Skip to comments.HARIRI MURDER WAS SYRIAN WARNING TO FRANCE, SAY COMMENTATORS
Posted on 02/15/2005 5:00:28 AM PST by Cornpone
PARIS, Feb 15 (AFP) - The assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri was a deliberate blow to France, whose president Jacques Chirac was a personal friend and has sponsored UN moves to end the Syrian occupation, Paris-based commentators said Tuesday.
While the French government refused to point a finger of blame -- adhering publicly to Chirac's call for an international investigation into the murder -- analysts and Middle East specialists were less circumspect about who they thought was behind it.
"I have not the shadow of a doubt that Syria is responsible," said Antoine Basbous, president of the Observatory of Arab Countries.
"It was a message to the Lebanese opposition -- but also to France: this is our colony, we are masters here and we intend to stay. So keep out," he told AFP.
Hariri regularly visited France and kept a multi-million euro mansion in central Paris. He was one of the first foreign leaders to be invited to the Elysee palace after Chirac's 1995 election, and the following year was presented by the president with the grand cross of the Legion of Honour.
"I am convinced this attack -- the most significant since the end of Lebanon's war -- was a message directed at Chirac, who was a personal friend of Rafiq Hariri," said Antoine Sfeir, director of the Cahiers de l'Orient newsletter.
"The evidence suggests that the murder is a response to UN security council resolution 1559 voted in September at the initiative of France and the US. It was Jacques Chirac who was the real architect of the resolution," he said.
Resolution 1559 calls for the withdrawal of Syria's estimated 15,000 troops from Lebanon and the re-establishment of full Lebanese sovereignty.
A month after it was passed, Syria strong-armed a change to Lebanon's constitution to extend the mandate of pro-Syrian president Emile Lahoud -- the move which prompted Hariri's resignation as prime minister.
According to Basbous, Hariri was personally threatened over the resolution by Syria's intelligence chief in Lebanon, Rostom Ghazale. "Hariri told his friends that Ghazale put a pistol to his head and said: 'It's your choice: Syria or resolution 1559,'" Basbous said.
Writing in the Liberation daily, analyst Jean-Pierre Perrin said the fact Chirac had called for an international enquiry to identify the killers "is a way of casting doubt over any Lebanese-Syrian enquiry" and showed Paris also suspects Damascus.
"Chirac is all the more furious because he did so much to get (Syrian president) Bashar el-Assad known outside his country," Perrin said.
"The assassination of the former prime minister looks like a real challenge thrown down not just to Paris and Washington -- but to the whole international community -- by a Syria that is increasingly isolated, even in the Arab world," he said.
Syria has condemned the assassination. According to its supporters, the fact that suspicion automatically fell on Damascus suggests that another agent was responsible and calculated that Syria would be blamed.
But Basbous rejected that argument. "They have done this before. They kill and then are the first to send in their condolences. Duplicity is a hallmark of the Syrian regime," he said.
"Hariri was a heavyweight. He had a contacts book full of the telephone numbers of world leaders. He could call up Chirac, he could call up Bush. Syria didn't want someone as influential as that living next door," he said.
Sfeir said the killing sent an unmistakeable message.
"It is a message addressed to Lebanese politicians -- see what can happen if you get in our way. And it's a message to the international community to remind them of the essential fact - without us there will be chaos," he said.
Chirac gets a lot of people killed.
we aint picking up the 911 line........
they better send in Napoleon and the Grande Armee de la Republique. At least those won 6 wars against coalitions before succumbing to the 7th coalition. Oh they're dead...oh well...
There will be a reckoning.
The Syrian government's days are numbered.
And it's not a very big number.
'and the following year was presented by the president with the grand cross of the Legion of Honour.'
now let me see how long before this puppy appears on EBAY...cant be worth that much....a legion of honour from a man who has none...no thanks i wont be bidding on that.
and lets be honest who actually cares what chirac thinks about, well, let me see, oh yes...anything. i cant believe boy assad is that upset with the french. why bother with what they think, no one else does...
One principal difference, of course, is that the Assad family in Syria has never shown the symptoms of meglomania which ultimately caused Saddam to become too dangerous to keep around.
Now it's practically certain that Syria has "inherited" all or most of what was left of Saddam's biological and chemical weapons (and which are appearing in Sudan under the control of Syrian Army special "advisors" and being used "experimentally" to wipe out black Christian villagers in that country's genocidal war).
But until recently Syria has been fairly circumspect about not creating the kinds of waves which would provoke a concerted attempt to overthrow the regime. As in Iraq, any internal opposition is brutally crushed in its crib. For an example you can look at Hama. I had a chance to in 1983. It's now nothing but a giant field of identically sized piles of rubble surrounding what had been the small Christian quarter. That quarter is now what's left of the town plus a bus stop. What's the estimate of the dead in that one city when a revolt was crushed in 1974? 40,000 plus?
They are like a Mafia capo who runs his business, kills and brutalizes only those he needs to to stay out of the direct cross hairs of the law, and who only expands his territory into a vacuum (like civil war racked Lebanon).
The father, Hafez Al Assad, was one of the shrewdest players to ever walk the streets of Damascus. I'm not at all confident that his son is even half as clever. This assassination may be the act which eventually leads the region and the big outside players (France and the US) to finally say enough is enough. Syria doesn't have the oil reserves to pay off M. Chirac and his cronies and I doubt they can produce enough hashish in the Bekaa Valley or tobacco in Latakia to make up the difference.
Or whose idea of preserving the French national culture is to outlaw English words that threaten to invade the language, while letting in millions of Moslems who have lots of children and slaughter any child who leaves Islam.
If this is true, now would be a good time for France to mention that it stalled our efforts in Iraq so that Iraq could get the WMD out to Syria for burial.
Redemption is a good thing.
selection of related topics:
Assassination in Beirut
Washington Times | Tuesday, February 15, 2005 | By Nadim Ladki
Posted on 02/14/2005 11:55:49 PM PST by JohnHuang2
Initial Reactions to the Assassination of Former Lebanese President
(Iranian TV-"It's the Jews")
MEMRI TV (Middle East Media Research Institute) | February 14, 2005
Posted on 02/15/2005 1:23:10 AM PST by Stoat
U.S. to Syria: Leave Lebanon
MichNews | Feb 15, 2005 | David Gollust
Posted on 02/15/2005 3:13:07 AM PST by AliVeritas
"They have done this before. They kill and then are the first to send in their condolences."
Yeah, The biggest floral arrangement at Chicago mobster Deanie O'Bannion's funeral had a card that said "From Al" on it, lol!
Peter Jennings needs to investigate to see if any of his ex-girlfriends were involved/harmed.
If they wanted to send a warning to Chirac, then why not just send him a shaker of salt? Most worms cannot tolerate salt.
Hariri owned JPMorgan Chase Tower, Houston's tallest building
He also had a stake in the new Calpine Center skyscraper here
By NANCY SARNOFF
Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle
Reuters file photo
Rafik Hariri was a billionaire and former prime minister of Lebanon.
Rafik Hariri, the Lebanese billionaire and former prime minister who was killed in a bomb explosion on Monday, owned Houston's tallest office tower and held a stake in another.
Hariri owned the JPMorgan Chase Tower at 600 Travis downtown through his U.S. business subsidiary Prime Asset Management.
Prime purchased the building in the late 1980s from Hines, the Houston-based realty firm that still manages the property.
Prime also holds an interest in the new Calpine Center at 717 Texas in a partnership with Hines, which developed the building.
Hariri, who resigned as Lebanese prime minister last fall, was riding in a motorcade on Monday when he was killed in an explosion in Beirut.
Hines and Hariri's business relationship dates back two decades, said George Lancaster, a spokesman for Hines.
"Mr. Hines and several people that have worked closely with him are saddened by the tragic news," he said.
It's too early to tell what will happen to Hariri's interests in the Houston properties, Lancaster added.
The 75-story JPMorgan Chase building opened in 1982. It was designed by the famous architect I.M. Pei.
At 33 stories tall, the Calpine building was completed in 2003. Helmuth, Obata & Kassabaum was the architect.
There will be a reckoning.
The Syrian government's days are numbered.
And it's not a very big number.
Hey, Syria!!!! Buh-Bye!
Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin should ring a bell here.
Will they get it? Who's to say?
It would be nice if the French were to do something horrible to the Syrian terrorists, but I think France will avoid doing anything that could help Israel.
I regret that the reconstitution of the Iraqi state from a genocidal, racist, totalitarian, Baathist dictatorship run by a madman to a member of the community of nations has met with some distractions and detours from hangers-on and ignorant, neaderthalic, insurgent, Islamist-towel-headed-scum, because the mafia family that runs Syria is really begging to get 'whacked'.
Well said. Touche.
Then the Mad Mullahs will feel even more isolated.
Stupid move by Boy Assad, but who said he was smart.
He might not be calling these shots...
Do you have a link to information regarding the second part of your post above??
Why is it that people (Hitler, Saddam) who should be digging deeper holes are always digging deeper holes in the wrong way?
We'll soon find out if they have Sadams' WMDs.
I've come up with a blog site called The Jawa Report which references AFP (Agence France Press). Another was posted at a Lebanese site: http://www.free-lebanon.com/LFPNews/2004/April/April8/april8.html.
There are far more numerous articles, of course, that refer to the truck convoys seen leaving Iraq for Syria and the Bekaa Valley prior to the 2003 invasion, as well as "unnamed" intelligence sources saying those trucks carried components of Saddam's WMD programs. But if I went to far in bringing up what may have been unsubstantiated rumors, then I apologize to all.
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