Did Chirac know?

Posted by Alex 

French daily Le-Figaro published its investigation into the disappearance of Zuheir al-Saddiq, star witness in the probe on former Lebanese premier Rafiq Hariri's murder. I translated the relevant parts to English, below. I am not a professional translator. Please refer to the original article for reference.

disparition du faux témoin de l'affaire Hariri
(Disappearance of the false witness of the Hariri affair)
Georges Malbrunot
Le Figaro

Some months after the assassination of [late Lebanese prime minister Rafiq] Hariri in February 2005, his entourage came in contact with a man, [Assadiq] who claimed to have important secrets and to be the chauffeur of a Syrian General. During Assadiq's pre-screening in Saudi Arabia, those close to Saad Hariri, the heir to his father, undertook the task of briefing Assadiq. At the time Detlev Mehlis, the German persecutor in charge of the Hariri investigation, had difficulties … There were many testimonies but none that implicated Syrians. The pro Hariri people who were collaborating closely with the Mehlis commission wanted to attribute to Assadiq information gathered by others. There was a need for a place to conduct the interrogation. In the name of friendship which bonded Jacques Chirac with Rafiq Hariri, the [French] ex-president accepted that the UN investigators come to France to question the suspect and that Assadiq be pre-screened by French authorities.

Did Jacques Chirac realize that it was a setup? … not sure.

However, as soon as his initial interrogation commenced, the DGSE (Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure, France’s foreign intelligence agency) realized what Assadiq was, and handed this hot potato to the DST (Direction de la Surveillance du Territoire, a directorate of the French National Police operating as a domestic intelligence agency). Assadiq was then guarded by French elite intervention team, équipe RAID (Recherche Assistance Intervention Dissuasion] which quickly asked to be relieved from their responsibility of protecting him since he was “uncontrollable”. According to a person who is familiar with his file, “the false witness” ended up telling the policemen that “he had been paid to say what they wanted him to say so that the investigation moves in the desired direction”.

At the end of 2005 Assadiq called his brother Imad and informed him that he has become a millionaire. The man became an embarrassment. But what can be done about him? …Several hypotheses are possible for his disappearance. The false witness left at his own initiative, the Syrians recuperated him in a clandestine operation, the French have hidden him so that they can later hand him over to international justice.

The most obvious hypothesis is otherwise. An intelligence expert who has followed the affair stated that “those who brought him to France, that is the Hariri camp, have neutralized him by sheltering him”… was this done without French involvement?

“it is technically possible that the French did not have a role in his departure” adds a police officer, since no charge had been laid against him and Assadiq was free in his movements and he was not under permanent  surveillance. In fact, according to a diplomatic source “France, since last September, did not want him anymore, the Hariri clan cutoff his living allowances to make him leave, but today those close to Saad Hariri are keeping him clearly under their radar”.

By placing him in a secret location his manipulating protectors wanted to avoid being discredited by their client at the international tribunal.

Full article


Meanwhile, the internet is rich in thousands of links to articles and opinion pieces from 2005, 2006, 2007, and even 2008 that continue to dedicate a paragraph to the initial Mehlis report which was based on Saddiq's testimony … "Syria implicated" in Hariri's murder.

Here are screen shots of a few samples.









Comments (171)

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151. wizart said:


There was at least one woman and several men who felt insulted and that was enough. We don’t owe him anything in return for his insults!

I think Alex and many others have been extra tolerant and if you’re Syrian and have been around the blog for a while you might have felt differently so while we appreciate everybody feeling welcome here I would have to support that decision although it’s really not up to me.

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April 15th, 2008, 6:58 pm


152. Shai said:


Forgive me for suggesting that you’re not reading me correctly. If you’d have read all my comments in the past (of course I don’t expect you to have done that), you would have heard yourself in echo. I also said that Israel did not withdraw from Lebanon, or from Gaza, because it suddenly “fell in love” with the Arabs. It did so because it saw that the price of staying was far worse than withdrawing. By the way, the same goes for peace with Egypt. The reason why Begin was willing to give up on the entire Sinai only 4 years after the 1973 war, was exactly because of seeing that the alternative to peace will be endless wars. I too completely agree that there needs to be a balance of power, and that the stronger the parties are (Syria, Palestinians, etc.), the better the chances for peace. This is precisely why I believe it is in Israel’s best interest NOT to try to weaken Syria by making ridiculous preconditions, or by supporting its isolation. Same goes for the Palestinians – I think it’s a terrible mistake for Israel to negotiate with a “friendly” enemy (Abu Mazen), who receives from us money, guns, and protection in his own territory. Instead, we should be talking to Hamas, or anyone else that can better represent the “enemy” side.

Now, as to what I’m asking here, occasionally. I’m not asking you to make the first move, though I do believe that the current Israeli leadership is so impotent that it cannot possibly do anything useful towards peace in the region. So either we wait for it to be replaced (as well as Washington’s), or we have your side doing something dramatic to try to speed up that eventuality (such as: surprise visit by Assad to Tel-Aviv, serious marketing work by Syria in various world capitals showing Israel’s true “face”, war (!)?) I’m not suggesting any of these is a good idea, or likely, or effective. I’m just using them as examples to show that it is not inconceivable that your side will initiate something to try to influence our side, despite the perceived imbalance.

And that brings me to this very point – balance of power. To you, and perhaps to 99% of the readers here, including Arabs and non-Arabs, Israel is clearly the strongest side in our conflict. I also agree with that. But believe it or not, many Israelis believe they are still the victim, and that they are the ones truly threatened, even existentially so! You don’t have to accept it, you don’t have to understand it, you and I can argue it until we’re both blue in the face, but ask some Israelis, and you’ll see that this is what they believe. And if this is the case, then the balance of power is much more balanced than you may believe. After all, this balance is nothing more than how people perceive it to be. During the Cold War, and especially its first two decades, there was a perception in the U.S. that the U.S.S.R. has strategic capabilities that could destroy her at any moment. In fact, we know today that the so-called Bomber and Missile Gaps were very much in favor of the U.S., and that the U.S.S.R. could barely destroy a single city in the U.S., let alone the entire nation.

So if Israelis perceive the Arab world as far stronger than it might truly be, this is a perfect opportunity to make peace with Israel! Syria has wisely created its alliances with HA, Hamas, and Iran, because it knows that its army is no match for the IDF. But Israelis fear Syria in a purely emotional way, not a rational one. They still envision Syrian tanks surprising us along the Golan, and heading down towards the Lake of Galilee. What a ridiculous idea, if you ask me, given today’s spy satellites, and our ability to probably see the letters on the oil can changed once a month in the tank shops, well before those tanks roll out. Surprise attack is probably something that belongs more to the 20th century than to this one, but most Israelis cannot fathom that yet. Same goes for the Palestinians. Imagine, that most Israelis are truly afraid of Hamas, despite the fact that it has no real army, no sophisticated weaponry, no tanks, no airplanes, no satellites, no electronic jammers, no pilotless aircraft, etc. I am astounded at how capable Jews seem to be of harboring fear, even when it is utterly irrational, useless, and in fact, counterproductive.

Still, I repeat, I do not expect you to make the first move. It is absolutely your right to wait for us, or for someone else who’ll push or force us to change. Certainly Syria has done more than enough to demonstrate its willingness to sit down and talk with Israel. Yet we seem to prefer the Dubya way of looking at the world, through his “good guy – bad guy” lens made complementary of Neocon Ltd., Washington D.C. But this too will hopefully change soon. What I do wish to see more, from your side, is the most minimal level of support or recognition, of those few who indeed are working hard to change public opinion, and the potential leadership, in Israel. And when I say “minimal level”, I mean not to continue to depict us in the wrong light, as I believe you have done in your last comment (I imagine not intentionally, but from how you viewed my stance). Try to see that some of us are in fact more on “your side”, at least in recognizing your rights, in recognizing our responsibility, and in doing everything we can to change our reality. That’s all that I’m asking. The rest is up to us.

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April 15th, 2008, 7:00 pm


153. Shai said:


Listen to Alon Liel’s lecture at the Middle East Institute of a few weeks ago (the podcast link is: http://www.mideasti.org/podcast/can-israel-and-syria-break-middle-east-deadlock). Alon is as reliable as one gets. You can verify that with Alex, and anyone else that knows Alon. In fact, just to be 100% sure that the idea was STILL on the table (it was brought up during the meetings a few years ago), Alon checked with Syria through his Turkish contacts, and the response he got was along the lines of “What do you mean, it was OUR idea.”

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April 15th, 2008, 7:06 pm


154. SimoHurtta said:

Akbar most interesting to read your comments.

Well lets start from the guaranteed the neighbours peace issue. Actually Israel peace (paid by USA) has guaranteed Egypt and Jordan a situation where the rulers and the people are far apart = unable to do necessary social reforms. Both countries also suffer from the instability the Palestine problem reflect on the whole area.

Israel’s elite needs the conflict and its aerial nuclear monopoly.

Also, there is no “monopoly”. A number of nations have nuclear capability, including the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

Well Akbar then there is no problem if Iran and Syria develop nukes. Why not. They also want to keep their countries safe. With the same justification as Moldovian Liebermans and American Akbars in the Jewish home land. Everybody needs security and peace.


Of course Israeli Arabs know best if Israel is an apartheid. Especially a person elected to the national parliament and is a leading member of the Arab community. A slave owner is not very competent to say is slavery good or bad, the slave is. It is amusing propaganda when an American Jew like you says that Israel is no Apartheid state, but it is not amusing when the vice speaker of Knesset, an Israeli Arab, says Israel is. He lives there, you do not. He knows the situation and laws, you do not.

Why Jews are allowed to compare and make analogies between Arabs (and others) and Nazis, if they do not allow others (Jews, Arabs, Europeans) make such comparisons? That is difficult to understand.

Not really. Has it tried that peace strategy? No it has certainly not.

Actually, YES really. She not only “tried that peace strategy”, she has succeeded with it.

That interoperation of Israel’s peace strategy’s successfulness is simply amusing. What peace strategy? It is a domination strategy paid buy USA.

I think if you bothered to look into this a little more carefully (instead of relying on your prejudices), you’d see that extremists get in trouble in Israel no matter who they are.

Well are those tens of thousands extremist Israeli Jews, called settlers getting in troubles? No they are not. Well you have Jewish Nazis in Israel, that is interesting? What has it to do with non Jews? That is an internal problem. By the way Akbar there were many Jews in Nazi land and served in the Army. It is estimated that 150.000 Jews served in Adolf’s army. Even as generals and admirals. Well that is history, which is not allowed to be spoken.

Certainly better than a members of the ruling majority. Few whites in South Africa complained about treating blacks like shit. The blacks complained.

The big non-secret now is that South Africa is, unfortunately completely “down the tubes” now that the ANC is in government. Murders are out-of-control and the rule-of-law is gone. Be careful what you wish for.

Hmmm Akbar you seem to prefer order before liberty, so did Adolf H. and Josef S. Be careful what you say.

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April 15th, 2008, 7:34 pm


155. Shai said:

AP, Simo,

What Jimmy Carter has said, is that if Israel does not hurry, it will soon find the two-state solution no longer relevant, and it will then have to choose between either granting all the Palestinians equal rights (voting, etc.), or become a state of Apartheid. There was another politician who voiced a very similar opinion, not too long ago, in front of the entire Israeli Knesset, and his name is Ehud Olmert (our Prime Minister). I happen to agree with both. Hence the need to hurry.

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April 15th, 2008, 7:43 pm


156. why-discuss said:


As Jimmy Carter is saying and I have been repeated that: time is ticking for Israel, not for the arab world! Israel as you know it may dissapear and your obstinate and hysterical politicians with them. Israelis should wake up and instead of being paranoid about the arabs, they should see the dead-end their stupid politicians are carried them to. They must ask for a change, and a deep one, not just one more raid on Gaza! Israelis, wake-up!
There is an urgency for Israel to make any peace just to get back on a safety wave. But Israeli politicians are so used to proudly dictate their conditions to flex their muscle in front of their people (similar to that stubborn 14 march group in Lebanon) with the support of the short-sighted US neo-cons that they can’t imagine making needed heavy sacrifices for peace. This stubborn attitude maybe bring the end of Israel. The arabs have no problem to wait, Israel is on the brink of a psychological and existential disaster. Do Isrealis understand that? or do they still believe in their mighty IDF to protect them and to destroy the bad guys of Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran. If they don’t wake up now, they will wake up to a totally different reality, not a pleasing one.

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April 15th, 2008, 9:42 pm


157. Alex said:

Trustquest said:

This post is to AIG who I do not think should be treated like what Alex did, because he did not insult the Syrians when he said that Syrians treat women like a trash. I want to thank him for his stand with Democracy and I hope democracy to Israel too.

Dear Trustquest,

I hope you can separate your obvious admiration of AIG’s endless criticism of the Syrian regime from the reasons why I banned him for a week.

I sent him a checklist of four items to help him be here without offending people as frequently as he does … It works for a couple of days, but he keeps going out of line every few days.

Others go out of line occasionally, but AIG is all over the place. If he had a couple of comments per day like Akbar, I don’t think many here would complain much. But AIG goes into each topic relentlessly arguing without knowing when to stop. He never ends up saying “ok, you convinced me, I guess I did not understand that about Syria” .. he never stays out of things he does not know about .. he commented on Fairouz, he commented on Syria’s celebration of Damascus as a capital of Arab culture … he wants to monopolize the whole blog.

Regardless of whether he is intentionally trying to push people away from this blog, he is succeeding in doing that. Do you notice that George Ajjan and Ehsani are rarely here anymore? … people do not want to see an endless stream of useless arguments between AIG and Alex or AIG and Simo, or AIG and Aussama, or AIG and Offended, or AIG and Naji, or AIG and Wizart, or AIG and Zenobia …

If you re such a fan of his, straight from the heart, “Democracy in Syria NOW” crusade, please ask him for his email and the two of you can write about it ten hours per day. But excuse me if I do not want him to destroy this blog.

And finally, he did not say “trash” …

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April 15th, 2008, 10:03 pm


158. Alex said:

Here is an interesting interview that Mubarak gave to Israeli TV in 1998 (Arabic)

“Syria does not have any trust in Israel anymore .. you (Israel) have created an atmosphere of lack of trust .. and this is very dangerous”

Ten years later (in 2008) … Israel is still not giving anyone any reason to trust.

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April 15th, 2008, 10:18 pm


159. trustquest said:

I hate exclusion, and that what most Syrians suffer from and I do not like it to be applied here, the guy said a sentence and he is entitle to defend himself for once, like someone should ask him to explain why he said that sentence and to bring a proof, if he failed then you should banned him. Second, I’m not either with or against, I’m a reader and I hope this SC stay neutral so all views will be presented. Third, notice that there are no representations to the Syrian oppositions or its spectrum, on this side I read from all over, (exception is some articles from Joshua Landis who bring some sense to counter balance that tilt to the “With”. The people who are not “with” they do not always get into heated discussion with all subjects, some only comments partially on a subject like the previous subject no one gave opinion from the other side. AIG has a good stand on Democracy even he is an Israeli and even I believe there is no democracy in Israel as I sent him the piece of Mr. Jeff Halper, who is a Zionist and he prove in his segment that Israel is apartheid to the Palestinians. Note: I know what he said exactly, and I would say in general that the absence of civil society, and with the culture of domination, yes most people in Syria treat female like trash, it is my observation.

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April 16th, 2008, 12:04 am


160. Alex said:


AIG often has many useful comments and no one interferes when he does. He is smart and he has a very good backup of supporting materials behind him.

No one is banned here for his opinion. Akbar Palace is not banned is he? … Bachmann is not banned is he? Atassi is not banned is he? Majhool is not banned, is he?

But when AIG works systematically to destroy the blog, I will ban him for a week at a time. It is his choice to participate in moderation, or to try to create chaos in this blog.

I am a fair judge.

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April 16th, 2008, 12:29 am


161. trustquest said:

Only the devil complement himself or President Nixon who maintains that he is not a crock.
It is more beneficial to have the opposing points of views, and AIG bring that balance and without him the site a little boring.

I also find SC to be absolutely the best and all others do not come close in analysis and coverage, but that does not mean everything is great and dandy.
After I have said that, take this response to your comment not seriously but as a joke.

“I suggest running this Poll with these questions:
1- How much this site inclusivity, give percentage %.
2-Is this site neutral (fully, partially, Tilted to Syrian regime, Tilted away from the Syrian Regime)
3-Does this site reflects all points of views regarding Syrian affairs.
4-Is all parties of interest in the Syrian affairs represented (all the time, sometimes, never).
5- Am I, Alex Camille, a good judge, Grade me?
6-Who is better moderator, Alex, Wizart or ….”

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April 16th, 2008, 1:42 am


162. Qifa Nabki said:

1- How much this site inclusivity, give percentage %.


2-Is this site neutral (fully, partially, Tilted to Syrian regime, Tilted away from the Syrian Regime)

Slightly and sometimes not-so-slightly tilted to SR.

3-Does this site reflects all points of views regarding Syrian affairs.


4-Is all parties of interest in the Syrian affairs represented (all the time, sometimes, never).


5- Am I, Alex Camille, a good judge, Grade me?

Alex is the best judge.

6-Who is better moderator, Alex, Wizart or ….”

Alex is the best moderator.

Alex is also the best looking…

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April 16th, 2008, 1:59 am


163. Alex said:


You are welcome to be the moderator if you want.

The site lately (this year) is more pro-Bashar, pro-syria .. true.

But this is not by forcing anyone to change his opinion. I hope you realize that part.

There was an opinion poll this week that can explain to you why this blog is no different from the rest of the Arab world … Apparently Bashar is the most popular Arab president lately


If you want me to bring balance back to this blog by bringing AIG who will single handedly post 30 messages per day telling us why Bashar is bad for Syria then I seriously would suggest you question what you are hoping for.

Try going to the archives of this blog .. in 2004 2005 the Syrian regime was considered a failure and it was not very popular … the comments section was more to your liking at that time.

Who knows .. maybe in the future there will be many mistakes from the Syrian regime and many successes from the Saudis and Americans and “Syrian opposition” … then you can get again people here criticizing the Syrian regime. But until then, I hope you tolerate the opinion of the majority.

There is nothing funny about what you are doing .. you are trying to use the case of banning AIG for a week to imply that I am somehow systematically preventing people from expressing their opinions and THAT explains why the majority of Syrians here are not posting opinions to your liking.

Not very impressive Trustquest. I am sure you do not want me to go after you with insinuations like you did repeatedly above.

Qifa Nabki

It shows you did very well in your exam today : )


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April 16th, 2008, 2:10 am


164. Enlightened said:


I don’t want to be seen to jump to Alex defence!

But in all fairness AIG needed to be banned for suggesting that Syrian women are treated like ……

There is a difference between decorum and impartiality, AIG has said far worse.

He should have been banned for two weeks not one. Check his comments.

His last doozey stating that Nadia El Hajjs’ work was crap, did it for me, excitement or no excitement its good to not have him here this week, everyone needs a break from craziness in a little while.

Alex you treated AIG unfairly and you should increase his absence to two weeks, I am putting in a protest!

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April 16th, 2008, 2:20 am


165. Akbar Palace said:


While I have very different views from you and AIG on many crucial topics, and I use a very different style of argument, it does seem that some here do prefer yours, rather than mine. Perhaps I need to learn something from you…


Thanks, but I think your style is very good.

As far as AIG goes, I think he is extremely articulate and passionate about his cause. I, myself, simply do not have the time to reply to every question or comment, and, I suppose, AIG does. Nevertheless, my take on the “AIG issue” is that AIG is so articulate and makes so many good points, that it does tend to drown-out the anti-Zionist sentiment here on Syria Comment.

AIG is still vastly outnumbered here;)

So I can understand the desire to maintain this site as a “feel good” site about Syrian or Palestinian nationality, but if this were the case, we (the lonely 3 Zionists here) wouldn’t have much to say. Personally, that is why I stay on the sidelines when the topic is internal to Syria.

As a suggestion, I would only ban participants if they begin to attack someone else personally. I wouldn’t ban someone for posting “too much”. I wouldn’t ban anyone for supporting terrorism either (it would get very lonely around here;).

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April 16th, 2008, 11:26 am


166. T said:


What is the difference between ‘passionate’ and being ‘compulsive’? (I am not being sarcastic here, I am interested in your take on this.)


By The Committee, I was referring only to intell agencies like Mossad, CIA, NSA etc. Not the civilians. Only those who comprise the Dark Side?!?

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April 16th, 2008, 12:12 pm


167. Akbar Palace said:

What is the difference between ‘passionate’ and being ‘compulsive’?

T –

I don’t know. Perhaps being “compulsive” refers to the inability to tolerate other ideas.

So in terms of being “passionate” and/or “compulsive”, I think there are many participants here that fall into these categories, myself included.

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April 16th, 2008, 4:01 pm


168. Alex said:

Akbar said:

“As a suggestion, I would only ban participants if they begin to attack someone else personally. I wouldn’t ban someone for posting “too much”. I wouldn’t ban anyone for supporting terrorism either (it would get very lonely around here;).”


I like many of AIG’s comments … he often does a good job challenging Syrians here. But the problem is that when he posts tens of comments per day and lets say, 20% of them are really offensive (in many ways) then he often succeeds in getting various people here engaged with him in arguments that no one cares about … and it makes it boring for the thousands who read the comments section to see AIG/Offendded/AIG/Offended/AIG/Offended … endless comments.

He does not know how to stop, even when he is clearly making no sense anymore. To him winning a useless argument is more important than keeping the comments section interesting to readers.

His continued use of the Tlass book as “proof” that Syria has been treating its Jews in a terrible way is frankly very cheap. And his insistence on saying that “Syrians treat women like shit” was outrageous.

Basically .. when he is allowed to do whatever he wants here .. he destroys the blog…. and I strongly suspect that this is what he wants .. because he hates it how successful this blog is and how his watchdog oranization (whatever it is) is not in control … yet.

Remember he started trying to shut up everyone by calling them antisemites … at some point, the only thing one could read about in this comments section was the various conversations between AIG and various people here trying to reply to AIG’s antisemitic charges.

Besides Shai, the other smart Israeli who was here for a while but is not anymore was the original Israeli guy (IG) … he was not for peace with Syria now (like AIG) but he was much smarter and much more respectable … never used AIG’s cheap tactics.

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April 16th, 2008, 4:29 pm


169. Qifa Nabki said:

How ironic is it that we can’t stop talking about AIG, even when he’s not here!

I tell you, these sneaky Zionists and their tactics…


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April 16th, 2008, 4:56 pm


170. T said:


I was thinking the same thing?! Like the guy who says to his date: “I want to hear all about you and what you think. So, tell me everything- what do you think about ME?” !! (wink, wink in lieu of the smiley emoticon which I can not figure out.)

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April 16th, 2008, 9:26 pm


171. Shai said:


If there’s one thing I can do to make the world a better place, it is to help you make a smile emoticon… and I’m going to do just that:

1) make a colon “:”
2) without a space after the colon, do a minus sign “-” (not underline “_”)
3) and last, again without a space, do a right parenthesis “)”, for a smile, or a left parenthesis “(” for a frown.

In’shalla, this helped some. There is no justice in having a frequent blogger dying to get an emoticon out, and not being able to. 🙂

Good Day!

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April 17th, 2008, 4:46 am


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