Discussion:
The International Investigation and Old Security Files
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BM
2005-11-03 04:22:44 UTC
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http://english.daralhayat.com/opinion/OPED/11-2005/Article-20051102-519ffebd-c0a8-10ed-002d-80aee5aeee52/story.html

The International Investigation and Old Security Files
Jihad el Khazen Al-Hayat - 02/11/05//

I have decided to cooperate with the international investigation into
the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. I hope that
Syria cooperates as well, in implementation of the new UN Security
Council resolution. Today, I have the following:
On 22 September 2004, Defense Minister Elias Murr, who was Interior
minister at the time, announced that he had frustrated a plot by
Salafist radicals linked to al-Qaida to destroy the Italian Embassy in
Beirut, to protest Italy's participation in the war against Iraq.
Without knowing it, Elias Murr thwarted the first, or original plot to
assassinate Rafik Hariri, which had it succeeded, would have done away
with the country's entire future, by striking at the Beirut Central
District, the symbol of Lebanon's recovery.
The Italian Embassy in Lebanon faces the Parliament building at Nejmeh
Square and is next to St. George Eastern Orthodox church and the Etoile
coffee shop where PM Hariri used to meet friends and journalists upon
exiting Parliament. If a ton of explosives had gone off there, the
destruction would have been devastating, right in the heart of the
capital, and would have killed hundreds.
We now know that Lebanese security personnel arrested the members of the
group, most prominently Ahmad al-Miqati and Ismail al-Khatib. The latter
died in prison, it was said under torture, and Salafists rioted and
attacked security facilities in Anjar. Also enraged was Brigadier
General Rustom Ghazaleh, the then-head of Syrian forces in Lebanon, and
contacted Brigadier General Said Eid of the Gendarmerie, to ask Murr to
contain and calm the situation; he then threatened Minister Murr. There
is confirmed information about the explosives, and where they were
hidden. Some of the accused were released after pressure from Ghazaleh,
while the rest were released in a subsequent amnesty.
If the plot failed with the Salafists, the one that succeeded was with
the Ahbash; both groups are in close contact with Syrian and Lebanese
intelligence agencies, and specifically Ghazaleh. The Salafists are
based in Tripoli and Dinnieh, with a strong presence in Sunni towns like
Majdal Anjar (in the Bekaa). The Ahbash's base is in West Beirut, with
some limited presence outside this area. This is where Brigadier General
Mustafa Hamdan, the Commander of the Republican Guard, enters the
picture. He and his brother Majed are nephews of Ibrahim Qoleilat, the
head of the Murabitoun militia during the civil war; the Murabitoun were
gradually absorbed by the Ahbash, especially after the Palestine
Liberation Organization exited Beirut in 1982.
The Syrian security role with the Ahbash at the beginning was aimed at
weakening Lebanese Sunni opposition to the Syrian presence, which is how
the Ahbash were able to control one mosque after another in Sunni
neighborhoods. They almost took over Dar al-Fatwa (the leading Sunni
religious organization) when they nominated Nizar Halabi, the head of
the Association of Islamic Charitable Projects, the front for the
Ahbash, for the post of mufti of the Republic. But the Salafists
assassinated Halabi in a rebellion against Syrian wishes, as if all
Lebanon's Sunnis had assassinated him. Despite this event, the Ahbash
continued to compete against traditional Sunni institutions like Dar
al-Fatwa and the Maqassed charitable association. This continued until
the Syrian presence in Lebanon ended, and with it, the Ahbash's
influence with Syrian and Lebanese intelligence organizations.
There are common denominators between the Salafis and the Ahbash,
despite their competition, which go beyond Syrian sponsorship. Ahmad Abu
Adas was mentioned in detail in the UN report by Detlev Mehlis, and was
a part of both groups. Mehlis' report said that in the summer of 2004,
he worked at a computer store owned by Sheikh Ahmad al-Ani, a member of
the Miqati-Khatib network. The explosives of this network were in Anjar
and were confiscated after the al-Hariri assassination, from a depot
owned by Mohammed Mamluk, of the Murabitoun. His pictures with the
group's logo were pasted on walls and demonstrations demanded the
release of the "number one resistance fighter."
The most powerful part of Mehlis' report came in the telephone contacts
between Ahmad Abdel-Al, Mahmoud Abdel-Al, Mustafa Hamdan, and the
Presidential Palace. Perhaps we should add here that Majed Hamdan formed
a security company that employed a number of Murabitoun and was
responsible for security in places that included the site of PM Hariri's
assassination.
I believe that the first plot took place in cooperation with the
Salafists and the second with the Ahbash, while Ghazaleh and Hamdan were
in contact with both groups. I don't rule out the idea that we will
discover, after the investigation is completed, roles for the heads of
other Lebanese and Syrian security agencies. The final charge they might
face is withholding information, meaning that they didn't plan or carry
out the assassination but knew about the plot and tried to mislead
investigators.
We might not have seen these pieces of the puzzle if Murr hadn't been
the victim of an assassination attempt for which the Salafis were
blamed. There was a rumor that the international investigators wanted
details about Murr's bank accounts, while Mehlis denied this. But the
damage was done, and before the denial Murr had moved his rifle from one
shoulder to the other, as the saying goes.
If we go back to the news conference about the Italian Embassy plot, we
find that Murr spoke of the role of Lebanese and Syrian security
agencies in discovering the conspiracy, with the most important role
going to Italian intelligence. Murr also talked about two networks: one
engaging in sabotage in Lebanon, and the second sending suicide bombers
to Iraq. It appears that each group had its role: the Ahbash represented
poor Sunnis in Beirut against the merchants and aristocrats of the sect,
and carried out important charitable work.
Meanwhile, Ibrahim Qoleilat was the number one suspect in the 1966
assassination of al-Hayat's publisher, Kamel Mroue, a crime carried out
by Tawfiq Sultani. In 1975, the Murabitoun killed a university colleague
of mine, Najib Azzam, after stopping him at one of the militia's
checkpoints in al-Tariq al-Jadideh. They had found out that he was a
Christian, without knowing that he was a registered member of Fatah.
After Najib's killing, Palestinian forces took over the area and evicted
the Murabitoun, then left them alone because they were allies. Today,
the return of the Murabitoun, under the cover of the Ahbash, occurs to
me with the assassination of PM Hariri.
A few years ago, the Ahbash demonstrated with knives in support of
Syria. The Syrians should know that with friends like the Ahbash, they
don't need enemies. As for the Ahbash, he who lives by the sword dies by
the sword.

http://www.j-khazen.blogspot.com
i***@gmail.com
2015-08-17 00:52:27 UTC
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Post by BM
http://english.daralhayat.com/opinion/OPED/11-2005/Article-20051102-519ffebd-c0a8-10ed-002d-80aee5aeee52/story.html
The International Investigation and Old Security Files
Jihad el Khazen Al-Hayat - 02/11/05//
I have decided to cooperate with the international investigation into
the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. I hope that
Syria cooperates as well, in implementation of the new UN Security
On 22 September 2004, Defense Minister Elias Murr, who was Interior
minister at the time, announced that he had frustrated a plot by
Salafist radicals linked to al-Qaida to destroy the Italian Embassy in
Beirut, to protest Italy's participation in the war against Iraq.
Without knowing it, Elias Murr thwarted the first, or original plot to
assassinate Rafik Hariri, which had it succeeded, would have done away
with the country's entire future, by striking at the Beirut Central
District, the symbol of Lebanon's recovery.
The Italian Embassy in Lebanon faces the Parliament building at Nejmeh
Square and is next to St. George Eastern Orthodox church and the Etoile
coffee shop where PM Hariri used to meet friends and journalists upon
exiting Parliament. If a ton of explosives had gone off there, the
destruction would have been devastating, right in the heart of the
capital, and would have killed hundreds.
We now know that Lebanese security personnel arrested the members of the
group, most prominently Ahmad al-Miqati and Ismail al-Khatib. The latter
died in prison, it was said under torture, and Salafists rioted and
attacked security facilities in Anjar. Also enraged was Brigadier
General Rustom Ghazaleh, the then-head of Syrian forces in Lebanon, and
contacted Brigadier General Said Eid of the Gendarmerie, to ask Murr to
contain and calm the situation; he then threatened Minister Murr. There
is confirmed information about the explosives, and where they were
hidden. Some of the accused were released after pressure from Ghazaleh,
while the rest were released in a subsequent amnesty.
If the plot failed with the Salafists, the one that succeeded was with
the Ahbash; both groups are in close contact with Syrian and Lebanese
intelligence agencies, and specifically Ghazaleh. The Salafists are
based in Tripoli and Dinnieh, with a strong presence in Sunni towns like
Majdal Anjar (in the Bekaa). The Ahbash's base is in West Beirut, with
some limited presence outside this area. This is where Brigadier General
Mustafa Hamdan, the Commander of the Republican Guard, enters the
picture. He and his brother Majed are nephews of Ibrahim Qoleilat, the
head of the Murabitoun militia during the civil war; the Murabitoun were
gradually absorbed by the Ahbash, especially after the Palestine
Liberation Organization exited Beirut in 1982.
The Syrian security role with the Ahbash at the beginning was aimed at
weakening Lebanese Sunni opposition to the Syrian presence, which is how
the Ahbash were able to control one mosque after another in Sunni
neighborhoods. They almost took over Dar al-Fatwa (the leading Sunni
religious organization) when they nominated Nizar Halabi, the head of
the Association of Islamic Charitable Projects, the front for the
Ahbash, for the post of mufti of the Republic. But the Salafists
assassinated Halabi in a rebellion against Syrian wishes, as if all
Lebanon's Sunnis had assassinated him. Despite this event, the Ahbash
continued to compete against traditional Sunni institutions like Dar
al-Fatwa and the Maqassed charitable association. This continued until
the Syrian presence in Lebanon ended, and with it, the Ahbash's
influence with Syrian and Lebanese intelligence organizations.
There are common denominators between the Salafis and the Ahbash,
despite their competition, which go beyond Syrian sponsorship. Ahmad Abu
Adas was mentioned in detail in the UN report by Detlev Mehlis, and was
a part of both groups. Mehlis' report said that in the summer of 2004,
he worked at a computer store owned by Sheikh Ahmad al-Ani, a member of
the Miqati-Khatib network. The explosives of this network were in Anjar
and were confiscated after the al-Hariri assassination, from a depot
owned by Mohammed Mamluk, of the Murabitoun. His pictures with the
group's logo were pasted on walls and demonstrations demanded the
release of the "number one resistance fighter."
The most powerful part of Mehlis' report came in the telephone contacts
between Ahmad Abdel-Al, Mahmoud Abdel-Al, Mustafa Hamdan, and the
Presidential Palace. Perhaps we should add here that Majed Hamdan formed
a security company that employed a number of Murabitoun and was
responsible for security in places that included the site of PM Hariri's
assassination.
I believe that the first plot took place in cooperation with the
Salafists and the second with the Ahbash, while Ghazaleh and Hamdan were
in contact with both groups. I don't rule out the idea that we will
discover, after the investigation is completed, roles for the heads of
other Lebanese and Syrian security agencies. The final charge they might
face is withholding information, meaning that they didn't plan or carry
out the assassination but knew about the plot and tried to mislead
investigators.
We might not have seen these pieces of the puzzle if Murr hadn't been
the victim of an assassination attempt for which the Salafis were
blamed. There was a rumor that the international investigators wanted
details about Murr's bank accounts, while Mehlis denied this. But the
damage was done, and before the denial Murr had moved his rifle from one
shoulder to the other, as the saying goes.
If we go back to the news conference about the Italian Embassy plot, we
find that Murr spoke of the role of Lebanese and Syrian security
agencies in discovering the conspiracy, with the most important role
going to Italian intelligence. Murr also talked about two networks: one
engaging in sabotage in Lebanon, and the second sending suicide bombers
to Iraq. It appears that each group had its role: the Ahbash represented
poor Sunnis in Beirut against the merchants and aristocrats of the sect,
and carried out important charitable work.
Meanwhile, Ibrahim Qoleilat was the number one suspect in the 1966
assassination of al-Hayat's publisher, Kamel Mroue, a crime carried out
by Tawfiq Sultani. In 1975, the Murabitoun killed a university colleague
of mine, Najib Azzam, after stopping him at one of the militia's
checkpoints in al-Tariq al-Jadideh. They had found out that he was a
Christian, without knowing that he was a registered member of Fatah.
After Najib's killing, Palestinian forces took over the area and evicted
the Murabitoun, then left them alone because they were allies. Today,
the return of the Murabitoun, under the cover of the Ahbash, occurs to
me with the assassination of PM Hariri.
A few years ago, the Ahbash demonstrated with knives in support of
Syria. The Syrians should know that with friends like the Ahbash, they
don't need enemies. As for the Ahbash, he who lives by the sword dies by
the sword.
http://www.j-khazen.blogspot.com
Ahbash a Syrian Alewite ally is now working with extreme right Protestant led Ethiopian regime that is tormenting Ethiopian Muslims.
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