U.S. Investigations Lead to Arrests in Gemayel Assassination Case
By Andrew Cochran - counterterrorismblog.org
December 30/06

The following article appeared in the "Alsyassa" newspaper in Lebanon last week and has been translated to English by a friend and highly reliable source. The article points to investigations in the U.S. which led to the arrests of Syrian-allied suspects in Lebanon:

"The investigation into the assassination of Pierre Gemayel led to the detection and seizure of weapons and explosives detonators and the arrest of seven of the Beirut-Syrian nationalists

The Lebanese authorities confiscated weapons and explosives yesterday of several locations of the Syrian Social National Party, the pro-Syria in the Koura in northern Lebanon. A security source said that the raid and confiscation included locations and houses scattered in several villages in the Koura province, south-east Tripoli, most prominent Kosba, Shekka and Afessdeeq. As to the Directorate General of the Internal Security Forces assured in a statement that the arrest of a number of people" during raids and the confiscation of weapons and explosives in Koura.

The source explained that one of its unit raided several houses in the Koura found inside "a large quantity of explosives with electric detonators used for the bombing and stopwatches to control the timing of the bombing in addition to large quantities of weapons." Authorized Lebanese security sources revealed to al-Seyassah that, during the raids on two stolen cars caches inside one of the Syrian Social National Party, working to identify their owners, have confiscated the equivalent of two truckloads of weapons.

Well aware those, the official of the SSNP Tony Mansour and his father were arrested during the raid and seized a gun inside the car of the first, and that security forces cordoned off the main party headquarters in Beirut. Meanwhile Party leader, Ali Qanso, admitted the arrest of seven official Syrian Social nationalists and the confiscation of explosives in northern Lebanon, claiming that they were kept since "the 1980s when he was involved in the resistance" against Israel.

Informed sources declared to al-Seyassah that, before 15 days, the National Security in the United States investigated Halim Hardan, student at the University of St. Louis, son of current MP Assaad Hardan, former minister and leading member of the Syrian Nationalist Party and the Canadian authorities as well, carried out investigation with one Khudor Awarka, the official Syrian National Party in Canada. Further to that, investigations took place in the United States and Canada with a number of the "Free National Current" followers which is led by MP Michel Aoun. In the outcome of these investigations, information and confessions related to the case of the assassination of MP and Minister Pierre Gemayel, has been extracted and that the American and Canadian authorities these information to the Lebanese government that used in the investigation of the assassination, and reached an important thread task brought to give the orders to raid a number of houses and warehouses belonging to the elements in the Syrian National Party in the area of Koura in North Lebanon, yesterday. (Emphasis mine.)

At a press conference held yesterday evening, Qanso said that the Internal Security Forces carried out a surprise raids on the National elements Koura, led to "the arrest of seven comrades." He assured that the confiscation of explosives and explosive devices and timing" are kept since the 1980s after ceasing the participation in the resistance against Israel ... And we kept them with us as reserve weapon for any later role in the resistance." Qanso described the confiscated weapons as "weapons of individual needed for party member due to the exposed security situation" in Lebanon. And confiscation of weapons and explosives coincides with the severe intense of political crisis in Lebanon between the parliamentary majority opposing Damascus and the opposition that includes Syrian loyalist parties, amongst them, the Syrian Social National Party.

Qanso condemned the raids and warned the security services of "excessive reckless," and threatened that "there are limits to the patience of the nationalists", without giving further details, and enrolled what has happened in the framework of the "incitement" of the opposition that, since the beginning of this month, has started an open stay-in strike to overdraw the government. Qanso denounced the "campaign of rumours trying to give the impression that there is a link between the raids and security events that took place in Lebanon."

Lebanon witnessed, in the last two years, a series of explosions and assassinations took six dignitary figures opposes Syria, notably former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri February 14, 2005, the latest Minister Pierre Gemayel on November 21.

The Lebanese militias handed over their weapons to the state after the end of the civil war (1975 - 1990) except for "Hezbollah" Shiite who retained under the title of resisting Israel."December 29, 2006 09:55 AM