Roger L. Simon

Showdown in Syria

This is a Debka exclusive, so take it for what it’s worth, but…

He was told: hand over the six Syrian officers wanted for questioning in the Hariri assassination by the end of Friday, Nov. 25 – or face a charge of non-cooperation to the UN Security Council.

According to DEBKAfile sources, two new witnesses, Syrian officers, have given the UN investigation further testimony on Syrian military intelligence involvement in the murder of the former Lebanese prime minister last February.

Mehlis insists on interrogating the officers outside Syria. Assad is posing legal barriers against making them available overseas. Among the suspects are the president’s brother-in-law Gen. Assef Shawqat, head of Syrian military intelligence and strongman of the Baath regime, and Gen. Rustum Ghazaleh, Syrian intelligence chief in Lebanon at the time of the murder and current overlord of all Syria’s intelligence agencies.

UPDATE: Maybe it’s not so exclusive. According to Reuters, Mehlis is “close to giving up” on Syrian cooperation. The showdown may soon shift to the Security Council.

SOME RANDOM THOUGHTS: What’s going on now isn’t all that amazing. What we’re seeing is a gangster regime trying to prevent some “family” (figuratively and literally) members from going to jail for life (by assuring they are tried within Syria). What always surprised me about the Syrian regime, particularly under Bashar, is how dumb they are. The whole world knows they are mafiosi, but would have been prepared to ignore it as long they stayed within their own borders, ruining the lives only of their own people. But the Allawites insist on projecting their own dubious power. How self-destructive is that.

More interesting to me: Why is the UN Security Council suddenly developing some backbone? The other day they even condemned Hezbollah. This can’t all be because of the presence of John Bolton. It’s also rather unlikely to be due to a sudden “moral reawakening” from the likes of Russia and China. Could it be there is some extremely embarrassing Oil-for-Food information being held in abeyance?