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2005.10.31

Syria In The Crosshairs

U.N. Security Council Passes Syria Resolution
[Hat tip: Big Lizards]

By Colum Lynch
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, October 31, 2005; 4:12 PM

UNITED NATIONS, Oct. 31 -- The U.N. Security Council Monday voted unanimously to adopt a tough resolution demanding Syria dramatically expand its cooperation with a U.N. investigation into the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri or face unspecified "further action."

The resolution, passed by a vote of 15-0, empowers the council to impose a travel ban and asset freeze on individuals suspected of involvement in the Feb. 14 murder of Hariri and 22 others. ...

[...]

The resolution grants the U.N.'s chief investigator, Detlev Mehlis of Germany, the authority to take his investigation anywhere in Syria, demand any documents and interview any individual, including Syrian President Bashar Assad, inside Syria or abroad. Syria is also required to abide by any request by Mehlis to arrest suspects, including Assad's closest aides and relatives.

The resolution was passed under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, which empowers the council to impose punitive measures, including the use of military force, to compel a country's cooperation.

Mehlis concluded in a preliminary report on his investigation that Syrian and pro-Syrian Lebanese officials were all but certainly involved in plotting Hariri's murder. He also cited one witness as implicating Assad's brother, Maher, and his powerful brother-in-law, Asef Shawkat, the chief of military intelligence.

[...]


To understand even half the implications of the UN resolution, you need to read Dafydd's post here.  A couple of key quotes:


[S]uppose the team investigating Hariri's assassination, poring through records, comes across evidence that Syria accepted "large stockpiles" of weapons of mass destruction from their Baathist brothers in Iraq; is there any way that the investigation can be expanded to include that question?

[...]

I don't know how [Detlev Mehlis] would react to discovering evidence on the two questions that are more interesting to me than the fairly settled issue of the Hariri bombing: did Iraq transfer its WMD to Syria before the war to prevent it being found, and is Syria actively complicit (as opposed to passively turning a blind eye) to terrorists crossing the border into Iraq to kill Americans and Iraqis?

[...]


Very interesting questions, Dafydd. Very interesting.

I'd meant to link to this Captains Quarters post earlier but hadn't gotten it done yet. Captain Ed sees no realistic way out of this mess for Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. With the passage of that UN resolution I think the very best he can hope for is life in exile, but after the Arab League blocked that option for Saddam Hussein I wonder if he even has that hope.  Should we be watching for an announcement of another "suicide," or possibly several?

***

Linking to OTB's Beltway Traffic Jam.

***

Dafydd has a great follow-up to his earlier post here.

***

Linking to Mudville's latest Open Post.

Posted by Bill Faith on October 31, 2005 at 09:23 PM | Permalink


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