Friday, January 11, 2008

Amid Arab diplomacy, whither the tribunal?

By Michael Young
Daily Star staff
Friday, January 11, 2008

So unreliable have Syrian commitments to Lebanon's normalization been in recent months, that almost no one anticipates success for the Arab League plan to resolve the Lebanese presidential crisis. Yet that reaction may be short-sighted. Something is taking place behind the scenes - it's still not apparent what - that might encourage Syria to play along with the Arab consensus, if only for tactical reasons. And if that happens, you have to wonder whether the Hariri tribunal will be part of any package.

The United Nations investigation of Rafik Hariri's assassination, previously so central to political life in Lebanon, has been pushed to a twilight zone. One commissioner, Serge Brammertz, has gone and another, Daniel Bellemare, this week officially replaced him. Bellemare is reportedly no more willing to name names than Brammertz was, because he wants to prepare a legally spotless case. That's good news, but it also means we will return to the absurd situation where the UN commission tells us that Hariri was killed for political reasons related to the 2005 parliamentary elections, then stops short of declaring that the only actor with an interest in eliminating him on that basis was Syria.

What happens next with the Hariri tribunal? Earlier this week, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stated that there had been progress in establishing the body, and that he would announce the names of the judges "at an appropriate time in the future." The secretary general added that the judges would assume their functions "on a date I will also determine soon." The nomination process for judges is tricky, particularly with regard to the Lebanese judges, who are more vulnerable to domestic political pressures. But Ban was also waffling. Not all the pieces are yet in place, and in late December the municipal council of The Hague issued a statement saying the tribunal would only begin operating in 2009. Even by the glacial standards of the UN, that's disturbingly slow.

One reason for the delay is money. The tribunal will need $120 million for three years of operation, but it's not at all clear where things stand today. Some countries have pledged money, but have not yet paid. A key question is whether Saudi Arabia has given anything, or will, which would open the door to other Gulf funding. There were unconfirmed reports that at the donors meeting for the Palestinians last month in Paris, the Saudis pledged to match the French contribution to the tribunal. After this, Future TV suggested in a news item that financing had been secured. At around the same time, the American ambassador to the UN, Zalmay Khalilzad, said that the UN's top legal man, Nicolas Michel, had informed him that the tribunal had received the needed monies. But there never was an official announcement to that effect from New York, and Ban's ambiguous remarks on deadlines imply that something is not right.

We must watch Saudi behavior very closely in order to get a better sense of how the Arab states in general will deal with the Hariri tribunal. Whoever puts money into the tribunal has valuable political leverage over Syria. However, if the Syrians first agree to compromise in Lebanon, the funds might never be forthcoming. That is why pledging money is very different than paying up. A pledge can be indefinitely postponed.

Which brings us back to the Arab League plan for Lebanon. Nothing suggests that the Arab states are discussing the tribunal with Damascus. But the tribunal is the elephant in the living room whenever one talks to the Syrians. Sooner or later the topic must make its way to the table. While the Arabs don't have the power to derail a UN Chapter VII decision, they can do two things: delay the tribunal by holding back on payment (if that's indeed what is happening); and help create a political context that somehow rehabilitates Syria, making it much more difficult for the international community to push the Hariri trial to its logical conclusion.

Can we presume, then, that the Arab plan for Lebanon is partly an opening shot to retrieve Syria? That's not to say that a presidential election in Beirut is one facet of a cover-up to save the Assad regime. However, Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa has consistently avoided blaming Damascus for the stalemate in Lebanon, and while that's normal for the head of a pan-Arab organization, it has also left him with room to maneuver on a broader agreement between the Syrians and their Arab critics. Once that logic kicks in, it's time to start asking questions.

The Arab states never had a liking for the Hariri tribunal. Even the Saudis were not convinced by it in late 2005, only coming around after President Bashar Assad strengthed his alliance with Iran, pursued his destabilization of Lebanon, embarrassed the Saudis on the Palestinian front, and escalated his rhetoric against the kingdom. But all that really means is that the Saudis view the tribunal as a useful political instrument - one that can be calibrated depending on the Syrian response - not a medium to dispense justice. Fair enough, international legal cases are a lot about politics, but we have no guarantees that the kind of arrangement the Arabs might find acceptable with Damascus is one that truly enhances Lebanese sovereignty.

For the moment, the Syrians and the Saudis are still too far apart to reconcile. Damascus is also too greedy, wanting total hegemony over Lebanon - backed by tanks if it could manage that - not a more detached form of Finlandization. This makes compromise with the Assad regime difficult. But we can assume that Moussa will keep the door open to the Syrians whatever happens, and in this he will have the support of most Arab leaders. At some stage, expect the Hariri tribunal to enter into the toxic bargaining that spawns inter-Arab political settlements.

In Beirut, however, there is still too much silence. The parliamentary majority has ceded the initiative on the tribunal to outsiders, as if March 14 has no domestic stake in its outcome. But many in the international community and the Arab world just hate the tribunal because it threatens to overturn the way they do business. So don't be surprised if one day the tribunal suddenly is only half as effective as it was supposed to be.

1 comment:

Gaby said...



An Exclusive Revealed
Joanna Gawlik
Melissa Carlson
Jocelyn Baini

For years, Jocelyne Beaini lived in fear. Her handlers were watching her 24 hours a day. She had to report every move she made. She could not refuse orders to have sex with anyone they designated and she had to fake passion and love with her target, but never fall in love with him. Orgasms had to be faked during intercourse even if it involved several a day. Pills to prevent pregnancy were a must and, if an accident happened, an abortion would be prompt. Headaches were not allowed and nagging would result in several bad hours.
Jocelyne liked her mission and, according to her partner, the Moroccan Asmaa Boubarri, she was the perfect Mata Hari. She was fascinated by the strength of her idol and she copied how the master spy had stood up to her interrogators during WW1, evoking similarities with her as being flirtatious and promiscuous, using her art of seduction to bring males into her web. But, she was aware also of the danger of being caught and would be on her own. No one would come to her rescue. She was brainwashed to believe that spying is a noble sport, open only to intelligent people, and that betraying a man is itself a kind of orgasm. Jocelyne liked that feeling and dedicated herself to get to that Super Bowl and earn the final trophy. Never mind that the real Mata Hari was shot by a French firing squad, she was still the heroine who fooled top military intelligence personnel in at least three European countries, including Germany and England. Was she a double or a triple agent? The secrets of her allegiances went with her to the other world. Seconds before the 12 marksmen pulled their triggers, aiming at her heart, she saluted them by throwing them a kiss.
Neither Mata Hari nor Jocelyne Beaini realized that spying is nothing but the abuse of women by men, and in her interview with DOUBTCOME.COM, Melissa Carlson confided that female spies die early and are easily disposed of by the same people who promised them the moon. Beaini was trained to resist torture, to never crack, and to fool investigators, tiring them out and taking them down a totally confusing path by using her art of playing the fool and shedding tears whenever she felt it was necessary.
The Israelis knew that they were sending Jocelyne on a very difficult mission. She would have to succeed where others had failed. She was going to spy on a master spy catcher who had uncloaked dozens of women before her. This time she would be trying to sell ice cubes to an Eskimo. The man in question was a master of psychological analysis and detecting fakes for him was a piece of cake. Shortly after being planted, he discovered her secret, but went along and agreed to take her on as his maid. When he saw that Beaini wanted to be intimate, he confronted her and said that he would accept her surveillance of his life, but warned her against hostile comportment and said that in bed he did not like the presence of a third person. In an exclusive interview, he related to DOUBTCOME.COM that Jocelyne was not difficult to detect. Unlike Melissa Carlson and Johanna Gawlik , Jocelyne was not sophisticated. She did not have the education of her predecessors which would have made her more credible and hidden her deception. She was thrown at the smart witness with vulgarity, sexual ineptitude, and a sleaziness far from the normal comportment of a 22 year old who would have been a dreamer about a bright future. Romancing the man of her life and dreaming of children, pillow talk, caresses, daily roses and candle light dinners would have been essential.

Preoccupied with his activism in the cause of world peace, he ignored the mediocre theatre. He had earned worldwide recognition for his activism in global entente. He demanded that the big and the strong should not step on the poor and less fortunate. He asked the Christian world to take responsibility and show compassion and understanding towards other religions, especially the Jewish people. His initiatives irritated the Zionists, the Washington hawks, the Petro-emirs, and many other groups who thrive on conflict and division. He voiced his contempt for Zionism with its never ending superiority complex, convinced that God had given intelligence exclusively to them and the right to herd the stupid sheep who constituted the rest of the human race. The peace maker had witnessed first hand how the Israeli lobby in Washington subverted the US sponsored peace plan by harassing the participants and sending female agents to the bedrooms of unsuspecting peace activists and Arab diplomats and ambassadors, including Palestine's Hassan Abdel Rahman and Lebanon's Riad Tabbarah. They did not accept being passive in the world and launched a war on Christianity. They made huge efforts to dominate Christian fraternities and organizations, especially the C.I.A. and free masonry. They controlled the unsuspecting Jehovah's Witnesses, the Charismatics, and the born agains. They wanted to maintain divisions between Catholics and Protestants.
The Israeli Mata Hari related to her masters all the activities and ideas of the witness and, for a period of five years, she followed him from Beirut to Paris, Athens, Rome, Rabat, Geneva, and other world capitals. They did not appreciate what they were hearing. His saying "it as it is" irritated them.
Taking advantage of the chaos that prevailed in Lebanon, they put forward a plan for Jocelyne. She would lodge a complaint that the witness had tried to recruit her to work for Israeli intelligence, and bring along another witness known by no one but Najib Hawa, one of her best friends and a low life goldsmith who facilitated her spying on the witness for a number of years. Lebanon's courts operate under the Napoleonic legal system which made the accusation sail along easily, unlike in US courts which give the accused the opportunity to prove innocence by taking depositions from accusers and other means.
On a clear autumn day in 2007, there was a knock on the witness' apartment door in the City of Jounieh . When he answered the door, the witness found himself confronted by two rude policemen in civilian clothes asking him to come along. The witness recognized one of them as being related to the Saudi Hariri Frem organization. Politely, the witness asked what this was all about and who they were, a question that irritated one of the men who did not hesitate to draw out his 357 magnum. No court papers were presented and they confiscated his cellular phone, and a third individual showed up shortly with an Uzi machine gun and took him by force. He was not allowed to call his lawyer or contact the American Embassy.
Blindfolded, he was transferred the next day for interrogation at the "Center of Information," a newly created institution which was set up by Rafiq Hariri and Saudi groups to monitor and harass their opponents. While in solitary confinement, investigators went through his laptop and documents fishing for something to justify their terrorist behavior. Being an American without a lawyer or contact with the outside world, it was very hard for the witness to tell his side of the story and impossible to defend himself, especially when they shrugged off his right to contact his Embassy. The plan worked well and the Mossad agents were going around town spreading the word that the witness had been arrested as a Mossad recruiter and that he would never again see the light of day.
As in everything else, the Lebanese were split between two groups, one dominated by sophisticated military intelligence and law enforcement officers who graduated from Quantico and West Point and other European military schools, and the other paid by hard core organized crime. The first group knew the witness and his peace activism and his life long struggle against Zionists and their proxies. And the latter had just received orders from Riyadh and Tel Aviv to remove the trouble maker. From the start the witness saw the split. The smart cops knew him and his dedication for freedom and democracy and wanted to clear him and end the sensationalism that could inflame a country fascinated by political intrigues, but the others were interested in creating more chaos and causing a diplomatic rift between Lebanon and the US.
Because of the explosive situation, the investigation was under remote control. It was conducted by chain smoking nervous underlings who would relate every new finding to their invisible J. Edgar Hoover. Court documents showed that many big names had entered into the case while the witness was blindfolded or in solitary confinement. They all knew that they had been thrown into a case where they could only come out losers. Used to dealing with bombers and Islamic zealots, they now found themselves having to give opinions on relations between the US and Israel. It was simply too much for them.
There was one month of deliberation, including questioning and meddling by big names in Lebanese military courts. Court records registered such individuals as Colonel Georges Haddad, Air Force General Charbel Mazraani, military court Judge Sami Sader, information section chief Colonel Sami el Hassan and first officer Mark Sawwan, head of military judges Ahmad Oueidat, state security agents # 21260 Mustapha el Karhani, #26361 Mohammad Shoureige, # 17587 Mohammad Kattouni, military judge Maroon Zakhour, and court secretary Richard Chaaban, agt# 1435 georges matta, agt# 1689 geneid geneid, agt#1476 pierre mourad, SS agent fadi al mouass, agt#1114 youssef mahfouz, agt# 1536 hanna karam, agt#1553 chawki dagher, agt#1844 philippe achkar and the whole thing was supervised by military court chief Jean Fahed who in turn was relating all steps to State prosecutor Said Mirza and Lebanese Immigration boss General Wafiq Jezzini.
While the witness was watching the struggle between the idiots and the sharp witted, and the good guys and the bad guys, he could recognize them according to their aggressiveness. Jocelyne Beaini and the Israelis were confident that they had eliminated this thorn in their side. Their celebration was short as the Lebanese surprisingly decided to release the witness, proving to the Israelis that they had yet to understand the mystifying side of the Lebanese people who derive their inspiration from their deep Christian and Muslim faiths. They could not harm US-Lebanese relations with threats that there would be more bolts from the blue.
Jocelyne Beaini proved to be the perfect Mata Hari, walking away unscathed and proving that she could fool all the gumshoes who did not dare ask where she was between the ages of six and 19.