Across the Bay

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Flickering Qandil Light

The Lebanese Al-Mustaqbal newspaper published this story containing unsourced information that led to the rounding up of the security chiefs, and former MP Nasser Qandil (Syria's insufferable pit bull, who has all of a sudden lost his bark) for their role in the Hariri assassination:

Former MP Nasser Qandil dispatched a message to the Syrian leadership listing the reasons why the immediate liquidation of PM Rafik Hariri was necessary, such as his [Hariri's] inclinations will lead to a guaranteed majority in Parliament, which will pave the way for the removing of Syrian troops from Lebanon in cooperation with the International Community, which is urged on by Hariri -- as claimed by Qandil -- to implement UNR 1559.

This may explain the quick visit paid by Qandil to Damascus right before his being called for questioning. Smart move!!

The information cited by the paper claims that the main security chiefs, currently held for questioning and likely facing charges, Mustapha Hamdan, Jamil es-Sayyed, Raymond Azar, and Ali Hajj, were holding meetings in preparation for the assassination, and were closely monitoring the execution of the crime, and on the eve of the assassination, they allegedly inspected the exact area where the assassination was to take place. They then tampered with the evidence, obstructed the investigation, and misled the investigators, after the crime.

The story adds that two apartments were being raided today, that were used in the preparatory meetings before the murder. Also, two cars allegedly used in the crime are being examined by the team.

In case you missed it, check out Michael Young's piece in TCS on what if Syria (and Hizbullah) were indeed found guilty. Also, Khairallah Khairallah asked a similar question in the Kuwaiti Al-Ra'y Al-'Am: what will the fallout be in Syria, considering that the Lebanese security officers in custody all received direct and strict instructions from Damascus (hell, Qandil made sure to get them before being called in!), and one of them in particular, Jamil es-Sayyed, is directly tied to Bashar al-Asad?

Update: This has got to be the funniest quote of the week. Nasser Qandil in al-Balad: "Arabism is on trial in Lebanon." HAAAA! What a cockroach.

But what's perhaps funnier, or more pathetic, is the almost exact similarity between his final statement (the last paragraph) about Lebanon, Arabism, 1559 and Hizbullah, and the comment by Walid Jumblat, also in al-Balad. That's what happens when you voluntarily place your eggs in Hizbullah's basket, just to spite Aoun. But Jumblat ought to better coordinate his statements with Hizbullah. At one point they (dishonestly) said that Lebanon is ruled only according to the formula of "no victor no vanquished." Jumblat on the other hand just asserted: "since when is consensus the rule?" The guy's an absolute riot...

Update 2: Georges Malbrunot on Jamil es-Sayyed: "The link between Hizbullah and its Syrian sponsor." "Contrary to his claims, the Syrians dissuaded him from running on Hizbullah's list in the Bekaa, in the last elections." So after Nasrallah trying to prevent the Syrian withdrawal on March 8, and after his Frenching of Rustum Ghazaleh in front of the cameras, Jamil es-Sayyed was going to run on the Party's list, and the Syrians were the ones who dissuaded him from running?! Nice...