Sunday, October 23, 2005
The denial and the other report
Terje Roed-Larsen, the UN special envoy to Lebanon, has a mandate to examine what is going on in Lebanon now. He is expected to file a progress report on Syria’s implementation of UNSC 1559 soon.
According to Haaretz, the report will accuse Syria of continued “indirect military intervention and direct intelligence intervention in Lebanon,” inlcuding “arms shipments to various militias.”
Roed-Larsen’s report will reportedly state that “Damascus did not did not genuinely implement Resolution 1559, preferring instead to maintain its indirect military control of Lebanon through its agents in the Lebanese presidential palace, the army and intelligence organizations.”
And where the Mehlis report was unconvincing and inconclusive to some, Roed Larsen’s report will prove culpability by establishing a present and thus continuous pattern of criminal Syrian activity in Lebanon.
Roed-Larsen reportedly states explicitly that Hariri's murderers must be exposed as soon as possible.
The combined effects of both reports will likely lead to a harsher tone by the UN Security Council, possibly sanctions, says Haaretz.
Meanwhile, Syrian deputy foreign minister Walid Moallem denied that he had threatened Rafik Hariri days before he was assassinated.
"This is totally untrue," Deputy Foreign Minister Walid Moallem said in a call to a talk show on Syrian state television. "I did not go to Premier Hariri to make threats. I went to him to inform him about my mission and ask him to cooperate in order for the mission to succeed."
An excerpt from a RECORDED interview between Hariri and Moallem contradicts this claim. Here’s what he said on 1 February 2005:
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.”This does sound like a threat to me. But forget that. He went to ask the prime minister of another country to “cooperate in order for the mission to succeed?” What kind of mission was that?
This is similar to what Assad told Der Spiegel on 29 August, when he tried to deny he threatened to destroy Lebanon over Hariri’s head if the latter didn’t agree to the extension of Lahoud’s term. (The Mehlis report has multiple but similar accounts of this threat)
SPIEGEL: Many politicians in neighboring Lebanon blame your government for the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Some have even said that the two of you had a loud argument the last time he was in Damascus.
Assad: And some have even said I threatened him. Others claimed a security agent
pointed his pistol at Hariri's head. That's simply ridiculous. In that conversation, we discussed extending the term of Lebanese President Emile Lahoud. It's obvious that Hariri was against the idea. So I told him: "We don't want to pressure you. Go back to Lebanon and then give us your decision." He told us a few days later that he agreed with the plan. Why should Syria kill someone with whom it has no differences of opinion? It doesn't make any sense at all. In truth, we Syrians are the ones who ended up suffering the greatest drawbacks as a result of this affair.
SPIEGEL: Can you really completely rule out the possibility that neither your intelligence services nor any other Syrian is involved?
Assad: I'm absolutely certain. That kind of plan requires the cooperation of several individuals and organizations. If this cooperation had existed, we would have known about it.
The plan, the mission and the insulting and arrogant denial. Bashar told Hariri, the prime minister of Lebanon, about a Syrian "plan" to ILLEGALLY extend Lebanon's president's term. Moallem went to urge cooperation with a Syrian “mission.” These are not threats, these are calls for cooperation, Syrian style.
In the Syrian regime’s dictionary, a “threat” is called a threat if there is a gun or torture involved. To the military thugs who rule Syria, “credible evidence” of a threat requires the documented torture of Hariri in an underground Syrian prison, or a photograph showing Ghazaleh pointing a gun to his head, twisting his arm and attaching electrodes to his organs.
That’s the Syrian regime's culture for you, and that’s how they can continue to deny the undeniable despite the glaring evidence.
I don't know if sanctions are the best approach - if only because they wouldn't inflict as much on the government as on the people.
The behaviour of the Syrian people
in general is upsetting.
They do believe the Mehlis report
is part of a zionist conspiracy against Syria.
With this attitude one wonders about
the future of Lebanon relation with
It's really pleasant to see Syria being backed into a corner and being held accountable for everything it is doing.