Geagea Says Syria Most Likely behind Kidnapping of Estonians


Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea has said that Syria was most likely behind the abduction of seven Estonian tourists and blamed the failure of Premier-designate Najib Miqati to form a government on divisions among the March 8 forces.

“When we see that four, five days ago the Syrian brothers started telling the Estonian government through mediators that they can help in this, and crossing that with other almost confirmed information that they (Estonian hostages) are now in Syria or at the very least if they were not in Syria then the key to the hand (that is holding them) is in Syria … the issue becomes clear,” Geagea told The Daily Star in an interview published Wednesday.

“Until further notice, I can say that the main side behind it (the abduction) is the brothers in Syria,” he said. “How would they benefit, in what area, it is not clear yet but as long as they (Syrians) offered their services to see if the door is open (for them to negotiate), then we will find out exactly what they want.”

The seven men, all in their 30s and early 40s, were kidnapped at gunpoint in the eastern Bekaa Valley after entering Lebanon through Syria last month.

Geagea told the English-language newspaper that the blast outside the church in Zahle was aimed at diverting attention away from the kidnapping. “It was a secondary operation and the church wasn’t the target per say. It left damages but it wasn’t a separate attack.”

On the political front, Geagea predicted that forming a government would eventually fall back into the hands of the March 14 coalition but cautioned that it would find it difficult to govern, mainly because of Hizbullah’s weapons.

“What is delaying the formation of the government is that what we call the other side, are not one side. All that brings them together is their rejection of the reality that was established after the Cedar Revolution,” the LF leader said.

He said Hizbullah and Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun could not govern or build a state.