[News] Spies, Lies and Mr. Lebanon's Demise
news at freedomarchives.org
Fri May 29 11:30:40 EDT 2009
May 29-31, 2009
Who Killed Rafiq Hariri?
Spies, Lies and Mr. Lebanon's Demise
By RANNIE AMIRI
There are agents, like Mahmoud Rafea, who
confessed to have delivered bags with explosives.
Other collaborators have confessed to have
carried out field reconnaissance missions. Others
have facilitated the entrance and exit of
Israelis after accomplishing their missions. This
is what is meant by executive agents. The door
must be opened wide ... this Israeli path should
be scrutinized so as to reach a place where we
would find information about many crimes, particularly 2005 onwards.
Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah, commenting on the
recent spate of Israeli spy arrests during a
rally marking the ninth anniversary of the
removal of Israeli troops from Lebanon, 22 May 2009.
Israel suffered two defeats in Lebanon, and both
were against Hezbollah. The first occurred in May
2000 when Israeli troops were expelled (or
withdrew, depending on which side of the border
you are on) from southern Lebanon after a 22-year
occupation. The second was the premeditated yet
disastrous 34-day war waged in the summer of
2006. It may have succeeded in ravaging Lebanon
but it certainly did not vanquish Hezbollah. They
fought the mighty Israel Defense Forces to a
draw, and in the minds of many this itself constituted victory.
Israel has neither forgiven nor forgotten these
losses. For them, the war against Lebanon and
Hezbollah did not end in 2000 or in 2006 but
continues today, albeit in different form. And
events of the past several weeks revealed exactly what Israel has been up to.
There have always been Lebanese nationals acting
as spies for Israel, but this should come as no
surprise. They fought on their behalf for two
decades after all, as members of the now-defunct
South Lebanon Army during the occupation of the south.
Although initially receiving little attention, a
crackdown on these spy networks began late last
year. Rapid advances in breaking them have
evidently occurred, as dozens of suspects have
been taken into custody since April.
If the Lebanese authorities say they have caught
Israeli spies, there's a high likelihood that
it's true, said Shlomo Brom, former chief of
strategic planning for the Israeli military.
The Lebanese government is currently holding 30
suspects and has already charged 21 with spying
for Israel in an ever-widening investigation.
Those detained include an army colonel, a retired
general, a deputy mayor, a truck driver and a
mobile phone salesman, which two managed to
escape across the border into Israel before being
caught. Confiscated high-tech equipment and
electronics used to transmit information to the
Mossad were put on display by Lebanese Internal Security afterward.
Because intelligence provided by certain agents
may have led to increased destruction in the 2006
war (which killed 1,200 Lebanese, the vast
majority civilians), Nasrallah demanded the death
penalty be levied against those found to be
complicit. As he declared in his speech on Resistance and Liberation Day:
I ask on your behalf and on behalf of the
families of the martyrs and the wounded, on
behalf of those whose homes were demolished and
those who paid taxes to rebuild their
infrastructure, I demand that the collaborators
who provided the enemy with the data that had
caused all of this, be sentenced to death.
In the midst of unraveling and dismantling these
espionage rings operating in Lebanon, a report
penned by Erich Follath surfaced in the
sensationalist, pro-Israel German weekly Der
Spiegel implicating Hezbollah in the 2005
assassination of Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri. The
allegation was immediately dismissed by Hezbollah
who claimed it was simply an attempt to sully its
image prior to the upcoming June parliamentary
elections as well as sow discord between Sunnis and Shias.
But does it have any merit?
Not a single piece of credible evidence was
presented to substantiate Follaths claim. No
sources were named, no documents were produced
and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon charged with
investigating the Hariri assassination denied
ever coming to those conclusions (yet alone discussing them with Follath).
We don't know where the Der Spiegel magazine did
get their information from and we don't know
where they brought this story from. No one in the
prosecutor's office has spoken to the German
magazine about anything, said the spokeswoman for the Tribunal.
According to Nasrallah, The Israelis and the
Americans wondered how to scuttle the election
and influence its outcome. Der Spiegel was their answer.
The case against Hezbollah is not only flimsy,
but one likely fabricated by the authors
anonymous sources. It was discounted or simply
ignored in Lebanon, even by Hezbollahs
opponents; Saad Hariri refused comment and Walid
Jumblatt cautioned it may derail justice.
Readers are referred to the trenchant reporting
of Dr. Franklin Lamb who clearly exposed the
gaping holes in, and unanswered questions of, Follaths article.
It is important to appreciate that the killing of
Mr. Lebanon in February 2005 shook the country
and ultimately led to the creation of the
8 and March 14 Alliances. It sharply divided
Lebanese along sectarian lines and led to mutual
recriminations and prolonged political paralysis.
The confluence of the aforementioned events
discovering the extent of Israeli spy networks in
Lebanon, followed by publication of the Der
Spiegel article two weeks prior to crucial
elections accusing Hezbollah of ordering the hit
on Hariri is no coincidence.
So how do they relate to one another?
Nasrallah stated it candidly:
The Israelis are acting preemptively before it
is discovered that their spy networks were
involved in assassinations in Lebanon.
Could it be that information fed from Israel to a
friendly German periodical was done not just to
foment Sunni-Shia tension prior to the June
election or divert attention away from an
imploding espionage ring, but to obfuscate
Israels role in Hariris murder (which may be
disclosed by their captured spies)?
Unlike his son Saad today, Rafiq Hariri had good
personal relations with Nasrallah and Hezbollah
generally facts Follath conveniently overlooked
making their participation in his murder especially unlikely.
But, division and destabilization in Lebanon
works to Israels advantage, and instigating
political disorder and civil turmoil has always
been its modus operandi. Indeed, the fallout from
Hariris assassination nearly sparked another civil war.
Should Israel be implicated in his death however,
all of Lebanons political parties and
confessional groups would unite against them in an instant.
The cases of four pro-Syrian generals thought to
be involved in the crime and held for four years
without charge were recently dismissed by the
Special Tribunal due to lack of evidence and
recanted witness testimony. When it becomes clear
the case against Hezbollah is likewise without
merit and Israeli espionage rings operating in
Lebanon are fully exposed, the Special Tribunal
should waste no time in investigating Israel for
its possible involvement in the assassination of Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri.
Rannie Amiri is an independent Middle East
commentator. He may be reached at: rbamiri AT yahoo DOT com.
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
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