas.

In the interim, it appeared that those three years of investigations had been embarrassingly unproductive, as the Syria-focus seemed to be borne entirely from the false testimony of discredited witnesses. Not one. Not two. More than a dozen such “false witnesses.”

“A Western/American/Israeli plot,” yelled half of Lebanon’s body politic, demanding a halt to the STL’s machinations. Suddenly, the docile, plodding-along cooperation of Syrian and Lebanese authorities with the STL’s investigations came to an abrupt halt as questions, suspicions and accusations rose hard and fast to the surface.

What about those false witnesses? What about the one who was spirited away to France under protection? What about the imprisoned al Qaeda operatives who had already confessed to the crime?
The twists and turns in this plot are astounding. Some examples:

The General

Just before the UN Security Council-backed investigation/Commission moved into its “Tribunal” phase in 2009, it ordered the release of four Lebanese generals who had been arrested shortly after Hariri’s assassination under suspicion. They were never charged — or provided with evidence of their involvement. One of them, General Jamil el-Sayyed, the head of General Security and a Syrian ally, was allegedly contacted by senior Commission official Gerhardt Lehman and asked to approach Syrian President Bashar al Assad with a deal:

“The offer,” which Sayyed alleges Lehman made on behalf of Commission head Detlev Mehlis, specifically demanded that Assad pony up “a valuable Syrian ‘victim’ who will confess to the crime for personal or financial reasons — a victim who will conveniently be found dead later — and the Commission will strike a deal with the Syrian regime, similar to the one struck with Libya’s Qaddafi over Lockerbie.”

In a subsequent conversation, Sayyed was warned that non-compliance with this request would result in Sayyed becoming the “victim.”

Sayyed had the foresight to tape some of his subsequent phone conversations with Lehman. He sent three of these to the investigative Commission. He never heard back on this issue, nor did the Commission ever request further information or original copies of the taping. But Lehman and his entire team were replaced shortly thereafter, supposedly because of the “false witnesses” fiasco. The players changed, but Sayyed still sat in prison.

Now out of prison and raging with the injustice of it all, Sayyed has launched a one-man legal tsunami against the STL, demanding his “file” so that he may bring to trial false witnesses and others who provided evidence against him in 2005. STL Prosecutor Daniel Bellemare has fought him all the way, although recent legal wrangling between both parties looks to ensure that Sayyed gets his file shortly.

This case has split the Lebanese Cabinet in the past few weeks. Sayyed wants to take the false witnesses, some Lebanese judges and a few former STL officials to court right now. The pro-STL side of the Cabinet wants to wait for the Tribunal’s findings first. The other side says “why wait?”

Nasrallah’s Redirection of the Narrative


Since early this summer, Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah has been launching his own trial of the STL’s credibility and competence. Through a series of well-timed press conferences that have stunned Lebanon, he has broadcast intercepted Israeli video footage following routes commonly taken by Hariri around Beirut and to his other homes in the period before the killing — and Israeli footage of the actual assassination route (Hariri was driving in a convoy of cars when the blast went off), taken from various angles.

Nasrallah has shown video footage of “known” Israeli spies confessing to actions that fingered Syria in the immediate aftermath of the assassination. And he provided the information that an Israeli AWACS drone was flying near the Beirut coastline for three hours before the Hariri assassination and an hour and a half after the explosion.

Nasrallah has methodically, carefully, almost hypnotically built a counter-case to the STL’s suspected evidence that Hezbollah operatives used a network of mobile phones to plan and execute the assassination.

A Telecoms Trojan Horse

Since early 2009, more than 100 alleged Israeli agents/collaborators have been arrested in Lebanon and the infiltration of some of these operatives into the country’s telecommunications networks has been a source of serious concern. Israel concluded, after its failed 2006 Lebanon war to destroy Hezbollah, that a key failure of the Jewish state’s war strategy was its inability to penetrate the resistance group’s communications system.

In May 2008, when — for a lack of a better word — the pro-STL element of the Lebanese government ordered Hezbollah to dismantle its private communications network, the resistance group took over Beirut for a few days to underscore its absolute rejection of this demand.

In 2009, after months of post-election wrangling over the formation of a new Lebanese government, one of the hottest points of contention was over which “side” would be awarded the Ministry of Telecommunications — THAT is how sensitive communications control and infiltration is in Lebanon.

Lebanon’s Telecoms Minister Charbel Nahhas said just a few weeks ago that Israel has been capable of altering telecommunications-related data in the country “for a very long time.” In a press conference earlier today, Nahhas and others expounded further:

“Israel has set up electronic warfare towers along Lebanon’s border and can crack encrypted data, jam communications, view phone subscribers’ information, and tap their lines.
Israel “controls information and data packets, and can enter a network, shut down parts and transfer information or delete it.”
“They can fabricate calls that originally did not exist.”
Israel can obtain information about mobile phone owners, their location, their numbers, and their other phones.
“The network is penetrated at any control point, via a person inside the [phone] company, an agent, or another means.”

In light of these facts, it seems unlikely that Hezbollah — a very early adherent to the battle strategy of foiling the enemy’s penetration of communications — used a bunch of mobile phones to plan a very high-profile assassination.

Two Sides Taking Stock, Circling the Wagons


So, today, a largely Western-backed investigation into a five-year-old murder case that has the ability via the UN Security Council to enforce punishment, is targeting the only successful Arab resistance to Israel, and is basing its evidence on Lebanon’s highly-penetrated telecommunications networks… well, that does not sit pretty with one side.

And since 2009 when the STL changed course and lost its credibility with a significant part of the Lebanese population, this seems no longer to be about the man who died. It is a fight between two regional “blocs.”
The English-language Daily Star columnist Rami Khouri summed it up well when he wrote recently:

Stripped to its core, this tension between Hezbollah and the STL is a microcosm of the overarching fact of the modern era in which Western-manufactured Arab statehood has generally failed to gain either real traction or sustained credibility; thus it has fallen on groups like Hezbollah to play a leading role in confronting Israeli and Western power in a manner that most Arab governments have been unable or unwilling to do. Therefore we live through this historic but frightening moment when a century of confrontation reaches a pivotal juncture: the collective will of the Western-dominated world (the Security Council-created STL) confronts the strong rejection and public resistance of the only Arab group (Hezbollah) that has forced an Israeli military withdrawal and confounded the Israeli armed forces, while transcending Arabism and Islamism, religiosity and secularism, Arabs and Iranians, Shiites and Sunnis, and assorted Lebanese Christians and Muslims.

The Middle East Rushes to Intervene


Starting this summer, all the major regional players have paid visits to Lebanon to lower the rising temperature around the STL’s potential indictments. From the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani — much beloved for his direct contribution of half a billion dollars to rebuild southern Lebanon after Israel’s brutal 2006 war — to Syrian President Bashar al Assad, to Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz bin Saud, to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Many of these opposing interests have converged in recent months to take on the unenviable task of averting a full-blown Lebanese “crisis” over the STL. Taking the lead are Syria and Saudi Arabia, each a supporter of an opposing Lebanese bloc.

Hezbollah has vowed that it will not tolerate accusations against a single member of it’s organization, rejects allegations that it harbors any “rogue elements,” and warns against any arrests. The non-sectarian Lebanese Army, a recipient of US military aid, has intimated that it will not arrest any Hezbollah-related suspects charged by the Tribunal.

On the other side, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, son of the slain former PM, has refused to abandon the STL, even though he met with Nasrallah earlier in the year to warn him of the Tribunal’s direction. Hariri and others have been engaged in the Syrian-Saudi efforts to calm things down, and the PM is due to make his first ever visit to Iran next week, shortly after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan drops by Beirut first on Wednesday.

The Bottom Line


Sitting in Beirut, I can’t help but notice that it is largely western and local leaders yelling about escalating tensions. These have not hit Lebanon’s population quite yet, though you could have heard a pin drop during one of Nasrallah’s press conferences this summer, when Beirutis in even the largely non-sectarian district of Hamra disappeared into homes to hear the Hezbollah leader’s latest revelations. And people are following the daily ping-pong statements of Lebanese political leaders with care.

What is worrying is the escalating interest of the United States in this Tribunal. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman, a former US ambassador to Lebanon and the frontman for US machinations in Lebanon these days, paid a hurried visit to Beirut in October, directly after Ahmadinejad’s highly publicized maiden trip here.

Feltman, who in appearance — and possibly demeanor, if the rumors of his acerbic manner are to be believed — resembles Michael Douglas’ character in the 1993 crime thriller Falling Down, bulldozed his way into town after a grandslam show of support for Lebanon by the biggest names in the region, ostensibly to ensure some continued Lebanese support for the Tribunal. It was a poor showing for the Americans, and Feltman did not get all the meetings he demanded. The trip was followed by another $10 million in US contributions to the Tribunal — a State Department official tells me the US’ total financial contribution since the investigation began is $30 million, more than one-quarter of the Tribunal’s voluntary funding from 25 states.

The US is clearly taking a stake in this battle, quite aggressively as of late, even soliciting verbal commitments to the STL from any Arab leader they can find — a significantly pared down “Coalition of the Willing,” if you like.

But if you look at the lineup of who really supports the STL — the US, a handful of Western nations, Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia (though the latter may change its position shortly) – you see a line-up of nations that have never done a single positive thing for sovereignty, independence and real progress in the region. Ever.
US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton recently said:

America’s support for a sovereign, independent, and stable Lebanon is rock solid and unwavering… The United States will continue to speak out against those who would undermine Lebanon’s stability and its sovereignty… We will continue to encourage actors within Lebanon and across the region to act responsibly and in the best interests of the Lebanese people.

I am not certain that any nation outside the region has done MORE to undermine Lebanon’s stability and sovereignty than the United States.

More and more, this Feltman/Clinton crusade resembles the Bush-era legacy in the Middle East. President Bush sought to enhance his global leadership by redefining the region through his “democracy” campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq, and his unconditional support and encouragement of Israeli military belligerence in its 2006 war on Lebanon, strike on an alleged Syrian “nuclear” facility and the Jewish state’s 2008/09 devastation of Gaza.

His Secretary of State’s Condeleezza Rice urged Israel to ignore calls for a ceasefire in the 2006 war, characterizing the carnage as a necessary evil — “the birth pangs of a new Middle East.” It appears the Obama administration has not learned that you cannot “tame” people thousands of miles away — their “will” for a future will always outweigh our “will” to break them.

This Tribunal is no longer about justice. To weigh one man’s death against the lives of four million Lebanese and countless other millions who could be caught up in a regional conflagration is sheer madness.

And for those who think Lebanon and this region can just turn a blind eye and ignore the Tribunal — that too is foolish. The UN Security Council has awarded the investigation its highest investigative status — Chapter 7 — allowing for the international community to enforce its conclusions, militarily if necessary.
In the interim, imagine the trauma of this Levantine nation as the trial draws out, day after day, week after week, month after month — creating divisions, frictions, suspicions to the detriment of Lebanon’s fledgling government, which has made admirable strides in maintaining its equilibrium and learning the art of compromise this past year.

Recall the days of US Special Prosecutor Kenneth Starr’s investigation into the suicide of deputy White House Counsel Vince Foster and the Whitewater real estate investments of the Clintons. It ended with Monica Lewinsky’s blue dress and the president’s semen — hardly a worthwhile endeavor.
Can we trust this Tribunal to know when to quit? Not with our attack dogs hell-bent on destroying our perceived regional foes. This could be our next decade’s “Iraq” — certain to worsen if Republicans take the White House in 2012.

I don’t know “whodunit” either, but perhaps this is an occasion to consider a Hamas-style “Hudna” — the Palestinian resistance group’s favorite solution for peace — which effectively imposes a long-term ceasefire until a new generation turns over or the political parties and local populations reach the political maturity to achieve real justice.

Follow Sharmine Narwani on Twitter: www.twitter.com/snarwani

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“Lebanese Situation Not Secure, Syria will Always Support Resistance”

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07/10/2010 Syrian President Bashar Assad warned that the situation in Lebanon is not secure, particularly in light of the recent escalation and attempts by foreign countries to interfere but he said that at the end “we count on the awareness of the Lebanese.”

In an interview with Turkish Radio and Television (TRT) on Wednesday President al-Assad asserted that Syria supports the Resistance movements as long as there are usurped rights and as long as there is a threat.

On arrest warrants issued by Syria against 33 Lebanese, Arab and other officials over false testimony given in the probe into the assassination of former Prime Minister Martyr Rafik Hariri, Assad said: “This is an independent, judicial issue that has no political meaning or interpretation.”

“Some in Lebanon very much like to give a meaning to anything,” Assad said, adding that the issue of arrest warrants was being exploited to harm Lebanon-Syria relations.

Concerning the Iraqi issue, the Syrian president said “we are on a continuous contact with Iran and Turkey because developments in Iraq will have an impact on us as neighboring countries… sure this issue is the most important, particularly after the delay in forming the government for six month”. “This delay is not in favor of the Iraqis, we are concerned from this delay.”

Assad said Western efforts to renew ‘peace talks’ between Syria and Israel are focusing on finding common ground, but nothing has crystallized yet and the chances of success are unknown. “For us the primary basis is the return of the whole land. For the Israelis they are talking about security arrangements,” he said.

“There is more than one movement in the region, including France and the United States … a movement between Syria and Israel to search for ideas, but nothing has crystallized yet, and we cannot know what will happen,” he added.

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UN Urges STL Not to Grant Sayyed Access to Investigations!

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Believe it or not… The United Nations has the right to interfere in the international tribunal’s work and to give orders to the judges… However, it has also the right to claim the tribunal is “independent” and not politically-motivated…

That’s it… Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs Patricia O’Brien can urge the Special Tribunal for Lebanon not to grant Lebanese former General Security Chief Major General Jamil Sayyed access to investigation documents despite a previous verdict, in a flagrant interference in the tribunal’s operational activities…

According to official reports, O’Brien filed a request with Judge Antonio Cassese, President of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, asking him to refrain from granting General Sayyed access to investigation documents. She based her request on “the inviolability of the archives and documents of the United Nations.”
“Any documents or material of the United Nations International Independent Investigation Commission and any other United Nations documents and material on the criminal file are inviolable under the terms of article 11 of the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations,” said O’Brien in her “brief on the inviolability of United Nations documents” addressed to Cassese.
“Inviolability entails that the documents cannot be disclosed to a third party, copied or used, including non-judicial proceedings, without the consent of the United Nations. The inviolability applies to United Nations documents, but also extends to documents ‘held’ by it, which may include third party documents given to the United Nations on a confidential basis.”
O’Brien noted that the UN has a policy of :maximum cooperation with international criminal tribunals and has developed a practice of disclosing documents on its own volition in certain circumstances in order to facilitate the work of these tribunals.”

“The United Nations respectfully requests that in considering Sayyed’s application for access to his criminal file, and in any other proceedings, the Tribunal, Prosecutors and Defense Counsel appearing before it refrain from disclosing, giving access to and tendering any United Nations documents without prior authorization of the United Nations,” O’Brien concluded.

After all this, accusing the tribunal of being politicized is “prohibited”!

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Mehlis hits back: "Syria’s arrest warrants are ‘politically motivated’…." (haha)

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Via Friday-Lunch-Club

 
“… All eyes in the Middle East are on Iran, but it may be Lebanon that is closer to war. ….. in comments to Foreign Policy, Mehlis poured cold water over the truth of Sayyed’s claims, and suggested that he has no intention of backing down from his work in Lebanon.
Sayyed has a particular axe to grind in this case: He was imprisoned for over four years on suspicion of being involved in Hariri’s killing. And the man partially responsible for putting him behind bars was none other than Mehlis, who asked Lebanese authorities to arrest him along with three other pro-Syrian generals.
“I should mention that I am not aware of any investigation against myself and members of my previous UNIIIC-team anywhere in the world,” Mehlis said. “I realize that Mr. Sayyed has brought up the story of an arrest warrant, just as he brought up the story of a French arrest warrant a year ago, and I do not believe a word of what he is saying. “
The Syrian government has so far yet to confirm whether an arrest warrant has been issued. But even if one has, Mehlis left little doubt about the opinion of such a document. “If indeed there is a Syrian arrest warrant, it would be baseless, illegal, and politically motivated, without any practical implications,” he said.
As the showdown over the tribunal heats up, Mehlis’s work has been fiercely attacked by the court’s critics in an attempt to discredit the entire enterprise. As Syria and Hezbollah attempt to use their increased leverage within Lebanon to scuttle the court entirely, there is no doubt that such condemnations will continue. The only real question is whether anyone will speak out against them….”
Posted by G, Z, or B at 4:37 PM

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Al-Akhbar: Israel Pushing Lebanon “Friends” to Take Drastic Options

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Al-Akhbar: Israel Pushing Lebanon “Friends” to Take Drastic Options

01/10/2010 The Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar said Friday that preparations are underway to print tens of thousands of posters for “four people who will soon be politically accused,” to be used in the protests that will take place in Lebanon, should the situation remains unchanged.

According to the newspaper, slogans like “we want the truth” will entail the pictures of former Telecommunications Minister Marwan Hmedeh, Information Branch Chief Wissam Hasan, Internal Security Forces General Director Ashraf Rifi, and General Attorney Said Mirza. “There will be other slogans that will demand truth behind who financed, planned, fabricated, and sent the false witnesses to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon,” it added.

The daily pointed out that “the planned sit-ins will take place in down town Beirut to protest inaction against the false witnesses and to denounce what some local forces are seeking to implicate Hezbollah and the resistance in the 2005 assassination of former PM Rafiq Hariri.”

“The Grand Serail will fall under a new siege and the prime minister will be punished for everything he should have done, from committing to the pledges he and his entourage had cut – namely Nader Hariri and Wissam Hasan – to Syria and Hezbollah, and for every comment he made before leaderships from both political camps and later disavowed,” the newspaper said.

It added: “The prime minister will have two choices: To join the neo-defeated camp in the White House, the Pentagon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Lebanon, or to keep his post and fulfill at least part of what he had pledged and what his position requires from him.”

“Today in Egypt, that is busy in inheriting the regime, some are still pushing our prime minister to the abyss and this has been illustrated by FM Ahmed Abul Gheit when he reiterated that the STL has Egypt’s full support, or through what some well informed sources have said about arming and equipping some of the most obstinate groups in Lebanon and delivering ammunition stamped with the initials A.R.E..

In Saudi Arabia, there are some who do not want to lose in both Iraq and Lebanon, and therefore, they are still maneuvering with Syria and Iran to try to ease down the impact of the loss. On the other hand, others are standing at the right wing of King Abdullah and see Saudi Arabia’s interest is in pushing Lebanon into civil war so that they can gain the Sunnis to their side in the conflict with the Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, and Hamas axis.”

In all of this, according to the newspaper, Israel sees a golden opportunity that could approximate the time set to swoop down Lebanon and Syria, “so they [Israelis] are rushing their Lebanese friends to push Lebanon towards drastic options.”

Al-Akhbar also said that Hezbollah had sent two messages when it received former Security General Chief Jamil Sayyed at the airport.
“The first was that the time of apprehending and jailing senior security officers had ended.

The second is that inaction on the issue of false witnesses on the one hand and adopting the Der Spiegel report, which Information Branch Chief Wissam Hasan is accused of fabricating, will lead to a breakdown in the state and the government and to the diminution of the institutional influence on the most important public utilities in the country.
It also shows the West and the world that bargaining on a government led by Hariri or Fouad Saniora who stands behind him, is doomed to failure.”

“Saudi Arabia did not get what it wanted in Iraq. Syrian President Bachar Assad will head to Iran to discuss the final steps with regards to forming an Iraqi government, which will not be in Riyadh interest. The Saudi kingdom did not get what it wanted in Lebanon as well, despite all the money spent and wasted in Qoraitem [PM Hariri’s headquarters]…

In case the Syrian president succeeded in preserving a foothold for Saudi Arabia in Iraq, this would have a positive impact represented in a new Lebanese prime minister convenient for moderate Arabs. However, in case Saudi Arabia lost everything in Iraq, the current Lebanese Prime Minister might not spend his holyday in Sardinia, but at the Grand Serail where he will be surrounded by thousands of angry protesters.”


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Syrian Official: "In Iraq, Damascus might ‘sell’ some … but in Lebanon, it buys only…"

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SVia Friday-Lunch-Club

Ghassan Sa’oud in Al Akhbar:

تصرّفت القيادة السورية مع الرئيسين ميشال سليمان وسعد الحريري باحترام فائق. خصّتهما باستقبال لم يعهده لبنانيّ رسميّ قبلهما. نفّذت بعض طلباتهما، وحاولت بدبلوماسية مهذبة إعلامهما برغباتها. رغم ذلك، واظب الرئيس سليمان على ممارسة «السياسة الذكية»، متوهماً أن سكان دمشق بسطاء، يصدّقون «نيّاته الحسنة». فكان أن أطلّ وئام وهاب من الرابية قائلاً بحق الرئيس الأول ما لم يقله اللواء جميل السيّد أخيراً بحق الرئيس الثاني. وهكذا، أخذ السوريّون سليمان إلى «طريقة عملهم» في علاقتهم معه. يومها، قيل إن سوريا بريئة من كلام وهّاب، وإن الوزير السابق يثور «من عنده». تماماً كما يحاول البعض اليوم نزع الغطاء السوري عن جميل السيّد والتوهّم أنّ مشكلة اللواء المتقاعد شخصيّة، لا علاقة لسوريا بها.
في دمشق، يمثّل العراق بوّابة المسؤولين السوريين للدخول إلى الملف اللبناني. يوجزون القول إن سوريا تلعب دون ثوابت مقدسة في العراق، مقابل تمسّكها بالتزامين مطلقين في لبنان هما حزب اللّه وميشال عون. وبالتالي، فإن «لدى السوري ما يبيعه في العراق، حين يضطر. أما في لبنان، فهو يشتري، ولا يبيع». وبالنسبة إلى الشام، فإن مصلحة السعودية هي في العراق أولاً و… أخيراً. فضلاً عن أن «الوطن المصيَف» لم يأت للسعودية إلا بوجع الرأس. وتجزم دمشق بأن السعودية لا ولن تملك دنانير عراقية، لكنها تواظب على الشراء بالدَّيْن من السوريين في العراق. أما اللبنانيون، فمشكلتهم الأساسية هي اعتقادهم أنّهم حقاً محور الكون.
العلاقة بين الحريري وسوريا، خلافاً لما يشاع، لم تصل يوماً إلى مستوى مقبول على صعيد تبادل
الثقة. تقول دمشق إنها قدّمت مبادرات إيجابية عدّة لإثبات نياتها الحسنة، من موقفها في الانتخابات النيابية الأخيرة إلى ترحيبها بإعادة النظر في الاتفاقيات المشتركة بين البلدين. في المقابل، واظب الحريري على قول الشيء في دمشق وفعل عكسه في بيروت. والتقارير التي تشير إلى كلام الحريري عن لقاء الضرورة مع دمشق مكدّسة عند الضباط السوريين المتابعين للملف.
بقيت الأمور على حالها بين مناورات الحريري وتبسّم دمشق، إلى أن بدأ رئيس الحكومة التلميح أمام القيادة السورية إلى إمكان تدخّلها عند حزب الله ليقبل بالقرار الظني. في هذه اللحظة، تيقّنت القيادة السورية بوضوح من «الحجم الحقيقي لمن ينامون في أسرّة الكبار السوريين». لكن مرّة أخرى، لم ينفعل الرئيس بشار الأسد، وأبلغ ضيفه بشتى اللغات السياسية موقف سوريا من المحكمة الدولية ورأيها بالعدالة التي تديرها الدول الكبرى بحسب مصالحها السياسية. وتوقعت القيادة السورية من الحريري عملاً إيجابياً، أقلّه بعد الكلام السعودي الواضح أمامه بضرورة تجنيب لبنان الفتنة. لكن، يتابع المصدر الدمشقي، يبدو أن رئيس الحكومة آثر عدم الفهم، فعاد بعد أسابيع عدّة ليناقش في صفحة كان يفترض أنها طُويت، مجدِّداً القول أمام من يعنيهم الأمر إن تجاوز الفتنة لا يكون بسحب غطائه عن المحكمة الدولية، بل بتدخّل سوريا لدى حزب الله حتى يسلِّم ظهره للجلاد. وفي النتيجة، ضاق ذرع دمشق بالحريري كما سبق أن ضاق ذرعها بسليمان. وفي المحصلة يبدو أنّ دمشق راغبة البت سريعا بملفين عالقين من المرحلة الماضية هما: المحكمة الدولية وفرع المعلومات.
في البند الأول، يشرح أحد المطّلعين أن الحريري يقول اليوم إن المحكمة باتت شأناً دولياً لا
يستطيع الوقوف في وجهه، فيما دمشق تراه المعني الوحيد بهذا «الشأن الدولي»، وهو قادر على قطع حبل الكذب، إن رغب في ذلك. ويؤكد المصدر نفسه أن كلام الوزير السابق وئام وهاب، الجمعة الماضي، على قناة «المنار» ووجود الوزير السابق ميشال سماحة في منزل اللواء جميل السيّد، السبت الماضي، يسهمان في تلوين الرسالة السورية لرئيس تيار المستقبل، وخصوصاً أن الحريري لن يستطيع هذه المرة أخذ وقته في الالتحاق بالنائب وليد جنبلاط الذي رأى أخيراً أن «إلغاء المحكمة الدولية يحصل بقرار مشترك لوأد الفتنة». ويبدو في هذا السياق أن القرار السوري جازم في مساندة اللواء السيّد على المستويات كافة، ليكون «شهود الزور» مجرد البداية في الطريق إلى إلغاء المحكمة الدولية وضرب كل صدقيّتها. وترددت في هذا السياق عبارات لافتة من حيث مقاصدها مثل القول «إذا أصرّ الرئيس الحريري على التمسك بها، فليغرق معها». ويؤكّد أهل السياسة في الشام أن دمشق معنية بـ«بهدلة» المحكمة الدولية، لا لأن القرار الظني يقلق حزب الله، بل للتأكيد أنها منذ البداية «مكذبة دولية».
وعلى هامش المحكمة، يستغرب المسؤولون في سوريا كيف ينادي الرئيس الحريري بأحسن العلاقات مع سوريا، فيما لا يزال يحتضن دون أية محاسبة قضاة لبنانيين تفرّجوا على الانحراف في عمل المحكمة الدولية. وفي أكثر من صالون سياسي وأمني، يتكرر التأكيد نفسه أن الحريري «لا يستطيع أن يوافق على وجود شهود زور ويبقي في الوقت نفسه سعيد ميرزا نائباً عاماً تمييزياً»، مع تأكيد المتحدثين أن لدى تيار المستقبل شخصيات مميزة عديدة قادرة على مساعدة الحريري لإثبات نيّاته الحسنة. أما في موضوع فرع المعلومات، فثمة إجماع في دمشق على أن هذا الفرع كان المحرك الأساسي لكل الحالة الأمنية ـــــ اللبنانية المعادية لدمشق. وطوال أربع سنوات، كان هو المحرّك للأصابع التي تشير إلى دمشق بالاتهام في ارتكاب جريمة 14 شباط، ناهيك بأن لهذا الجهاز «طابع سياسي وسلوك مذهبي» لا يريح سوريا «العلمانية».
يتوقع السوريون، وفق ما باتوا يعرفونه عن الحريري، أنه لا يفهم الرسائل سريعاً، وخصوصاً أن بعض المقرّبين منه «أذكياء» إلى حدّ إقناعه بمحاولة التآمر مع سوريا على حزب الله. كما يتوقعون أن يعاند الحريري كثيراً، وذلك رغم وجود حدّ أدنى من التناغم السوري ـــــ السعودي في هذه المسألة.


Posted by G, Z, or B at 8:29 PM

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Hezbollah: Judicial Decision to Summon Sayyed "Political par Excellence"

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17/09/2010 Hezbollah on Friday condemned Attorney General Judge Said Mirza’s request to summon former General Security chief Jamil as-Sayyed, saying that the request was “political par excellence,” and calling on authorities to back down this judiciary decision.
Hezbollah said in a statement issued by it media relations office: “We were surprised by the exploitation of the judiciary for political ends.”
“We consider this decision political par excellence and oppressive to those who declare the truth, we refuse it and we call on the authorities to revoke it”.” the statement added.

On the other hand, Hezbollah also said: “We expected from judicial authorities to summon those who had bragged about their collaboration and alliance with the Israeli enemy.”
Kataeb (Phalanges) party MP Sami Gemayel last week said his party wasn’t embarrassed of getting Israel’s Support at a previous stage.

“We’re not ashamed of getting Israel’s support in a previous stage against the Syrians when they were in Lebanon. We believe that supporting Lebanon is the most important thing,”Gemayel said in a press conference on Sunday September 6.

Hezbollah’s statement added: “We expected that these judicial authorities would have requested the documents and the data which Gen. Sayyed had revealed in his last press conference in order to seek truth and justice.”

Sayyed on Sunday held a press conference saying that Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri’s team was behind false witnesses.

Sheikh Qassem: Hezbollah Rejects Postponing False Witnesses Issue

17/09/2010 Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem urged on Friday the judiciary to open the issue of the false witnesses, stressing that Hezbollah wouldn’t accept postponing the issue or linking it to any other file.

In a speech he delivered during a ceremony held at Beirut’s southern suburb, Sheikh Qassem said that tangible steps should be taken by the judiciary in this regard.

“We don’t want this file to remain a political one. We want the judiciary to effectively assume its duties and open the file of the false witnesses in order to reach all those who played a negative role and protected the false witnesses who misled the investigations.”

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Jamil Sayyed to Saad Hariri: You Are Your Dad’s Killer till You Punish Forgers

30/08/2009 After he was politically arrested by the Lebanese government for four years, Former General Security chief General Jamil al-Sayyed decided to reveal some of what he has against the March 14 and Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri along with what he called “corrupt judges” like Said Mirza and Saqr Saqr.
On the 4th anniversary of the political arrest of the four Lebanese generals, and in one of his strongest-worded attacks against the premier-designate and his political and security team, General al-Sayyed lashed out on Sunday at them accusing them of forgery and agreeing to four years of falsification in the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL).
In a press conference, Jamil al-Sayyed said, “Saad Hariri lost right in the Special Tribunal for Lebanon when he agreed to falsification and the country’s destruction during a period of four years.”

He said former premier Rafiq Hariri was murdered three times.

“The first was on February 14 (2005). The assassins remain at large thanks to some officers and politicians surrounding (Saad) Hariri.”

“The second time Rafiq Hariri was killed was when the four generals were arrested after false witnesses were told what to say by politicians, officers and journalists.
The third time that Hariri was killed was when the four generals were released,” he added.
Sayyed was among four top generals who were released in April after four years in custody in connection with Hariri’s assassination, no one has ever been formally charged. The other three are the former head of the presidential guard, Mustafa Hamdan, 53, domestic security chief Ali Hajj, 52, and military intelligence chief Raymond Azar, 56.

General al-Sayyed said the “criminal state keeps among its ranks people like (public prosecutor) Said Mirza.” He called on Hariri to hold accountable those who committed forgery such as “Wissam al-Hassan, Said Mirza and Samir Shahadeh.”
Addressing Hariri, Sayyed said: “You are your father’s killer until you hold them accountable. If you are brave enough you will place a picture of Mohammed Zuhair al-Siddiq next to your father’s when welcoming your guests,” he said in reference to the main suspect in the investigation into Hariri’s assassination.

Mohammed Zuhair Siddiq, a Syrian army deserter often described by the Arab media as the ‘King Witness’ in the Hariri murder case and arrested in the United Arab Emirates.

Following the Siddiq case, several arrest warrants were issued in Lebanon and Syria against the man for providing false testimonies in the assassination case of Hariri. Siddiq had become a burden on the political sides that at one stage were providing cover for him. Even sources in the Lebanese majority expected Siddiq to be jailed after it turned out that he was a “big lie.”

Addressing President Michel Suleiman, al-Sayyed said: “It is a shame that you have been made prisoner. And yes to the amendment of Taef.” He added, “I ask President Michel Sleiman to adopt the same strict manner that he used to follow as an army commander or leave his current position.”

He also asked MP Walid Jumblatt “where was your political voice in the international tribunal’s file.” He said those who take Jumblatt as an ally were committing a mistake.

General al-Sayyed then criticized Mufti Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Qabbani and asked for an apology to his daughter Sara al-Sayyed for the accusations against her father.

ASHOURI: BELLEMARE WILL RETURN IN A FEW DAYS; LEBANESE POLITICIANS MUST STOP PREDICTIONS

The spokeswoman of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) chief prosecutor Daniel Bellmare dismissed Sunday reports that an “indictment” in the 2005 assassination of Hariri was expected soon.

“Those who are initiating such reports are mere predictors,” Radhia Ashouri told BBC in an interview.

She called on Lebanese politicians “not to jump into conclusions, predict dates for an indictment or predict the content of such indictment.”

Ashouri insisted that investigations into Hariri’s murder were “top secret and the tribunal does not give out information to anyone.”

She said that Bellemare was expected back in The Hague in the coming few days. “There is no set deadline for an indictment. But this does not at all mean that the prosecutor does not see a need to inform the Lebanese public on whether there is one or not.”

She denied claims the investigation was “politicized” saying “We are not a political side and we have never and will never be influenced by politics.”

Sayyed: Hariri’s Team was Behind False Witnesses

12/09/2010 General Jamil al-Sayyed slammed in a press conference on Sunday Prime Minister Saad Hariri asking him to “take a lie detector test to prove that he did not support or fund false witnesses [in the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL)], and should admit that he sold his father’s blood for four years in order to implement the New Middle East project.”

Sayyed, former head of General Security, was detained from 2005 to 2009 without charges on suspicion of involvement in former Prime Minister Martyr Rafik Hariri’s 2005 assassination. In April 2009, the STL ordered his release due to lack of evidence.

While saying the tribunal knows that Hariri’s political, security and judicial team were behind false witnesses in Rafik Hariri’s assassination case, Sayyed said Special Tribunal for Lebanon Prosecutor Daniel Bellemare should have summoned them and questioned them. He also called on Bellemare and STL President Antonio Cassese to resign “so that they will not [stand] beside counterfeiters”.

Sayyed said that international investigators themselves admitted that some witnesses had changed their testimony or been found to be lying. He indicated that the tribunal doesn’t want to prosecute the false witnesses because “big heads would roll.”

“After all you have done to Syria, (Syrian President) Bashar Assad hugged you rather than hanging you to death,” Sayyed said addressing Hariri. “It’s not enough for Hariri to admit that he erred, he has to pay the price of his mistakes,” the former security chief told reporters about Hariri’s latest statement to pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat. Accusations against Syria were not political, they were crimes of slander that require trial, according to the former general.
In July 2010, the STL held a public hearing over Sayyed’s request for documents related to his imprisonment. He says he was the victim of false testimony.

Sayyed told Hariri that if he does not give him his right, “I swear on my honour that I [will] take it with my own hand,” and called on the people to “revolt against authority.”

Sayyed also warned that he will ask the Syrian government to issue arrest warrants in absentia for Lebanese against whom he filed charges in Syrian courts.

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