The discovery of the bombing plan of former Information Minister Michel Samaha and Syrian National Security Bureau head Maj.General Ali Mamlouk has outraged the Lebanese politicians of the March 4 opposition alliance who called on the government to take serious measures to address the issue.
Judge Sami Sader , the government’s deputy commissioner at the Military Tribunal, indicted on Saturday Samaha and Mamlouk for setting up an armed group to incite sectarian strife through “terrorist attacks,” National News Agency reported on Saturday.
The indictment also included another Syrian army officer who was only identified as Brig. Gen. Adnan.
Thousands of Samaha’s
March 14 MP Assem Aaraji said it was “important to recall Lebanese Ambassador to Syria Michel Khoury and file a complaint against Syria at the UN Security Council, ” according to a reported published Sunday in Kuwaiti newspaper As-Seyassah.
“ It is possible that there are thousands of collaborators like Samaha… assigned to commit terrorist acts,” Aaraji also said and called for “a fair trial and a severe punishment for Samaha.”
Expel Syrian envoy
March 14 MP Marwan Hamadeh told An-Nahar newspaper that it was about time “to summon Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdel Karim Ali and expel him with the explosives to his country.”
Hamadeh also said it was about time to recall Khoury “until a new democratic authority is established in Syria.”
Tried for high treason
March 14 MP Sami Gemayel told An-Nahar that if allegations against Samaha are true then the former minister must be tried for “high treason.”
“If it is proven that allegations [against Samaha] are true and that the Syrian regime is involved in the bombings plan for Lebanon … then all those who issue statements in support of the Syrian regime must be punished. In this case, Lebanon must also cancel the Fraternity, Cooperation and Coordination Treaty between Lebanon and Syria,” Gemayel added.
Cut relations with Syria
March 14 General Secretariat coordinator Fares Soueid told An Nahar newspaper that March 14 parties held meetings in the past two days to discuss the issue and called on President Michel Suleiman and the cabinet to cut relations with the Syrian regime.
On Thursday, Lebanese security forces arrested Samaha in a case linked to a bombing plan aimed to create a strife in Lebanon
Following his arrest, several reports revealed that Samaha confessed under interrogation that he had transferred “explosives from Syria to Lebanon in order to carry out bombings in North Lebanon, particularly in the area of Akkar, with Syria’s knowledge.”
“This is what Bashar wants,” Lebanese security sources quoted Samaha as saying of Syrian President Bashar Assad, in a video shot by a Lebanese undercover agent for the Internal Security Forces Information Branch.
He was referring to the bombing plan that was meant to be carried out in north Lebanon.
The security sources also said that, in the video, Samaha can be seen and heard as saying that Syrian Maj. Gen. Ali Mamlouk had handed him the bombs in addition to $170,000 cash that was meant to be distributed to would-be executors of the bombing plan in Lebanon.
Samaha is known for being a staunch ally of the Syrian regime and Hezbollah even years before he was appointed a minister in the cabinet. He was among several pro-Syrian Lebanese officials who were sanctioned in 2007 by the United States for “contributing to political and economic instability in Lebanon.”
Last November Samaha criticized the sanctions against Syria as a further attempt to break up the country.
“The sanctions are aimed at deconstructing Syria and not to reform it “, he was quoted as saying.
While the bombing plan outraged the March 14 politicians, March 8th majority coalition which includes Hezbollah and the Free Patriotic movement have denounced the arrest of Samaha and considered it as part of March 14 campaign to target all pro-Syrian and pro-resistance groups.
“We will not remain silent over what happened today,” Hezbollah MP Mohammad Raad said Thursday following Samaha’s arrest.
Similarly Justice Minister Shakib Qortbawi who represents Hezbollah ally General Michel Aoun in the cabinet criticized Samaha’s arrest . He told NBN:
“The manner in which Samaha was arrested is unacceptable at all and I will request the acting general prosecutor to investigate the matter.”
The Iranian and Syrian backed Hezbollah militant group is a staunch supporter of the Syrian regime in its crackdown against the pro democracy protesters . Over 21000 Syrians, mainly civilians have been killed since the uprising erupted 17 months ago, according to activists.