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12 October 2005


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Rick Francona


Couldn't agree more with your take on this. Should be interesting to see what is in the UN report on Hariri's assassination.



Joshua Landis has some additional thoughts at

He thinks it is possible that Kanaan may have been the US "choosen" possible successor to Assad and his "elimination" leaves the US with no good choice but to arrange with Assad.

Like so many ME stories a lot of fog is around this one.

But your take on the US's choices is of course right.

Pat Lang


Nah. Too dirty. Too obvious. Knew all about Rafik. This administration believes its own propaganda. They couldn't deal with this guy. They are too naive to do that. pl



But PL, wasn't Kana'an in cahoots with Hariri? Isn't it more likely that he dropped a dime on Ghazali, his arch-rival, and the latter had him offed?


WHO selected Suicide Rates for men by country, per 100,000
(full table here -- http://www.who.int/mental_health/prevention/suicide/suiciderates/en/)

I'm just saying, is all...
Egypt 0.1
Syrian Arab Republic 0.2
Iran 0.3
Kuwait 1.6
Mexico 5.4
Brazil 6.6
Israel 10.5
Italy 11.1
UK 11.8
India 12.2
China 13
USA 17.6
Australia 21.2
Japan 36.5

Pat Lang


He killed himself, others killed him, the Easter bunny killed him, little green men from UFOs killed him...

Who cares? It is completely irrelevant and unimportant to the development of history.

He was a bad man, and his death should be viewed as an opportunity. pl


"Kanaan made a "farewell" call to a Lebanese Radio station before he died today. In that interview he said that it was true that Rafik Hariri had been paying him off when both had ruled in Lebanon..."

Wait. All the media reports I've seen say that in the radio interview he denied that he told the UN there were payoffs in Lebanon. I'm confused.

Michael Murry

With this bad Syrian man gone for good now, does this mean that America no longer has a contact in the Syrian government who will accept our cases of "extraordinary rendition" (i.e., disappeared prisoners) for torturing? Or do we just have bad men in Egypt left to do that sort of dirty work for us?

Inquiring students of international law -- not to mention the government of Canada -- would like to know.

Pat Lang


There is nothing innocent about any of the actors in the Middle East. The government of Syria would like nothing better than to resume its intelligence cooperation with the US. They have offered repeatedly (see the amanpour CNN interview with Bashar Assad). The offer has been refused because the USG has a satisfactory enemy in Syria. pl

Pat Lang


He could say whatever he liked. NTV in Beirut had the "goods" on him. His relationship of corruption with Rafik Hariri was and is a matter of public knowledge in Beirut. Look at this story in the Beirut Daily Star and the picture of him with Hariri.

When Mehlis went to interview Kanaan weeks ago he brought with him a box of records, check stubs, and copies of checks that clearly implicated Kanaan, and others in long standing government corruption in Lebanon.

In the course of his valedictory interview yesterday he said to the interviewer that if he and others were benefiting from Hariri, then why would they have killed him?




Serving Patriot


I thought Assad carried himself quite well on that CNN interview (at least conducted in English! how many US leaders could do the same in arabic on Al Jazeera?).

His comment regarding the involvement of SY (rogue or otherwise) government officials in Harriri assasination ("that would be treasonous") - a clear signal from the top that this hit was not a sanctioned one. His comment on the punishment that would result if the UN found a gov't involvement was strong - ("severe"). The whole thing makes me think this was very much assisted. Like the warden in Shawshank, Kanaan knew the jig was up.

Assad's move here is bold. He listens to and learns from Mubarek and other elder ME statesmen. He is young, but not a fool. And as you illustrate, he has the US in a corner with no real successor (except for some type of Islamist group - how well is that working in Iraq?).

In all - a nice move and recovery by government of SY.

Pat Lang


Sound thinking but unfortunately what is desired by the USG is 120% not 90%. pl


SP--I saw that interview differently. It looked to me like the plan was to blame everything on Kana'an and claim ignorance.

Pat Lang


Good. as long as we get on with some measure of sanity. pl

Serving Patriot


You may be right. In either case, Assad blunts any US govt attempt to undermine his legitimacy via the UN investigation.

Someday, the US might realize that the harder they lean on some of these guys (Assad, Mubarek, etc), the bigger domestic creditbility they grant to these leaders.

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