Khoury Resumes STL Testimony, Tackles Early Stages of Hariri's Alliance with Anti-Syria Opposition

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  • W460
  • W460

Former MP Ghattas Khoury continued on Friday his testimony before the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, recounting how slain former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri began to ally himself with the emergent anti-Syria opposition in Lebanon in the aftermath of the extension of the term of President Emile Lahoud in September 2004.

The early signs of his joining of the opposition began with Hariri's rejection of the inclusion of pro-Syria figures on electoral lists devised for the 2005 parliamentary elections.

Khoury explained that the Syrian regime had prevented Hariri from coming up with his own electoral list, forcing him instead to include pro-Syria officials.

Hariri had voiced his rejection of Damascus' intentions during a meeting he held with then Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir on December 22, 2004, revealed the former MP before the STL.

Syrian officials sought to include six pro-Damascus on his electoral lists, which Hariri opposed, he added.

“The Syrian regime understood Hariri's stance as a sign that he was joining the opposition,” Khoury noted.

The former premier had also made his point clear during a meeting he held with then Syrian intelligence chief in Lebanon Rustom Ghazali, he continued.

He told the court that the meeting between the two officials “was not good.”

“Hariri informed me that he was aware that his intention to come up with electoral lists for all Lebanese regions was an act of defiance against the Syrian regime,” revealed Khoury.

The Lebanese opposition at the time however still had its doubts over Hariri, suspecting that he may be seeking to include “secret pro-Syrian officials” on his lists and it therefore sought to build trust with him, continued Khoury.

Consequently Hariri held meetings with pro-Syrian figures, then MPs Nasser Qandil, Adnan Arakji, and Bassem Yamout, to inform them that they will not be included on the lists, said Khoury.

This was seen as a sign that Hariri was indeed leaning towards the opposition, explained the former lawmaker.

Hariri then tasked slain Minister Bassel Fleihan to attend Bristol gathering meetings of the opposition.

Khoury explained that the former premier tasked the minister to this role in order to give himself room for political maneuvers.

Earlier on Friday, the former MP said that Hariri decided to step down from his post following the extension of Lahoud's term “after he realized that a reasonable settlement with the Syria was not possible.”

Moreover, he revealed that Hariri “sensed that he was being targeted by the Syrian regime after the number of his security entourage was reduced.”

The debate over the extension of Lahoud's term strained ties between Hariri and the Syrian regime and has been the focus of political testimonies before the STL.

He then spoke of the influence Damascus wielded over political life in Lebanon, particularly over the victory of Gabriel al-Murr in the 2004 Metn by-elections.

“Murr was competing in the polls against his niece Mirna al-Murr and Ghassan Mukheiber,” he explained.

Gabriel Murr was victorious, but Mirna's father, MP Michel al-Murr, appealed the victory to Lahoud, continued Khoury.

“Pressure was exerted on the Constitutional Council that eliminated his win and granted the seat to Mukheiber, who only earned 1,500 votes,” said the former MP.

“This was a flagrant example of Syria's pressure on the Lebanese judiciary and sign of the regime's claws in Lebanon,” he stressed.

He added that Gabriel al-Murr had earned hundreds of more votes than Mirna al-Murr, reaping over 33,000 votes.

“The appointment of Mukheiber to parliament through a judicial settlement and security pressure through Lahoud was a precedent in Lebanon,” he remarked.

“The opposition would have taken to the streets had Mirna al-Murr been declared the victor in the polls,” Khoury said.

The STL is tackling the February 2005 assassination of Hariri and 22 others in a major bombing in Beirut.

Fleihan, who was in Hariri's convoy, sustained severe burns during the attack. He succumbed to his injuries a few weeks later in 2005.

It is currently listening to the testimonies of a number of witnesses who were close to Hariri in the months preceding the assassination.

MP Marwan Hamadeh gave his testimony in late 2014 and journalist Faisal Salman gave his testimony at the resumption of the hearings in 2015.

Khoury is scheduled to resume his testimony on January 20. He will be followed by witness Salim Diab on January 22 and 23.

M.T.

G.K.

Comments 28
Thumb Mystic 16 January 2015, 13:41

If anyone wants a good story, before they go to sleep. Then I recommend they should listen to STL meetings.

You will fall asleep within 5-10 minutes guaranteed

Thumb the_roar 16 January 2015, 13:57

You don't appreciate that $300 million was spent on these stories, mystic.

If its hard evidence your looking for, then pay another $300m & cross your fingers & toes & eyes lol.

Missing imagine_1979 16 January 2015, 19:51

How much was the cost of the 2006 intissar al illahi? 13 political assassination should have just be left alone and we should just acted as nothing happened...
By the way magnificant roar, how is the weather in australia, u don't want to come back here? We miss such great inteligence and critical analysis here...
Some chupachups man?

Missing imagine_1979 16 January 2015, 19:55

Indeed southern, stl is a conspiracy against our great secular progresist and modern resistance... We should have gone with justice hezbollah/iranian/assad style. U know democracy at its best...

Missing helicopter 16 January 2015, 20:06

Gabriel Murr was victorious, but Mirna's father, MP Michel al-Murr, appealed the victory to Lahoud, continued Khoury.
“Pressure was exerted on the Constitutional Council that eliminated his win and granted the seat to Mukheiber, who only earned 1,500 votes,” said the former MP.
Never mind the facts Mystic and other Pro-Syria slaves, Your brainwashed brains are not bothered at all by any and all consitutional violations. TRAITORS.

Default-user-icon Je Suis the_roar (Guest) 16 January 2015, 14:10

As a follower of Khomeini I will forgive & pray for those who insult my Lord, Sayyed Hassan Nassrallah.

Missing hajjradwan 16 January 2015, 14:52

Reality is so boring it puts dumb people with short attention spans and ADHD to sleep. If you're looking for excitement wait till Hassan's Al Mayadeen interview comes on a TV near you, the sneak peeks are out of this world. He tells a riveting story all set in a fantasy world of make believe full of brave immortal fighters, all conquering saintly heroes, holly turbaned svengalis, sewer dwelling magic creatures, engineers who are (spoiler alert) not really engineers and a giraffe in a suit. It's a comedy and children will love it.

Thumb canadianpaul 16 January 2015, 16:10

LOL. Fantastic.

Thumb BritishLebanese 16 January 2015, 15:51

Having to call for STL to put order on this case throws me not to what the case is actually about but rather to what I could only assume that the Justice System in Lebanon & its honorable scholars who in my assuming predictions that they themselves have been insulted by its presence. Do we not have worthy educated professionals in Lebanon to deal with this without having foreign interference?

Without knowing the facts, I can only hope this message is also very important as is finding out the truth for our former Lebanese PM.

Default-user-icon shiabritishLebaneseIranian (Guest) 16 January 2015, 17:13

if you don't know the facts then don't comment and write stupid things.

Missing imagine_1979 16 January 2015, 20:00

Well in a country waiting 14 years for to try build a court big enough to try islamist fanatics, on a country judiciary system waiting liban post to find mamlouk to start trial of michel smaha, in a country where were people get shot in front of iranian ambassy without any investigation open, in a country where army officer is shot on a hellicopter while on duty and the assassin gets 6 months jail....
Well in such a great judiciary system i think honorable lawers should take it easy, have some chupachups, and help the stl, maybe we will arrive to some results..
U to have some chupachups man, relax and maybe someday the assassin can share the same cell as milozevich...

Thumb BritishLebanese 16 January 2015, 15:59

What I mean is I'd be insulted if I were a worthy Lawyer in Lebanon & some foreign organisation came in to handle such an important case for Lebanon when we ourselves are perfectly capable of doing the job for Lebanon. It should be a case where we could hopefully put assassinations behind us for Lebanon's sake.

Thumb LEBhasNOhope 16 January 2015, 17:17

When you have a foreign force occupying you and rendering you powerless then you have no choice but seek the help of the international community for justice to be served. It has nothing to do with having or not having competent or honorable lawyers.

Thumb LEBhasNOhope 16 January 2015, 23:08

you are right lebowsky. Since this has a cost associated to it, we should just pretend nothing happened and continue to be murderred and as dismayed at will. Genius reasoning.

Thumb LEBhasNOhope 16 January 2015, 23:10

*assasinated

Default-user-icon + oua nabka + (Guest) 16 January 2015, 19:00

for the sake of truth and saving money on Lebanese let the STL oblige countries that refused to give satellite pics and videos to do so
god bless freedom of expression

Default-user-icon achrafieh (Guest) 16 January 2015, 19:09

let the tribunal for the sake of truth and saving money and time for Lebanese ,let the tribunal summon the countries that refused to give satellite pics and video to do so
vive la liberte

Missing imagine_1979 16 January 2015, 20:00

Berry and majless al janoub, jumblat and majless el mouhajarin, hezbos covering all bekaa brital/hermel thieves (not all living there are thirves but al thieves there have hezbos cover....)
And the exmples are non ending....
Relax defacto, take it easy, have some chupachups and please ask bassilo how much his job is paying (he seems so much more wealthy than few years ago, no?...

Thumb saturn 16 January 2015, 21:39

You comparing Bassilo's increase in wealth with Hariri's increase in wealth? Give him some time.

Missing imagine_1979 16 January 2015, 20:03

Waw.... And none of ur dear 8march (and 14march even) politician were followers of mere theresa.....
Man really go have some chupachups, relax, and go watch newtv/sana/al manar, they have the truth....

Thumb Tony.Farris 16 January 2015, 20:35

Defacto, did you miss your medication dose today?

Thumb saturn 16 January 2015, 21:39

STL might be a bore, but so are Nasrallah's speeches. Both are way longer than all the songs by Wadih Al Safi, may he rest in peace. Yawwwnn.

Thumb chrisrushlau 16 January 2015, 22:06

So the reason Lebanon doesn't let its Shia majority express their views at the ballot box (Article 24 of the Constitution reserving half of Parliament to "Christians") is to prevent Syrian infuence, is that it? The Christian minority are the only Lebanese who really know what is good for all Lebanese?

Default-user-icon ??? (Guest) 17 January 2015, 04:41

How did you conclude that Shias are the majority?

Missing humble 17 January 2015, 00:20

Mastic still here vomiting insanities???

Missing humble 17 January 2015, 00:24

Shame on you. Shame on your NO principles and NO values. You are defacto vomiting insanities coming from the mouth of the Caporal. These are the exact words he repeats in small circles.

Missing humble 17 January 2015, 00:27

De facto

Shame on you. Shame on your NO principles and NO values. You are defacto vomiting insanities coming directly from the mouth of the Caporal. These are the exact words he keeps repeating in small circles.

Thumb westernlebanese 17 January 2015, 02:30

These iranians should go back to iran!