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World Council for the Cedars Revolution

Mar 03rd
Home arrow News Content arrow Blog arrow Blog Items arrow Analysis arrow Hizballah’s Phoneprints All Over Hariri Assassination?
Hizballah’s Phoneprints All Over Hariri Assassination? PDF Print E-mail
Written by W. Thomas Smith Jr.   
Saturday, 23 May 2009

W. Thomas Smith Jr.
W. Thomas Smith Jr.

The Lebanon-based Jihadist terrorist group, Hizballah, is now believed to have been directly involved in the 2005 Valentine's Day Massacre of 23 people in Beirut – including former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri (the primary target of the bomb-assassins) – according to a May 23 article in DER SPIEGEL.

No real surprise. But will the forthcoming revelations be enough to quash Hizballah’s push less than three weeks before the June 7 parliamentary elections in Lebanon wherein the terrorist group is already attempting to manipulate the outcome through its classic methods of intimidation? And will the revelations be enough to shut down the Syrian-Iranian-Hizballah operations room in Lebanon.

Difficult to say. What we do know is that Hizballah – which former U.S. Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff says, “makes al Qaeda look like a minor league team” – has a media/propaganda arm that is second to none. Its military wing is stronger – and frankly has more political leverage – than the Lebanese army and police (both of which have been heavily infiltrated by Hizballah). Hizballah’s possession of huge stockpiles of military grade weapons – staged throughout the country (in violation of both United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1559 and 1701) – has never been adequately challenged. And if Hizballah doesn’t get what it wants from the so-called democratically elected government of Lebanon, the terrorist group and its allies will attack the Lebanese people as they did in May 2008 with impunity.

Now, “the United Nations special tribunal investigating the murder [of Hariri] has reached surprising new conclusions -- and it is keeping them secret,” says Erich Follath, writing for the German-based weekly magazine. “…investigators now believe Hizballah was behind the Hariri murder.”

Counterterrorism officials with the pro-democracy World Council for the Cedars Revolution (WCCR) say the “surprising new conclusions” are simply a reaffirmation of what they have been reporting for the past four years.

“The Syrians planned the operation which was then coordinated through the joint-operations war room between the Syrians, Hizballah and its Iranian overlords, and the security apparatus of the previous [Emile] Lahoud regime,” says Col. Charbel Barakat (Lebanese Army, ret.), a former infantry brigade commander who today serves as senior security advisor to the WCCR and directs the council’s office of counterterrorism. “We have long-believed Hizballah executed the operation, and the group did so in concert with the three regimes.”

According to the article, who killed Hariri “has been the source of wild speculation.” Suspects have included everyone from the Israelis to Syria’s intelligence services to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, even to Al Qaeda.

In the wake of Hariri’s assassination, a UN-approved investigative team was established, which ultimately determined that Syrian and Lebanese officials were responsible. But as Follath writes, “the smoking gun, the final piece of evidence, was not found.”  A UN special tribunal revisited the investigation in March 2009, and that tribunal has now “yielded new and explosive results.”

According to Follath, Lebanese security forces’ intelligence expert Capt. Wissam Eid, who himself was assassinated Jan. 25, 2008, had determined that eight cell phones (purchased on the same day in the Lebanese city of Tripoli) “were activated six weeks before the assassination, and … were apparently tools of the hit team that carried out the terrorist attack.”

The eight phones have since been referred to as the "first circle of hell."

A so-called "second circle of hell," approximately 20 additional phones that were “noticeably often” in close proximity to “the first circle,” belonged to the "operational arm" of Hizballah.

Apparently one of the Hizballah operatives “committed the unbelievable indiscretion of calling his girlfriend from one of the ‘hot’ phones.” This led investigators to the suspected mastermind of the operation, Hajj Salim, who assumed command of Hizballah’s military wing following the Feb. 2008 assassination of the previous commander, the notorious Imad Mughniyeh, in Damascus.

The tribunal’s collected evidence runs even deeper, according to DER SPIEGEL’s source: “They have apparently discovered which Hizballah member obtained the small Mitsubishi truck used in the attack. They have also been able to trace the origins of the explosives, more than 1,000 kilograms of TNT, C4 and hexogen.”

Barakat says, “Our intelligence assessment has always indicated that the Hariri assassination – decided and ordered at the highest levels of government in Damascus and Beirut – was a direct-action operation carried out by Hizballah’s special hit squads. What’s worse is that the joint-operations room, known as ‘Ghurfat al amaliyat al mushtaraka,’ which coordinated the attack, was never dissolved even after the Syrians were kicked out in 2005.”

Follath writes, “One can only speculate over the reasons why the Hariri tribunal is holding back its new information,” but adds the investigators may fear such revelations might inflame the already caustic situation in Lebanon.

— Visit W. Thomas Smith Jr. at uswriter.com.

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