Saniora to STL: Hariri Told me about Murder Plots by Hizbullah


Al-Mustaqbal bloc leader MP Fouad Saniora said on Tuesday that his longtime friend, slain former Premier Rafik Hariri, confided to him that he had discovered several assassination attempts by Hizbullah against him.

“Hariri was driving his car and I was sitting next to him when he suddenly turned towards me and said: 'You know Fouad, by now we have discovered several assassination attempts by Hizbullah against me',” Saniora told the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.

Saniora told prosecutors Hariri confided to him of his concerns about his personal security around the end of 2003 or the beginning of 2004.

Five Hizbullah members have been charged with plotting Hariri's Feb. 14, 2005 assassination in a massive explosion at the Beirut seafront but have not been arrested. Their trial in absentia began in January 2014 and is ongoing.

Hizbullah denies involvement in the murder and the group's leader, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, has denounced the court as a conspiracy by his archenemies — the U.S. and Israel.

"Had the STL not been established, then assassinations would have continued," Saniora told the court.

The investigations into previous assassinations and crimes had never led to identifying the perpetrators, he said. “So there was a necessity to establish a competent, honest, transparent, neutral and impartial tribunal.”

“Some cabinet members at the time exerted efforts to stop the establishment of the STL,” he added.

Asked whether he thought ex-President Emile Lahoud was in support of the court, Saniora said: “I don't think he welcomed its establishment.”

In his testimony, the MP described Hariri as a “charismatic” leader whose opponents sought to "sabotage" his achievements.

“Hariri was able to attract officials' attention. He was very charismatic,” said Saniora, the most senior politician to testify at the STL near The Hague, Netherlands.

Several videotapes were played by the prosecution showing Hariri's meetings with Arab and world leaders in the months that preceded his murder.

Hariri “was capable through his charismatic personality, intelligence and knowledge to draw the attention of dignitaries and leaders,” said the lawmaker.

Saniora confirmed to the court that the former premier's visits abroad upset his opponents.

“Every time he made an achievement during these visits such as building new relations … Hariri used to say God help us when we return to Beirut,” said Saniora.

“The Lebanese-Syrian security regime sought to sabotage his achievements abroad,” the MP stressed.

“Some people wanted to push the country forward while others wanted to keep it under their firm grip,” he said.

The STL Defense then questioned Saniora on the case of the four Lebanese generals who were arrested in 2005 in connection to the Hariri murder.

He said: “After all legal measures were taken, I, as premier at the time, was contacted to be informed that the four generals would be arrested.”

“My role in the arrest was limited to just being informed of the development and this is according to the law,” he explained.

Former General Security chief Jamil al-Sayyed, former head of the Internal Security Forces Ali Hajj, former head of Army Intelligence Raymond Azar, and former head of the presidential guard Mustafa Hamdan were detained from 2005 until 2009 for their connection to the Hariri assassination.

They were released over a lack of evidence.

The Defense is expected to continue its cross-examination of Saniora on Wednesday.

On his first day of testimony, Saniora said that Hariri leaned on his shoulder and began to sob over insults directed to the former premier by Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Unlike other March 14 officials who gave their testimonies at the court, Saniora shied away from naming the individuals involved in the Lebanese-Syrian security apparatus or those who targeted Hariri's reformist plan.

He seemed to have been avoiding a clash with Hizbullah. Al-Mustaqbal is engaged in talks with the party since December to limit the sectarian tension caused by the war in neighboring Syria.



Comments 43
Thumb stainlessteal over 5 years

Stop and smell the roses..

Thumb the_roar over 5 years

10 years , $320m later & what evidence do they have?

Market stall stories.

Cmon Lebanon pay the next installment of $320m.... that way you will get to hear some more ripping stories.

Missing SkyHigh over 5 years

This is how Hizbullah plotted and killed Rafiq Hariri:

Thumb the_roar over 5 years

Why didn't you present this reliable info to the STL?

you could of save Lebanon another $320m.

Thumb freedomarch over 5 years

So mrs. ROAR, it is OK to kill our leaders and lwt it go aa long as there is an expense related. Money is an issue you are repeating as an excuse against arriving to the truth regarding the killers. IN YOUR BEAUTIFUL and logical mind it is ok to let things go, as always crimes in Lebanon do, as long as there is an expense and money or money to be paid. WHAT a nice argument . So let the killers runaway or bettwr tosay, let the assasins do their jobs wiwithout interruption it is going to Cost us money if a investigate or take to court.!!! DO You believe that is right? Our leaders get killed ans you are checking the bills ...a crime that started and is on going against M14 never moved any nerve in such a num dead human's feelings.

Thumb the_roar over 5 years

I have no problem with a fair trial & find out who killed all the leaders...Lebanon should investigate Bachir Gemayel 1st & then move along to them all.

No problem if that happened....but this is not a trial for truth.

Its nothing more than a politicized theatrical media trial.
Hope you see a bit more than hearsay for your money.
But as you say Lebanon can afford to throw away hundreds of millions to watch this hearsay show.

Missing helicopter over 5 years

This is about the same amount of money it took HA and Assad to plan and execute the assassination and cover up their tracks. This was one expensive operation, but the stakes were high also, their (Assad, HA and Amal) revenues from looting Lebanon were in the Billions of Dollars annually.

Missing SkyHigh over 5 years

The threshold for justice is "reasonable doubt", I don't think anyone has any doubt that Hizbullah are a bunch of murderers, from Rafiq Hariri to what they did in Bulgaria and all their other crimes. God's curse on them and on everyone who supports them. They are fighting ISIS but when a killer kills another killer, that does not make him righteous and wipes all the crimes committed.

Thumb _mowaten_ over 5 years

Give it up pajama, you're too dumb to understand the geopolitical stakes here. It's not just about your hatred for shias, there is much more going on.

Thumb eagledawn over 5 years

geopolitical stakes....LOL. Do enlighten us filthy sectarian

Thumb freedomarch over 5 years

Mo wati n, You are too smart to follow a mullah in charge follow a militia _ lord - then follow a lunatic all loose nuts sectarian - fanatics - care nothing about Lebanon. The do care about pleasing God on earth and a chair respectively.

Thumb _mowaten_ over 5 years

Those you say "care nothing about Lebanon" still liberated its land and continue to give their lives to protect it against all outside threats. Your broken record is just lies, repeated until you start believing it yourself, but facts are stubborn.

And by what standard do you call them "fanatics"? In words as much as in deeds they are rational, open to others and humane. I personally am no fan of religions, but believe that other people's faiths are none of my concern, as long as they don't try to impose it on anyone.

Missing helicopter over 5 years

No he was not allied with HA that time, he was playing his political cards the best he can given his peaceful approach vs. militant thugs (HA and Assad). HA is known to either get their way or eliminate the opponent.

Thumb freedomarch over 5 years

Allies? Dreaming or what? Might have been confused between inforced members of cabinet and to Have to work with And trying to save the country from Hizbolah reckless and dangerous provocative actions to make wars.

Missing bigjohn over 5 years

"Saniora to STL: Hariri Told me about Murder Plots by Hizbullah"....I am sure if you ask the M8 politicians they would say that Hariri told them that that Israel and America had murder plots against him because he never said anything critical of HA.

Where is the evidence? This is getting very boring. It is nothing but a political charade. If this trial was done in the west against a westerner, it would have been thrown out a long time ago.

Missing bigjohn over 5 years

You can easily come up with a motive when you have a politician killed. How long do you spend time on this? When President Moawid was assassinated you can come up with many different sides who had a motive...Syria, Aoun, LF, Israel, Marada who supported him, but would rather had someone of their own. This is a LONG charade.

Missing bigjohn over 5 years

Where was this "evidence" brought from and has it been investigated for authenticity or transparency? How does any of this prove without a reasonable doubt that any of those mentioned are guilty?

BTW, those with HA get peanuts compared to those working for the M14, KSA, American/ Israeli alliance. Just remember how much benefits the National and Islamic resistance were receiving compared to the SLA?

Missing bigjohn over 5 years

You look what Hariri said on record when he was ALIVE, not what opportunists say after he DIED? I lived in the US the majority of my life. This "trial" would not have continued, unless you believe that the US MOSTLY care about Democracy and Freedom in ALL the Middle East especially their Arab puppet dictators?

Missing bigjohn over 5 years

Even though I never liked Rafiq Hariri (because he was vicious capitalist billionaire), he is 10 times smarter than these M14 fools. He knew that in Lebanon you do not become credible when you hug persons like Condoliza Rice who have Lebanese babies blood on her hands and constantly smear the Lebanese resistance. So because the KSA and America want HA members out of Syria, they want to smear the Resistance until they leave. Is that the ONLY thing M14 have to show after 10 years without Rafiq Hariri? I do not vote for either M8 or M14, but this issue is hurting them rather than helping them (I guess the money they receive from the Royal dictators is what matters most).

Missing imagine_1979 over 5 years

The other theory bigjohn os that israel assassinated hariri kassir hawi tueini gemael.... All syrian regime opponents so u find this more logic??

Missing bigjohn over 5 years

Oh Israel is very fair especially when it comes to Arabs AND those who humiliated her in Lebanon? Do M14 leaders realize that this charade is hurting them in LEBANON, no matter how much money they are receiving (they should complain to their masters)?

Thumb freedomarch over 5 years

RIP Germany and France hope you all rest in peace. And God bless the free world.

Thumb freedomarch over 5 years

150 died in a plane crash. Hope all Lebanese get to their loved ones and all others with no harm

Thumb the_roar over 5 years

I agree with RIP but why bless only the free world?

Why not the poor of the world who have no choice where they are born & have to live through poverty & wars?

May God bless all of humanity, especially the poor & those suffering.

Thumb freedomarch over 5 years

WE are behind the truth, not behind any party or politician or behind any ideology. IF we have clear proove why should we deny it. IF Hizbulah have not been involved or the syrian Regimes then I / we are ok wuth ir The big But is . All the evidenice is showing otherwise.

Thumb the_roar over 5 years

If the proof is there, then most will accept it & denounce the culprit/s.

As for evidence this far....there isn't any...That has been my point.

10 years & hundreds of millions later to have hearsay evidence.
If you doubt how pathetic its been, just ask yourself this....why have the people in charge of this investigation resigned, one after the other?

Which person in charge of such a large investigation, resigns?
why so many? any me the evidence & stop this embarrassing hearsay stories...its making a mockery of Lebanon & its people.

Thumb the_roar over 5 years

Agree with what I think? I have put the facts before you.

Yet you & others keep returning with diff scenario's

When you have solid evidence....PRESENT IT.

All this line by line description via the media is serving what purpose? You claim its not politicized explain to us which respectful international court pounds out hearsay line by line via the media with no factual evidence to go with it?

for your info ..Whoever is found guilty should be denounced.
I care less if they find HA to be behind it...but do it properly & stop this charade.

Thumb cash.puppet over 5 years

all the evidence presented by those who are openly allied to hezb's enemies? Yea ok, try again.

Thumb cash.puppet over 5 years

The outcome is already determined, smarty.

Missing helicopter over 5 years

The key word is "WAS", while HA and your tribes still ARE

Missing helicopter over 5 years

THis was meant in reply to f.t. post below

Default-user-icon mazen (Guest) over 5 years

The defense lawyers cannot be trusted they kept calling the Syrian presence in Lebanon an "occupation"!

Thumb cash.puppet over 5 years

Words of a man of integrity, who is not openly allied with those wishing Hezb's destruction, and has a history of exemplifying the ideals of free thought, financial stability, and political know-how. He is DEFINITELY NOT paid to blame the bane of his masters' existence. Definitely not. He is a man of utmost honesty, and who does not associate with propaganda aimed at bringing Lebanon under the wing of the world association of banksters, who want to leech every penny out of every human on the planet in an attempt to enslave us all and bring about a one world government.

Definitely not.

Thumb the_roar over 5 years

He's as sincere as his crocodile tears !

Thumb freedomarch over 5 years

Yislam timak @Winston.

Thumb freedomarch over 5 years

Where did he lie ya southern of Iran?

Missing people-power over 5 years

Syria had 30,000 troops occupying Lebanon, and Syria controlled the Security apparatus in Lebanon, what did you expect Rafik Hariri to say to the occupying murderous butcher regime???

Missing people-power over 5 years

Here's a quote from your own article....

"..... Hezbollah had sought the electoral alliance in 2005 after Hariri’s assassination because they realized there was a change in the balance of power with the withdrawal of Syria’s troops"

Missing people-power over 5 years

Stop lying taqiya boy. After evidence showed proof that Hezbollah carried out the assassination, Saad Hariri said there was no proof that the Syrian regime was involved. Saad Hariri never said it was "a mistake to accuse hezbollah of murdering his dad".

That is a big fat lie, typical of your daytime job here, posting propaganda and lies 24/7 on a website that you accuse of being Saudi-owned, or Israeli-owned (depending on your instructions).

What a pitiful life you have, spending your sad life 24/7 on a website you hate, posting insults and propaganda . You are a Loser with a capitol L.

Take a hike taqiya boy.

Default-user-icon hammerhead (Guest) over 5 years

Stop the charade, This is how sick the Lebanese mind has become, even if irrefutable evidence is found nothing will change within the M8 camp. The M8 camp know full well that Bachaar instigated and Ha implemented the murder.

Thumb whyaskwhy over 5 years

If the STL was to hand over proof written in gold by Nassrallah himself the Iranians will reject it as fabricated and call it an incitement against their wonderful faith. Why bother arguing here in the end its irrelevant as Iran will not allow 5 plotters or to be brought to justice nor will they accept any international laws. The law of the jungle is what they want and hence why they live in the squalor they so readily enjoy.

Thumb Machia over 5 years

Politics is a waste of time. Security and economics are the key to better our lives.
Politics that does not produce peace, security and better living standards is destructive.
We are humans that have on average 80 years to live and then our children inherit what we build them.
We need leadership that only has that in mind. Nothing else.

Thumb Machia over 5 years

Lee Kuan Yew built of the greatest countries on earth, Singapore, a country that is “not supposed to exist and cannot exist,” as Lee said in a 2007 interview . “We don’t have the ingredients of a nation,” he noted, “the elementary factors: a homogeneous population, common language, common culture and common destiny".
Yesterday a NYT opinion said "Lee’s only religion was pragmatism, of which religion (as generally understood) is the enemy, because, to some adherents, it offers revealed truths that are fact-resistant. Any ideology that abhors facts is problematic."
"He abhorred victimhood (an excuse for sloppy thinking and nationalist delusion) and corruption. He prized opportunity, meritocracy, the work ethic of the immigrant and education."
This is the only kind of leader we need. It is enough now. We want security and prosperity at any price.