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Murr Accuses Syria to Save His Reputation, France to Accuse Iran

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Mariam Ali

The U.S. embassy telegrams continue its Wikileaks series being published on "al-Akhbar" Lebanese daily. The new cables show the U.S. officials focus as well as the French and the Arabs to accuse Syria of assassinating the leader Imad Mughniyeh claiming that the martyr is involved in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

It seems from the cables published today, that most of the meetings held in more than one capital seemed like speculation and expectation parties aimed at blaming Hizbullah and Syria in Lebanon's assassinations.

All after Mughniyeh

Lebanon's former Ambassador to the United States Simon Karam and the President of the National Liberal Party Dory Chamoun considered Mughniyeh's assassination "a gift to the Americans" as mentioned in the cable itself (No. 08BEIRUT237), while Walid Jumblatt told the Americans:" Either the "Israelis" killed him, or the Syrians, and in both cases his death is a good news."

The cables explore the attitude of the Minister of Interior at that time Hassan as-Sabih who told the Ambassador Sison: "Maybe Syria wanted to send a message to Hizbullah or to the United States, or perhaps there is a splitwithin the Hizbullah itself."

However, what is more surprising in the cable's text is what MP of the Free Patriotic Movement Ghassan Moukheiber told the Americans on the assassination of Mughniyeh; "In his meeting with officials at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Moukheiber was surprised that the assassination of Mughniyeh came directly after he left the Syrian Intelligence Services Office.

Adding that "the killing of Mughniyeh is a major challenge to Hizbullah," Moukheiber that "the coming days will reveal the nature of the performed deal."

In the telegram issued by the U.S. Embassy in Damascus (telegram No. 08DAMASCUS142 date of February 26, 2008) the US Charge D'affaires Michael Corbin quotes sources as saying that "officials of the Syrian Military Intelligence and General Intelligence Directorate are currently throwing the blame on each other in case of the security breach that led to the killing of Mughniyeh."

Telegram No. 08AMMAN3189 issued on November 25, 2008, tells that in autumn of 2008, the Assistant U.S. Secretary of State David Hale made a tour to Jordanian officials that included in addition to King Abdullah Royal Court Chief Nasser Lozi, Foreign Minister Salah Bashir and House Speaker Zeid Rifai and others.
 

The meetings focused on U.S. assistance to Jordan, but one of the records of the U.S. Embassy in Amman referred to remarkable words of Rifai "Abdel Halim Khaddam told Rifai that the only thing that Bashar inherited from his father is that he accepted that political assassination is the appropriate way to get rid of opponents."

U.S. Ambassador to Jordan Stephen Bercrawft referred to Rifai as saying " I speculate that the Syrian regime targeted the head of Hizbullah Imad Mughniyeh and Assistant Security Presidential Syrian Brigadier General Mohammed Suleiman as part of efforts to get rid of anyone who is linked to the killing of former President Rafiq Hariri. If the tribunal is held, there will be no one to testify."

French Tactic: to Accuse Iran instead of Syria
(Telegram No. 08BEIRUT1075 Date July 23, 2008)


Jumblatt also revealed to US Charge D'affaires in Beirut, William Grant that "French President Nicolas Sarkozy sent his Special Envoy Claude Gayan to meet King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia whom Jumblatt described as the only serious assistant Arab leader to "March 14" in the Arab world."
Gayan told Abdullah that "the Syrians were not involved in Drakar's blowing in Beirut in 1983 that led to the killing of 56 French on the same day of blowing up the Marine base.

According to Jumblatt what Gayan intended from his words is that the Iranians are the ones who were behind the attack.
"As Imad Mughniyeh is Iranian agent, the issue has become closed. This indicates that the Iranians were involved in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and others," Jumblatt said warning that "this would blow the tribunal."

Khoja's Rumors

The Saudi position from the assassination of the martyr Leader Hajj Imad Mughniyeh had been expressed by the Saudi ambassador in Beirut, Abdel-Aziz Khoja, through his meeting with the US Ambassador Michele J. Sison at his home on February 15, 2008 (telegram No. 08BEIRUT271 date of February 19, 2008).
Khoja talked about rumors reporting that the "U.S. held a deal with Syria and that led to the assassination of Hizbullah's Leader Imad Mughniyeh."

Khoja claimed that the "Secretary General of Hizbullah His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, had participated in a meeting with Mughniyeh and officials from the intelligence of both Syria and Iran on February 12 i.e. two days before the assassination of Mughniyeh."

In another matter, but in the same cable, the Saudi ambassador claimed that "Syria is planning to allow the election of Michel Suleiman before the Arab summit in Damascus and then to kill him before he could form a government which will cause to create gaps and spaces in the Lebanese institutions."

Khoja told Sison that "Hizbullah doubts that Syria was behind the assassination of its Leader Imad Mughniyeh, the night before February 12."
He pointed to the "absence of any Syrian official in the funeral of Mughniyeh in Beirut on the 14th of February," claiming that " the Iranian foreign minister, who attended the funeral, came to calm Hizbullah and to prevent it from taking steps toward Syria."

In another paragraph from the cable, Khoja said that "many people in Saudi Arabia raised questions about the reasons behind the assassination of Mughniyeh, and the potential deal between Syria and the United States or "Israel"."

"A rumor that is seriously spread in Beirut states that the United States held a deal with Syria that the latter withdraws from the tribunal Private for allowing the United States to get Mughniyeh," Khoja claimed pointing to another rumor that Syria and "Israel" held their deal that allowed the assassination of Mughniyeh, the "Israeli" target."

Feltman: Murr Involved in City Bank Corruption

Leaks related to the former minister, Elias Murr; do not stop as indicated
by the telegram No. 05BEIRUT3155 on 28 September 2005 classified by the former U.S. ambassador Jeffrey Feltman.

The cable mentions that during a television interview with the Minister of Communications Marwan Hamadeh on "LBC", Murr called from Zurich to confirm what Hamada said on TV that "Murr knows the identity of the man responsible for his bombing on July12."

Murr spoke about the development of problems between him and the representative of the Syrian intelligence in Lebanon Rustom Ghazaleh, following a campaign of arrests launched in September 2004 against suspects who tried to plant a bomb at the Italian Embassy in Beirut. (Note by Feltman: Despite the fact that Murr didn't name Ghazaleh directly, but it seemed very clear from the content of the speech that Ghazaleh is the aim of Murr's statement.)

According to Murr, Ghazali called the Police Chief Saeid Eid nd ordered him to call and verbally reprimand Murr.
In reaction to the phone call, Murr called Ghazaleh directly and objected to the appointment of Eid for his criticism. Murr adds that Eid who heard the conversation with Ghazaleh in coincidence, told him: "You have to pack up and go home."

After this call, Murr said, that he has received threats to kill him and left Lebanon for security reasons. According to Murr, "the attempted assassination of May Chidiac was the main event behind this public declaration. Murr concluded his intervention in the program by saying: "Now we are all equal."

When Feltman called Murr the next day, the latter expressed his great satisfaction; as if an enormous burden has been removed from his shoulder.
He joked that he might live forever in Zurich, because he angered the Syrians on the one hand and on the other hand because of his diet.
Feltman says in this telegram, Murr's statement on Syria, is expected since the man has confidentially repeated that Syria is threatening and you pressing him.

Feltman adds that "Murr chose the appropriate time. Talking through a live well-known, program to a channel that is directly linked to, in an interview with Marwan Hamadeh, gave further impetus to his statement."
The question of the Syrian threat toHariri before his death, is part of the faith here. This belief is reinforced by Murr's story on a pro-Syria that ended up as an opponent to Damascus.

Lahoud's traditional statement demonstrated the dramatic isolation of President from his people and reality. And with all the opposition voices around him, Lahoud is still able to be the worst enemy for himself."
Feltman continues, "The timing of Murr's statement was probably in his advantage. In the investigation of the Chairman of the International Commission of Inquiry, Murr's name rose to the surface as a potential target for the lifting of bank secrecy."

"While it doesn't seem that Murr has any link to the assassination of Hariri, which occurred during Murr's stay in Zurich because of death threats in September 2004, it is rumored that he is involved in financial corruption along with the four Lebanese detainee's officers," Feltman clarified.

"If the Lebanese government decided to investigate the issue of corruption associated with the collapse of the City Bank which has a bad reputation, Murr's involvement in some mysterious estate deals would be uncovered. Murr might think that the sympathy he earned for being a victim of Syria's attack, help to rescue his reputation in the event of disclosure of City Bank secrets," Feltman concluded.

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