Aoun launches attack against Lebanon intelligence chief


Change and Reform bloc leader MP Michel Aoun launched an attack against Internal Security Forces (ISF) Information Branch chief Colonel Wissam al-Hassan following his bloc’s weekly meeting.

“Hassan’s presence in his post is against Article 8 of the law pertaining to the ISF. There is no body called the Information Branch. Who is it formed of? What are its foreign connections?” Aoun told reporters

“I do not engage in Hassan’s work. When the false witnesses’ issue was raised, he knew what he did. The Information Branch is a branch that does not legally exist. The violations were covered up by a prime minister.” A possible reference to deposed PM Saad Hariri.

Aoun has repeatedly campaigned against the ISF Information Branch, which arrested in August 2010 Brigadier General Fayez Karam, a senior member of Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement in addition to several other spies .

Hezbollah also launched an attack against Colonel al-Hassan. Hezbollah MP Nawwaf al-Moussawi last week accused the Police Intelligence chief of providing the information about the indictment in former PM Rafik Hariri’s Feb. 2005 assassination to a media outlet.

“The security agency that distributed the copies of indictments and résumés of the accused before it becomes public is known. Col. Wissam al-Hassan delivered the leaks to a single media outlet,” al-Moussawi said at the parliament.

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon issued the indictments in the assassination of Lebanon’s former PM Hariri on June 30. An STL delegation met with Lebanon’s state prosecutor Said Mirza and handed him a copy of the Lebanon portion of the indictment and the arrest warrants. Two of the suspects Mustafa Badreddine and Salim Ayyash are reportedly senior members of the Iranian and Syrian-backed Hezbollah while the other two Hassan Aneissy, also known as Hassan Issa, and Assad Sabra played a supporting role in the execution of the assassination

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah denounced on several occasions the court as a conspiracy by the U.S. and Israel and said last year that the group “will cut off the hand” of anyone who tries to arrest its party members linked to the February 14, 2005 bombing that killed Hariri and 22 others.

Lebanon has 30 days to find and arrest the suspects but Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah said on July 2 that the party would not cooperate with the tribunal.

“No Lebanese government will be able to carry out any arrests whether in 30 days, 30 years or even 300 years.”

General Security chief

Asked about the post of a General Security chief, which most recently was held by a Shiite but was originally held by a Maronite (before the period of Syrian tutelage in Lebanon) , Aoun responded :” I am requesting to restore the position to the Maronites . I have not met with Speaker Nabih Berri until now on this issue , and we are not in a disagreement with Berri.”

“Whether the position goes to the Maronites or the Shiites, it is not the end of the world.” He said

The issue of appointments will be the top topic this Thursday during the first cabinet meeting ( after securing the vote of confidence) . The position was most recently held by the late General Wafik Jezzini, a Shiite who passed away last March after suffering from a terminal illness. Jezzini like his predecessor Jamil Al Sayed was very closely associated with Hezbollah ). Sayed , who is also a Shiite was one of Syria’s top operatives in Lebanon from 1998-2005, when he was imprisoned in connection with the assassination of former Lebanese premier Rafik Hariri .