Photo: AFP
Assad. Lost his mind
Photo: AFP
Photo: AP
Berri. Changed his mind
Photo: AP

Assad threatened to kill Nabih Berri, report says

Kuwait-based newspaper reports Syrian president conveyed message to Lebanese parliament speaker after hearing latter plans to discuss in parliament plan for international tribunal to try suspects in murder of Rafik Hariri

Syrian President Bashar Assad threatened to kill Lebanese Parliament speaker Nabih Berri and his family members, the Kuwait-based newspaper al-Siyasa reported Sunday.


According to the report, which quotes "knowledgeable sources," the Lebanese parliament speaker recently received a direct threat from the Syrian president, according to which he, his wife and his children would be murdered if he dared to discuss in the parliament the plan for an international tribunal to try suspects in the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.


According to the sources, following talks held recently between Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the head of the Saudi National Security Council, and his colleague in Tehran, the Iranians eventually agreed to give a green light and instruct Berri to convene a special parliament meeting to discuss the issue.


Iran's ambassador to Beirut informed Hizbullah of the decision and instructed the organization to allow Berri to hold the discussions, based on the understanding that there would be a lot of foot-dragging regarding the issue.


After Assad learned of the agreement between Saudi Arabia and Iran, the sources reported, he "lost his mind" and called one of Berri's prominent loyalists in Lebanon, former Lebanese Defense Minister Abdel-Rahim Mrad.


Mrad arrived at the presidential palace, where the Syrian president ordered him to tell Berri that Assad would kill him, his wife and his children if he accepts the Iranian-Syrian call and convenes a parliament meeting to discuss the international tribunal.


According to the report, Assad's threats achieved their goal, as Berri apparently changed his mind and does not plan to hold a parliament meeting on the issue in the near future. Thus it seems that if such a tribunal is established, it will be initiated by the United Nations Security Council.


It should be noted, however, that the Kuwaiti newspaper is famous for its sensational reports and has been sued more than once by Syrian elements.


פרסום ראשון: 02.12.07, 00:00
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