August 30, 2005
Two notes from Lebanon
After a great deal of to-ing and fro-ing, the international commission investigating Rafiq Hariri's death has taken into custody the four senior security chiefs at the time of the assassination, including the serving head of the Presidential Guard. They're only in for questioning, rather than under any sort of arrest or indictment, but it's still a pretty big deal.
As a side note, when I was picking up my dinner, the restaurant's owner was complaining about how everyone else knew something big was going down except him: he had had only five delivery orders the day before, and practically no eat-in customers, apparently because everyone was keeping their heads down. "This is supposed to be an international commission ... what kind of secrecy is this?"
Also, tomorrow (August 31) is the twenty-seventh anniversary of Musa Sadr's abduction. Sadr, who founded the AMAL movement and was the first person to bring Shi'ite Islam into the political sphere in Lebanon, was kidnapped on a visit to Libya in 1978 and has not been heard from since. (Qaddafi is not a very popular man in Lebanon.) There are signs up all over Beirut, and ads in all the paper, commemorating the day. I don't know if this is a trick of selective memory or not, but I at least don't remember this much of a fuss being made in previous years - it sure looks like an attempt to compete with the Hariri cult. (Which has subsided somewhat, but there are still a lot of big official posters of Hariri, and a fair number of the unofficial private ones as well. And you still see the big black "the truth / al haqiqa" signs up in places.)
 (a cousin of the Iraq Sadrs)
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from the New York times:
"A fifth suspect, a pro-Syrian member of Parliament, Nasser Qandil, who was in Syria this morning, was reportedly apprehended by the police at the Masnaa border crossing late this afternoon."
Posted by: Iwasawa at August 30, 2005 05:10 PM
That bit about Qaddafi and Musa Sadr is a fascinating bit of history. Didn't know about that.
Posted by: pantom at August 30, 2005 10:40 PM
So, are there anyy theories why Qaddafi would have him killed. It all sounds pretty bizarre.
Posted by: David Weman at August 31, 2005 07:40 PM
Robert Fisk passes on a couple rumors in Pity the Nation: one that Qaddafi was funding Sadr and they had a disagreement concerning the disbursal of funds, and the other that the Iranian secret police (then under the Shah) kidnapped him with or without Qadaffi's direct approval.
Posted by: Tom Scudder at September 2, 2005 06:49 AM