Khaddam’s interview accelerated the pace of the international investigation and prompted Lahoud to expose himself with false statements

publisher: المستقبل Mustaqbal

AUTHOR: نصير الأسعد

Publishing date: 2006-01-03


The interview with the former deputy to the Syrian President, Abdul Halim Khaddam, on “Al Arabiya” left the regime in Damascus and its tools in Lebanon bewildered, if not “killed.”

The session of the “People’s Council” that the regime hastily convened to “respond” to Khaddam, starting with dropping the title “Mr.” from the vice president and ending with a request to prosecute him on charges of “high treason,” at the behest of the crowds gathered at “Central” Mahmoud Al-Abrasch, brought back memories of the famous trials of the head of the Revolutionary Court in Iraq, “Republican” Fadel Abbas Al-Mahdawi, who used to ask the “accused” for his name and his mother’s name just seconds before pronouncing the “death” sentence. It also recalled the Stalinist trials in the countries of the “Iron Curtain.” And if the “People’s Council” proceeded in this manner, it is a matter of realizing that the “leadership” of the “leading party” does not deviate from the norm.

So, the meeting of the “People’s Council” and the “Qatari leadership” indicates haphazard mobilization or confusion, and they are not evidence of strength in facing an interview that undoubtedly constituted a well-organized accusation against the regime in various fields and areas.

What reflects more confusion than anything else is that the “group” responded to the accusation of accumulated mistakes in Lebanon by stating that Khaddam was responsible for the “Lebanese file” for many years, and he is the one who accumulated mistakes in the “brotherly country”… meaning that the current leadership of the regime attributed the responsibility for the mistakes to the previous leadership, thus hitting the head of the regime in the period before 2000, during which Khaddam was working under its supervision. Consequently, the Syrian and Lebanese public faced two phases of mistakes between 1975 and 1998 (or 2000), then between 1998 (or 2000) and 2005, as the “young” leadership did not correct the mistakes of the previous period since it took power but rather intensified them, leading to its self-expulsion from Lebanon.

Lahoud falsifies in the issues of resistance and Article 53.

This was the scene in Damascus. As for in Beirut, the perspective from the followers of the Syrian regime was similar. President Emile Lahoud, who continues to lead the republic, indebted to the loyalty to the guardian of blessings, also accused Abdul Halim Khaddam of betrayal. Khaddam, the former deputy to the president of the Syrian Republic, was in the early nineties breaking away on his own account, and behind the back of President Hafez al-Assad at that time. He committed an act of betrayal with his allies in Lebanon by agreeing to send the army to the south and “disarm the resistance” (!).

Of course, Lahoud repeats the claim of heroism here. However, he added a new claim to his “composition,” stating that Presidents Elias Hrawi, Nabih Berri, and Rafik Hariri had intended since 1993 to disarm the resistance! Is there any clearer evidence for Khaddam’s claim that Lahoud was engaging in incitement against the late President (as he was the target of this falsehood) in Damascus, to the point that his incitement resonated with “small minds” after it failed with the “big mind”?

As for the biggest lie, it came in Lahoud’s account of the circumstances of the apology of the late President for heading the government in 1998.

“Lahoud narrated” that Prime Minister Hariri protested not being appointed to the premiership with the same number of votes he received in the presidential elections. Lahoud thought that the Lebanese had no memory, forgetting that the dispute in the fall of 1998 was constitutional, as President Hariri raised the issue of the illegitimacy of granting any deputy the right to vote for the president according to Article 53 of the constitution. He also raised the illegitimacy of the results of the mandatory parliamentary consultations that Lahoud informed him of when he presented two categories of voting, one for those who named Prime Minister Hariri and another for those who left the “choice” to Lahoud. However, in his falsified recount of history, where he spoke of a period of cooperation between him and the late President, Lahoud reminded that his era began with a breach of the constitution and ended in 2004 with the unconstitutional extension scandal

The international investigation urges steps

In any case, beyond these “details” and beyond the “Syrian repercussions” of Abdel-Halim Khaddam’s interview, it can be said that this interview has reconsidered a group of fundamental headlines. At a time when the Syrian regime before the interview seemed to be at the core of a counter-attack in Lebanon, sometimes under the title that there is an international-Syrian deal that has been concluded or is under investigation, and at other times claiming that the international investigation “is over” because it “did not provide evidence and proof” (!), and in any case, exploiting the “lost time” between the end of Detlev Mehlis’s mission and the takeover of Serge Brammertz as the head of the international investigation committee. At this time, Khaddam’s interview came to “revive” the priority of investigation and truth, a priority that the Syrian regime and its followers fought against to attack the Lebanese situation.

Khaddam defines the level of decision-making in Syria and its mechanism

So, Khaddam’s interview brought back the priority of investigation and truth. However, what the former deputy to the Syrian president emphasized was the “level” of decision-making in Syria and its mechanism. While one of the concerns of the international investigation committee was not to know whether the Syrian regime was involved in the assassination of the late President Rafik Hariri, but at what level the decision to assassinate President Hariri was made, Khaddam said that the mission of the international investigation requires discovering whether there is a Syrian security apparatus involved in the crime, “but” if it is proven that a security apparatus has indeed been implicated, it – meaning the apparatus – cannot, in Syria, make the decision on its own, indicating an apparent reference to the intelligence hierarchy within the regime.

.. and he reminds of the incitement network in Lebanon

Khaddam also reiterated the identification of those who incited against the late president from “Lebanese” individuals. Specifically, he mentioned the names of Emile Lahoud, Jamil Sayyed, and leaders of the security agencies. He talked about the incitement campaign with Syrian orientations carried out by Omar Karami, Sleiman Frangieh, Talal Arslan, and Assem Qansouh… and Wiam Wahhab, adding that the head of the Syrian regime was influenced by this incitement, narrating the threats that the Syrian president made to President Hariri. So, three main headlines were highlighted by Khaddam’s interview: the priority of investigation and truth, the level of decision-making in Syria and its mechanisms, and the network of instigators in Lebanon. However, the results that ensued from this earthquake have not been insignificant so far.

The first result is that the international investigation resumed its movement quickly and did not wait for Mehlis to return to Beirut and for Brammertz to assume his duties. The international investigation committee decided to hear from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his foreign minister Farouk al-Sharaa, who “chattered” more than necessary and continued in his quest to mislead the investigation, especially when he claimed that President Hariri covered his tracks with extensions for Lahoud while talking about Syrian pressures he faced. Khaddam came with facts about those threats. A re-interrogation of Lahoud

The second result is that Lahoud, who was agitated by his commander, considering him an integral part of the joint Lebanese-Syrian security system, emerged again as the problem’s title. However, Lahoud, in his rush to aid his “brother,” provided forged and documented testimonies about a historical period dating back to 1998. If the international investigation committee heard him in a previous period and his testimony did not appear in Mehlis’s report on December 13 last year, then the committee has the right, if not the duty, to re-interrogate him, based on what Khaddam said, but based on his forged statements primarily. Summoning instigators for investigation and arresting the 19

The third result is that the replay of the incitement scene by the second man in the former Syrian regime highlights the role of the Syrian team in shaping the atmosphere of the terrorist crime that took the life of Prent esidHariri and his comrades. Those mentioned by Khaddam are supposed to appear before the international investigation, especially since these individuals have been “active” recently, and some say they have been armed by Syria, within the context of the “counterattack” that began immediately.

As for the fourth result, anyone who has been detained as a suspect should remain in custody; that is, Khaddam’s “testimony” constitutes a retroactive justification for detention, especially for the four officers. The supposed fifth result is that Mehlis’s second report last month, which clearly indicated the presence of 19 suspects, Lebanese and Syrians, must be put into action. There should be a request for the arrest of these individuals as soon as possible.

And these results, whether verified or assumed to be verified, lead to another set of conclusions. When Abdul Halim Khaddam says what he said, he said it from the position of someone knowledgeable about the matters, and only about six months have passed since he left Syria. He spoke as an associate of the late President Hafez al-Assad, which does not allow the regime’s leadership to question his legitimacy unless they are questioning the legitimacy of the late president. Additionally, Khaddam’s assessment, both internally and externally, is primarily a Syrian affair and must be contemplated at the level of the Syrian people and its elites. However, the Lebanese, while concerned with reviewing their share of Syrian policy implemented by Khaddam in Lebanon, should not, at least for now, engage in settling scores with the former deputy to the Syrian president. He has opened a battle within and “against” the regime, so as not to play the game of taking sides within the regime, especially since there is a broad segment that sees “the leadership” and Khaddam as two faces of the same regime.

What Khaddam intensively said is not just information and facts useful for the international investigation; rather, he said that the situation in Syria is not limited to individuals but concerns an interconnected “system.” This statement should not pass without careful consideration.

Aoun and Khaddam’s “new”

For those who listened to General Michel Aoun in the past two days, they are left astonished. On one hand, he considered that there is no new information different from what came in Mehlis’s report in what Khaddam said. On the other hand, he demanded, similar to Khaddam, something akin to being held accountable for the period when he was responsible for the Lebanese file or as an executor of the Syrian-Lebanese policy. Earlier, the general summarized the problem with Syria as an issue with individuals. Before that, he rushed to consider that the “Syrian issue” is behind us.

After what Khaddam said from inside the regime in Damascus, the general has no right not to draw conclusions. He cannot remain equivocal at the point he started from upon his return to Lebanon, while claiming to be a supporter of the truth. Can it be reasonable for the general not to “make a mistake” with the Syrian regime once!?


The same applies to Hezbollah. In other words, this development must be a reason for rapprochement between Hezbollah and the forces advocating the consolidation and fortification of Lebanese independence from Syria. Does Hezbollah believe that Khaddam is a traitor paid by the West and certain Lebanese forces? If it does, then it means that everything Damascus has recently promoted about a “settlement” or a “deal” between it and the “world order” is not true. In that case, Hezbollah should draw the following conclusions. What political battle will Hezbollah engage in if the Syrian regime is as Khaddam described it? Doesn’t the second man’s words make it question things a bit?

What has been emphasized earlier is related to two main issues: the first is about achieving a national understanding on the political separation between the independent and democratic path in Lebanon and the relationship with Syria, which cannot be straightened before the truth is declared. The second issue is to reach an understanding on Lahoud’s departure. Aoun, especially after what Khaddam announced in the past two days, must be convinced that “this” president echoes the voice of the regime in Syria. Hezbollah must also be convinced that Khaddam’s claim of heroism in favor of the resistance is not true in recent events and does not equate to its understanding in any case.

Finally, it is worth mentioning what has been repeated in recent days: the Syrian regime will intensify its aggression. This is true, and it requires the 14th of March forces to stay on the “political offensive,” maintain popular mobilization, and pay attention to the security situation from both the government and military-security leadership.