Friday, October 21, 2005

Syria and the Mehlis Report

From Beirut to the Beltway has a good short summary of the Mehlis report. Read the report in full here. Conclusions here.

These are the main conclusion implicating Syria

- "Building on the findings of the Commission and Lebanese investigations to date and on the basis of the material and documentary evidence collected, and the leads pursued until now, there is converging evidence pointing at both Lebanese and Syrian involvement in this terrorist act. It is a well known fact that Syrian Military Intelligence had a pervasive presence in Lebanon at the least until the withdrawal of the Syrian forces pursuant to resolution 1559. The former senior security officials of Lebanon were their appointees. Given the infiltration of Lebanese institutions and society by the Syrian and Lebanese intelligence services working in tandem, it would be difficult to envisage a scenario whereby such a complex assassination plot could have been carried out without their knowledge."

- "The likely motive was political. However, since the crime was not the work of individuals but rather of a sophisticated group, it very much seems that fraud, corruption, and money-laundering could also have been motives for individuals to participate in the operation. "

- "It is the Commission’s conclusion that, after having interviewed witnesses and suspects in the Syrian Arab Republic and establishing that many leads point directly towards Syrian security officials as being involved with the assassination, it is incumbent upon Syria to clarify a considerable part of the unresolved questions. While the Syrian authorities, after initial hesitation, have cooperated to a limitedcertain degree with the Commission, several interviewees tried to mislead the investigation by giving false or inaccurate statements. The letter addressed to the Commission by the Foreign Minister of the Syrian Arab Republic proved to contain false information. The full picture of the assassination can only be reached through an extensive and credible investigation that would be conducted in an open and transparent manner to the full satisfaction of international scrutiny. "

The worst parts of the report for Syria are:

A meeting in Damascus between Mr. Hariri and President Assad on 26 August 2004
appeared to bring the conflict to a head...

Bashar to Hariri (Saad testifying): President Lahoud is me. Whatever I tell him, he follows suit.

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.

Hariri: “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.”

One witness of Syrian origin but resident in Lebanon, who claims to have worked for the Syrian intelligence services in Lebanon, has stated that approximately two weeks after the adoption of Security Council resolution 1559, Maher Assad, Assef Shawkat, Hassan Khalil, Bahjat Suleyman and Jamil Al-Sayyedsenior Lebanese and Syrian officials decided to assassinate Rafik Hariri. (from a draft copy.. the final version does not name them)

Indeed, all of the source information pointed to the likelihood of Mr. Abu Adass being used by the Syrian and Lebanese authorities as a scapegoat for the crime, rather than being the instigator of crime himself. For example, one witness claimed to have seen Mr. Abu Adass in the hallway outside of General Ghazali’s office in December 2004 in Anjar. Another witness claimed that Mr. Abu Adass was currently held in prison in Syria and will be killed once this investigation is over. According to him, Mr. Abu Adass had no role in the assassination except as a decoy, and the videotape was recorded at gunpoint approximately 45 days before the assassination. He later stated that General Assef Shawkat forced Mr. Abu Adass to record the tape approximately 15 days before the assassination in Damascus.

Mr. Saddik stated that the decision to assassinate Mr. Hariri had been taken in Syria, followed by clandestine meetings in Lebanon between senior Lebanese and Syrian officers, who had been designated to plan and pave the way for the execution of the assault. These meetings started in July 2004 and lasted until December 2004. The seven senior Syrian officials and four senior Lebanese officials were alleged to have been involved in the plot.

It was indicated that President Assad would not be available for any interview.

The Commission has concluded that the Government of Syria’s lack of substantive cooperation with the Commission has impeded the investigation and made it difficult to follow leads established by the evidence collected from a variety of sources.

23 Comments:

At 10/21/2005 03:59:00 PM, Blogger Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

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At 10/21/2005 04:02:00 PM, Blogger Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

This is the response of Syria's ambassador to the UN. Journalists are tough on him. Link

 
At 10/21/2005 04:03:00 PM, Blogger Joe M. said...

I read the Mehlis report and it is very strange. The two witnesses who recount the details of the murder are in one case unnamed and in the other case admittedly untrustworthy.

it is a very strange report. Because it is so open ended and so short on details it does leave both sides (the Syrians and the Americans) with room to claim what they had been saying the whole time. It doesn't have any direct evidence showing that Syria had any tie to the murder, and it has enough indirect evidence to make it surprising if syria was not involved somehow.

I think the big surprise in the report is that Mehlis believes that Ahmad Abu Adass was taken to Syria and killed.

I honestly wonder whether Mehlis investigated the possibility of Israeli involvement. If so, then I think his conclusions are far more powerful. If not, I am left unconvinced.

 
At 10/21/2005 04:04:00 PM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

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At 10/21/2005 04:16:00 PM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

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At 10/21/2005 04:19:00 PM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

What will be next?


I believe that Mr. Mehlis will be assassinated by the same forces that assassinated Hariri. This will be the direct reason which the US will use to invade Syria.

If J.F Kennedy was assassinated in the US and until today we do not know what happened, I wonder why no one used the fact the the US inteligence services were also in full command of the US soil!

I am very much against the Assad regime, but I am fully disgusted at the way International laws are being misused and the inconsistency and the lack of uniformity in the applications of these laws.

JAM

 
At 10/21/2005 04:38:00 PM, Blogger Abhinav Aima said...

I find this situation raising three important questions:

1. What is the Syrian reaction going to be? Is President Bashar Assad eventually going to move away from the Denial posture and arrest suspected Syrians? Handing over his own family members to an international inquiry will, undoubtedly, be similar to cutting off his arm to be un-pinned from the Boulder of a report handed down by the UN.

2. What is the U.S. reaction going to be in the Security Council next week? Is the Bush administration, guided by John-Karate Diplomacy-Bolton going to wage the offer of the empty hand - a slap in the face - by demanding economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation for Syria? Is it going to follow up that option by bombing Palestinian camps in the Bekaa valley and Syrian Baathist institutions in Damascus as a second level of pressure on the Assad regime? What is Israel's role going to be in this process?

3. Will China and Russia allow the U.S. and French sponsored sanctions against Syria to pass in the Security Council, knowing that such action may ultimately result in military attacks on Syria (as per the Iraq 3-step Model of Bush Seeks UN Resolution, Bush Proves UN Resolution Unenforceable, Bush Grudgingly Launches Preemptive Strike).

 
At 10/21/2005 05:04:00 PM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

While the US was in full control of Iraq, the UN representative in Bagdad was assassinated in day light and the UN building was completly destroyed.

I am just wondering why the UN Security Council was not interested in investigating the crime?

 
At 10/21/2005 05:28:00 PM, Blogger Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

The US is in full control of Iraq? Really? Well I must have missed something here.

 
At 10/21/2005 06:05:00 PM, Blogger DamasceneBlood said...

I'm not saying that the Syrian rulers are innocent, but the Mehlis Report doesn't present any new facts not previously known. It however, makes an accusation against Syria based on the fact that he cannot think of someone else (Syria had a strong presence in Lebanon, therefore, it must have known about this, and must be involved in some way). This (il-)logic doesn't make any sense. By that measure, the CIA/FBI should have known and must have been involved in 9/11.

That said, it's very clear that Mehlis (who thanked Israel for their help in some undisclosed matter, eg fake tapes? paid witnesses?) is America's front-man in all of this, and is basically doing the Neo-cons bidding to isolate Syria.

While the current administration is highly corrupt and oppressive, life under American 'democracy' and 'freedom' is going to be much much worse. Just wait and see. Or don't wait, just look at Iraq and Gitmo.

 
At 10/21/2005 06:23:00 PM, Blogger adonis syria said...

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At 10/21/2005 06:31:00 PM, Blogger adonis syria said...

Question of the day: Who is Mr. X?

http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=1&categ_id=2&article_id=19524

 
At 10/21/2005 06:34:00 PM, Blogger shamee27 said...

Its going to be bad bad move if bush and his gang tried to change the syrian regime the replacment would be Jihadis, Alqueda would find this very handy.
the american army can't win in iraq mind you winning in iraq and syria
to be honest I can't wait to see this ;)

 
At 10/21/2005 08:08:00 PM, Blogger Nur-al-Cubicle said...

Dear Bashar,

It seems you are between Charybdis and Scylla just now. The good news is that the rest of the world would prefer not to see that inflated bladder of a Bush win this match as shameful as the Hariri affair is. So please accept some advice with which to poke him in the eye.

My advice to you is to get rid of the old guard, throw a few badasses in the slammer and stack your ministies with clever Generation X Syrians selected from the your county's clans and communities, then strike a bargain with France. Bush will positively seethe with hatred for you.

Tell uncle Jacques that you wish to purchase a few Mirages and large quantities of high tech electronics and Peugeots. Suggest a program needing French assistance such as reforming one or two of your institutions. You might ask Arabphile Hubert Vedrine to set up the framework for cooperation and reform.

Then tell the Syrians that they are on the road towards the first Arab digital democracy with modern comforts with the appropriate Arab flavor.

Your people may grouse about the ties to former colonial overlords but tell them it's better than Neocon breath all over you and that Syria will exit the relationship in better shape.

Of course you'll have to make some pious speech about the evils of the past and a shift for the future. But suck it up and look manly.

Good luck, mate.

P.S. As a token of better times ahead, engage in some high-profile feelgood civic project--say a huge Imax theatre for downtown Damascus.

 
At 10/21/2005 08:09:00 PM, Blogger norman said...

I am happy to see Syrians coming to deffend their country not because they love the ASad regim but because they can see the plan to devide the region into religous states with israel as it,s stongest,the US intention to destroy arab natinalism and to destroy any chance of panarabism or islamic intety.

 
At 10/21/2005 08:13:00 PM, Blogger adonis syria said...

Shamee27,yesterday u was anti christian zarqawist and today baathist...there is some thing wrong with u ...

here is your past comment:
Thursday, October 20, 2005, shamee27 said...

Very interesting article yet I disagree with it profoundly.
If this article show anything it shows who ally with the regime at the moment, basically Christians would fight and defend this savage regime by all means because they are scared of Muslims taking back their country back, well sooner or later Muslims will take Syria back from the hand of Nusyries , Christians and Ismaielies do you know why because we are 80% of the population. And this Syrian Christian lady can support the regime find excuse for king Asad the 2nd as much as she likes, MUSLIMS IN SYRIA WILL TAKE OVER SOONER OR LATER (INSHA ALLAH)

 
At 10/21/2005 08:46:00 PM, Blogger ShamyAlways said...

Anybody that didn't know this was coming needs to wake up and smell the roses. The real issue at hand is the next step of the plan; you know the one that was drawn up long long ago. Everything is going according to plan, therefore praises must be given to the project manager. There is nothing that the Eye Doc or anybody else can do. Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan and Israel were all a contiguous nation called Bilad Al Sham,until superpowers came along and decided to redraw the map. Now history is repeating itself and we are watching a new artist stroke the magic of his brush. God help the ordinary citizens of Syria, who never had a chance to voice their opinion and never had the opportunity to elect any of the officials within the current regime. They must now suffer, because in the end, what goes around comes around.

 
At 10/21/2005 09:28:00 PM, Blogger norman said...

The twentieth century will be known as the time that the second crusade started with stabing the Arabs in the back by the west after promising them independence in return for joining the war of independence against the muslem turkey ,they promised the jews palestine as it was theirs devided the arab penensula into small countrie with different systems economic and legal,now they want to continue their plan as they found out that at this rate the arabs of syria will be too large for Israel to feel safe so the next plan started to devide the area further into religous state started with Iraq,sheea,sunny kurds,suny arabs then syria into kurdish area ,alawat and sunny arabs,lebanon is not far from that plan by giving power to the sunny muslems to appease the islamist forgetting the sheea and the christians as the sheea are counted on Iran while the christians have nobody ,they were taken by the lies of the Harreri and Jumblat,so the future in the middle east is very dangerous and syria and the Arabs should know that the plan is to destroy arab nationalism as the US adminstration reached the assesmsnt that the people who commeted 9/11 attack are Arabs first as all of them are then muslems,so arabs and arab nationalism are the enemy,so all Arabs are targeted Iraq yesterday,syria next palestine allready sold and the palestenians will be setteld in Lebanon and Jordon.

 
At 10/22/2005 12:37:00 AM, Blogger Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

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At 10/22/2005 01:49:00 AM, Blogger Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

Josh, I am disappointed by this post. Usually this blog contains first-ckass information and analyses about Syria. But concerning the Mehlis report, you only quoted other people's blog.

That said, there's little that you can add, everything is already in the medias.

 
At 10/22/2005 03:20:00 AM, Blogger Deeply Ashamed Allawi said...

"The Mehlis report is only the start of a long process to bring the perpetrators to justice", this said Michael Young.
Prof. Landis seems speechless.

You all here should not use arguments like "Israel" or "JFK", its not the right time and shows a low level discussion. There is so much dirt in syrians house, clean that up at first. The murderers thought, they could break Hariris and Lebanons neck, they still thinking to be able to break the neck of Bush and US. How primitive is the rhetoric of arab leaders!!!!

Can or will the syrian people not accept, that our leaders are lunatics with big mouth and small brain??? Would a mouse provoke a lion??? Has a mouse more brain and more instinct and more honor than Ass ad?

Now, the whole world is watching us and also our commentaries, be carful what you say and do and write here in the (consored) blog.
Many traps are surrounding the Ass ad Inc. and step by step they will use it. We are in deep disaster. But just sit and wait and think about the bad west, the jews and why Allah is not merciful with the poor arabic souls.

Assad hat alot chances to work together with the west from the beginning, make his peace with Israel in this way, work for better understanding, democracy and freedom and a better world. So he could be the greatest and honorable leader in Middle East instead the greatest ruling dictator on earth.

G.

 
At 10/22/2005 03:26:00 AM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

The Melis report is simply not convincing. It is based on pressures to produce something satisfactory to meet the objectives of those who called for it. It does not stand any chance in a real court of law. This is not a defense of the Assad regime, but to assassinate Hariri in order to achieve the "liberation" of Lebanon, or to defeat the Assad regime is some thing I can not accept from a moral stand.

 
At 10/22/2005 05:24:00 AM, Blogger shamee27 said...

Mr Adonis Its not my fault if you can't read between the lines or even the lines themselves I am not anti-christian I am not anti-bathists, I am muslim First Arab 2nd and Syrian third to me all what matter is to establish an Islamic state in syria or anywhere else which will be the core for Pan-Islamic state "you see it too far away and we say too close" as I said sooner or later Muslims will take over their lands back, its the promise from Allah swt and no one on earth can change facts

 

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