View Full Version : Lebanon's government falls as Hezbollah pulls out

Magda Hassan
01-12-2011, 09:57 PM
Lebanon's government falls as Hezbollah pulls out
By ZEINA KARAM, Associated Press Zeina Karam, Associated Press – Wed Jan 12, 12:30 pm ET
BEIRUT – Lebanon's year-old unity government collapsed Wednesday after Hezbollah ministers and their allies resigned over tensions stemming from a U.N.-backed tribunal investigating the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
The walkout ushers in the country's worst political crisis since 2008 in one of the most volatile corners of the Middle East.
Prime Minister Saad Hariri, the son of the slain leader, cut short a visit to Washington after meeting with President Barack Obama. He was heading to Paris where he will meet French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Thursday, his office in Beirut said.
Hariri planned to hold consultations on his government's collapse while in France, then would return to Beirut, according to an official in Hariri's delegation.
Hariri made no public comment after meeting Obama, but the official said Obama offered U.S. support. The official discussed the matter on condition of anonymity due to security and diplomatic concerns.
The tribunal is widely expected to name members of Hezbollah in upcoming indictments, which many fear could re-ignite sectarian tensions that have plagued the tiny country for decades.
"This cabinet has become a burden on the Lebanese, unable to do its work," Energy Minister Jibran Bassil said at a news conference announcing the resignations, flanked by the other ministers who are stepping down. "We are giving a chance for another government to take over."
Hezbollah, which is backed by Iran and Syria, has denounced the tribunal as an "Israeli project" and urged the Western-backed prime minister to reject any findings by the court even before it announced any indictments.
But the prime minister has refused to break cooperation with the tribunal.
Hariri's office had no immediate comment on the walkout that brought down his government while he was in Washington.
Labor Minister Butros Harb, who is with the anti-Hezbollah bloc, told reporters after a meeting of Hariri's supporters that they are open to dialogue but "there will be no compromise over justice and the tribunal."
The walkout followed the failure of a diplomatic push by Syria and Saudi Arabia to ease political tensions in Lebanon. There had been few details about the direction of the Syrian-Saudi initiative, but the talks were lauded as a potential Arab breakthrough, rather than a solution offered by Western powers.
Bassil said the ministers decided to resign after Hariri "succumbed to foreign and American pressures" and turned his back on the Syrian-Saudi efforts.
Calls to the tribunal seeking comment Wednesday were not immediately returned.
Hariri formed the current national unity government in November 2009, but it has struggled to function amid deep divisions. The crisis over the tribunal has paralyzed the government in recent months.
Violence has been a major concern as tensions rise in Lebanon, where Shiites, Sunnis and Christians each make up about a third of the country's four million people. In 2008, sectarian clashes killed 81 people and nearly plunged Lebanon into another civil war.
Rafik Hariri's assassination in a suicide bombing that killed 22 other people both stunned and polarized Lebanese. He was a Sunni who was a hero to his own community and backed by many Christians who sympathized with his efforts in the last few months of his life to reduce Syrian influence in the country. A string of assassinations of anti-Syrian politicians and public figures followed, which U.N. investigators have said may have been connected to the Hariri killing.
The Netherlands-based tribunal has not said who it will indict, but Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah has said he has information that members of his group will be named.
Associated Press writers Bassem Mroue and Elizabeth A. Kennedy in Beirut and Robert Burns in Washington contributed to this report.

Peter Presland
01-13-2011, 08:28 PM
There are serious dirty dealings surrounding the UN tribunal investigating the death of Rafiq Hariri and they are coming to a head.

This from Rannie Amiri - an independent Middle East commentator - in Global Research 13 Jan 2011: (http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=AMI20110113&articleId=22773)

Wednesday’s timeline from the Lebanese news portal Naharnet.com read as follows:
5:17 pm Agence France Presse: Prime Minister Saad Hariri went into talks with U.S. President Barack Obama at the moment that Opposition ministers resigned from the Lebanese government.
5:32 pm Minister of State Adnan Sayyed Hussein announced in a statement his resignation from Cabinet.
In that 15 minute span, President Obama went from meeting Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri to ex-Prime Minister Hariri. The unity government under his premiership had fallen, and deservedly so.
Events had rapidly unfolded.
Last weekend, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met Hariri in New York . The visiting prime minister was holding consultations with Saudi Arabia ’s King Abdullah, recuperating from recent back surgery there, on the Special Tribunal for Lebanon ’s (STL) impending indictments.
The STL is widely expected to implicate Hezbollah members in the February 2005 assassination of late premier Rafiq Hariri despite evidence pointing to Israel ’s complicity in the crime. Saad Hariri’s Western-backed ruling March 14 coalition backs the tribunal while the opposition March 8 coalition has called for its boycott.
Hopes have been riding on a Saudi-Syrian, or “S-S” initiative that would effectively mediate between the rival camps on how best to handle the STL’s imminent verdict. Syrian President Bashar Assad and King Abdullah, respective patrons of the March 8 and March 14 blocs, sought to broker a solution to both side’s satisfaction.
Although details of the alleged initiative were not made public, speculations exists it may have entailed Hariri distancing himself from the STL decision in exchange for March 8 dropping its pursuit of charges against the “false witnesses”—those who initially fingered Syria for Hariri’s murder but whose testimony against Damascus was ultimately found to have been fabricated. Some of these witnesses are thought to be Hariri confidantes.
Not long after Hariri had finished meeting with Clinton , opposition leader and Free Patriotic Movement head Michel Aoun declared Tuesday the S-S initiative was dead:
“We thank the Saudi king and the Syrian president for the efforts they have exerted, although their initiative has ended with no results. The Hariri-led camp didn't respond to these efforts, that's why we've reached a dead end.”
A statement released by the opposition said the endeavor “ … reached a dead end due to U.S. pressures and the other camp's compliance with these pressures, despite the fact that we had positively dealt with that initiative and provided it with chances of success.”
Progressive Socialist Party head and Druze leader Walid Jumblatt remarked, “Saad Hariri was on the brink of making a major concession as concerns the tribunal, but occult forces prevented him from doing so.” After meeting with the Maronite Patriarch on Wednesday, he said, “dark forces intervened in the ongoing Syrian-Saudi talks and sidetracked this initiative from its original course.”
According to Labor Minister Muhammad Fneish, the Saudi-Syrian effort was sabotaged by “American intervention and the inability of the other side to overcome American pressure.” When asked why it ultimately failed, Fneish replied, “Ask Mrs. Clinton.”
The Obama administration and the U.S. State Department never wanted, nor would they have tolerated, an intra-Arab solution to Lebanon ’s predicament. They ensured there would be no obstacle in the way of a discredited tribunal from issuing its findings based on doctored evidence, one that would sully Hezbollah’s reputation in Lebanon and throughout the Arab and Muslim world.
When it became clear the S-S initiative and whatever promise it held had been quashed, opposition members called on Hariri to urgently convene a cabinet meeting by the following day (Wednesday) to address what the government’s position toward the STL would now be.
The prime minister, still in New York , refused.
Ten opposition ministers in his 30-member cabinet then proceeded to tender their resignations.
Because the “one-third-plus-one” formula mandates at least 11 resign before the cabinet can be dissolved, one more minister was needed. That came when Minister of State Adnan Sayyed Hussein—one of five ministers directly appointed by President Michel Suleiman—announced his resignation. With that, Hariri’s 14-month-old government fell.
“The grace period has ended, and the waiting stage that we lived through without any result has ended,” said Energy Minister Jibran Bassil.
Saad Hariri rightly wants to see those who murdered his father and 22 others that fateful February day brought to justice. It is a wish shared by all Lebanese.
But Hariri and his coalition allies could not put their political and sectarian biases aside long enough to see how badly compromised the STL had become; its subjective investigatory methods, its reliance on Israeli-infiltrated telecommunication data, its refusal to even entertain the notion that Tel Aviv could possibly be involved in the assassination despite plausible evidence procured against it (not to mention the military benefits it reaped from Rafiq Hariri’s killing).
Although a compromise appeared at hand, one that would satisfy both coalitions and guarantee the nation’s well-being, Hariri was unwilling to overcome U.S. pressure. He allowed Secretary of State Clinton to veto overnight a plan that was months in the making.
What Clinton ’s action did make clear is that any outside solution will always be subject to such interference. It only reinforced calls for the Lebanese to assume control of their own affairs and reach an agreement a third party cannot abrogate.
After meeting with Hariri, Clinton embarked on a tour of Persian Gulf countries, continuing the mission to promote division between Arab and Iranian, Sunni and Shia. When asked on Al-Arabiya television to comment on the situation in Lebanon , she said “stability requires justice.”
Ironically, a concept she tried to subvert and one Hariri never understood.

Ed Jewett
08-03-2011, 04:07 AM
Silenced Evidence in Assassination of Rafik Hariri
by Eslam al-Rihani / August 2nd, 2011


“Once the billionaire PM Rafik Hariri moves inside Beirut, everybody takes note of it. His limousine is equipped with a device able to foil any assassination attempt via booby-trapped car. Mobile phones are disrupted in the area near the convoy, … Whenever he leaves his house, his guards carry out car patrols in the streets for camouflage.”

This was extracted from an entire file submitted by the founder of the American Committee for Free Lebanon — Ziad Abd al-Nour — in cooperation with Ghazi Kambel, who edited the file within a bulletin of Middle East intelligence in 2001.

“The report was very interesting in terms of the information contained and the political position of the editor,” the German forensic expert Jürgen Cain Külbel stated in commenting on the report.

Zionist Organization

Jürgen Cain Külbel

In an exclusive interview with Al-Manar Website, the German expert said “the report is of the American Committee for Free Lebanon, and was issued years before Harriri’s assassination. The committee is close to Neoconservatives and maintains good relations with the Jewish and Christian pressure chambers, while coordinating its political activities in accordance with the policy of the Zionist Likud party via the Jewish institute for National Security Affairs.”

“In addition to that, there is a strong relationship between the committee, the Orthodox Union, AIPAC and the Christian Coalition, where many observers consider Abd al-Nour’s committee as an Israeli warlike organization that works against Lebanon and Syria. It is an “Israeli structure with a Lebanese mask,” he added.

This committee had posted on its website photos of Lebanese political figures as targets to be hit after being accused of being Syrian agents in Lebanon. Those figures included Nabih Berri, Emile Lahoud, Walid Junblat, Rafik Hariri and others. The interesting is that among those photos there is one of Elias Hobaiqa crossed in red lines, signifying that he had been eliminated,” Külbel noted.

Made in Israel

As for the information mentioned in the report, the German expert said “it is well known that Hariri’s convoy was equipped with one of the latest jamming Israeli device, produced by Netline Communications, which work as mobile phones and other devices jammers within a radius of 500 meters, to prevent a murder attempt by a car bomb or radio-oriented bombs.”

Külbel made a link between the report and the analysis of the journalist Menhaj Qodwa — specialized in politics — in which he wrote:

“Days will reveal the true killers of Hariri. However, the means of assassination — although Hariri had the safer jamming devices at all — indicates that the operation was orchestrated by people who know how to disrupt the jammers.”

The German forensic expert expressed beliefs that the information about the jamming device is very important, which formed the starting point in his research process as a journalist and expert specialized in crimes science. “this information was the incentive to make an interview with the Israeli producer, for he is the only one who knows how to dismantle the security system of the device.”

Referring to his book, Hariri’s Assassination: Hidden Proofs published in May 2006, Külbel said: “Prior to the completion of writing this book, an expert who lives in Switzerland informed me that Hariri had made up his mind some day to buy jamming devices from Israel, while refusing to buy them from Switzerland.”

The expert also said that “the producer — who also works for the Mossad — knows how his jamming devices work and how to disrupt them.”

Answering a question on the possibility that Hariri could bring the device directly from the Israelis, the German expert said that “Hariri could buy it from any other country, even though it was made in Israel.”

“Mehlis knew all these information, and I have no idea why he deliberately hide them,” Külbel added sarcastically.

PART II: ‘Secret fighters’ related to the ‘Guardians of the Cedars’ and the Lebanese Forces, and their association with the Unit 504?

New facts are revealed. The German forensic expert who affirmed the Israeli nationality of the jamming device producer, which Hariri had bought, continues to unfold other proofs.

In the exclusive interview with Al-Manar Website, Jürgen Cain Külbel revealed some information which the international investigation had ignored deliberately, “or inadvertently,” he said with a sarcastic laugh.

“The explosion extent and its impacts show the logistic and tactical strategic level of the crime planners and perpetrators. This kind of crime cannot be carried out overnight, for it requires tactical and material preparations, well-trained and reliable elements, in addition to the close monitoring of the victim to track his movements,” he noted.

“I conducted investigations and made interviews with many personalities that talked about connections of the Israeli Mossad with some Lebanese parties which have a history of assassinations and eliminations carried out against their political rivals during and after the Lebanese civil war,” Külbel told Al-Manar Website.

“Yet, investigators had ignored this information, just like they ignored the data and proofs held by Hezbollah and revealed by the Secretary General Sheikh Hasan Nasrallah,” Külbel added.

Unit ‘504’

In his interview, Külbel pointed out to the Unit ‘504’, for which he devoted a full chapter in his book.

“Unit 504 was formed by the Israeli military intelligence. It is considered a mini-Mossad apparatus specialized in recruiting informers in Arab countries. During the period of Israeli occupation of Lebanon, (which lasted 18 years) this unit had managed a large network of collaborators in Lebanon and was responsible for the leadership of Lebanon South Army. It was re-formed after the year 2000, where members are proud that all matters of crime, from espionage to murder, are their specialty,” he wrote in Hariri Murder.

The German expert mentioned in his book as well words of an American-Israeli right-wing extremist Murray Cal about those recruited within this unit, saying “they are well-prepared to guerilla warfare, murder, infiltration and using of the latest methods in the preparation of car bombs.”

Guardians of Cedars, Lebanese Forces

Citing his own sources, Külbel noted in the interview that members of the ‘Unit 504’ had traveled to Cyprus to prepare to infiltrate into many Lebanese regions.

“Those sources informed me that plans prepared by Etienne Saqr – leader of the Guardians of the Cedars – aimed at renewing cells amongst the Christian youth, and that some kind of mobilization was carried out by the Lebanese Forces within ranks. There are security reports which revealed that Ghassan Touma – one of Lebanese Forces commanders – had left the United States to Cyprus, in order to launch mobilizing communications in Lebanon,” the forensic expert noted.

Later in the interview, Külbel quoted the manager of “Lebanese Foundation for Peace” Naji Najjar as saying to an Israeli newspaper about close relations connecting Lebanese Union in Exile – opponent to Syria – with the Lebanese opposition at home.

The forensic expert cited what Najjar had said to confirm that members of Lebanon South Army and the Lebanese Forces who were in exile, are working for the Unit 504.

Külbel pointed out that the massive attacks and explosions took place after Hariri’s assassination should be involved in investigations for being carried out – in the first place – in the areas of Christian residential.

Suspicious Call

“If we look closely, we’ll find out that not only means and capabilities weren’t at the disposal of the Syrian intelligence and the Lebanese security apparatus, but they were also not available for the Israeli Mossad. Yet, assassination was committed in cooperation with other agents, like the ‘secret fighters’ of the Guardians of the Cedars or the Lebanese Forces, for instance. This decisively shows a high criminal capacity at that time, which is still available,” Külbel went on to say.

This point of view is prompted by the fact that return to Lebanon was banned for many of those parties’ members, for being condemned to commit war crimes or to cooperate with the enemy.

“Thus, those people were interested in creating a completely new political regime in Lebanon. For this reason they established what was known by’ Lebanese Resistance in Exile’,” Külbel believed.

“In addition to that, there is another point to which attention should be paid: the Shin-Beit – responsible for internal security in Israel – which attached to its ranks a special unit of the South Lebanon Army, because its members speak an Arabic similar to the Palestinian dialect,” Külbel continued.

“One can remind here the alien dialect of the unknown caller who called Al-Jazeera news network after Hariri’s murder. Ghassan Ben Jeddo – the then director of Al-Jazeera Bureau of Beirut – stated then that the caller was speaking bad Arabic. He was Arabic-speaking of foreign accent,” Külbel concluded.

PART III: Similarities between Hobeika’s murder and Hariri’s assassination

Jürgen Cain Külbel deals with new facts, reveals new evidence in the investigation, silenced evidence.

In the exclusive interview with Al-Manar Website, the German forensic expert discussed the hypothesis that Syrian intelligence service — in cooperation with the pro-Syrian Lebanese intelligence — had planned for the crime and its execution.

He unfolded another chapter of the evidence related to the “same signatures” that were left after the murder of both Hobeika and Hariri. This chapter has been also blacked out by the international investigation.

Pointing out the impossibility of excluding any hypothesis regarding the apparatus behind Hariri assassination, Jürgen Cain Külbel considered the hypothesis that Syrian intelligence had carried out this operation ‘possible’. “Yet, if we adopt it, this means the capacity of those apparatus is high enough, so it can mislead intelligence apparatus, like the CIA and the Mossad. This approach is non-sense due to the tremendous technology material capabilities of major intelligence services in satellites and others, which the Syrian intelligence lacks and cannot even dream of them,” Külbel said.

Same Signatures

The German expert noted “it is necessary to start from the fact that the assassination of Hariri and Hobeika were carried out by professionals who have the high technical skill unavailable for any other intelligence or mafia apparatus.” Here, we mention again the jamming tech device, the technology which is only available for Israelis and Swiss experts.

“On the day when Hobeika was assassinated, three booby-trapped cars were waiting for the green line, i.e. three teams were charged of parking their cars in different places to ensure the explosion,” Külbel added.

The expert stressed Hobeika’s murder on Jan 24, 2002 had the same signatures of Hariri’s assassination three years later.

He believed that perpetrators could paralyze “the strict security measures and technical means adopted by each of the two victims.”

In the interview, Külbel mentioned that Hobeika had owned an insurance company, “thus he knew all what related to security matters.” Hariri had also built his own fixed security network around himself. “Perpetrators could overcome those two barriers, and I think they were aware of them before the assassination time,” Külbel added.

Israel decides, LF execute

The German expert expressed beliefs the impossibility of ignoring the common between assassinating Hobeika and Hariri in terms of the explosive materials, noting it is normal to state the explosives of February 14 were more powerful than those of January 24.

Külbel went on to say that both operations were carried out by remote control, where the street in which Hobeika was targeted had been closed due to construction works until shortly before the time of assassination, just like the case of Hariri.

Külbel also drew attention to that some parties – which were not known before – had declared responsibility for the operations, i.e. Abu Ades in Hariri’s case and ‘Lebanese for Free and Independent Lebanon in Hobeika murder.

“Immediately after assassinating Hobeika, fingers were pointed at Israel, starting from the then Lebanese president Emile Lahoud, to the then PM Rafik Hariri, and even Marwan Hamade who declared that Israel had no desire to keep any witness of its crimes,” Külbel said.

“Israel was the first suspect in this crime, as well as the Lebanese Forces — particularly its radical wing — because a pro-Geagea group made in 1991 an attempt to assassinate Hobeika. Lebanese authorities also revealed in 1998 a conspiracy of former LF intelligence agents who were seeking for eliminating Hobeika, Ghazi Kanaan and Elias El-Murr,” Külbel continued.

He clearly stated that it is really possible to accuse former LF members of killing Hobeika, because they were afraid of him to declassify their roles. “Investigations indicated this fact through decisive evidence.”

Moreover, it is noteworthy to mention that the words of Jürgen Cain Külbel bring to mind what the American journalist Wayne Madsen had revealed in his interview with the Russian Television (RT). Madison said that the USA Vice President was running criminal cells aiming at eliminating certain figures in Lebanon and Afghanistan, mainly Elie Hobeika and Rafik Hariri. It is known about the USA that it sponsors Israel.

Wayne Madsen Video:


Originally appeared at Al-Manar.
Eslam al-Rihani is an investigative writer. Read other articles by Eslam.
This article was posted on Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011 at 8:00am and is filed under Assassinations, Espionage/"Intelligence", Imperialism, Israel/Palestine, Lebanon, Syria.