“New Evidence Points to Hezbollah in Hariri Murder,” by Erich Fallath

The terror attack in Beirut on Valentines Day, 2005: Intensive investigations in Lebanon are all pointing to Hezbollah and not Syria.

The terror attack in Beirut on Valentine's Day, 2005: Intensive investigations in Lebanon are all pointing to Hezbollah and not Syria.

BREAKTHROUGH IN TRIBUNAL INVESTIGATION
New Evidence Points to Hezbollah in Hariri Murder
SPIEGEL, By Erich Follath, 05/23/2009

The United Nations special tribunal investigating the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri has reached surprising new conclusions — and it is keeping them secret. According to information obtained by SPIEGEL, investigators now believe Hezbollah was behind the Hariri murder.

It was an act of virtually Shakespearean dimensions, a family tragedy involving murder and suicide, contrived and real tears — and a good deal of big-time politics.

The terror attack in Beirut on Valentine’s Day, 2005: Intensive investigations in Lebanon are all pointing to Hezbollah and not Syria.
On February 14, 2005, Valentine’s Day, at 12:56 p.m., a massive bomb exploded in front of the Hotel St. Georges in Beirut, just as the motorcade of former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri passed by. The explosives ripped a crater two meters deep into the street, and the blast destroyed the local branch of Britain’s HSBC Bank. Body parts were hurled as far as the roofs of surrounding buildings. Twenty-three people died in the explosion and ensuing inferno, including Hariri, his bodyguards and passersby.

The shock waves quickly spread across the Middle East. Why did Hariri have to die? Who carried out the attack and who was behind it? What did they hope to achieve politically?

The Hariri assassination has been the source of wild speculation ever since. Was it the work of terrorist organization al-Qaida, angered by Hariri’s close ties to the Saudi royal family? Or of the Israelis, as part of their constant efforts to weaken neighboring Lebanon? Or the Iranians, who hated secularist Hariri?

At the time of the attack, it was known that Hariri, a billionaire construction magnate who was responsible for the reconstruction of the Lebanese capital after decades of civil war, wanted to reenter politics. It was also known that he had had a falling out with Syrian President Bashar Assad after demanding the withdrawal of Syrian occupation forces from his native Lebanon. As a result, the prime suspects in the murder were the powerful Syrian military and intelligence agency, as well as their Lebanese henchmen. The pressure on Damascus came at an opportune time for the US government. Then-President George W. Bush had placed Syria on his list of rogue states and wanted to isolate the regime internationally.

In late 2005, an investigation team approved by the United Nations and headed by German prosecutor Detlev Mehlis found, after seven months of research, that Syrian security forces and high-ranking Lebanese officials were in fact responsible for the Hariri murder. Four suspects were arrested. But the smoking gun, the final piece of evidence, was not found. The pace of the investigation stalled under Mehlis’s Belgian successor, Serge Brammertz.

The establishment of a UN special tribunal was intended to provide certainty. It began its work on March 1, 2009. The tribunal, headquartered in the town of Leidschendam in the Netherlands, has a budget of more than €40 million ($56 million) for the first year alone, with the UN paying 51 percent and Beirut 49 percent of the cost. It has an initial mandate for three years, and the most severe sentence it can impose is life in prison. Canadian Daniel Bellemare, 57, was appointed to head the tribunal. Four of the 11 judges are Lebanese, whose identities have been kept secret, for security reasons.

As its first official act, the tribunal ordered the release, in early April, of the four men Mehlis had had arrested. By then, they had already spent more than three years sitting in a Lebanese prison. Since then, it has been deathly quiet in Leidschendam, as if the investigation had just begun and there were nothing to say.

Hezbollah supporters in Beirut listen to a speech given by the movement’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah. Hariri’s growing popularity could have been a thorn in the side of Lebanese Shiite leader Nasrallah.
But now there are signs that the investigation has yielded new and explosive results. SPIEGEL has learned from sources close to the tribunal and verified by examining internal documents, that the Hariri case is about to take a sensational turn. Intensive investigations in Lebanon are all pointing to a new conclusion: that it was not the Syrians, but instead special forces of the Lebanese Shiite organization Hezbollah (“Party of God”) that planned and executed the diabolical attack. Tribunal chief Bellemare and his fellow judges apparently want to hold back this information, of which they been aware for about a month. What are they afraid of?

According to the detailed information provided by the SPIEGEL source, the fact that the case may have been “cracked” is the result of a mixture of serendipity à la Sherlock Holmes and the state-of-the-art technology used by cyber detectives. In months of painstaking work, a secretly operating special unit of the Lebanese security forces, headed by intelligence expert Captain Wissam Eid, filtered out the numbers of mobile phones that could be pinpointed to the area surrounding Hariri on the days leading up to the attack and on the date of the murder itself. The investigators referred to these mobile phones as the “first circle of hell.”

Captain Eid’s team eventually identified eight mobile phones, all of which had been purchased on the same day in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli. They were activated six weeks before the assassination, and they were used exclusively for communication among their users and — with the exception of one case — were no longer used after the attack. They were apparently tools of the hit team that carried out the terrorist attack.

But there was also a “second circle of hell,” a network of about 20 mobile phones that were identified as being in proximity to the first eight phones noticeably often. According to the Lebanese security forces, all of the numbers involved apparently belong to the “operational arm” of Hezbollah, which maintains a militia in Lebanon that is more powerful than the regular Lebanese army. While part of the Party of God acts like a normal political organization, participating in democratic elections and appointing cabinet ministers, the other part uses less savory tactics, such as abductions near the Israeli border and terrorist attacks, such those committed against Jewish facilities in South America in 2002 and 2004.

The whereabouts of the two Beirut groups of mobile phone users coincided again and again, and they were sometimes located near the site of the attack. The romantic attachment of one of the terrorists led the cyber-detectives directly to one of the main suspects. He committed the unbelievable indiscretion of calling his girlfriend from one of the “hot” phones. It only happened once, but it was enough to identify the man. He is believed to be Abd al-Majid Ghamlush, from the town of Rumin, a Hezbollah member who had completed training course in Iran. Ghamlush was also identified as the buyer of the mobile phones. He has since disappeared, and perhaps is no longer alive.

Revelations Will Likely Harm Hezbollah

Ghamlush’s recklessness led investigators to the man they now suspect was the mastermind of the terrorist attack: Hajj Salim, 45. A southern Lebanese from Nabatiyah, Salim is considered to be the commander of the “military” wing of Hezbollah and lives in South Beirut, a Shiite stronghold. Salim’s secret “Special Operational Unit” reports directly to Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, 48.

A Lebanese demonstrator holds a portrait of ex-prime minister Rafiq Hariri and a sign reading “justice” in Arabic.
AFP

A Lebanese demonstrator holds a portrait of ex-prime minister Rafiq Hariri and a sign reading “justice” in Arabic.
Imad Mughniyah, one of the world’s most wanted terrorists, ran the unit until Feb. 12, 2008, when he was killed in an attack in Damascus, presumably by Israeli intelligence. Since then, Salim has largely assumed the duties of his notorious predecessor, with Mughniyah’s brother-in-law, Mustafa Badr al-Din, serving as his deputy. The two men report only to their superior, and to General Kassim Sulaimani, their contact in Tehran. The Iranians, the principal financiers of the military Lebanese “Party of God,” have repressed the Syrians’ influence.

The deeper the investigators in Beirut penetrated into the case, the clearer the picture became, according to the SPIEGEL source. They have apparently discovered which Hezbollah member obtained the small Mitsubishi truck used in the attack. They have also been able to trace the origins of the explosives, more than 1,000 kilograms of TNT, C4 and hexogen.

The Lebanese chief investigator and true hero of the story didn’t live to witness many of the recent successes in the investigation. Captain Eid, 31, was killed in a terrorist attack in the Beirut suburb of Hasmiyah on Jan. 25, 2008. The attack, in which three other people were also killed, was apparently intended to slow down the investigation. And, once again, there was evidence of involvement by the Hezbollah commando unit, just as there has been in each of more than a dozen attacks against prominent Lebanese in the last four years.

This leaves the question of motive unanswered. Many had an interest in Hariri’s death. Why should Hezbollah — or its backers in Iran — be responsible?

Hariri’s growing popularity could have been a thorn in the side of Lebanese Shiite leader Nasrallah. In 2005, the billionaire began to outstrip the revolutionary leader in terms of popularity. Besides, he stood for everything the fanatical and spartan Hezbollah leader hated: close ties to the West and a prominent position among moderate Arab heads of state, an opulent lifestyle, and membership in the competing Sunni faith. Hariri was, in a sense, the alternative to Nasrallah.

Syrian President Bashar Assad with his wife Asma: Although the Syrian government is not being declared free of the suspicion of involvement, at least President Assad is no longer in the line of fire. There is hardly anything to indicate he was aware of the murder plot.
DPA

Syrian President Bashar Assad with his wife Asma: Although the Syrian government is not being declared free of the suspicion of involvement, at least President Assad is no longer in the line of fire. There is hardly anything to indicate he was aware of the murder plot.
Whether Lebanon has developed in the direction the Hezbollah leader apparently imagined seems doubtful. Immediately after the spectacular terrorist attack on Valentine’s Day in 2005, a wave of sympathy for the murdered politician swept across the country. The so-called “cedar revolution” brought a pro-Western government to power, and the son of the murdered man emerged as the most important party leader and strongest figure operating in the background. Saad al-Hariri, 39, could have become prime minister of Lebanon long ago — if he were willing to accept the risks and felt sufficiently qualified to hold office. After the Hariri murder, the Syrian occupation force left the country in response to international and domestic Lebanese pressure.

But not everything has gone wrong from Hezbollah’s standpoint. In July 2006, Nasrallah, by kidnapping Israeli soldiers, provoked Israel to launch a war against Lebanon. Hezbollah defied the superior military power, solidifying its image as a resistance movement in large parts of the Arab world. If there were democratic opinion polls in the Middle East, Nasrallah would probably be voted the most popular leader. The highly anticipated June 7 elections will demonstrate whether the Lebanese will allow Nasrallah to radicalize them again. Once again, he is entering into the election campaign in a dual role. He is both the secretary-general of the “Party of God,” represented in the parliament since 1992, and the head of Hezbollah’s militia, part of a state within a state that makes its own laws.

Hezbollah currently holds 14 of 128 seats in parliament, a number that is expected to rise. Some even believe that dramatic gains are possible for Hezbollah, although landslide-like changes in the Lebanese parliamentary system are relatively unlikely. A system of religious proportionality ensures, with list alliances arranged in advance, that about two-thirds of the seats in parliament are assigned before an election. In the cedar state, a Sunni must always be prime minister, while the Shiites are entitled to the office of speaker of parliament and the Christians the relatively unimportant office of the president.

Hezbollah has not managed to upset this system, adopted decades ago, even though it objectively puts its clientele at a disadvantage. As a result of differences in birthrates, there are now far more Shiites than Sunnis or Christians in Lebanon. Some say that Nasrallah isn’t even interested in securing power through elections, and that the “Party of God” would be satisfied with a modest share of the government. By not taking on too much government responsibility, Hezbollah would not be forced to dissolve its militias and make significant changes to its ideology of resistance.

The revelations about the alleged orchestrators of the Hariri murder will likely harm Hezbollah. Large segments of the population are weary of internal conflicts and are anxious for reconciliation. The leader of the movement, which, despite its formal recognition of the democratic rules of the game, remains on the US’s list of terrorist organizations, probably anticipates forthcoming problems with the UN tribunal. In a speech in Beirut, Nasrallah spoke of the tribunal’s “conspiratorial intentions.”

The revelations are likely to be just as unwelcome in Tehran, which sees itself confronted, once again, with the charge of exporting terrorism. Damascus’s view of the situation could be more mixed. Although the Syrian government is not being declared free of the suspicion of involvement, at least President Assad is no longer in the line of fire. Hardly anything suggests anymore that he was personally aware of the murder plot or even ordered the killing.

One can only speculate over the reasons why the Hariri tribunal is holding back its new information about the assassination. Perhaps the investigators in the Netherlands fear that it could stir up the situation in Lebanon. On Friday evening, the press office in Leidschendam responded tersely to a written inquiry from SPIEGEL, noting that it could not comment on “operational details.”

Detlev Mehlis, 60, the German senior prosecutor and former UN chief investigator, has his own set of concerns. He performed his investigation to the best of his knowledge and belief, questioning more than 500 witnesses, and now he must put up with the accusation of having focused his attention too heavily on Syrian leads. The UN tribunal’s order to release the generals who were arrested at his specific request is, at any rate, a serious blow to the German prosecutor.

One of the four, Jamal al-Sajjid, the former head of Lebanese intelligence, has even filed a suit against Mehlis in France for “manipulated investigations.” In media interviews, such as an interview with the Al-Jazeera Arab television network last week, Sajjid has even taken his allegations a step further, accusing German police commissioner Gerhard Lehmann, Mehlis’s assistant in the Beirut investigations, of blackmail.

Sajjid claims that Lehmann, a member of Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) proposed a deal with the Syrian president to the Lebanese man. Under the alleged arrangement, Assad would identify the person responsible for the Hariri killing and convince him to commit suicide, and then the case would be closed. According to Sajjid, the authorities in Beirut made “unethical proposals, as well as threats,” and he claims that he has recordings of the incriminating conversations.

Mehlis denies all accusations. Lehmann, now working on a new assignment in Saudi Arabia, was unavailable for comment. But the spotlight-loving Jamil al-Sajjid could soon be embarking on a new career. He is under consideration for the post of Lebanon’s next justice minister.

Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan.

Comments (30)


1. samir said:

Wow… thanks for posting this non revelation. Spiegel’s efforts at sensationalism seem to consistently come up short. You’d think somewhere in the article there would be even the slightest mention of Hariri’s ardent support of Hizbullah (financially and in principle), then a statement meekly explaining away the apparent contradiction, to top off the “proof”.

I’m absolutely sure that the publishers never intended to affect the outcome of the Lebanese elections with the timing of their article, and that yes there’s still hope of finding WMD’s in Iraq.

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May 23rd, 2009, 2:53 pm

 

2. t.desce said:

I think you should also post the Figaro article, because it’s more fun:

Der Spiegel 2009:

“The pace of the investigation stalled under Mehlis’s Belgian successor, Serge Brammertz. (…)

But now there are signs that the investigation has yielded new and explosive results. (…)

Tribunal chief Bellemare and his fellow judges apparently want to hold back this information, of which they been aware for about a month.” (!)

(my emphasis)

Le Figaro 2006:

“LES ENQUÊTEURS libanais, en charge de l’assassinat de Rafic Hariri, travaillent depuis quelques mois sur une nouvelle piste, qui conduit au Hezbollah. «L’enquête internationale dirigée par le juge Serge Brammertz s’oriente également dans cette direction», confirme, au Figaro, un proche de Saad Hariri (…).”

(my emphasis)

Der Spiegel 2009:

“Damascus’s view of the situation could be more mixed. Although the Syrian government is not being declared free of the suspicion of involvement, at least President Assad is no longer in the line of fire.”

Le Figaro 2006:

“Elle ne modifie pas l’orientation générale de l’enquête : la Syrie reste pointée du doigt. «Les Syriens ont cloisonné l’opération, en confiant à leurs différents alliés au Liban le soin de préparer cet attentat, sans que l’un sache ce que l’autre avait à faire», estime un spécialiste des questions de sécurité.”

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May 23rd, 2009, 2:59 pm

 

3. Jad said:

T-Desco,You are brilliant!
How did they use the exact same sentences 3 years latter, isn’t it illegal to do that? Doesn’t Europe has ‘copyright’ law?

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May 23rd, 2009, 3:11 pm

 

4. majedkhaldoun said:

The timing of this article,suggests to influence the election.

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May 23rd, 2009, 3:13 pm

 

5. ehsani2 said:

The story goes out of its way to highlight the fact that “although the Syrian government is not being declared free of the suspicion of involvement, at least President Assad is no longer in the line of fire. There is hardly anything to indicate he was aware of the murder plot”.

Presumably, the release of the four generals has put to rest the theory that Damascus can any longer be implicated.

With Syria out of the picture, the story goes on to shift the blame on Iran and HA. Here are the key parts:

“SPIEGEL has learned from sources close to the tribunal and verified by examining internal documents, that the Hariri case is about to take a sensational turn.”

Is it the source that examined the internal documents or is it spiegel that examined these documents. If it is the latter, was the source able to take these documents outside the tight security building? Surely, the investigation should be able to track this so-called source.

“He is believed to be Abd al-Majid Ghamlush, from the town of Rumin, a Hezbollah member who had completed training course in Iran. Ghamlush was also identified as the buyer of the mobile phones. He has since disappeared, and perhaps is no longer alive.”

How did they know that he completed training in Iran? Did they see him board a flight to Tehran and followed his bus ride to a training camp?

“Salim has largely assumed the duties of his notorious predecessor, with Mughniyah’s brother-in-law, Mustafa Badr al-Din, serving as his deputy. The two men report only to their superior, and to General Kassim Sulaimani, their contact in Tehran.”

How did the investigators identify General Kassim Sulaimani in Iran? Did he have a caller ID? Was this general dialing in from his Tehran office into salim’s cell phone?

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May 23rd, 2009, 3:22 pm

 

6. Sasa said:

A bit of a wet-dream article isn’t it.

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May 23rd, 2009, 3:30 pm

 

7. Sasa said:

I wonder. Could this be cheap revenge for Jamil As Sayid’s defamation case against German judge Detlev Mehlis? The timing is very suspicious!

http://www.naharnet.com/domino/tn/NewsDesk.nsf/0/5398F821F8FCBC85C22575BE001F0933?OpenDocument

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May 23rd, 2009, 3:44 pm

 

8. majid said:

Since the International court was formed Bellmare was seeking an agreement with the Lebanese government to be given unlimited authority to subpoena any Lebanese whether he is in government or a leader of para-military group to The Hague for questioning. This request has been stalled in the Government where Hezb currently has a veto. Bellemare was specifically asking for permission to question high ranking members of Hezb like Sheikh Naim Kassem or the person in charge of operation in the south Nabil Kawook and others.

Nevertheless, the new information does not exclude the possibility that the four Generals may not be involved in one way or another. They may yet get recalled either as witnesses or suspects. Syria’s involvement in the crime has not yet been cleared. Syria, and even Bashar himself, must have had some knowledge of what Hezb or Iran were up to in Lebanon since it was the occupying force of the country. The UN resolution 1559 and Hariri’s involvement in that resolution would form a common denominator between Hezb and Syria in terms of common benefits in eliminating Hariri, in the following scenario: Hezb can do it with Syria’s acquiescence and facilitation providing Syria of a means of deniability while Hezb can escape prosecution with impunity being essentially above Lebanese law and by extension International law had the plotters envisioned an STL to be formed for the case.

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May 23rd, 2009, 4:40 pm

 

9. EHSANI2 said:

A follow up to my comment above:

The article claims that investigation reached surprising “new” conclusions.

Are we led to believe now that the court was set up on march 1, 2009 without a formal and concrete case at the time, and that somehow this case took a new turn very recently?

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May 23rd, 2009, 4:45 pm

 

10. majid said:

That is a very good observation in your last comment EHSANI2. My previous comment actually answers your question! The court DID have a case but apparently CANNOT have access to the suspects.

Do you wonder now why Hezb was seeking the veto power in the government, even at the cost of destroying Lebanon in 2006, in May 7 2008, and in two years of its mob rule of downtown Beirut? Isn’t that what Bashar promised Hariri when they met in order to force extending Lahood’s term? Didn’t Bashar promise destroying Lebanon over Hariri’s head if Hariri doesn’t go along?

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May 23rd, 2009, 4:56 pm

 

11. Nour said:

Yes Ehsani2, all of a sudden in the last month surprising and miraculous evidence turned up implicating Hizballah in the assassination. And coincidentally two weeks before the elections, Spiegel was able to publish this article with exclusive access to top secret investigative information.

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May 23rd, 2009, 4:59 pm

 

12. Nour said:

Yes Majid, we know that you have the unique talent of being able to interpret any information and any event to fit your political agenda. So the opposition wanted the veto power not because the March 14 collaborationists were seeking to destroy the resistance in obeyance of their masters’ orders, but because they were so fearful of being implicated in the Hariri assassination.

In any case, this may be a nice fantasy for people like you, who desperately want to satisfy their sectarian hatreds, but the story will die just as quickly as it came out, as it is grasping at straws, nothing more.

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May 23rd, 2009, 5:05 pm

 

13. EHSANI2 said:

It is interesting that the reporter of this article “Erich Follath” was one of the three reporters who interviewed President Assad for the Spiegel interview back on Jan 19, 2009.

The same reporter wrote this article few months earlier:
http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,587786,00.html

But most interestingly is his September 14, 2006 article with Salman Rushdie for the jewishjournal.com
http://www.jewishjournal.com/world/article/salman_rushdie_q_a_theres_a_fascination_with_death_among_suicide_bombers/

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May 23rd, 2009, 5:36 pm

 

14. Alex said:

This reaction from a friend on mine:

I am cracking up in laughter : )

This article is the ultimate manifestation of the on-going politicization of the Hariri tribunal.

All the evidence in this article is twisted, starting with the 8 cell phones, which for your information, belonged to a Sunni group in Trablus, not to any one in Hizbullah. And this is a confirmed fact even during the Mehlis phase of the investigations.

This article is amongst the last resorts and throes by the Saad Hariri apparatus to try to stir the streets of Lebanon, prior to the June 7 election. Is it not suspicious that this news is leaking only now, despite that the article mentioned that the conclusion was made more than a month ago?

Another question, B.G. Jamil Al Sayed is extremely close to Hizbullah, and the hizb will never do something like this without the knowledge of and consulting with him and Syria. Yet, the article mentioned that the tribunal has concluded that it is not Syria, nor Al Sayed (recently acquitted by the tribunal) who are behind the assassination!!!!!!

Israel is extremely furious at the discovery and capture of its operatives in Lebanon, and this article is a preemptive strick prior to what the Lebanese security forces are about to release: the Israeli network of operatives in Lebanon were involved in the assassination of Hariri. Meanwhile, Saad’s apparatus on the streets are losing ground in the upcomming election at record speed.

Finally, over the last couple of weeks, the Lebanese security forces has arrested high-level officials in the Saad’s Moustaqbal party, on charges involving conspiracy and spying on behalf of Israel. A blow to Saad, that could only be circomvented with this kind of fabricated news and acusations against Hizbullah.

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May 23rd, 2009, 5:50 pm

 

15. t.desce said:

LOL

Book also quoted here.

I guess that answers my question about the source.

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May 23rd, 2009, 5:54 pm

 

16. EHSANI2 said:

You would also imagine that for a reporter who tracked down the names in the chain and command center of the HA and Iran nexus, he would get the name of Jamil Al-Sayyed right. What is up with “Jamal al-Sajjid”? Or may be lost in the German translation?

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May 23rd, 2009, 6:01 pm

 

17. Averroes said:

No matter how ridiculous the claims are, they can be pumped up to be of some use to the 14M pact at the upcoming elections.

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May 23rd, 2009, 6:09 pm

 

18. majid said:

Alex,

Three of the operatives caught spying to the zionists are confirmed Hezb members. There are more who seem to be residents of the South, whether they’re Hezb members or not we don’t know yet.

Neither Hariri nor any M14 is making use of this information for the upcoming elections, at least unlike what Nasrallhah did when the Generals were released. I agree with you that Hezb couldn’t have done it without Syria’s knowledge and also at least Sayyid’s knowledge. The Court may now have evidence against Hezb members but it may not have evidence against Sayyid or the other Generals or Syria yet.

NOUR,
I cannot find the words to say thanks to you. You’re calling me talented, and you know it means so much to me. Tears of joy are flowing down my cheeks as I write. Failing to find the proper words to express my thanks, I’ll try to pay you in kind. Where would my talents be had it not been for your insightful and thoughtful revelations as in your last comment? You know Nour? For all the talents that you ascribe to me, it never occurred to me that Hezb could have actually killed Hariri precisely in order to protect Resistance. How genius is it on your part? And believe me I couldn’t have seen it until I read your comment. It is your inspiration Nour. That is it. Hezb could have killed Hariri in order to protect holy Resistance – a very holy and noble cause indeed and a great consolation for those seeking the answers. After all, we know now, thanks to you, that Hariri may have died for a great and noble cause of protecting the Resistance.

We can now go to sleep with the full satisfaction that Justice has been served a la Nour style. What can we do without blogging?

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May 23rd, 2009, 6:30 pm

 

19. Joshua said:

T.desco,
What do you mean about the “book” being the same in the wikipedia article you link to? Many of us, me in particular, do not read German, alas. Can you explain in English. Joshua

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May 23rd, 2009, 6:32 pm

 

20. Joshua said:

T.desco, What do you mean when you write that the :book” is the same and used in the wikipedia article? I don’t read Germany. Please explain.
Joshua

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May 23rd, 2009, 6:35 pm

 

21. Joshua said:

t.desco.

What do you meand by the “Book” is also quoted in the wikipedia article? I don’t read German, alas.
Joshua

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May 23rd, 2009, 6:39 pm

 

22. kingcrane jr said:

This is one of the last ditch futile efforts of the current Lebanese March 14 parliamentary “majority” to prevent a March 8 takover in the upcoming elections. The translated article is now being used to try to sway undecided Christian voters in Lebanon away from the General.

Another ploy is throwing in a variety of candidates who have little hope of being elected, but who would love to cash some Hariri money; the presence of their names on the ballots is to try to take away votes from ‘Awn and his Christian allies.

Another silly ploy is Carlos Eddeh running in Kesrouan rather than Jbeil.

But the silliest of all is Joe Biden’s visit to Beirut; there is a great post today on Angry Arab about that.

As to this article, they cannot even spell Jamil Al-Sayyed, calling him instead Jamal Al-Sajjid. This is odd, considering that Germany, and not Britain (with all due respect to Albert Hourani’s many students) yes, Germany, has had (and continues to have) the best Arabic linguists in the West.

Incidentally, evidence based on telephonic records comes from a certain source, and is not to be trusted, as it can be manipulated; how: watch the movie “Rendition” whereby a secret agency operative manipulates records on the cell phone of an innocent man; as a result, the man is arrested for making a phone to a terrorist; the man is then renditionned to the Egyptian SS.

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May 23rd, 2009, 6:48 pm

 

23. EHSANI2 said:

Josh,

I believe T.desco is pointing out that Erich Follath (the writer of this article) is the same author of this:

http://www.amazon.de/Davids-geheimen-Kommando-Unternehmen-Israelis/dp/3442115183

Refer also to my comment on the salman rushdie article.

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May 23rd, 2009, 6:51 pm

 

24. kingcrane jr said:

I assume, based on the name of the article’s author, that the contents of the article are Fallathious. Or could it be Follathious? By the way, he has published some articles about the social unrest in the Paris suburbs, and he is not unbiased.
Sorry for this play on words, but I just could not resist it.

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May 23rd, 2009, 6:55 pm

 

25. t.desce said:

Yes, sorry, Ehsani is right, Erich Follath wrote a book about Mossad operations.

I’m having way too much fun with this article.

How about the author’s profound knowledge of Lebanon? Observations like:

“Hezbollah currently holds 14 of 128 seats in parliament, a number that is expected to rise (sic).”

Or this, regading Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah’s alleged “motive” (pure comedy):

“Hariri’s growing popularity could have been a thorn in the side of Lebanese Shiite leader Nasrallah. In 2005, the billionaire began to outstrip the revolutionary leader in terms of popularity (among Shiites…?; t_d). Besides, he stood for everything the fanatical and spartan Hezbollah leader hated: close ties to the West and a prominent position among moderate Arab heads of state, an opulent lifestyle, and membership in the competing Sunni faith. Hariri was, in a sense, the alternative to Nasrallah.”

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May 23rd, 2009, 7:25 pm

 

26. alle said:

I agree that the thesis of this article seems bizarre, and that the timing is almost too obvious. But some of the counter-arguments employed here in comments are way below the belt. So what if the guy wrote an article about suicide bombers for a Jewish website, or a book about Mossad operations? That seems like something a reporter dealing with Middle Eastern issues might do, and says nothing about his credibility, or lack thereof, on Syrian/Lebanese issues.

And, finally, writing the name as “al-Sajjid” seems likely to be because of the German transliteration of al-Sayyid, not an indicator of him being unaware of Lebanese affairs. There are plenty of other clues to that, which should be sufficient: the Hizbollah bombings in Argentina were in the 1990s, not the 2000s, for one thing, and his speculation about how Hariri was a threat because he was outgrowing Nasrallah’s popularity — what, among the Shia? — is sheer comedy.

My guess is this article will turn out to have been fed to the reporter by someone wanting to impact the Lebanese elections, and that it will fall apart quickly, to the well-deserved embarrassment of Der Spiegel. But let’s wait for facts to emerge rather than attacking the messenger.

Anyway: why is it always German newspapers that break these sensational stories about Syria? Remember the one last year about how Assef Shawkat had been thrown in prison, for example. That was Die Welt, and if I’m not mistaken, there were other examples as well.

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May 24th, 2009, 12:03 am

 

27. Sasa said:

No, I think their point is to flesh out the allegations that Der Speigel has “connections” with Mossad. That would just be a wild conspiracy theory if it were not for the fact that this reporter also happened to write a book about Mossad, with access to the group!

Too many pieces of the jigsaw fit together just right.

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May 24th, 2009, 11:26 am

 

28. alle said:

Who says he had “access to the group”, meaning apart from what any journalist who contacted Israeli services and asked for an interview could have? Has anyone even read the book? For all I know it could be violently critical of Israeli intelligence.

I should be clear that I think the article is almost certainly a piece of propaganda, but this line of reasoning — immediate dismissal of an unpalatable argument based on some spurious guilt-by-association chain — I am not a fan of. Der Spiegel is one of Europe’s most influential newspapers, not some sort of half-assed Mossad front, and writing an article for a Jewish journal does not make you an Israeli agent.

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May 24th, 2009, 6:36 pm

 

29. t.desce said:

Alle,

I moved on to the next thread and explained my reasoning there.

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May 24th, 2009, 9:46 pm

 

30. brian said:

Der Spiegel is a pro-Israel paper…in 2005,they blamed Syria…now its Hezbollah…The last time the israels succeeded in ousting Syria from Lebanon,paving the ay for the israeli invasion. Now ist Hezbollah…you can be sure Israel si getting ready for another invasion…
SO who did kill Hariri? It doesnt take a rocket scientist to see Israel has the motive, the lack of scruple,the history and the will etc to carry out the assassination.Why arent they being investigated?

An analysis is here:
http://www.palestinechronicle.com/view_article_details.php?id=15135

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June 1st, 2009, 2:28 am

 

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