Assassinations in Lebanon; Pipelines in Haifa
By Mike Whitney
" -- -- No one knows who killed former Lebanese Prime
Minister Rafik al-Hariri. We do know, however, that the main witness
cited in the UN report, Zuhir Mohamed Said Saddik, "has been
convicted of embezzlement and fraud among other crimes" (Der
Spiegel) which casts grave doubt on the credibility of his
No problem; the Bush administration has used convicted fraudsters to
make their case for war before, particularly in the case of Iraq
where the specious claims of Ahmed Chalabi appeared consistently on
the front page of the New York Times creating the rationale for the
invasion. But, Sadik's trustworthiness is even more uncertain than
Chalabi's. "Sources in the UN say that Sadik had undeniably lied"
and had received money for his testimony. "According to a statement
by his brother, Sadik had called him from Paris in late summer and
said, "I've become a millionaire!" (Der
Indeed; lying can be a profitable choice when it serves the greater
objectives of American-Israeli foreign policy.
None of this suggests that Syrian intelligence wasn't involved in
the assassination. It very well may have been. It simply proves that
the report of German prosecutor Detlev Mehlis is inconclusive and
may have been the result of American coercion. At the very least,
the report fits rather nicely with the Bush administration's stated
goals for regime change in Damascus and redrawing the map of the
If Mehlis was truly serious about finding out who the assassins
really are, rather than carrying out a political vendetta for the
United States, he would be devoting more energy to uncovering the
details related to the white Mitsubishi Canter Van that carried the
explosives. The history and origins of this van, which was stolen in
Japan on Oct. 12, 2004, are critical to the investigation as
journalist Robert Parry points out in his recent article "The
Dangerously incomplete Hariri Report". But, then, few who have been
following the Hariri assassination have any misgivings about the
real motives behind the Mehlis Report. The Hariri investigation is
just the pretext for the forthcoming military action against Syria.
Already the western press has swung into high-gear reiterating the
blistering rhetoric emerging from the White House and its acolytes'
at the State Dept. Ambassador John Bolton, the Bush administration's
mad-hatter at the UN, has repeatedly threatened Syria with swift
action although the facts are still uncertain.
"This is true confessions time now for the government of Syria",
Bolton warned. "No more obstruction. No more half measures. We want
substantive cooperation and we want it immediately."
As many have suspected, the volatile Bolton was dispatched to the UN
to pave the way for war with Syria and Iran. His baseless attacks on
Damascus have done nothing to disprove that conclusion.
Fans of the much-maligned "paper of record" will be glad to see that
Judith Miller's chair at the Times has been filled by her
equally-competent protégé, Warren Hoge. Hoge has already produced 4
front-page articles on the Hariri case invoking the same
demagoguery, unsubstantiated allegations and damning insinuations as
his mentor Miller. In essence, the Times has already condemned poor
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad by framing the uncorroborated
evidence in a way that excludes every other suspect and by repeating
the constant refrain "sanctions" 7 times in one article alone. Judy
Miller's early retirement has not dulled the Time's appetite for
reiterating fictions on its front page. Predictably, no mention of
the witness Sadik's shaky testimony has appeared in any of America's
So, what's the game-plan? Can the Washington warlords really be
considering another invasion just to depose what Paul Craig Robert's
calls a "mild mannered ophthalmologist"?
The real reasons for regime change in Syria have less to do with
Hariri's assassin and more to do with oil and Israel. An April 20,
2003 article in the UK Observer, "Israel seeks Pipeline for Iraqi
Oil", clarifies this point.
The Observer notes that Washington and Tel Aviv are hammering out
the details for a pipeline that will run through Syria and "create
an endless and easily accessible source of cheap Iraqi oil for the
US guaranteed by reliable allies other than Saudi Arabia". The
pipeline "would transform economic power in the region, bringing
revenue to the new US-dominated Iraq, cutting out Syria and solving
Israel's energy crisis at a stroke."
This is the driving force behind the confrontation with Syria. At
present, Bashar al Assad refuses to normalize relations with Israel
until Israel surrenders the land it seized in the Golan Heights
during the 1967 war. Israeli hawks have no intention of returning
the land and are planning to remove al Assad instead.
It's widely known that Israeli Intelligence (Mossad) is already
operating in Mosul where the pipeline will originate and have
developed good relations with the Kurds in the area. The only
remaining obstacle is the current Syrian regime which has already
entered the US-Israeli crosshairs.
Originally, the pipeline was the dream of the Israeli Minister for
National Infrastructures, Joseph Paritzky, who said that it would
"cut Israel's energy bill drastically - probably by more than 25 per
cent - since the country is currently largely dependent on expensive
imports from Russia."
The Observer quotes a CIA official who said: 'It has long been a
dream of a powerful section of the people now driving this
administration and the war in Iraq to safeguard Israel's energy
supply as well as that of the United States. The Haifa pipeline was
something that existed, was resurrected as a dream, and is now a
viable project - albeit with a lot of building to do."
James Akins, a former US ambassador to the region and critic of the
pipeline plan said, "This is a new world order now. This is what
things look like particularly if we wipe out Syria. It just goes to
show that it is all about oil, for the United States and its ally.'"
"Wipe out Syria"? That's pretty blunt talk from a diplomat.
Akins is not kidding. Washington and Tel Aviv are fully committed to
toppling the Assad government. Many of the same people who are
connected to the ongoing Fitzgerald investigation, (Wurmser, Libby,
Perle, Feith, Hannah, Wolfowitz) authored a report outlining the
neocon agenda in the Middle East for Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu in 1996. The report, "A Clean Break; A New Strategy for
Securing the Realm", campaigned for the very policies that are
currently being executed by the Bush administration. The strategy
calls for a "roll-back" of regional threats to Israel, help to
overthrow Saddam Hussein, and striking "Syrian military targets in
Lebanon". To deny that America is now fighting Israel's war is
shortsighted to the point of blindness.
The title of the Wurmser-Feith's-Pearl document tells the whole
story. "A Clean Break" conveys the message that Israel should
abandon giving back land in exchange for peace with the
Palestinians. (as per Oslo) "Securing the Realm", however, is
equally attention-grabbing in that it articulates the real
objectives of its authors; to reestablish the ancient kingdom of
Israel; a kingdom that will undoubtedly mean West Bank-type
apartheid and Guantanamo-type justice for 1 billion Muslims in the
region. Regime change in Syria is a crucial step to realizing that
Syria poses no threat to America's national security. We have no dog
in this fight. The real threat is those who now operate freely
within the foreign policy establishment, using the US military to
further their own self-serving objectives of controlling Middle East
oil and securing an imaginary Israeli empire. Neither of these is in
the national interest, and both have put America's future greatly in
( Note: "James Akins was ambassador to Saudi Arabia before he was
fired after a series of conflicts with then Secretary of State Henry
Kissinger, father of the vision to pipe oil west from Iraq. In 1975,
Kissinger signed what forms the basis for the Haifa project: a
Memorandum of Understanding whereby the US would guarantee Israel's
oil reserves and energy supply in times of crisis. The plan was
promoted by the now Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, was to be
built by the Bechtel company. The memorandum has been quietly
renewed every five years, with special legislation attached whereby
the US stocks a strategic oil reserve for Israel EVEN IF IT ENTAILED
DOMESTIC SHORTAGES - at a cost of $3 billion (£1.9bn) in 2002 to US
taxpayers. "UK Observer)
(In accordance with Title 17
U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to
those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the
included information for research and educational purposes.
Information Clearing House has no affiliation whatsoever with the
originator of this article nor is Information Clearing House
endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)