Friday, December 30, 2005
Khaddam stops short of saying Syrian regime killed Hariri
Khaddam said the answer to the question of who killed Rafik Hariri lies in the political smear campaign that preceded his assassination. He named Lebanese President Emile Lahoud and Jamil Sayyed, in addition to former Syrian military intelligence chief in Lebanon Rustom Ghazale, as members of a circle of people who would incite Bashar against Rafik Hariri.
Khaddam confirmed that Hariri received many death threats from Syrian security officials, including Ghazale. He also confirmed that Bashar Assad told Hariri that he will crush whoever opposes his decision to extend Lahoud's term. Following his last conversation with Assad, Hariri's blood pressure reportedly rose and suffered a nose bleed.
He said he advised Hariri to leave Lebanon in a message he sent him with MP Mohsen Dalloul because his "position in Syria is complicated".
He said a decision to kill Hariri would not have been made without Bashar's knowledge, who is in complete control.
Khaddam described whomever came up with the Abu Adass (suicide bomber) story as extremely stupid. "No sane person can believe that Ahmad Abu Adass is responsible for the assassination." He said the assassination required a network of at least 20 people running such a complicated operation. What individual can arrange for something like that, he wondered. He said this must have been the work of a strong and capable security apparatus.
The former vice president of Syria had a lot to say about Ghazale and his many "transgressions " in Lebanon, which were often rewarded by Bashar. "After Hariri's assassination, I told Bashar he needed to bring that criminal and chop his head off," Khaddam said in reference to Ghazale. He added that he was surprised that Bashar would instead reward Ghazale, who acted like the "supreme ruler" of Lebanon and would regularly hurl insults at Lebanese political figures.
He said the Mehlis report is a technical and professional report. Such a report, he added, cannot reveal all so not to harm the investigation. He accused the suspects of politicising the report, adding that the Hariri murder was a political assassination.
Khaddam stopped short of saying Bashar ordered the assassination, leaving it to the UN investigation to ultimately determine the responsibility. But he provided plenty of hints and said the assassination has to be seen in the context of the Syrian campaign on Hariri and the death threats he received from Syrian officials including Rustom Ghazale.
Is Khaddam the witness Mehlis mentioned in his second report? Time will tell.
Tayyar.org has a picture of Houssam at the site of George Hawi killing.
Who is Houssam Houssam?