[News] Spies, Lies and Mr. Lebanon's Demise

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Fri May 29 11:30:40 EDT 2009


http://www.counterpunch.org/amiri05292009.html
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.

Spies

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.”

Lies

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 Follath’s 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 author’s 
anonymous “sources.” It was discounted or simply 
ignored in Lebanon, even by Hezbollah’s 
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, Follath’s article.

‘Mr. Lebanon’

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 
opposing 
<http://www.counterpunch.org/amiri05012009.html>March 
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 
Israel’s role in Hariri’s 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 Israel’s advantage, and instigating 
political disorder and civil turmoil has always 
been its modus operandi. Indeed, the fallout from 
Hariri’s assassination nearly sparked another civil war.

Should Israel be implicated in his death however, 
all of Lebanon’s 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.




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