“The Gulf Press: Khaddam ‘Triggered a Bomb’ Against Assad”

publisher: القبس AL Qabas

Publishing date: 2006-01-01


“Khaddam’s statements make headlines in Lebanese and Arab newspapers.”

“Capitals, Agencies – Former Syrian Vice President Abdul Halim Khaddam’s statements regarding the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri during his interview with Al-Arabiya channel made the front pages of Lebanese newspapers yesterday. Al-Nahar newspaper headlined on its front page: ‘Khaddam Reveals the Secrets of the Hariri Assassination Crisis, Will He Become the Key Witness in the Investigation?’ The newspaper quoted an unnamed senior official stating that ‘Khaddam’s words are an earthquake echoing the impact of the Syrian withdrawal earthquake after Hariri’s assassination’.”

“Khaddam Testifies Against His Own Regime

On the other hand, Al-Safir newspaper headlined: ‘Abdel Halim Khaddam Testifies Against His Regime: They Deceived Bashar al-Assad and Urged Him to Distinguish Himself.’ The newspaper wrote on its front page, quoting Khaddam: ‘Yes, Rustum Ghazaleh threatened all the leaders and acted in Lebanon as if he were the supreme commander.’

The leadership underestimated the importance of Rafik Hariri, and his assassination was a complex operation, Melis is a professional. The leadership went astray in its assessment and advised engaging in discussions with Patriarch Sfeir and confronting Druze Jumblatt to deal with Resolution 1559.

As for the French-language newspaper L’Orient-Le Jour, its headline read: ‘Khaddam Reveals Many Serious Details: The Syrian Regime Indeed Threatened Hariri.’ The newspaper quoted Khaddam as saying: ‘In principle, no ‘security service’ can make such a decision (the assassination of Hariri) autonomously, Rustum Ghazaleh is a criminal, and he is still protected by the president’.”

“A Severe Blow to the Regime

As for Al-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper, it wrote: ‘In what constitutes a severe blow to the regime in Syria from within, Abdel Halim Khaddam (…) stated that he had never imagined Syria would assassinate former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.’

On the other hand, Al-Mustaqbal newspaper, owned by the Hariri family, wrote: ‘Khaddam: Assad told me that he had threatened Hariri to suppress those who defy our decision. Bashar’s advisors incited him, and Ghazaleh acted as an absolute ruler in Lebanon and took 35 million dollars from the Bank of the Mediterranean.’

As for Al-Liwaa newspaper, it wrote: ‘Abdel Halim Khaddam breaks the silence and reveals the repeated mistakes of the Syrian leadership: Assad heard Hariri speak harshly to him, and then I advised him to leave Lebanon’.”

“Khaddam Detonates a Bomb

Most Gulf newspapers dedicated their front pages to the statements made by Abdel Halim Khaddam, with some considering that Khaddam had detonated a bomb in front of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The Saudi newspaper Al-Riyadh headlined on its front page: ‘Khaddam Defects and Detonates His Bomb against (Bashar) al-Assad,’ referring to Khaddam’s statement: ‘I faced two choices, either to be with the homeland or with the regime, and I chose the homeland because it is the eternal truth, while the regime is a passing phase in the country’s history, like other regimes.’ The newspaper also highlighted Khaddam’s statement that ‘I would have never imagined that Syria would assassinate Hariri.’

On the other hand, the Okaz newspaper headlined: ‘Khaddam Accuses Assad of Usurping Power and Suggests Damascus’ Involvement in Hariri’s Assassination.’ In Qatar, the Al-Watan newspaper headlined: ‘Abdel Halim Khaddam Opens Fire on President Bashar al-Assad’s Government Yesterday.’ Finally, the Al-Sharq newspaper wrote on its front page: ‘Khaddam Resigns and Accuses Assad of Usurping Power’.”

“Resounding Political Bombs

In the United Arab Emirates, the Dubai-based Gulf News stated that Abdel Halim Khaddam had triggered a ‘political tsunami’ against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad by talking about the threat to former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri. The newspaper’s front page read: ‘Khaddam Unleashes a Political Tsunami Against Syria,’ suggesting that the former Syrian vice president had ‘struck hard’ against Assad during his lengthy interview with Al-Arabiya.

Meanwhile, Al-Ittihad, based in Abu Dhabi, headlined: ‘Khaddam: Assad Threatened Hariri… and Ghazaleh Is a Criminal.’ The newspaper wrote on its front page: ‘In an unexpected dramatic development, the political bombshell exploded like an earthquake. Former Syrian Vice President Abdel Halim Khaddam announced his resignation from his position and his defection from the regime, shaking the doors of Bashar al-Assad’s presidential palace with numerous political bombs.’

As for Al-Khaleej, based in Sharjah, its front-page headline read: ‘Khaddam Turns Against the Syrian Regime from Paris.’ The newspaper stated that Khaddam had ‘switched sides’ against the Syrian regime, where he had been for over three decades, and accused it of usurping power and threatening former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri by telling him he would be crushed if he opposed his viewpoint.

Finally, Al-Hayat addressed another aspect of the event by focusing on the inner circle of the Syrian president, with the following front-page headline: ‘Khaddam Accuses the Ruling Inner Circle: Monopoly, Corruption, Lack of Freedoms, and Domination by Agencies.'”