UN investigator Detlev Mehlis removed five senior Syrian officials’ names from the published version of his interim Hariri report
debkafile‘s intelligence sources identifies them. The first two are President Assad’s close relatives: Maher Assad, his younger brother and head of the presidential guard, and Gen. Assef Shawqat, the president’s brother-in-law and military intelligence chief.
The other three are: Gen. Roustum Ghazali, head of special external intelligence and former Syrian military intelligence chief in Lebanon, Gen. Hassan Khalil, liaison between the various Syrian intelligence bodies, and Col. Mohsein Hamoud, a former military intelligence officer who served in Lebanon. Hamoud is the colonel who drove the Mitsubishi Canter bomb car from Syria to Lebanon on Jan. 21.
The full text of the interim report was obtained by debkafile.
Converging evidence points at both Lebanese and Syrian involvement in the assassination plot against former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri on February 14, 2005
This is the primary conclusion of UN investigator Detlev Mehlis whose report is to be submitted Friday to the UN Security Council and the Lebanese and Syrian governments after he handed it to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.
Other conclusions: The crime was carried out by a group with extensive organization and considerable resources and capabilities. It was prepared over several months. The timing and location of Rafiq Hariri’s movements were monitored in detail.
Given the pervasive presence of Syrian Military Intelligence in Lebanon, it would be difficult to envisage a scenario where this assassination plot could have been carried out without their knowledge.
The likely motive was political in the context of extreme political polarization and tension. Certain individuals may also have been motivated by fraud, corruption and money-laundering.
The UN inquiry established that many leads point directly toward Syrian security officials being involved with the assassination, Syria must clarify many unresolved questions. Several Syrian interviewees tried to mislead the investigation. A letter from the Syrian foreign minister contained false information.
In the four months of the UN inquiry, more than 400 persons have been interviewed, 60,000 documents reviewed, suspects identified and main leads established. The investigation is not complete and should be continued by the Lebanese judicial and security authorities. The February 14 murder should be assessed in the light of the blasts which preceded and followed it.
Some key findings detailed in the Mehlis interim report are disclosed in the debkafile Exclusive Report below