Assad: 'No Syrian Officer Put a Gun to Hariri's Head. I Never Threatened Him'
(too old to reply)
Bachir Hay Fina
2005-08-30 03:57:01 UTC
"I never threatened him and no Syrian intelligence officer had ever pointed
a gun to his head," says president Assad about the last meeting he held in
Damascus with Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in connection with a
Syrian decision to extend President Lahoud's term in office by three extra
The Syrian president also made it plain that he has given the green light to
U.N. investigator Detlev Mehlis to question 5 Syrian officials face-to-face
on the basis that Syria would be absolved from guilt. Otherwise, the verdict
of the German prosecutor would be viewed as 'falsified' under western
political pressure.

Two main sources reported that Assad did threaten Hariri in the Damascus
meeting because Hariri argued against the Lahoud extension. The first was
Walid Jumblat, Hariri's closest political ally, and Lara Marlow, the roving
correspondent of Ireland's radio and television.

The Druze leader said Hariri had personally told him of the threat. "If you
and Jumblat think that Chirac can get me out of Lebanon, I assure you that I
will destroy Lebanon off the face of earth before I leave," Hariri said,
according to Jumblat.

Lara Marlow said Hariri told her of Assad's threat a week before he was
assassinated in a massive bombing attack that shredded his motorcade on a
seaside Beirut boulevard Feb. 14. He had then resigned office in protest
against the Lahoud extension, which was dictated virtually at gunpoint on
the Lebanese Parliament by Syria's military intelligence apparatus.

"Mr. Hariri asked me in my last interview with him not to report his
revelation of the Assad threat unless something happens to him," Marlow
reported. "Now that he is killed, I am duty bound to disclose that Assad had
made a life threat to Hariri before his assassination. Mr. Hariri told me
about it."

Assad made his denial of the threat in an interview with the German magazine
Der Spiegel, the full text of which was published Monday, a day after the
weekly made excerpts available to the international press, giving U.N.
investigator Detlev Mehlis, a Berlin prosecutor, the green light to
interrogate face-to-face five senior Syrian officers in connection with the
Hariri murder.

"Some had even said that I threatened him. Others maintained a security
official put a gun to his head. This is ridiculous," Assad said.

"We are showing complete cooperation. We are interested in the investigation
because we are convinced we will be cleared -- that is unless the results
are falsified for political reasons," Assad said.

Asked whether he could really be sure that Syrian secret services or other
compatriots were not involved, Assad said: "I am completely sure. Such an
act would require the co-operation of many people and institutions. Had this
been the case we would have known about it."

He said he had not attended Hariri's funeral because of the allegations that
Syria engineered his murder.

"Why would Syria kill someone with whom there were no differences. That
makes no sense. In actual fact we Syrians are the ones who have been the
most disadvantaged by this affair," Assad said.
Assad pledged that Mehlis could speak with any Syrian he wanted to in his
investigation, according to the interview.

"I have said that everyone with whom he wants to speak is permitted to give
testimony. That is in my interest, and in the interest of Syria."(Naharnet
. Remember the Victims of Damour at .
. http://www.geocities.com/damour1976/index1.html .
2005-08-30 04:03:10 UTC
The guy lies so naturally. These Baathists do it so well with a
straight face.. He even said that he politely asked Harriri to go back
home and reconsider. But the choice was up too him...
2005-08-30 04:11:58 UTC
According to the rumors, it was Rustom Ghazali that made the threat in
Anjar, not Assad and not in Damascus...
Post by LID
The guy lies so naturally. These Baathists do it so well with a
straight face.. He even said that he politely asked Harriri to go back
home and reconsider. But the choice was up too him...