Al-Arabia: Syrian Vice President denounces government: al-Assad threatened Hariri before his assassination
Syria-Lebanon-UN, Politics, 12/31/2005
Abdul Halim Khaddam, Syria's former vice president, launched an unprecedented accusation on President Bashar al-Assad, saying al-Assad had threatened Rafik al-Hariri, the former Lebanese prime minister before he was assassinated in February this year.
In an exclusive interview with al-Arabia satellite TV, Khaddam said "al-Assad told me he had delivered some very, very harsh words to Hariri... something like 'I will crush anyone who tries to disobey us'," adding that Hariri started to have nose bleeding after this meeting with al-Assad, as possible result of the stress he may have felt.
Khaddam, who resigned in June, denied reports that one Palestinian suicide bomber had assassinated Hariri, saying that this crime "requirers much technology skills and tons of explosives and planners who have leadership." Khaddam did not speculate on who had ordered Hariri's murder, saying "we must wait" for the final results of an investigation being carried out by the United Nations.
Khaddam explained that in principle, no government body in Syria, be it a security apparatus or otherwise, can single-handedly take this decision of killing Hariri."
Khaddam that al-al-Assad took responsibility is Syrian hands were invoved noting that "Bashar has said that if anybody in Syria was involved, that means I am involved."
He noted Hariri "received many threats, there were a lot of threats made in Damascus and in Lebanon." Khaddam criticized the government for committing what he said political blunders in Lebanon, and said Syria was "going through a minefield because of policies pursued by President al-Assad."
He noted "It never occurred to me that Syria would kill Rafiq al-Hariri, that never came to my mind, but the atmosphere created certain beliefs among the people. This is a big operation with an apparatus behind it, not individuals. What apparatus, that is what the (UN) probe will reveal," he added.
Khaddam also blamed Lebanese President Emile Lahoud and other Lebanese officials for igniting the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against Hariri. Khaddam said al-Assad's government was impoverishing its Syrian people because of its stand against political and economic reform. "The reform process did not happen so I resigned... once I did, I saw that that power was being held by one man, and that the government institutions had become a cover for the president's orders," he warned.
He said that because of the lack of reforms, corruption was now rife in the government and poverty was on the rise. "Million of Syrians can't find food and many more are searching for food in the garbage, while wealth is being accumulated in the hands of a few," he said.
"We can't face external pressures when the Syrian people have no freedom of expression and are not part of the political process," he added.
He said al-Assad had made many mistakes in his handling of Lebanon, including protecting the former Syrian intelligence chief in Beirut, Rustum Ghazali, even though he was implicated by the UN probe into Hariri's killing.
Khaddam continued "I told Bashar several times that he should remove him... he acted like he was the absolute ruler of Lebanon." On the other hand, Khaddam commended the report of the chairman of the UN investigation committee into the murder of the former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri, describing him as professional who is able to deal with facts and that the ones who gave the report a political implication is the list of persons who are suspected to be involved in the crime.
Khaddam said that the report drawn by Mehlis was good, stressing that the German judge is known as a professional who "avoided the politicizing of investigation, even though the crime was political."
Junblat accuses Syria of instigating militia attack on Israel
Washington Post: UN asks Belgian to head investigation of Hariri assassination
Sharaa underlines Syria's cooperation with new UN investigator to Hariri murder
Berri: Pressure on Syria, Lebanon are not new
Syrian detained over Tueini murder
Syrian National Progressive Front views on internal issues
Al-Assad views on regional political issues facing Syria
Syria sets free 190 political prisoners
Reforms in Syria and challenges facing them
New opposition coalition in Syria for comprehensive change
Please add a link on your webiste pointing to ArabicNews.com and bookmark ArabicNews.com & subscribe to our daily email news bulletin.
| Advertise on ArabicNews.com. MyFlowers.com sold more than $2700 of flowers in one month advertising on ArabicNews.com! Make your company, and products a success. Special rate for new and small business. Inquire!Advertising Info