Assad should explain Samaha issue, says Suleiman


Lebanon President Michel Suleiman said on Saturday that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should call him and explain the transfer of weapons from Syria to Lebanon in the car of former Information Minister Michel Samaha.

“ The Lebanese judiciary accused a Syrian official of sending weapons to Lebanon , and I expect the Syrian president to call me and explain the incident . I hope this call will take place,” National News Agency quoted Suleiman as saying.

Earlier this month , Lebanese security forces arrested Samaha in a case linked to a bombing plan aimed to create a strife in Lebanon

On August 11, Judge Sami Sader charged Samaha and two Syrian army officers with setting up an armed group to incite sectarian strife through “terror attacks.”

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.”