Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Asef Shawkat Fingered According to German Magazine

Stern Magazine says Shawkat will be named as a suspect by Mehlis. There have been a number of leaks during the investigation, but it is hard to know what to make of this one. There has also been much wild speculation. We will have to wait for the report.

Head of Syrian military intelligence suspect in Hariri killing, says Stern
Mehlis mission extension to December depends on 'whether there are technical questions that need answers'

By Leila Hatoum and Majdoline Hatoum
Daily Star staff
Wednesday, October 19, 2005

BEIRUT/NEW YORK: Assef Shawkat, brother-in-law to Syrian President Bashar Assad and the head of Syrian military intelligence, has been named as a suspect by the head of UN team investigating the murder of Lebanese Premier Rafik Hariri.

Shawkat, one of Syria's most powerful men, "was questioned as a suspect and not as a witness," German magazine Stern wrote, without revealing the source of its information.

Assad had appointed Shawkat Syria's chief of military intelligence shortly after Hariri's assassination on February 14. Sources had said Monday that Mehlis would present the names of some 20 suspects in his report including the names of Syrian officers.

Mehlis is due to present a report to the UN and the Lebanese government this Friday. ..

Late Monday night, the UN Security Council discussed the possibility of extending the Mehlis mission if his report leaves any questions unanswered. The council may ask Mehlis to continue working until the end of the year, said Romanian Foreign Minister Mihai Razvan Ungureanu, whose nation holds the rotating presidency of the Security Council.

"If the presentation prompts new questions that would require very specific answers on technical details, these answers would be due by the end of the year," Ungureanu told The Associated Press in an interview....

Garnering more international support for the case, Hariri's parliamentary bloc MPs started a campaign to urge UN Security Council's members to establish an international tribunal to try those accused of Hariri's murder.

Among other embassies, the MPs visited the U.S., Chinese, Japanese and the Romanian.

Lebanese MP Walid Eido said after meeting the U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Jeffrey Feltman he felt a U.S. readiness to support a Lebanese demand to extend Mehlis' mission.

Eido added that Feltman told him the U.S. "is seriously studying its stand for establishing an international private court, especially under the circumstances of the Lebanese judicial system, which is not qualified yet ..." to handle such a trial...

In Beirut, judicial sources said extradition was being sought for Zuhair Mohammad Siddiq, the Syrian Army deserter now held by France on suspicion of misleading the Mehlis commission. - With agencies


At 10/19/2005 06:16:00 AM, Blogger Ya Cham Ya Hayati said...

I think that we're literraly screwed thanks to the Baath regime. Why don't those bastards just leave us alone and go back to their backwards villages.

At 10/19/2005 08:07:00 AM, Blogger Bashar but not Assad said...

Will Bashar Assad try him for treason as he aid in his interview before millions of people, or might he hand him over to an international tribunal? This, along with the death of Kannan brings down ruling team to two: Bashar and Maher Assad. What’s going to happen in that case? Reforms?

My feeling is that Bashar Assad is going to sacrifice Syria for the sake of his Assef Shawkat. He will not give him out like that, he will say that the report has been interpreted politically and we will not accept this etc etc etc. As a result, by next Tuesday or Wednesday, a Security Council resolution against Syria will be put to a vote. So this is our last week as a defender of Balad el Semoud wal Tasadi. As of next week we’ll be Iraq. As a hint, it has been reported that Asma Akhras and the kids have been spending most of their time in Europe lately. (

Thank you Bashar Assad for your leadership. He did keep his word and transform Syria, albeit from a regional power to a pariah state.

At 10/19/2005 09:30:00 AM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

To think that Asef would make a unilateral decision to orchestrate the killing of Harriri without the knowledge and approval of Maher and Bashar is not credible. It could be that Maher was smarter about his cell phone use. In the end, it is all irrelevant.

I am sorry but this is going to be a long commentary. My apologies to all:

Bashar's leadership has been a fiasco:

When he was forced on the people of Syria as their new leader at an age that even the constitution could not fathom was possible, the Clinton/Albright team took hours to endorse him. Even the skeptics amongst his population thought of giving him the benefit of the doubt. With that backdrop, Bashar had a golden opportunity to open a new chapter and embark on dismantling the Baath party that has destroyed every aspect of life in the country. Regrettably, he had other plans in mind:

1- Marry a pretty woman and form an elegant looking family that can act as a facade for the regime.
2- Play up his "western" educated credentials to make people believe that he will make Damascus look like London "soon"
3- Keep promising reforms and forming "committees" to make suggestions while playing up the "old guard" and how this group is the only thing standing between Bashar's vision and Syria becoming the next Norway (I really want to do all these great things but THEY are not letting me).
4- Have Uncle and son Rami run the Business side while Maher concentrates on protecting the Palace and Asef the rest of the country.

Shockingly, the vast majority of people in the country and "outside" bought and loved the product!

Sep 11th changed America in ways that Bashar and co. could not comprehend.
The extremely well organized and powerful Neocons. could not believe the window that opened up for them to translate their dreams into reality.
The invasion of Iraq ironically presented young Bashar an incredible "opportunity". America needed help in Iraq when events did not go according to plans. Instead of sending his army to "help Iraq restore law and order" and in the process establish himself as the king of the MiddleEast with his
army in both Lebanon and Iraq "to restore peace to his two neighbors", Bashar and his brilliant Sharaa disasterly decided to do the opposite and bet on the "insurgency". I think had his father been alive, he would have correctly anticipated that America will have its way once they made the trip and would have used their arrival to his maximum advantage. His son's fatal miscalculation was the start of the end. The Killing of Harriri was the final chapter in this sad fiasco as Bashar handed his enemies the gift of using the UN security council rather than having to send a single marine on the street of Damascus. For the record, the budget for the new US embassy in Baghdad is over $500 million. This will be THE most expensive and biggest embassy structure in the world. Anyone that thinks America will leave the region "soon" is ignorant. It is time for people in the ME to realize this and start betting on the "winning horse" whether you like the race's outcome or not.

At 10/19/2005 10:09:00 AM, Blogger O.D.M said...


U.S and France have decided that Syria should be held accountable for the mess in Lebanon, which lead directly or indirectly to the assassination of Harriri.

Sanctions will be made, it seems like the time for Assad is up, just like how it was for Saddam, and everybody else.

I think international sanctions push for faster reforms from within, and encourage real opposition. I don't think there will be any millitary action, because in that case, O.D.M himself would take it to the streets, no joke.

I hope Mubarak, Qaddafi, Sheikh Hamburger of Kuwait, The Mummy Al-Saud, and all those in the region follow suite.

Syria Forever

At 10/19/2005 12:05:00 PM, Blogger Ghassan said...

I doubt that Asef wil do all that without the approval and knowledge of Bashar. Maher is willing to do that! Whoever did it, Bashar, Maher or Asef all three are stupid mafia members who are running a country of more than 20 milliom Syrians! The Syrians get pooere and the mafia get richer! They will pay the price sooner or later! Saddam was in court today and Bashar and the brothers will face the same fate.

At 10/19/2005 01:53:00 PM, Blogger norman said...

i guess Hareri was a high value target to syria simmeler to what the US and Israel do ,but apparently killing Arabs by Israel or the west is justified war on terror.

At 10/19/2005 03:28:00 PM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

The German magazine "Stern" will hit the stands tomorrow. The magazine will have the following quotes:
After being grilled for five hours, R.Ghazale responds:
"I love all Lebanese, and Harriri I have loved especially dearly".
Investigators had found $20 million one one of Ghazale's Beirut bank accounts - all that with his rather modest salary of roughly $3000. Mehlis asked the Syrian how he got so much money, to which Ghazale reportedly did not directly answer.
"What does the $20 million have to do with the murder?" he finally asked

At 10/19/2005 06:13:00 PM, Blogger DamasceneBlood said...

While I agree with most comments here that this administration has only brought us more corruption and decline, I do not think that sanctions will do the job. The ruling party would rather destory Syria, Lebanon, and the whole ME before it loses the throne.

That said, I am terribly worried about Syria's future, given America's, and Israel's determination to destroy it in any way possible. Sanctions will only make Syria poorer, and will gradually transform it into another Iraq.

So what is the solution? It's all in Bashar's hand. It's time for him to pack up and seek refuge in some Arab country, and he should probably apologize for the Syrian people for bringing their country down a very dark path.

Long live Syria.

At 10/20/2005 02:58:00 AM, Blogger Ghassan said...

I hope that the sanctions will target the officials. Freezing their assets in the whole world and preventing them for leaving Syria are options. Until a courageous patriotic Syrian will start an organized movement and topple the mafia regime either by force or peacefully!


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