U.N. probe has identified people who may have been involved in Hariri assassination

From reports of initial briefings, Brammertz promises to stick to the major conclusions of his previous report with some added details. It seems that he may have identified some of the people who used the SIM cards to track Hariri. He has tied the van used in the bombing to Tripoli. He also remains convinced of motive, which he links to Hariri's increasing anti-Syrian politics and which suggests Syrian involvement, as was stated in his last report.

U.N. probe has identified people who may have been involved in Hariri assassination
By EDITH M. LEDERER, Associated Press, 12 July 2007

UNITED NATIONS (AP) – A U.N. inquiry has identified people who may have been involved in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and is investigating new information about the buyers of a van used in the bombing, the chief investigator said Thursday.

Belgian prosecutor Serge Brammertz said a consolidation of information on Hariri's assassination and 17 other murders or attempted murders has helped identify "important aspects and individuals of common interest across several areas of the investigation."

Investigators have also "significantly narrowed down" their probe into possible motives for the assassination to Hariri's political and personal relationships with political leaders and officials in Lebanon, Syria and other countries, he said.

Brammertz said the investigators' working hypothesis is that events surrounding the U.N. Security Council's adoption of a resolution in September 2004 aimed at preventing Lebanon's pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud from having a second term "played an important role in shaping the environment in which the motives to assassinate Rafik Hariri emerged."

Lebanon's Parliament ignored the council and voted hours after the resolution was adopted to amend the constitution so Lahoud could keep his job.

The first U.N. chief investigator, Germany's Detlev Mehlis, said the killing's complexity suggested the Syrian and Lebanese intelligence services played a role in Hariri's assassination. Four Lebanese generals, top pro-Syrian security chiefs, have been under arrest for 20 months, accused of involvement in Hariri's murder.

Brammertz has not echoed Mehlis' suggestion, and did not provide any clues to those who may have been involved. He said Syria and other state have continued to provide "mostly positive responses" to requests for assistance.

In his eighth report to the U.N. Security Council, Brammertz signaled for the first time that the U.N. International Independent Investigation Commission would be wrapping up its work and transferring its files and findings to the international tribunal, which the council unilaterally established on May 30 to prosecute suspects in the killings.

He said the consolidated reports totaling more than 2,400 pages — including a 2,000-page report covering all areas of the Hariri investigation — were prepared to help ensure "a smooth handover at the appropriate time in the near future" to the new tribunal's prosecutor.

The Security Council is scheduled to discuss the report on July 19, U.N. deputy spokeswoman Marie Okabe said.

In the process of consolidating the commission's work between March and June, Brammertz said, investigators had obtained "an up-to-date bird's eye view of the different strands of the investigations" which enabled them to draw up new work plans, totaling 150 pages, with key objectives.

"The consolidation effort … has helped identify a number of persons of particular interest who may have been involved in some aspect of the preparation and execution of the attack on Rafik Hariri or the other cases under investigation or could have had prior knowledge that plans to carry out these attacks were underway," Brammertz said.

"The commission will pursue this line of inquiry as a priority in the coming months," he said.

The U.N. investigation has confirmed that a single blast from a Mitsubishi Canter van packed with 1,800 kilograms (3,960 pounds) of high explosives — a mix of RDX, PETN and TNT — was detonated at 12:55:05 p.m. on Feb. 14, 2005 "most likely" by a male suicide bomber, Brammertz said.

"Ongoing efforts to determine the precise origin of the explosives and to ascertain possible forensic links with other cases will be pursued as priorities in the next reporting period," he said.

As for the van, it left a Mitsubishi factory in Japan in February 2002 and was reported stolen in the city of Kanagawa, Japan, in October 2004, Brammertz said. It was then shipped to the United Arab Emirates and transported to a showroom close to Tripoli in northern Lebanon in December 2004 where it was sold.

"The commission has recently acquired information regarding the sale of the van to individuals who could be involved in the final preparation of the van for the attack on Rafik Hariri," he said. "This line of inquiry is being pursued as a priority."

In previous reports, Brammertz said the suspected suicide bomber did not spend his youth in Lebanon but spent his last two or three months in the country. To determine the man's origins, the commission collected 112 soil and water samples from 28 locations in Syria and Lebanon, and 26 samples from locations in other countries which were not identified.

Based on preliminary results, Brammertz said, the commission's experts believe the man was probably between 20 and 25 years old, with short dark hair, and lived in an urban environment for the first 10 years of his life and in a rural environment during the last 10 years of his life.

The commission has also been able "to establish a limited number of countries where the suicide bomber could come from," he said.

Brammertz said the commission was also able to confirm previous conclusions that Ahmed Abu Adass, a Palestinian who lived in Lebanon, "is not the suicide bomber" despite his appearance on a video tape claiming responsibility for the attack that killed Hariri and 22 others.

The commission is continuing to investigate two possible hypotheses — that Abu Adass "was forced or duped" into recording the video claim and then killed, or that he "willingly recorded the video together with individuals belonging to a wider extremist group" he said.

The group may have come together to film the claim of responsibility, acquire the Mitsubishi van and have it prepared with explosives, identify a suicide bomber, and assist in delivering him and the bomb to the scene of the crime, Brammertz said.

"In this regard, the commission has established that some of Ahmed Abu Adass' associates had links to networks involved in extremist activities in Lebanon and elsewhere in recent years," he said.

Brammertz noted that the commission has acquired more than five billion records of telephone calls and text messages sent through cell phones in Lebanon, communications data from a number of other countries, and "a very large number of detailed subscriber call records."

Based on its recent consolidation efforts, he said the commission "has confirmed and advanced its earlier conclusions that individuals using six mobile cellular telephone SIM cards acted in a coordinated manner to conduct surveillance on Rafik Hariri in the weeks prior to his assassination."

"A detailed analysis of the use of these cards on the day of the assassination indicates that these individuals played a critical role in the planning and execution of the attack itself, as demonstrated by their movements and call patterns," he said.

Brammertz said the commission has established the origin of the SIM cards and is finalizing its understanding of the circumstances surrounding their sale.

Comments (38)


1. norman said:

So who’s Sim cards are these.?

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July 13th, 2007, 2:30 am

 

2. norman said:

UN investigators had already described Rafik Hariri’s killing as political but unlike his predecessor as chief investigator, Detlev Mehlis, Mr Brammertz has not accused Syrian officials of complicity.

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July 13th, 2007, 2:38 am

 

3. norman said:

Hariri panel ‘has found suspects’
The UN panel investigating the murder of Lebanese ex-PM Rafik Hariri has identified a number of people involved, the head of the inquiry has said.
In his latest report, Serge Brammertz said he now knew the names of people who bought the van used in the 2005 assassination in Beirut.

He also said people who bought mobile phone cards to spy on Mr Hariri had played a role – but gave no names.

Syria has denied allegations that its intelligence services were involved.

The document is the eighth report submitted to the Security Council by Mr Brammertz – a Belgian prosecutor.

It says a consolidation of information had helped identify “important aspects and individuals of common interest across several areas of the investigation”.

Political killing

The report said the van in which a suicide bomber is believed to have set off the massive bomb which killed Mr Hariri and 22 others was stolen in Japan and then shipped to the United Arab Emirates.

The UN team “has recently acquired information regarding the sale of the van to individuals who could be involved in the final preparation of the van for the attack,” Brammertz said.

UN investigators had already described Rafik Hariri’s killing as political but unlike his predecessor as chief investigator, Detlev Mehlis, Mr Brammertz has not accused Syrian officials of complicity.

Mr Hariri was a prominent critic of Syria, and supported a UN resolution in 2004 which demanded that Syrian and other foreign troops withdraw from Lebanon.

A UN investigation after the killing implicated Syria and Lebanese security forces in the attack, but Damascus denied any involvement in his death.

Four Lebanese generals who are pro-Syria have been under arrest for 20 months, accused of involvement in Mr Hariri’s murder.

In 2005, Syria withdrew its troops from Lebanon after a presence of 29 years, following massive domestic and international pressure after the assassination of Mr Hariri.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/middle_east/6896822.stm

Published: 2007/07/13 01:30:46 GMT

© BBC MMVII

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July 13th, 2007, 2:40 am

 

4. norman said:

Print this page

Sheba’a shock for Israelis
http://archive.gulfnews.com/region/Lebanon/10138729.html

07/12/2007 08:03 PM | By Jumana Al Tamimi, GCC & Middle East Editor and Khalil Assali, Correspondent

Dubai/Occupied Jerusalem: In what was described as a shocking report for Israel, a UN cartographer has determined for the first time that the Israeli-held Sheba’a Farms belong to Lebanon, supporting a position long held by Lebanon and Syria.

Reports on the cartography met with tightlipped response from Hezbollah.

The report, leaked to the press on the eve of the first anniversary of Israel’s 33-day war on Lebanon, stated that the UN has asked the Israeli government to hand over the Farms to the UN. However, both Israeli and UN officials scrambled to deny the report, published in Haaretz. According to sources in the Israeli paper, Haaretz obtained “the draft” of the cartographer’s report from its own UN sources.

No Israeli official was available to comment on the record on the report because of the sensitivity of the issue. But Israeli official sources told the Gulf News correspondent in Occupied Jerusalem on condition of anonymity that the report was discussed by the Israeli Security Cabinet yesterday and the issue was left pending for further clarification by the UN and the US.

Israeli media sources said the report has been made available to Israel for “a while”, but was not publicly disclosed to avoid “angry reactions from Israelis that would torpedo their perception that the borders between Lebanon and Israel were carefully drawn,” an Israeli journalist told Gulf News. “The report demolishes one of the strong points in Israel’s war [on Lebanon]. Israelis are shocked,” he added.

Israel captured the 25-square km area on the Israel-Lebanon-Syria border as part of the Syrian Golan Heights during the 1967 War. When Israel withdrew its troops from southern Lebanon in 2000, it was announced that the withdrawal was complete, as the UN has viewed the Sheba’a Farms as Syrian land, but both Lebanon and Syria said it was Lebanese territory.

Despite repeated attempts by Gulf News, officials in the Lebanese government and Hezbollah were tightlipped and would only comment after an official announcement from the UN.

Denial

The UN’s initial conclusions as drawn by the cartographer would make the Lebanese think of ways to liberate the area, said Fayez Al Sayeh, a Syrian analyst. “Any formula [for liberation] that all Lebanese people would agree on to liberate the area,” he told Gulf News.

Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon insisted yesterday that the report did not decide on ownership or sovereignty issues. “The cartographer has been making research based on historical maps and historical materials and he has not yet been able to visit the site. I think we have made good progress in determining the exact location of the Shebaa Farms,” he said.

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July 13th, 2007, 3:20 am

 

5. why-discuss said:

I find it very strange that Brammertz who say he knows now the group responsible for the killing of Hariri and others would not divulgate the names to have them arrested pending the tribunal. Mehlis did arrest 4 suspects on preventive basis, why is Brammertz letting his potentially dangerous suspects on the run to plot and commit more crimes?. Except if:
-these suspects are the ones already in jail
-they are not available to be arrested.. i.e they are hiding somewhere inaccessible ( afghanistan, pakistan..)
-they are dead or made powerless( why?).

If there is another murder in Lebanon, Brammertz will be forced to talk.

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July 13th, 2007, 4:09 am

 

6. Alex said:

Why-Discuss,

It is highly unlikely that the four generals in Jail would act in such an easily traceable way. But you might be right that the owners of those SIM cards are outside Lebanon somewhere.

In addition, I also think that the people who purchased and used those SIM cards are not easy to connect to anyone in a way that can be used in court. There might be reasons to suspect involvement by one group or the other (for example if they are mostly Shiites). But it does not sound like Brammertz has any solid proof… he is still using “probably” and “working hypothesis” in his report.

Few months ago, Syria was trying to convince Brammertz to follow up on the source of the Mitsubishi van used in the assassination. Now he did trace it back to Tripoli/UAE/Japan… we’ll see if there is more information there.

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July 13th, 2007, 5:10 am

 

7. R said:

Alex

the Goose is cooked – let it go – smell the coffee – the investigation is not a “Bust” – there is an orgy of evidence!

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July 13th, 2007, 6:05 am

 

8. SimoHurtta said:

Egypt and the Zionist plan of division

In his second article on key principles of Zionist strategy, Hassan Nafaa* describes how keeping Egypt weak is a lynchpin of Israel’s regional ambitions

* The writer is professor of political science at Cairo University.

http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2007/853/op2.htm

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July 13th, 2007, 9:30 am

 

9. MSK said:

SH,

Israel is trying to keep the Arab World divided … I AM SHOCKED! And the fact that this is not making headlines throughout the world only PROVES that ALL GLOBAL MEDIA are controlled by the Zionists (except for Al-Ahram, of course).

–MSK*

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July 13th, 2007, 10:17 am

 

10. SimoHurtta said:

MSK

Of course you are shocked. People like are always. In your mind Syria has an agenda with Lebanon but not Israel, Israel had only been defending it self during the occupation of South Lebanon, or what. Israel has for “no reasons” more nuclear weapons than Peoples Republic of China. Come-on MSK, Al-Ahram is a quite respected newspaper and a professor of political science in the university of Cairo must have some “vision” of the great game. By the way the Israeli plan resembles quite much the US visions for a new Middle East. Weak small nation sates …

Have you MSK been thinking why now Olmert is speaking about peace negotiations with Syria but Livni is giving on the same time the opposite signal? Do you seriously believe that Israel is ready for peace with the neighbours and a two state solution and retreating back to 1967 borders? Well then you belong to a tiny minority.

An interesting news in Haaretz:
Holocaust Survivors’ children to sue German government for therapy
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/881635.html

But can the first generation Palestinian and Lebanese children sue Israel for therapy costs caused by constant military actions? After 30 – 40 years Israeli survivors grandchildren will certainly sue Germany and so money keeps flowing in. And Palestinians live like they do now. A strange world isn’t it? Was Norman Finkelstein wrong about the Holocaust industry?

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July 13th, 2007, 10:55 am

 

11. ausamaa said:

My first reading is that Brammertz wants to stick it to the Jihadies (no body in other words), but he had still kept the other Political option open, either out of “Courtesy/Pressures” to the anti-Syria front or out of lack of solid connecting info. Sucide bomber, No Al Madina Bank, Tripoli, whaterver happened to Hassam and Al Siddiq?

Too early antway to fully comprehend what he wanted to say. WE need to read the reort twice or thrice before we get a glimps of where he “says” that he is really heading.If anywhere!

The clear lack of solid connections to the Lebanese-Syrian security forces is an indication of thier exonration.

So, he had gor closer to the truth being: He still do not know!!!!And may well be; never will!

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July 13th, 2007, 1:08 pm

 

12. majedkhaldoun said:

“The consolidation effort … has helped identify a number of persons of particular interest who may have been involved in some aspect of the preparation and execution of the attack on Rafik Hariri or the other cases under investigation or could have had prior knowledge that plans to carry out these attacks were underway,” Brammertz said.

“political leaders and officials in Lebanon, Syria and other countries”, he said.

He is back to Mehlis report,implicating officials in Lebanon and SYRIA,it is very clear accusation to Syria.

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July 13th, 2007, 1:37 pm

 

13. MSK said:

SH,

I didn’t know you live in the sarcasm-free zone. Hadn’t expected that from a Finn, actually. Maybe Aki Kaurismaki’s movied passed by you without making any impact. Oh well …

Of course I am NOT shocked that Israel tried (& still tries) to do all it can to divide the Arab world. D’UH! That’s simple Realpolitik. And the Israelis are (as the article shows) about the last ones to hide or even deny that. Contrary to, for ex. the US or the Europeans, the Izzies are crude & arrogant enough to actually blatantly state what sinister policies they’d like to implement. Do I like that? No, of course I don’t.

Have you MSK been thinking why now Olmert is speaking about peace negotiations with Syria but Livni is giving on the same time the opposite signal?

Yes, I have. But, honestly, they’re NOT giving opposite signals at all. If you had paid any sort of attention to Israeli politics, you’d know that Livni is the one who’d been pressing for negotiations with Syria (it was her office that authorized the meetings with “Abe” Suleiman).

Do you seriously believe that Israel is ready for peace with the neighbours and a two state solution and retreating back to 1967 borders? Well then you belong to a tiny minority.

I do seriously believe that Israel is ready for peace with its neighbors & a two-state solution. And in that I am part of the overwhelming majority of people who work on Middle East issues – in the West and the Arab world alike. I am also among the majority who knows that Israel is not ready to retreat back to the 1967 borders, and I never said anything else. I personally am of the opinion that the 1967 borders ARE – based on int’l law – to be the borders, but that’s a different story.

Anything else?

Btw, I am very amused by the automatic projections of anti-Arab/Syrian/Shi’ite/fill-in-the-blanks-with-your-favorite-oppressed-group that my (& other people’s) posts receive. Less “immediate emotional outbursts” and more “let’s just read the whole piece before I jump to conclusions” would save a lot of people here aggravation & make them look less silly.

–MSK*

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July 13th, 2007, 1:37 pm

 

14. SimoHurtta said:

MSK

Of course I am NOT shocked that Israel tried (& still tries) to do all it can to divide the Arab world. D’UH! That’s simple Realpolitik.

Why are you MSK outraged of Syrian efforts in interfering in Lebanon’s affairs? That is simple Realpolitik. The strong eat the small (and stupid).:)

If you had paid any sort of attention to Israeli politics, you’d know that Livni is the one who’d been pressing for negotiations with Syria (it was her office that authorized the meetings with “Abe” Suleiman).

Seems that you MSK spend most of your time in writing your stuff, more than following the news. Livni was supporting negotiations last week but not any more. It seems that this week it is Livni’s turn to be the bad cop. Next week they change opinions. Livni favours negotiations and Olmert speaks tough. Real peace builders at work.

July 12 2007
Israel`s Livni Rules Out Resuming Talks With Syria
Israel’s Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni rules out resuming talks with Syria.

You MSK should pay some sort attention to Israeli politics.

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July 13th, 2007, 3:24 pm

 

15. Alex said:

MSK,

I know you are very neutral, but … ya3ni try for once at least to say something “pro Syria” for a change : )

SH you’re the best!

R,

Let me guess, weren’t you even more convinced that there is an orgy of evidence from the first week that Mehlis worked on it two years ago? … didn’t you belive the Hariri recording pen story? and the bomb underground that the Syrian moukhabarat placed?

This process will take few more years. There will be many more dramatic things happening in the Middle East (as usual) before we see anything tangible coming of the tribunal.

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July 13th, 2007, 5:22 pm

 

16. sam said:

Until there is irrefutable evidence that Syria was invovled, I strongly believe the Israelis and US were behind the killing. That was the only way to get Syria and Hizb in check. The $64,000 question is “Who benifited from all this”? It got Syria out and the US and Saudis back in.

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July 13th, 2007, 7:02 pm

 

17. Ford Prefect said:

And don’t forget, Alex, the huge evidence produced by the HSBC cameras that recorded the digging of the street by the Syrians the night before the murder to bury the underground explosives. Hmmm, never mind, that turned out to be a non-evidence.

And of course the Syrian regime is influential enough to convince a a Jihadist to blow himself up so that Lahood can get 4 more years.

All this ingenious Syrian master plan is so mind numbing it has taken the world’s best intelligence services, forensic experts and millions of dollars over two years to come up with little, if any, shred of evidence. But, wait, invetigators are so close they only need a little more time. Maybe Syria, in that little time, will finally fall into a nice little civil war and the whole investigation will be over once and for all.

And who is the brilliant executioner of this this Ocean’s 13 mission impossible? It is the world-renown brick-headed Rustom Ghazali and four Syrian-surrogate Lebanese generals who can still carry out murders right from their prison cells on orders from Damascus. Wow! So impressive Syria!

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July 13th, 2007, 10:08 pm

 

18. Akbar Palace said:

Sam said:

Until there is irrefutable evidence that Syria was invovled, I strongly believe the Israelis and US were behind the killing.

Usually, the guilty party is the one that work’s the hardest to prevent any investigation. What do they have to hide?

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July 13th, 2007, 10:31 pm

 

19. ausamaa said:

AkbarPalace,

What does the US and Israel have to hide? Hmmmm, good question! How about hundreds of thousands of killed and injured, millions of displaced people, and a series of strategic and tactical blunders that academics will make case studies out of for the next decades and centuries.

That is what the US and Israel have to hide. Of course, in addition to the “Harriri truth” maybe.

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July 13th, 2007, 10:45 pm

 

20. why-discuss said:

Brammmertz’s report mentions twice the connections of Al Adas with extremists groups. Maybe there is a trail there or maybe he is just bluffing to make believe that he still does know for sure:

“39. …. In this regard, the Commission has established that some of Abmad Abu Adass associates had links to networks involved in extremist activities in Lebanon and elsewhere in recent years.”

“44. …confirms the Commissions conclusions that some of the people with whom he associated had links to networks involved in extremist activities in Lebanon and elsewhere in recent years…”

“53. Although it has focused on this group of inquiries into the motives behind the assassination of Rafik Hariri, the Commission also continues to explore alternative hypotheses. These include the possibility that Hariri was targeted, for example by extremist groups because he was widely considered in Lebanon and in the Arab world as a leading figure in his community. It cannot be excluded that the motives to assassinate Hariri could have arisen from a combination of political and sectarian factors. A number of aspects related to this hypothesis are still being investigated.”

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July 14th, 2007, 12:42 am

 

21. why-discuss said:

Ford-Perfect, this murder is a masterpiece of organization and coordination with very little holes. If it has been masterminded by just the syrian intelligence, I am impressed…
Israelis press and officials seem totally indifferent to the investigation. Are they not worried that the trail goes back to them (Remember the Israeli spy ring discovered in Lebanon a few months ago) or they are worried and they are bluffing in showing indifference while plotting to get rid of dangerous elements that could uncover their responsibility in this murder. Their silence is suspicious.

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July 14th, 2007, 12:58 am

 

22. Alex said:

Akbar

“Usually, the guilty party is the one that work’s the hardest to prevent any investigation. What do they have to hide?”

didn’t Brammertz say that the Syrians’ cooperation was generally satisfactory?

The Syrians did not cooperate with the clown Mehlis, but with Brammertz they were the first to cooperate fully.

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July 14th, 2007, 1:07 am

 

23. Thomas said:

Why should Brammertz finger the Syrians at this point? If he were to constantly blame Syria all the time, he would get zero cooperation from them. In the end, he will implicate Syria. He is smarter than the Syrians so he is just biding his time.

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July 14th, 2007, 2:00 am

 

24. Alex said:

Thomas,

Brammertz is not smarter than the Syrians and they are not smarter than Bammertz. They both know what they are doing.

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July 14th, 2007, 2:59 am

 

25. AlbertoCaeiro said:

As the filter software keeps blocking me, I will have to borrow the heteronym “Alberto Caeiro” for the time being but I promise not to write poems… 🙂 I tried to post this yesterday:

A look back:

“Moreover, this adviser (to Lebanese Prime Minister Siniora; t_d) has made it clear that Brammertz is ready to divulge much more evidence in his report due in mid-June.”
(Syria Comment, May 6th, 2007)

Not true.

AP: “Brammertz said the investigators’ working hypothesis is that events surrounding the U.N. Security Council’s adoption of a resolution in September 2004 aimed at preventing Lebanon’s pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud from having a second term “played an important role in shaping the environment in which the motives to assassinate Rafik Hariri emerged.””

Isn’t this a very odd way to characterize Resolution 1559?

I prefer the Reuters version:

“The U.N. team, which has already said Hariri’s killing was political, said it was now focusing on his role as an advocate of Security Council resolution 1559, which urged foreign troop withdrawals from Lebanon and the disbanding of militias there.

“While some events surrounding the adoption of resolution 1559 need to be further investigated, the Commission’s working hypothesis is that these events played an important role in shaping the environment in which the motives to assassinate Rafik Hariri emerged,” it said.”
(Reuters)

As I said before (Syria Comment,June 1st, 2007), the new final chapter of Bernard Rougier’s “Everyday Jihad” (Harvard University Press 2007) has major flaws, but it is also particularly interesting in this context:

“Despite their hostility toward Shi’ite Islam on a theological level, jihadist preachers in Ain al-Helweh and Nahr al-Barid called on their followers to oppose the international community’s intervention in Lebanon, and announced their solidarity with Hezbollah on the question of disarmament.

Resolution 1559 provided them with the opportunity to mingle ideological convictions and tactical interests in their sermons, and to clothe in Islamic cultural codes their rejection of a text whose application would destroy the material conditions of their influence in Palestinian camp society.”
(p.272)

(my emphasis)

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July 14th, 2007, 5:39 am

 

26. DJ said:

T_Desco,
Interesting analysis…
As I understand from your analysis and the bits and pieces you are putting about S.C. resolutions no. 1559, and the motives of the different parties who were opposed to it (according to the report), it seems that radical groups (Fatah Al Islam and Jund Al Sham) were against the resolution because it undermines their influence in the camps? … and that Brammerts is applying much more emphasis on the other motive which is that the resolution has challenged the renewal for president Lahud… is that what you are trying to say??
And is there anything in the resolution that refers to decline his renewal?

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July 14th, 2007, 6:52 am

 

27. AlbertoCaeiro said:

DJ,

my criticism was not directed against Brammertz but against the AP journalist and the way she characterized Resolution 1559.

As I will avoid posting links for the time being, here is my earlier comment in full:

“It seems that I was overlooking something obvious when I stated (in my analysis of the latest Brammertz report): “It is unclear to me why such an extremist group should have been particularly concerned about Hariri winning the 2005 elections.”

The likely implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1559 (calling for the complete disarmament of all militias in Lebanon, including the extremist groups in the refugee camps) could be construed as such a motive, as I realized while reading (and mostly disagreeing with) the new chapter (”Conclusion”) in Bernard Rougier’s “Everyday Jihad” (Harvard University Press 2007). ”
(Syria Comment,June 1st, 2007)

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July 14th, 2007, 7:14 am

 

28. MSK said:

SH,

Instead of reading what Livni said, you just went for the spin of the Qatari newspaper. She was asked IF THERE ARE SECRET TALKS RIGHT NOW … and said “no”. That means that either there aren’t any secret talks or that there are but she’s not admitting them. Go back to see what the Israelis and Palestinians said about their negotiations until a few days before the “White House Handshake”.

And … where exactly did I show “outrage about the Syrian interference in Lebanon”? That’s also Realpolitik. BUT, just as a lot of Israel’s real-political policies are despicable and immoral, so are a lot of Syria’s.

Aziizii Alex, ya khayya,

Here’s something “pro-Syria”, just for you: I think that the food in some of the restaurants in Damascus’ Old City (for ex. “Layla’s”) is infinitely better than in any Lebanese restaurant I’ve ever been to! Happy now? 😉

I already stated – repeatedly – that the Golan (incl. “Shaati al-Ra’is”) is Syrian territory and has to be returned, didn’t I? Hmmm … whatelse … the Syrian people have the right to elect whomever they want – Duktuur Bashar, the Muslim Brotherhood, Michel Kilo, or anyone else.

Did I miss anything?

–MSK*

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July 14th, 2007, 8:23 am

 

29. SimoHurtta said:

Instead of reading what Livni said, you just went for the spin of the Qatari newspaper.

What news do you read MSK and how do you read them? The spin of Quatari newspaper? The news was from Reuters (part of the so called mainstream media as you probably know). There clearly reads source: Reuters. Well naturally Qataris can nowadays own Reuters. In that case it is Qatari spin. 🙂

YnetNews (Israeli as you know) says:

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said she rejected the possibility of conducting negotiations with Syria, thus contradicting recent statements made by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

I do not understand French so I can’t read the original article in Le Nouvel Observateur about the interview with Livni. I had to rely to the other sources.

Go back to see what the Israelis and Palestinians said about their negotiations until a few days before the “White House Handshake”.

Well Israelis are not the best diplomats on the earth and bombing others back to stone age is a common comment by Israeli politicians and even ministers. By the way what did the “White House handshake” produce? A peace or more settlements and a fence? Israelis shake hand only if USA commands them to do that. Still their handshake seems to mean nothing. Now they are shaking Abbas hands but what do they promise. Nothing.

Did I miss something?
-SH*

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July 14th, 2007, 12:07 pm

 

30. MSK said:

SH,

Yes, you did.

My point was that a public denial of contacts/negotiations doesn’t necessarily mean that there are none. I didn’t comment on the meaning or follow-up of the handshake. If you want to start a conversation about that – name the Israel/Palestine blog/website of your choice & I’ll think about it.

I looked at the original Reuters story & you’re right: it wasn’t the Qataris who put a spin on it. It was Reuters itself. Here the text:

Interviewed last week by Le Nouvel Observateur, Livni was asked whether she could confirm rumours of a resumption in talks between Israel and Syria, a year after fighting erupted between Israel and Syrian-backed Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon.

“Absolutely not. Syria is pursuing the dangerous game it plays in the region. It is supporting Hezbollah, refusing the principle of independence for Lebanon and remains a threat,” she said.

“Moreover, Damascus, which is still the regional centre of support for terrorism, is today associated with Iran in a partnership which also constitutes a danger.”

Reuters then prefaced it with the interpretation that

Israel’s Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni rules out resuming talks with Syria and believes Damascus poses a problem which must be tackled by the region, she said in a French magazine published on Thursday.

That’s not what she did, however. Here the original:

N. O. – Un an après la fin de la guerre au Liban, la rumeur d’une reprise de la négociation entre Israël et la Syrie court un peu partout. Vous confirmez?

T. Livni. – Absolument pas. La Syrie poursuit le jeu dangereux qui est le sien dans la région. Elle soutient le Hezbollah, refuse le principe d’indépendance du Liban et demeure une menace, autant pour la force internationale que pour Israël. De plus, Damas, qui est toujours le centre régional du soutien au terrorisme, est aujourd’hui associé à l’Iran dans un partenariat qui constitue aussi un danger.
Pour Israël, c’est très clair: au-delà du contentieux israélo-syrien, la paix avec Damas exige une clarification qui concerne l’ensemble de la région.

(http://hebdo.nouvelobs.com/hebdo/parution/p2227/articles/a349730.html)

The question was whether she could confirm the rumors that there is a renewal of Israeli-Syrian negotiations. And she said “No” and gave her (obviously debatable) reasons.

Maybe she was honest, maybe she was just obfuscating. No way to know right now.

Btw, in the spirit of the even-handedness of this here comment section I am looking forward to read you criticize the Syrian regime … 😉 Last time I checked (about 2 seconds ago) this blog is called SYRIAcomment and not Israel/Lebanon/PalestineComment. So please forgive me if I don’t write long comments on the immorality of the Israelis.

–MSK*

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July 14th, 2007, 12:58 pm

 

31. why-discuss said:

Livni is obsessed by Iran-Syria connections. At every single occasion, she keeps repeating the same stuff about “Iran regional terrorism” and “dangerous”, I think Condoleeza Rice gave her the advice: Hammer these words (like Condies’s al-qaeda connection with Saddam Hossein) until it stays in people minds and they believe it. Livni, don’t listen to Condie’s advices, she is doomed.

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July 14th, 2007, 1:12 pm

 

32. AlbertoCaeiro said:

I just realized that the “Kassem Daher” listed in the Jose Padilla indicment is most probably the “Gasem Dhaher” named in the Amnesty International report about the Dinniyeh trial (quoted by me in the Syria Comment-May 25th-2007 thread). What a remarkable document that is!

“9. KASSEM DAHER, a/k/a “Abu Zurr” (hereinafter “DAHER”), resided in LeDuc, Canada. DAHER was affiliated with the Canadian Islamic Association, and communicated and coordinated with mujahideen field commanders and violent jihad leaders overseas. DAHER worked with JAYYOUSI, HASSOUN, and others in actively recruiting mujahideen fighters and raising funds for violent jihad.”
(United States vs. Jose Padilla et al. indictment, Nov. 17, 2005)

“A fourth group was described by the MLCC as “holding leading positions in the armed gang” and was identified as Khalil ‘Akkawi, Gasem Dhaher, ‘Ali Hatem, Muhammad Khaled, Fawwaz al-Nabulsi, ‘Umar Sawalhi, ‘Umar Iy‘ali, Bassam Yunis, Ahmad Miqati, Hilal Ja’far, ‘Abd al-Karim al-Jazzar, Ihab al-Banna and Zayn al-‘Abdin Khalil.”
(Amnesty International, “Lebanon: Torture and unfair trial of the Dhinniyyah detainees”)

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July 14th, 2007, 3:13 pm

 

33. SimoHurtta said:

looking forward to read you criticize the Syrian regime … 😉 Last time I checked (about 2 seconds ago) this blog is called SYRIAcomment and not Israel/Lebanon/PalestineComment. So please forgive me if I don’t write long comments on the immorality of the Israelis.

Well MSK can you seriously say that the Israel and Palestine issues or Lebanon’s chaos have not a link to Syria’s present situation and future. Or USA’s foreign policy. What Israel does or better said doesn’t do has a huge effect to the whole world. You can imagine what happens to the oil price among other things when Israel attacks Iran. Minister of Strategic Affairs Avigdor Lieberman said that he received the tacit blessing of Europe and the United States for an Israeli military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

http://www.israeltoday.co.il/default.aspx?tabid=178&nid=13407

As an European I seriously doubt that Europe gave such a blessing to this right wing nut (realpoliker and peace dove maybe in your eyes). Certainly this “Lieberman’s blessing” will have effects to Syria (and even to Finland).

By the way MSK didn’t Livni speak about negotiations with Syria? 🙂

What I have read about you comments in professor Cole’s blog and here I consider it astonishing that a guy who so often says that comments are “useless” bothers to write so many comments and put the links to niqash.org and aqoul.com in so many comments. Hmmmm…

Btw, in the spirit of the even-handedness of this here comment section I am looking forward to read you criticize the Syrian regime …

Hmmmm even-handedness. I am no tv station so I have no obligation to comment even-handedly. When I see Syria’s regime as a bigger source of chaos and unjustness to the region and the world as Israel, I promise to criticize. So far I have read about Syria’s “crimes” mostly very dubious propaganda and claims but extremely little real evidence. No doubt that there is much to critizize in Syria, but are corruption, poverty etc so essential when Syria is in danger to get Iraq style “democracy treatment” by the “western” democracy beacons – Israel and USA?

I even promise to criticize the Syrian President when it is proven that he did the same which led to the kicking out of his Israeli colleague.
🙂

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July 14th, 2007, 3:37 pm

 

34. AlbertoCaeiro said:

As-Safir reported today that one member of the Bar Elias cell is an Australian citizen.

Some reports have suggested that the Bar Elias cell is linked to the “Ahmed Miqati and Ismaíl Al-Khatib network”.

Miqati was also involved in the 2002/2003 bomb attacks targeting McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, etc in Beirut and Tripoli.

The money for that bombing campaign came in part from two Australian brothers, Maher and Bilal Khazal.

Bilal Khazal, allegedly a member of al-Qa’ida who had met Osama bin Laden and Ayman Al-Zawahiri in Afghanistan, is “a prominent figure in the Islamic Youth Movement” (see “The baggage of Bilal Khazal”, Sydney Morning Herald, June 4, 2004).

The Islamic Youth Movement allegedly held a military training camp in New South Wales in 2000 on a property belonging to three brothers of the Elomar family. Neighboring farmers “reported explosions and automatic gunfire”, but the family said that it was a “hunting trip” (Jamestown Foundation, Terrorism Monitor, Volume 3, Issue 23 (December 2, 2005)).

Ahmad Elomar (the boxer) was one of the Australians recently arrested in Lebanon, but he has since been released without charge.

It is amazing how everything seems to be connected.

And it is also clear that al-Qa’ida has been trying to infiltrate Lebanon for a long time (Fatah al-Islam is only the latest attempt to gain a foothold in the country):

Terrorisme – Poursuites contre 22 membres présumés d’el-Qaëda

paru dans l’Orient-le Jour le 11 octobre 2002
Le commissaire du gouvernement près le tribunal militaire, le juge Maroun Zakhour, a engagé des poursuites contre 22 personnes (de nationalités libanaise, saoudienne, yéménite, turque et palestinienne) accusées d’avoir cherché à établir une cellule d’el-Qaëda au Liban pour aider des membres du réseau terroriste en fuite dans le monde. Trois de ces 22 suspects ont été arrêtés au début du mois et ont été interrogés par les services de renseignements de l’armée libanaise. Il s’agit de Mohammed Ramez Sultan (Libanais, âgé de 41 ans), Khaled Omar Minawi (Libanais, 18 ans), Ihab Hussein Dafaa (de nationalité saoudienne, 29 ans). Les trois détenus ont avoué avoir tenté d’établir une cellule d’el-Qaëda à Beyrouth. Leur objectif était d’aider des membres du réseau d’Oussama Ben Laden en fuite à la frontière entre l’Iran et l’Afghanistan et des fondamentalistes libanais qui se cacheraient dans le camp de Aïn el-Héloué. Les détenus avaient aussi l’intention de recruter des Philippins spécialistes en explosifs pour former des membres d’el-Qaëda au Liban.
Les 19 autres suspects dans cette affaire sont : Abdallah el-Mohtadi, alias Abou Mehdi (Libanais), Walid al-Chami, Abdallah alias Obeida, (de nationalité turque), Mohammed Kaaki, Abou Yahya (Libanais), Mokhtar el-Tounissi, Ibrahim (de nationalité turque), Selmane Ahmed Selmane, alias Abou Haress (de nationalité saoudienne), Salah el-Ahmadi (de nationalité yéménite), Salem Ahmed Selmane (nationalité saoudienne), Fahd Ali Hatem, alias Abou Bakr Akida, Aboul Haress (nationalité saoudienne), Abou Youssef el-Turki, Abou Haress el-Turki, Hassan Ali, Koueiss (nationalité saoudienne), Abou Bakr Ahmed Mikati, Mouïne Hussein Abdel Rahman (Palestinien). Les 22 suspects sont accusés d’avoir tenté de former une organisation terroriste en vue de s’en prendre à la population civile et de porter atteinte à l’autorité de l’Etat. Ils sont également accusés d’avoir falsifié des passeports. Les accusés risquent une peine de travaux forcés à perpétuité, en application des articles 335, 463 et 454/463 du code pénal, et des articles 5 et 6 de la loi du 11 janvier 1958.

Court sentences 25 in bombings
Attacks on western targets in Beirut, Tripoli wounded 5
Rita Boustani
Daily Star correspondent
December 22, 2003

A military tribunal issued sentences ranging between six-months to life imprisonment for 25 members of a terrorist group on charges of forming a terrorist network with the aim of carrying out bombings against Western targets and harming the country’s reputation.
Two of the defendants, Khaled Ali and Mohammed Kaaki, the leaders of the terrorist group, were acquitted of plotting to attack the US Embassy and assassinate the US ambassador, according to verdicts posted on a court bulletin board late Saturday. They were acquitted because they did not execute their plot; however, both Ali and Mohammed Kaaki were found guilty of planning the bombings against Western targets. They were sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment with hard labor and they were deprived of their civil rights.
Five people were wounded in the bombings on Western franchises in Beirut and Tripoli. The attacks, which began last year and continued until April, targeted McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Hardees and Spinney’s supermarket.
The attacks were seen as part of the wave of anti-American sentiment that washed over the region because of the US occupation of Iraq and the perception that America is biased toward Israel in its conflict with the Palestinians.
The court also acquitted eight suspects for lack of sufficient evidence, the bulletin said. The suspects acquitted were Abdel Aziz Abdel Aziz, Omar Abdel Nabi, Ahmad Shatla, Haitham Said, Ali Qassem, Jalal Thalj, Bilal Marj and Hussein Qarhani.
Three defendants at large were sentenced in absentia, according to the court bulletin board. One of them, Ahmed Mikati, is believed to be hiding in the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain al-Hilweh in Sidon. The other two, brothers Bilal and Maher Khazal, Australians of Lebanese origin, were convicted of funding the group in Lebanon. Bilal, who is a former Qantas baggage handler, sent $2,500 to Kaaki, the mastermind behind the bombings.
The three men were sentenced to life imprisonment with hard labor.
The court also handed down a 12-year prison term with hard labor for Mohammed Taha and deprived him of his civil rights, and sentenced Walid Qamarieh, Shadi Gebara and Lebanese Army recruit Naaman Kaaki to seven years’ imprisonment with hard labor.
The court sentenced Mahmoud Hammoud and Wissam Maghrebi to four years in prison while Mohammed Haidar, Ahmad Ater, Fadi Tiba and Abdel Ilah Jassem were sentenced to three years in prison. All six were stripped of their civil rights.
Bilal Halloum and Mohammed Sayed were sentenced to two years in prison and Abdel Nasser Singer, Jihad Thalj and Firas Abdel-Hadi were sentenced to 18 months in prison.
The court sentenced Nasser Omar, Ahmad Qaddour, Khaled Maksoud and Amin Mikati to six months in prison and Mohammed Saled to three months. On Tuesday, prosecutors charged two Lebanese men with attempting to carry explosives into the US Embassy.

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July 14th, 2007, 5:35 pm

 

35. ausamaa said:

Was the Jund Al Islam gang on the Harriri payroll and had to rob the bank when he stopped paying their salaries in May Or not?

Were some of them using appartments leased to some Feb 14 gang or not?

A “sucide” bomber who triggered the explosion?

What happened to the discredited Al Siddiq and Hasam Hasam stories???

What is the meaning of exonerating the Medina Bank from being connected to the Harriri murder?

Why are G, K, S, O and X and Y and Z, quite on those issues and neglecting to accord them their due importance? Or are they just like the “disposable” story of the pocket Pen Recorder in the pocket of Harriri during his meeting with Assad when he was threatened?

Do you people really want “the” TRUTH? or you want “a” TRUTH?

A lot of the staunch anti-Syria analysis resembles the desperate dreams of a deflowered vergin who still believe that her long departed lady’s man lover is really going to come back and marry her once he gets his fututre secure in Dubai. Does it not? Let us hope she is not pregnant as well!

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July 14th, 2007, 6:14 pm

 

36. sam said:

This may go down as the murder of the century, in Brammetz own words it was a very highly sophisticated plan, almost an inuendo saying the Arabs weren’t smart enough to pull it off. With the technology that they are deprived of how could they have pulled it off. Which makes me really believe the Mossad did it. Hariri motorcade was equipped with state of the art jamming devices that are used in high tech military vehicles. I can’t remember where I read it, but I believe someone said it was Israeli made(jamming device) Iraq, Leb, Palistine, is one big master plan by the zionist to create a greater Israel. There sights are set on syria, thats why the Israelis don’t want peace. They want it ALL.

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July 14th, 2007, 7:34 pm

 

37. AlbertoCaeiro said:

Jamming devices don’t help against suicide bombers.

The following article (which I had overlooked) is very important because it establishes a connection between Jund al-Sham and the al-Zarqawi linked terrorist training camp near Tripoli in early 2005:

Islamist group in Yvelines had ties with extremists in North Lebanon

Publié le 23 mai 2007

Report by Jean Chichizola (with P.B. in Berlin)

French antiterrorist judges have just sent an international rogatory letter to Lebanon in connection with their inquiry into an Islamist group dismantled in Trappes (Yvelines) at the end of 2005, and accused of having planned attacks in the Paris area. One member of the group (Kaci Warab/Ouarab; t_d) went to Tripoli in 2005, before returning to France (see our 11 December 2006 edition [report filed as EUP20061211029003]). He was taken in charge by the Islamist group Jund Al-Sham, which, according to one expert, has “close ties” with Fatah Al-Islam. This Frenchman of Algerian extraction is at present in detention in France. According to the French investigation, Saudi and Egyptian instructors linked to Al-Qa’idah initiated him in the manufacture of detonation systems using cell phones. In April 2005 the leader of the Trappes group attended, together with other suspected terrorists, a meeting in Damascus at which a plan was adopted to perpetrate attacks in France, Italy, and Germany. A German lead also features in the background in Lebanon. Saddam al-Hajib, one of the militants killed by the Lebanese Army and Fatah Al-Islam’s presumed “number four,” was in fact wanted by the police. His brother, Yusuf, is in provisional detention in Germany, charged with having placed a suitcase full of explosives on board a regional train 31 July 2006. One of their cousins, Khalid Khair Eddin al-Hadjib [name as published], is currently on trial in Beirut, together with the other presumed author of the abortive attack, Jihad Hamad, and two other accomplices, both also Lebanese.
(Le Figaro, 23 mai 2007)

(my emphasis)

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July 14th, 2007, 8:46 pm

 

38. ausamaa said:

The Simplest and Most obvious of all questions in the Harriri murder is the one Most glossed over:

Who is the real “benificiary” of the Assasination and all the events that followed? That would solve the riddle? Would it not? Are all “other” hands sooooooo clean that one can not even contemplate their “committing” such a “murderous” act?

Keep looking for the truth…

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July 15th, 2007, 5:15 am

 

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