Saturday, March 26, 2005

U.N. Report Quotes Threat By Assad to Harm Hariri

So, as they say, the plot thickens. A Washington Post article by Colum Lynch, sites a UN reoprt that casts some light on the Syrian connection to the assasination of former Lebanese Prime Minister, Rafiq Hariri. It appears that Assad Jr. was not at all happy with Hariri's opposition to a constitutional admendment that would permit Assad Jr.'s puppet, Emile Lahoud, to stay in office 3 more years.

"The report, which calls for an international investigation into Hariri's death, describes an August meeting in Damascus at which Assad ordered the Lebanese billionaire to support amending Lebanon's constitution, according to testimony from "various" sources who discussed the meeting with Hariri. The amendment, approved Sept. 3, allowed Emile Lahoud, the Syrian-backed Lebanese president, to remain in office for three more years.

Assad said that "Lahoud should be viewed as his personal representative" in Lebanon and that "opposing him is tantamount to opposing Assad himself," the report states. Assad then warned that he "would rather break Lebanon over the heads of" Hariri and influential Druze political leader Walid Jumblatt "than see his word in Lebanon broken." "
Looks like Assad Jr. thinks he has a right to involve himself in internal Lebanese affairs. Of course, Assad Jr. also thinks he has a right to tule in Lebanon.

The UN report also condemns the Lebanese investigation into Hariri's assasination as inadequate at best, at worst a sham.
"The U.N. team, which was headed by Ireland's deputy police commissioner, Peter FitzGerald, charged that Syrian-controlled Lebanese authorities exhibited a "distinct lack of commitment" to conducting a credible investigation into Hariri's assassination by tampering with evidence and failing to pursue promising leads.

FitzGerald stopped short of accusing Syria and its Lebanese allies of detonating the 2,200-pound bomb that killed Assad's major political rival in Lebanon. But he charged that Syria "bears primary responsibility for the political tension that preceded" Hariri's assassination.

In the report, FitzGerald said that the international investigative team "would need executive authority to carry out its interrogations, searches and other relevant tasks." But he added that it was "more than doubtful" that an international investigation into the crime could succeed as long as the leadership in Lebanon's Syrian-backed security establishment remains in power."
It would seem that Assad Jr. needs to keep a pro-Syrian government in Beruit, no matter what the wishes of the Lebanese people are. He needs that to cover his ass. Perhaps this is one of the reasons that Assad Jr. has agreed to pull Syrian troops from Lebanon, in hopes of quieting down the international chorus for a full UN investigation. - Sailor

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