Lebanon: Opposition calls for peaceful uprising against Syria
The United Nations has formed a committee of experts to investigate former Lebanese Premier Hariri's assassination as prominent Druze opposition leader Walid Jumblat demanded that Syria's military intelligence chief Brig. Gen. Rustom Ghazaleh be a prime suspect for interrogation.
Jumblat conveyed Gen. Ghazaleh must be interrogated because as chief of Syria's military intelligence in Lebanon he could be the main suspect who plotted and executed the massive bombing assassination.
Jumblat made the statement Friday night on the sidelines of an opposition declaration of an uprising to extract Lebanon from Syria's dominance, but by "peaceful and democratic means." Jumblat also scolded President Lahoud for exercising his swimming hobby all through Hariri's funeral procession on Wednesday.
On his part, Lebanon's Interior Minister Suleiman Franjieh, however, warned the government would not tolerate public disturbances. "The state will not stand idly by," he said.
U.N Secretary-General Kofi Annan is dispatching a team led by Ireland's deputy police commissioner to Beirut in the next few days to investigate Hariri's assassination, the U.N. spokesman disclosed Friday. The move came in response to a request from the Security Council that he urgently report on "the circumstances, causes and consequences" of Hariri's assassination, the spokesman said in a statement.
"The team will make contact with Lebanese officials and others to gather such information as necessary for the secretary-general to the council in a timely manner," the statement said.
Peter Fitzgerald, the team leader, has been a deputy Irish police commissioner since 1998 and has worked in U.N. peacekeeping operations in Namibia and Cambodia and was police commissioner in Bosnia until February 1997. He also served as a member of the independent team that investigated security at U.N. headquarters in Baghdad before the Aug. 19 bombing that killed 22 people and injured over 160.
Accaording to the statement, the team going to Beirut "will consist of staff with relevant expertise" but no other names were announced. On his part, Lebanon's government said that it was unlikely to cooperate with the UN commission.