Saniora before STL: Hariri Sought Extension of Hrawi's Term to Avoid Lahoud's Election


The Special Tribunal for Lebanon's Defense team continued on Thursday its cross-examination of head of the Mustaqbal bloc MP Fouad Saniora, with questions focusing on United Nations Security Council resolution 1559 and former Premier Rafik Hariri's ties with ex-President Emile Lahoud.

Saniora said: “Hariri fought hard to ensure that the term of later President Elias Hrawi was extended in 1995 in order to avoid the election of Emile Lahoud as president.”

“Hariri exerted all possible democratic efforts to extend Hrawi's term,” he revealed.

“Given the choice between Hrawi and Lahoud, Hariri opted for the former,” Saniora added.

“Lahoud was probably a bit bitter about this when he came to power in 1998 and it may have been one of the reasons why he did not get along well with Hariri,” remarked the MP before the court.

“But on the first day that Lahoud came to office, raids and rumors about targeting pro-Hariri figures began to circulate in Lebanon and I was one of these targets,” he noted.

“Lahoud, as a president, should have worked on bringing the Lebanese people together, but he didn't and this was reflected on the social, economic, security, and financial situation on the ground,” he said.

“A president of a republic should embrace all sides,” he stated.

Asked by the Defense whether Hariri had an issue with Lahoud on a personal level, Saniora replied: “The two officials shared different mentalities and approaches on how to govern the country and so it was hard for them to get along.”

“Hariri tried all means to overcome differences with Lahoud, but to no avail,” he revealed.

Ties between Hariri and Lahoud became even more strained in 2004 when the Syrian regime pushed for the extension of his term.

On whether the extension of Lahoud's term and the issuing of resolution 1559 were linked, Saniora noted: “The extension may have been a factor, but other matters came into play in the resolution.”

Earlier during the testimony, the MP emphasized that Hariri did not have a hand in devising the resolution.

“Even though he did have strong relations with foreign powers, Hariri could not have swayed all 15 members of the Security Council to vote for the resolution,” he remarked.

In the afternoon, Saniora answered the questions of the Defense on Solidere – a joint-stock company that was in charge of reconstructing Beirut's central district after the civil war – the four generals who were arrested after Hariri's murder, and details about the bombing.

Saniora noted that “out of $1.8 billion in investments in Solidere, Hariri had only 120 million dollars, which is equivalent to 6.5-7%.”

He also reiterated that “orders were given to fill the crater created by the explosion on February 14, 2005 and to remove all the (destroyed) vehicles.”

“This is what was later confirmed through investigations,” he pointed out.

Saniora also revealed that he was told personally by U.N. investigator Peter Fitzgerald that the crime scene was “tampered with.”

Fitzgerald is the author of the report of the Fact-Finding Mission to Lebanon that inquired into “the causes, circumstances and consequences of the assassination” of Hariri.

After arriving in Beirut February 25, 2005, the mission interviewed Lebanese officials and politicians, examined the Lebanese investigation and legal proceedings, inspected the crime scene and collected evidence. It also interviewed witnesses.

Pressed by the Defense for a second time, Saniora firmly responded that he did not discuss the arrest of the four generals with the then U.S. ambassador to Lebanon or any other ambassador because he was “keen on Lebanon's sovereignty.”

The so-called Four Generals were at the time of the assassination in charge of Lebanon's General Security, Internal Security Forces, army intelligence directorate, and Republican Guard.

They were detained from 2005 until 2009 for their suspected connection to the Hariri assassination. They were later released over lack of evidence.

The cross-examination involved an objection by the Prosecution against the Defense's use of a WikiLeaks cable alleging that then-Justice Minister Charles Rizk was pressured by U.S. ambassador Jeffrey Feltman to release the generals in order to speed up the work of the STL.

Saniora for his part denied the claims, stressing that they were totally baseless.

Concluding his testimony before the tribunal, the ex-PM said he was “honored” to appear before the court.

“I'm honored to have appeared before this court, because it gave me the chance to say the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, in order to reveal what I know about ex-PM Hariri and what he did to defend Lebanon and end its subjugation to the Syrian regime, as well as what he did against the Israeli attacks,” Saniora said.

“I put myself at the disposal of the tribunal, and whenever you see that there is a need, I'm ready to participate and to tell you the whole truth and nothing but the truth,” he added.

Accordingly, Presiding Judge David Re adjourned the trial to April 9. The court will hear other witnesses on that day while Saniora is expected to testify before the tribunal again in late April.

The STL is tackling the assassination of Hariri in a major bombing in Beirut on February 14, 2005.

It has so far indicted five Hizbullah members in the crime.

It kicked off its trial in 2014 and has so far listened to the testimonies of several witnesses.

Testimonies in 2015 have been focusing on the political aspect of the assassination and Hariri's ties with Syria. A number of lawmakers and journalists have given their accounts on the matter.


Comments 30
Thumb stainlessteal over 5 years

This country was built by botoxed women and shall be destroyed by men in suits..

Thumb stainlessteal over 5 years

This country was built by botoxed women and shall be destroyed by men in suits..

Missing helicopter over 5 years

Attempts to extend Hrawi's term were wrong. Attempts to renew Lahoud term were wrong. Boycotting Presidential election sessions is wrong. The only decent President we had in the last 15 years was President Sleiman.

Thumb -phoenix1 over 5 years

Surely there was no love lost between these two men, but whereas it pertains to Emile Lahoud, not only was he the very worst president we ever had, but he was also the very worst Army General together with his predecessor Aoun ever had. These two men, Lahoud and Aoun, they both used the noble uniform of the army to carry out the worst criminal excesses in recent Lebanese history, but then, what's the surprise after all, this is a common sickness that affects all those who make a living by kissing Syrian arse irrespective of whom we're referring to, every Lebanese who licks Syrian arse has that incurable sickness, much worse than Ebola.

Thumb the_roar over 5 years

You worried about the person you shadowed all those years, Bani?

Nope I will leave the old relic..his not worth a response.

besides one must respect their much elder peers, right?

You like the old fossil now Bani? no more shadowing him & insulting him?
glad to see...may you both continue to spew your hate on these forums & stalk whomever you dislike.

Thumb al.finique over 5 years

I find myself repeating the same thing over and over again:
@phoenix is a million times better than you will ever be. Stop attacking him personally.

Thumb the_roar over 5 years

Good for you, lets hope you'll carry his walking stick for him also.

Thumb -phoenix1 over 5 years

Finique, the Fouthie said that you need to carry my walking stick as well, so in this case, what do we do with his general in mummified state, shall we get him the stretcher or read him his last unctions? Or maybe the master of his mummified general, the Sayed Hassan, shouldn't he in this case be using two sticks?

Thumb -phoenix1 over 5 years

Maroun, I love the new term of our liar who claims to come from down under, Kangahouthi. Guys, open the Orange Room, especially posts of two weeks ago where he was as usual all over the place lying about where he lives, the guy is a Beiruti, just another FPM liar.

Thumb -phoenix1 over 5 years

Maroun, by the way, in Australia, shouldn't Kangaroos or rather, Kangahouties be well asleep by now? The guy is a lying prick. He lives in Beirut.

Thumb the_roar over 5 years

Its a shame that a liar who claimed to be an ex Bachir fighter turns out to be anything but...This Phoenix character is not of Lebanese heritage.

But lets not expose the old timer for now,..Lets pretend he is still relevant....Oh btw old relic..I'm as Auzzie as they come.
get over it or choke on it.

Thumb eagledawn over 5 years

lol, You got his number alright. He is as fake as a 2 dollar bill:)

Thumb eagledawn over 5 years

lol, You got his number alright. He is as fake as a 2 dollar bill:)

Thumb the_roar over 5 years

eagledawn, can;t stand the_roar for one reason.

He knows the_roar is the only poster who has never used any other name to post...Not even a guest name.
something that eats at eagledawn day& night as he surveys these forums

Thumb the_roar over 5 years

"Saniora said: “Hariri fought hard to ensure that the term of later President Elias Hrawi was extended"

lol & now can all laugh people....Hrawi was nothing more than a dummy that sat & stood when told...Yep why wouldn't Hariri want him to remain as Pres?

Missing coolmec over 5 years

This is democracy Lebanese style. You are free to criticize as much as you want. But if someone does not like you he deletes you.
Welcome to the sad reality dude.

Missing coolmec over 5 years

Right on Dude
I agree with you 100%
not only something is wrong in Lebanon but Lebanon is being pushed into the abyss and very soon if it continues at this pace not much will be left of it.
I sincerely hoe I am wrong

Missing coolmec over 5 years

@the roar
So what about Lahoud? didn't he sit and stand when he was ordered to do so by the Assad's? so what's the difference. Isn't your darling Aoun doing the same now???

Thumb the_roar over 5 years

coolmec...why do you go from being a reasonable person to such an erratic person from one post to the next?

General Aoun opposed Syria whilst it had one Syrian boot in Lebanon.
Why do you deceive yourself & say such lies?

You want Lebanon to oppose Syria after it left? but you forget the people who followed their orders whilst in Lebanon?
How do you debate that ?

Thumb the_roar over 5 years

Wrong winston...I only support people who supported their nation.
General Aoun stood alone in the face of Syrian armed occupation.

where were the people you praise now when Syria was stomping on Lebanese heads inside lebanon?

Even Sanoira admitted hariri was allied for over 25 years whilst they occupied Lebanon.

now they left, you make up BS to justify those you support who used to be Syrian puppets whilst they occupied your land.

Thumb the_roar over 5 years

I careless about HA or the Shia..its your choice how to live.

You can always move from HA dominated areas..who is stopping you?

A man decides his own destiny...why can't you?

Thumb -phoenix1 over 5 years

Roar the liar, you called me again by names, Old Fossil one of them. man, when will you stop lying again, masalan in Australia, people are very late at night, you're still posting? Don't you have a life? Don't you have a job ya Kangahoutie? Now let's be honest, for those who missed my spanking you some 2 weeks ago, you're a LIAR, you live right here in Beirut. No one hates you poor thing, you are doing it all by yourself anyway, call me by whatever names you wish, I mean what would that make Aoun, a mummy. Or what about Hassan Nasrallah, shouldn't he too be an old fossil? No matter what, anything is better than being called a LIAR, which of course refers to you.

Thumb the_roar over 5 years

You couldn't spank an ant old timer.

But let us all pretend you're still relevant old fossil.

Now go find your ex PLO daddy..Did you ever find him?

Thumb eagledawn over 5 years

go to sleep kiddo

Thumb the_roar over 5 years

Not yet Grandpa...Watch your step on the way out huh.

Thumb -phoenix1 over 5 years

Roar, the liar, I now have my confirmation that you're not only a blatant liar but also a stereotyper, you have that something in you that keeps mimicking people's posts, why? Dunno, but the worst part is this: You have something in you that says, Cheap, very cheap, you lack class, you lack flair, you're just very cheap and it shows. Your problem seems monumental to say the least because by the time you get over your chronic lying you would would be dead and gone. Anyway, whatever you touch, you make it feel cheap, this is something that is in you ya dear Roar and there's not much one can do to help you. Now it's late in your imaginary Australia, try some sleep coz you're getting most broaring as in boring, and boring cheap too.

Thumb the_roar over 5 years

You worry about finding your long lost PLO daddy & let me worry when to go to sleep...I'm sure you have far more important natters to deal with.

move along old timer...Remember the walking stick as you do!

Thumb -phoenix1 over 5 years

m14, new troll from down under? Huh.

Thumb -phoenix1 over 5 years

Roar, and I quote, sorry to link it to the Orange Room again, "...they have some temperamental people at Naharnet, if they criticize us too much, the only way is to derail their threads by attacking them personally...", unquote. Now ya Borar, care to say something on this post of your there? isn't it now too evident that your mission is again to deflect criticism from your dear old Aoun by attacking us directly and personally? It was expected of you and your yellow friends to do it again, since today alone some 4 threads focused on Gebran and Aoun. Now please, for your own sake, stop lying and behave, that's all, or you'll roll on beans again.

Thumb -phoenix1 over 5 years

Roar the boar now says that it's well past 5 PM in Australia, and that he has to go to work. he had no choice since I exposed him as a paid FPM troll whose only mission is to deflect our focus when too much criticism is levied on his dear old Aoun the claoun. Well, I'll leave him to drive safely, don't wnt anything bad happening to him on the road. Boar, don't forget, down under they drive on the left, like they do in the Orange Room.