October 22, 2005

Details, Details

Times Online - UN Office Doctored Report on Murder of Hariri

The United Nations withheld some of the most damaging allegations against Syria in its report on the murder of Rafik Hariri, the former Lebanese Prime Minister, it emerged yesterday.

The names of the brother of Bashar al-Assad, President of Syria, and other members of his inner circle, were dropped from the report that was sent to the Security Council.

The confidential changes were revealed by an extraordinary computer gaffe because an electronic version distributed by UN officials on Thursday night allowed recipients to track editing changes...

...But the furore over the doctoring of the report threatened to overshadow its damaging findings. It raised questions about political interference by Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary- General, who had promised not to make any changes in the report...

...The deleted names represent the inner core of the Syrian regime. Maher al-Assad, President al-Assad’s younger brother, is a lieutenant-colonel and head of the Presidential Guard. He is known for his quick tem- per and six years ago was said to have shot his brother-in-law, General Assef Shawkat, in the stomach during an altercation.

Raise your hand if this deceit by Kofi Annan surprises you. According to the Jerusalem Post story...

Annan, according to speculations, was concerned that the harsh report could cause political instability in Syria, perhaps even leading to an overthrow of the Assad regime, and thus preferred a watered-down version of the report.

Ah, stability! So that's what we are trying to preserve in Syria. The U.S.- led coalition went and messed up the stability that Kofi was trying to preserve in Iraq, and he didn't want anything like identifying the actual Hariri murderers (the purpose of the investigation was what again?) to put a crimp in Bashar Assad's leadership gig in Syria. After all, even if we had evidence that Assad was responsible, the International Criminal Court in The Hague couldn't possibly try him until at least 2010, when the Milosevic trial should be wrapping up.

(via Ace of Spades HQ)

Posted by dan at October 22, 2005 11:42 PM