Friday, December 02, 2005

developments pertaining to the investigation

Over the past couple of weeks, some noteworthy developments related to the Mehlis investigation have taken place:
  1. Changing the venue of the interrogation of the Syrian officers to Vienna
  2. Syria's agreement to send five rather than six officers to those interrogations
  3. The "suicide" of a key Lebanese witness
  4. Hussam Hussam's appearance
  5. Mehlis' rumored intention to leave the investigation
Ever since the very beginning of this saga, I have had no doubt in the integrity of Mehlis' investigation. After all, it is not a Lebanese investigative team, nor an American, nor a French one for that matter. Rather it is a UN investigative team that is under the scrutiny of the entire world. Of course, investigations can deliberately be lead astray, but if they are thorough and conducted by experienced prosecutors, such attempts usually fail. These latest developments have worried me a little bit though. It appears that the process may have become too blatantly political.
Could a political deal have been struck between Syria and the powers that pushed for the investigation at the Security Council? A deal that basically handed five high-ranking Syrian officers but spared the ruling triad... A deal that turned Mehlis off so much that he decided to quit... A deal that left the Hariri family hanging... A deal that lead to Hussam's emergence and the possible suicide/murder of the other witness. What exactly is going on? The violence in Lebanon has been redirected away from the Lebanese people and refocused at the investigation itself!
Why is Jumblatt rattling sabers and claiming that relations between him and Bashar have reached a point of no return? Why is he claiming that the collapse of the Ba'ath regime in Syria will not lead to the same turmoil that Iraq is going through now? Why is he also openly calling for Democratic elections in Syria? If a deal was struck between Syria and the powers referred to above, would not Jumblatt be silent?
The signals that I see are confusing. All I have is a bunch of questions with no clear-cut answers. There are simply too many variables at play here.

Update 1: Now it appears that the United States is pressuring Kofi Annan to keep Detliv Mehlis as head of the Investigating team

U.S. Ambassador John Bolton told reporters, "we understand he (Mehlis) has extended his tenure once and he's in dangerous personal circumstances there," he said in reference to threats made against the prosecutor.

But Bolton said the United States had asked Annan to keep Mehlis in his post. If he does not agree, the United Nations should quickly name a successor. The best person for the job, Bolton quipped, would be "a clone of Mehlis."

In a letter to Annan on Thursday, Bolton said the United States wanted Mehlis to "continue in his current capacity."

"I am concerned that a wholesale change in the leadership of the commission would be exploited by the Syrian government to forestall their full and complete cooperation," he wrote.


Update #2: Josh Landis has posted a rare and insightfull entry (I miss the good old days). Anyways, for better of for worse he did not author it. Rather, a guy by the name of Peter Lee attempts to explain the dramatic shift in France's foreign policy pertaining to the region.

The really interesting pieces of Mr. Lee's analysis pertain to France's shift away from Arab Nationalism and towards what he refers to as the "cosmopolitan Middle East."
France has decided to align itself with the cosmopolitan Middle East: sophisticated, open, vibrant free-market societies, like the society France imagines itself to be. These include first and foremost Lebanon. France has made the strategic choice to disregard Syrian aspirations in favor of Lebanese ones, to maintain France’s position as a respected and legitimate champion of Lebanese interests.
Click here to read more


Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

The "suicide" of a key Lebanese witness

Who? Kanaan?

Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

Speaking of deals, the behaviour of the corrupt Kofi Annan concerning the investigation has been highly suspicious.

sam said...

What suspicious behavior by Kofi?? Details plz...

Doha said...


Some are saying that the car "accident" that happened last week killing an important witness was perhaps a "suicide"....

I agree with Raja that there is much not being put out to the public and we're left in the dark about what is really going on.

AbdulKarim said...

Raja, lebanese i'm in contact with are also mentioning the same reason on why Mehlis is resigning.They have said that Mehlis, out of his integrity, has decided to quit because he has been asked to compromise the truth for political reasons. So you're not the only one thinking like that. Its the most sensible explanation.

Vox, the key witness is the one from tripoli (the mobile phones connection) found dead in btighreen.