According to informed sources in the Middle East and in Washington,
unconfirmed US ambassador to the UN John Bolton is personally leading the effort
to pin Syria with a series of political assassinations in Lebanon ultimately
aimed at bringing Israeli ally General Michel Aoun to power in Beirut and topple
the Bashar Assad regime in Damascus and replace him with an Ahmad Chalabi-like
political figure tied to neo-con interests in Washington and Israel.
Bolton and UN investigator Detlev Mehlis of Germany worked closely
to ensure that an interim and semi-final report on the assassination of former
Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri identified Syria as the culprit.
However, intelligence sources in Europe maintain that the assassination of Hariri
was never in Syria's interests and the assassination was carried out by a Pentagon
special operations cell that relied on rogue Syrian intelligence agents opposed
to Assad, right-wing Lebanese militias tied to neo-con Lebanese organizations
in the United States, and an Israeli support network in Lebanon. The intention
was to trigger the removal of Syrian troops from Lebanon and begin the process
of putting pressure, including tough sanctions, on Syria. Mehlis, interestingly,
said that it may take up to two years to complete the investigation of Syria.
Without a firm resolution of the matter, Bolton and his Lebanese allies are
free to continue to ratchet up allegations about Syrian involvement and increase
pressure on Damascus. Syrian UN ambassador Faysal Mekdad said of Bolton, "Ambassador
Bolton has always been wrong . . . He was saying that Iraq has weapons of mass
destruction. He was wrong. Whatever he said was wrong."
Bolton has turned the US Mission to the UN in New York into a meeting place
for neo-con operatives, including a number of right-wing Lebanese and Syrian
activists linked to the Pentagon's former Office of Special Plans. On December
13, Bolton said, "We are looking for ways to make sure that the international
pressure on Syria is unrelenting." On December 11, Bolton was given a thundering
reception at a the annual dinner of the Zionist Organization of America in New
York. Former Undersecretary of Defense for Plans and Policy Douglas Feith, an
architect of the neo-con agenda for the Middle East and close friend of Bolton,
has close links to ZOA. In addition, Feith's father, Dalck Feith, is a ZOA leader
and one-time member of Betar, the Zionist youth movement founded by Ze'ev Jabotinsky,
the chief ideologist behind a political philosophy that blends Zionism and fascism
-- an ideology today known generally as neo-conservatism.
Bolton and Mehlis: Working together with the neo-cons
to destabilize Lebanon and Syria
The other neo-con strategy in the anti-Syrian operation is to blame Syria for
permitting foreign fighters to enter Iraq. Although more jihadists enter Iraq
from Saudi Arabia, Syria remains the focus of the Bush administration's wrath.
On December 12, anti-Syrian Lebanese parliamentarian Gebran Tueni was killed
by a car bomb outside Beirut. This attack suspiciously occurred on the eve of
the issuance of Mehlis's latest report. Similarly, since 2002, a number of other
anti-Syrian Lebanese politicians have been the targets of car bombs erroneously
blamed on the Syrian government. However, the US and its Security Council allies
struck down a Russian and Algerian proposal to expand the Mehlis investigation
to include other political assassinations in Lebanon, including those of Elie
Hobeika in 2002, Lebanese Communist leader George Hawi this year, and others,
including Tueni. The Russians and Algerians are aware that a broad investigation
by the UN will expose U.S., Lebanese Phalangist, and Israeli involvement in
Intelligence sources report that the neo-cons will continue to target Lebanese
politicians for assassination to incite Lebanese public opinion ("constructive
chaos") and trigger military action by the United States against Syria.
However, that strategy has not worked to date. Many Lebanese continue to rally
around Hezbollah and the desired neo-con goal of anointing Aoun as a Lebanese
strongman has been unsuccessful.