Thursday, October 20, 2005
The conversation Hariri taped: Lebanon will never be ruled from Syria, said Hariri
Rafik Hariri, taped conversation with Walid Al- Moallem on 1 February 2005:
“In connection with the extension episode, he (President Assad) sent for me and met me for 10 to 15 minutes.”
“He sent for me and told me: “ You always say that you are with Syria. Now the time has come for you to prove whether you meant what you said or otherwise.” (…) He did not ask my opinion. He said: “I have decided.” He did not address me as Prime Minister or as Rafik or anything of that kind. He just said: “I have decided.” I was totally flustered, at a loss. That was the worst day of my life.”
“He did not tell me that he wished to extend Lahoud’s mandate. All he said was “I have decided to do this, don’t answer me, think and come back to me.””
“I was not treated as a friend or an acquaintance. No. I was asked: “Are you with us or against us?” That was it. When I finished my meeting with him, I swear to you, my body guard looked at me and asked why I was pale-faced”
28. In the meeting with Mr. Al-Moallem, Mr. Hariri complained that he believed that President Assad was being deliberately misinformed about the actions of Mr. Hariri by the Syrian security services and Mr. Sharaa about the actions of Mr. Hariri.
Translated excerpts of the meeting include the following statements by Mr.
“I cannot live under a security regime that is specialized in interfering with Hariri and spreading disinformation about Rafik Hariri and writing reports to Bashar Assad.”
“But Lebanon will never be ruled from Syria. This will no longer happen.”
During this discussion, Mr. Al-Moallem told Mr. Hariri that “we and the [security] services here have put you into a corner.” He continued, Please do not take things lightly.”
30. The recorded interview clearly contradicts Mr. Al-Moallem’s witness interview of 20 September 2005 in which he falsely described the 1 February meeting as “friendly and constructive” and avoided giving direct answers to the questions put to him.
I was wondering if Berri was Mr X I think it's someone important, otherwise, he would have been named and shamed