The Long Wait Is Over...
Great news! The preliminary results of the criminal probe that's been on everyone's lips these past months have been released. UN investigator Detlev Mehlis today published a 54-page document outlining his case in the murder of Lebanese politician Rafiq Hariri. Broadly speaking, Syria did it. The New York Times:
Though the report did not include names, the diplomat said the investigators were focusing on Syria's military intelligence chief, Asef Shawkat, the president's brother-in-law.
"Their main lead is that he is the ringleader," the diplomat said. "This is where it is heading."
"The diplomat," by the way, is someone with intimate knowledge of the ongoing investigation, though he's not Mehlis and, for security reasons, is cited anonymously. Super. Things always have a way of going swimmingly when nameless diplomats are given ink on the International page of the Grey Lady. Uhm, just out of curiosity: His wife is in what line of work, would you say, exactly?
More scoop from WaPo:
Mehlis's report included excerpts of interviews and statements about [a meeting designed to make Hariri endorse Damascus-backed candidate Emile Lahoud in the Lebanese election], including several by Hariri's associates and his son, alleging that the Syrian president [Bashar al-Assad] threatened Hariri if he opposed the plan. Saad Hariri said his father told him that Assad said: "This extension is to happen, or else I will break Lebanon over your head."
When asked in a recent CNN tete-a-tete with Christiane Amanpour whether he was nervous about the possible (and increasingly likely) implosion of his regime because of the Hariri assassination, Bashar said, " I feel very confident for one reason: I was made in Syria and wasn't made in the United States. So I am not worried." Yes, well, made men seldom are. --MICHAEL WEISS
CNN Interview [CNN]