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HARIRI MURDER WAS SYRIAN WARNING TO FRANCE, SAY COMMENTATORS
The Tocqueville Connection ^ | 15 Feb 2005 | The Tocqueville Connection

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.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; Israel; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; Syria; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: arielsharon; assassination; france; hariri; israel; jacqueschirac; lebanon; syria

1 posted on 02/15/2005 5:00:28 AM PST by Cornpone
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To: Cornpone

Chirac gets a lot of people killed.


2 posted on 02/15/2005 5:05:13 AM PST by GVnana (If I had a Buckhead moment would I know it?)
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To: Cornpone

hey frogs...........

we aint picking up the 911 line........



3 posted on 02/15/2005 5:05:30 AM PST by slapshot ("USAF- when you absolutely, positively need it delivered on target, on time, right away")
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To: Cornpone

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...


4 posted on 02/15/2005 5:11:19 AM PST by William of Orange (I'm a DU troll pretending to be a FReeper, how am I doing?)
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To: Cornpone

There will be a reckoning.

The Syrian government's days are numbered.

And it's not a very big number.


5 posted on 02/15/2005 5:18:29 AM PST by Imal (Freedom comes from casting off constraints.)
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To: Imal

'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...


6 posted on 02/15/2005 5:32:55 AM PST by Irishguy (How do ya LIKE THOSE APPLES!!!! HUH)
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To: Imal
The parallels between Syria and Saddam's Iraq probably escape most people. An Arab country ruled by a Baath Socialist Party that is entirely controlled by a small regional tribal minority (Tikriti in the case of Iraq, and Allawi in the case of Syria).

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.

7 posted on 02/15/2005 5:46:54 AM PST by katana
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To: Cornpone
Quick France, SURRENDER before it's too late!!!

No blood for pines!
8 posted on 02/15/2005 6:00:54 AM PST by Bon mots
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To: William of Orange
Now the French would have to rely on the kind of cheese-eating surrender monkeys whose approach to war is to surrender as soon as possible and live off the goodies brought home by sisters who prostitute themselves to soldiers from the conquering army.

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.

9 posted on 02/15/2005 7:53:01 AM PST by Montfort
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To: Montfort
"Now the French would have to rely on the kind of cheese-eating surrender monkeys whose approach to war is to surrender as soon as possible and live off the goodies brought home by sisters who prostitute themselves to soldiers from the conquering army."

I seem to remember that French intelligence blew up a Green Peace ship that was annoying them while they conducted some nuclear tests. If I was Assad I would think twice about blowing up friends of the French president. The French seem to be able to play that game as well.

I don't think Washington would get too upset if there were a large explosion in Damascus in the coming months. Israel would be smiling too.
10 posted on 02/15/2005 8:13:29 AM PST by monday
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To: monday

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.


11 posted on 02/15/2005 8:24:08 AM PST by EQAndyBuzz (60 votes and the world changes.)
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To: dennisw; Cachelot; Yehuda; Nix 2; veronica; Catspaw; knighthawk; Alouette; Optimist; weikel; ...
If you'd like to be on this middle east/political ping list, please FR mail me.
12 posted on 02/15/2005 9:04:28 AM PST by SJackson ( Bush is as free as a bird, He is only accountable to history and God, Ra'anan Gissin)
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To: Cornpone

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
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1343399/posts

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
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1343445/posts

U.S. to Syria: Leave Lebanon
MichNews | Feb 15, 2005 | David Gollust
Posted on 02/15/2005 3:13:07 AM PST by AliVeritas
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1343471/posts


13 posted on 02/15/2005 9:20:11 AM PST by SunkenCiv (Ted "Kids, I Sunk the Honey" Kennedy is just a drunk who's never held a job (or had to).)
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To: Cornpone

"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!


14 posted on 02/15/2005 9:30:09 AM PST by Chef Dajuan (this ain't rocket science, you know. so use your knob! -emeril lagasse)
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To: Cornpone

Peter Jennings needs to investigate to see if any of his ex-girlfriends were involved/harmed.


15 posted on 02/15/2005 9:38:07 AM PST by OrioleFan (Republicans believe every day is July 4th, DemocRATs believe every day is April 15th. - Reagan)
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To: Cornpone; SJackson; SirLurkedalot
"HARIRI MURDER WAS SYRIAN WARNING TO FRANCE"

Expect French to kow-tow to Syria like they do to other Muslim nations and surrender within 48 hours.
16 posted on 02/15/2005 9:43:50 AM PST by Convert from ECUSA (tired of all the shucking and jiving)
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To: Cornpone

If they wanted to send a warning to Chirac, then why not just send him a shaker of salt? Most worms cannot tolerate salt.


17 posted on 02/15/2005 9:45:55 AM PST by Redcloak (More cleverly arranged 1's and 0's)
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To: SunkenCiv

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.


18 posted on 02/15/2005 9:46:26 AM PST by Orange1998
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To: Imal

There will be a reckoning.

The Syrian government's days are numbered.

And it's not a very big number.

Hey, Syria!!!! Buh-Bye!

19 posted on 02/15/2005 9:53:17 AM PST by Erik Latranyi (9-11 is your Peace Dividend)
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To: Erik Latranyi

Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin should ring a bell here.
Will they get it? Who's to say?


20 posted on 02/15/2005 10:04:22 AM PST by jusduat (I am a strange and recurring anomaly)
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To: monday
You have made an excellent point, that sometimes the French can be quite brutal when annoyed.

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.

21 posted on 02/15/2005 10:31:25 AM PST by Montfort
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To: Cornpone

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'.


22 posted on 02/15/2005 10:40:26 AM PST by DoctorMichael (The Fourth Estate is a Fifth Column!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
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To: DoctorMichael

Well said. Touche.


23 posted on 02/15/2005 10:51:24 AM PST by Cornpone (Aging Warrior -- Aim High -- Who Dares Wins)
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To: Imal

Agreed.

Then the Mad Mullahs will feel even more isolated.

Stupid move by Boy Assad, but who said he was smart.


24 posted on 02/15/2005 10:58:16 AM PST by crazycat
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To: Cornpone
France mobilizes its military for action --


25 posted on 02/15/2005 1:41:30 PM PST by My2Cents ("Friends stab you from the front." -- Oscar Wilde)
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To: slapshot
"hey frogs........... we aint picking up the 911 line........"

Hey slapstick...nobody's calling.
26 posted on 02/15/2005 2:11:54 PM PST by Atlantic Friend
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To: crazycat
Stupid move by Boy Assad, but who said he was smart.

He might not be calling these shots...

27 posted on 02/15/2005 6:17:29 PM PST by lancer (If you are not with us, you are against us!)
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To: lancer
So that is the best advice you could give us on
this French issue Senator and the French won't care if we...


28 posted on 02/15/2005 7:03:27 PM PST by Major_Risktaker
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To: katana
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).

Do you have a link to information regarding the second part of your post above??

29 posted on 02/16/2005 12:49:49 AM PST by An.American.Expatriate (Life is sexually transmitted.)
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To: Cornpone

Why is it that people (Hitler, Saddam) who should be digging deeper holes are always digging deeper holes in the wrong way?


30 posted on 02/16/2005 1:14:43 AM PST by UnbelievingScumOnTheOtherSide (Give Them Liberty Or Give Them Death! - Islam Delenda Est! - Rumble thee forth...)
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To: Imal
The Syrian government's days are numbered.

We'll soon find out if they have Sadams' WMDs.

31 posted on 02/16/2005 1:28:10 AM PST by fella
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To: An.American.Expatriate
I mentioned it in my post based on a straight recollection of some FR articles in mid to late 2004. I can't find them using Key Words combinations Sudan, Syria, and WMD and so have trid to dig a bit deeper.

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.

32 posted on 02/16/2005 3:36:05 AM PST by katana
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