The Syrian Mukhabarat Cook and the Israeli Press services a threat against Lebanese Druze leaders, MP, Walid Jumblat
Written by Editor, CRNews

Monday, 22 October 2007
CRNews Editor Eblan Farris

Fabricated report by the Syrian intelligence, posted on Champress, gets widely distributed by some press in Israel. One of the strangest media developments out of the Middle East this weekend was an odd dissemination of a fabricated report by the Syrian intelligence, posted on one of their internet sites, but widely distributed by some press in Israel. This comes in the wake of a rising discussion of the future development related to Israel, Syria and Lebanon. The "story" began in Damascus where the well known Mukhabarat (Intelligence Services of Syria) web site "Champress" (yes, odd) which specializes in vitriolic attacks against Syrian President Assad's opponents inside the country as well as in Lebanon and overseas, and is manned by operatives from the various secret services of the Baathist regime, posted a so-called report about a meeting to take place in Washington between Lebanese leader Walid Jumblatt and Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak. The fabricated report stated that "in the next few hours, an American from Lebanese descent, Walid Fares, has arranged for Jumblatt and Barak to meet in a Washington Hotel." The report, going out of its way to describe the "story" said "Fares, who has qualitative relations with AIPAC, has rented a whole executive suite for that purpose (!)." The Mukhabarat report added that a Barak aide received the keys to the suite on Friday as the Israeli Defense Minister will arrive on the morning of Sunday to meet with Jumblatt. "Champress" added that US Vice President Dick Cheney was happy for such meeting and that Jumblatt will ask Barak to "strike at Syria to crumble the regime."

CRNews checked the story and did not find any basis for it, except that "Champress" is indeed an internet site that has been long dedicated to viciously attacking the critics of Bashar Assad. Its previous postings include violent diatribes against Syrian opposition figures, the Lebanese Government of Fouad Siniora, the United States Government, European Governments, Iraqi political forces etc. It has dedicated a large number of attacks and incitements against the Lebanese Parliamentary majority, five among who were later assassinated by Syrian intelligence and allied terror groups. The Terrorism expert of the Council of the Cedars Revolution, Ret Col. Charbel Barakat said that this site is one of the mouthpieces of the intelligence apparatus of Assad. "It usually prepares the psychological ground for violence by demonizing its enemies. If they have been focusing on Jumblatt, it means Assad's services have him in their cross hair. This is one of the most dangerous tools of the regime's psychological warfare." (Link to the original article: )

Khodr Awarka, thought to be based out of Montreal Canada, regularly attacks the Cedars Revolution, its people and its drive to free Lebanon from Syrian Control
CRNews checked on a number of "Champress" writers "specialized" in anti Lebanese threats who have posted their attacks on the site, and found that among them was Khodr Awarka, who is based in Montreal, and whom has violently attacked the Lebanese Cedars Revolution, Saad Hariri (whose colleague MP Walid Eido was assassinated few months ago), Pierre Gemayel (who was assassinated last December), and the Walid Jumblatt bloc (among whom MP Antoine Ghanem was assassinated last month). Awarka, who lead his (linguistically) visceral attacks against "political targets" through his articles on "Champress" and also on al Jazeera, is known among Lebanese émigrés in North America as one of the coordinators for the "axis" (Iran, Syria AND Hezbollah). He has very close ties to the National-Socialist Syrian Party (SSNP) whose militants have been known for political assassinations including Lebanese Prime Minister Riad al Solh and President elect Bashir Gemayel.

Pro-Syrian former Member of Parliament Nassir Qandil, was initially arrested as a suspect in the Hariri Case and was freed a day after the arrests. The Chief UN Investigator at that time, Detliv Mehlis said he was still a suspect.

CRNews also researched statements made by pro-Syrian politicians in Lebanon prior to Mr Jumblatt's visit to the United States and found two notorious pro-Assad political operatives, Nassir Qandil and We'am Wahhab have been attacking Walid Jumblatt prior to his departure from Beirut, and "predicting" that he will meet with Israelis in the US. Nassir Qandil, a former MP under Syrian occupation held a press conference last week in which he charged Jumblatt of meeting with Israelis in Washington and calling the US for actions against Syria. Qandil, who was questioned in the Rafiq Hariri assassination investigation, is one of the staunchest allies of Damascus in Lebanon. The other Syrian ally, Wahhab is a Druze who was a member of Mr Jumblatt Party, but broke away and joined the Syrian camp. Wahhab was a local news director for the American Christian TV station CBN in the 1980s. According to colleagues who worked with him, he used to send media reports to the station after he vetted the items with the Syrian intelligence. The campaign against Jumblatt, according to an NGO official in Beirut, is aimed at disrupting the relations between the March 14 Coalition and the United States and France on the eve of the upcoming Presidential Elections in Lebanon. "The main target by Syrian and Iranian regimes is Walid Jumblatt, who has succeeded in maintaining a Lebanese Christian-Sunni-Druze alliance intact and is attracting more Shia moderates into the anti-Terror camp," said Toni Nissi, the Lebanon Coordinator for the NGO Lebanese Committee UNSCR 1559. "Hence usually when the Mukhabarat in Damascus disseminate such -obviously wrong information- this is a signal that Mr Jumblatt is a target." Attorney John Hajjar, The North American director of the Council of the Cedars Revolution said this article should be passed along as a piece of evidence, shall anything happen to Mr Jumblatt in the future. Those who posted it intended to incite against him.

Pro Syrian Waem Wahhab, a Lebanese Druze, and an opponent of Walid Jumblatt and the March 14 Cedars Revolution Coalition in Lebanon which is seeking Lebanon's Independence from Syrian Control.

But observers, who were not surprised by the Syrian propaganda behavior, were stunned by the editorial decision of a number of Israeli media outlets which rushed to publish the report without informing their readers that the "Champress" web site is in fact a cover for the Syrian intelligence. On the headers of the site, it proclaims it is published by the "Group of Independent Information" Anyone with tacit knowledge of the Syrian Press knows that this does not exist under this Syrian regime. But for respectable newspapers such as Haaretz to publish such Syrian propaganda is unusual. Observers in Washington DC told CRNews that the Haaretz piece filed by Yoav Stern and Shmuel Rosner Haaretz, correspondents in the United States has something unprofessional about it. "It cites a Syrian intelligence web site that is well known for its incitement against the Assad opposition, without checking the facts or informing their readers about the situation. It is like citing Al Manar TV (Hezbollah's) attacking its foes as a source for neutral news. Haaretz has failed its readers, misled other Israeli media and may contribute to some future drama." But other media outlets such as The Israel National News fell victim to the same game, said an Israeli analyst. "It posted the propaganda piece entirely as if it were coming from INN," said the analyst based in Haifa. It didn't check its sources and worse it added wrong facts to the original propaganda material. The INN piece said that Fares is businessman in the US and that he is of Druze Descent." Indeed, CRNews checked this fact and didn't find any Druze businessman by that name in America. The closer name is of a university professor and a Terrorism analyst. Was the Syrian report trying to allude to the academic and cite his name as well? CRNews is still investigating the subject. The Jerusalem Post edition was more reserved in terms of publishing facts however it titled its headline based on the same "Syrian report" giving it a mainstream credibility. Infolive TV, another media outlet in Israel, also cited the report without explaining its background to its readers.

The Cedars Revolution Leaders in Lebanon – a melting pot example of peaceful coexistence and tolerance in a region of the world that needs this example. Seen here are Druze, Christians, Sunni's and Shiia leaders of Lebanon's movement to achieve Independence from Iranian and Syrian Control.

In Beirut, sources close to March 14 Cedars Revolution Group told CRNews "that there are increasing and worrisome signs that the Syrian regime is not the only opponent to freeing Lebanon fully from the Baathist and Iranian control." The sources, which requested to remain anonymous, said "we are observing a campaign to weaken the March 14 Coalition and its strategic relationship to the US, France and the West in general. We have read last week a report issued by an Israeli-based site predicting that the US wants to open bases in northern Lebanon. The Debkafile report cited details about such a project. The US embassy in Beirut rejected the content quickly. Such a news piece results at emboldening the "axis" forces to strike early at the Cedars Revolution and the Siniora Government. It doesn't serve the Lebanese at this point to have false reports about US bases and other false reports about meetings with Israelis published by Israeli-based media, and stunningly originating from the regime of the Syrian Dictator Bashar Assad." The sources said "we don not know if there is an understanding between the Syrian regime and some quarters in Israel about maintaining Lebanon under Syrian tutelage or is it that the Syro-Iranians have penetrated as far as manipulating Israeli media as they are doing with Western media as well. In both cases it is a tragedy for Lebanon, the US, and future real Peace in the region." "Fortunately", added the sources, "we can already read on the internet that many analysts -including Israelis- have already criticized their own media on this issue."

On March 16, 1977, Kamal Jumblat was assassinated. In 2005, his son Walid Jumblatt, who immediately succeeded him as the main Druze leader of Lebanon and as head of the PSP, accused Syrian secret service agents of responsibility for his father's murder.

Now to the facts: Walid Jumblatt was indeed in Washington, and has left the city on Saturday, while Ehud Barak arrived -according to the Syrian propaganda machine- early Sunday. Hence, the Syrian "story" fails at its attempt to create a credible article by making an unintelligent mistake on the dates. It is hard to imagine how Jumblat who left Saturday met Barak who arrived Sunday Also, as commented by one of the commentators in DC, "Walid Jumblatt doesn't need a Druze businessman to rent a suite so that he can meet with an Israeli official. These are scenarios from bad novels of the 1970s. The Syrian scenario is too primitive. But how can the smart Israeli journalists repeat it after the Syrians. It looks like the bloggers in Israel are by far smarter than some veteran journalists who failed in understanding the Middle East for decades."

At Kamal Jumblatt's funeral, his son, Walid was given the Abaat (traditional cape), a symbol of obedience to the leader, by Sheikh Al Aql, the highest spiritual leader of the Druze. This was a gesture that he was chosen as a successor to his father to lead the Druze community. Something other Druze leaders envy. Today Walid Jumblatt has succeeded in keeping the majority of the Lebanese Cedars Revolution together and on a path to see Lebanon Free, Sovereign, Democratic and Independent.

On another side, as CRNews was reading the "reactions" in Arabic on the "Champress" web site it was intrigued by a citation from the Blog of a Berkeley professor, As'ad Abukhalil, who like Khodr Awarke, dedicates most of his media activities in North America to attack the opponents of Hezbollah. Abukhalil, who admitted to having conducted meetings with Hassan Nasarallah, the leader of the Terrorist group Hezbollah, during the summer of 2006 has a daily blog focusing on attacking the Lebanese Government, the legislative majority, the Cedars Revolution, the US, the West and even the victims of terrorism. The link between Abukhalil in San Francisco, who ferociously attacks Jumblatt, Hariri and the March 14, Awarke in Montreal and the Syrian and Hezbollah sites are now being reviewed.

The Attack on the Cedars Revolution by the Axis of Syria, Iran and its pawns continues – with the Axis determined to wreck havoc over the West's drive to achieve democratic reforms in Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan and a two state solution with the Israeli's and the Palestinians.

CRNews will continue to monitor the developments in this file and will report to its readers and listeners around the world.

***Eblan Farris, is the editor of CRNews and the website, the media outlet for the Cedars Revolution based in Washington D.C. He is one of the original founders of the Washington D.C. office of the World Council for the Cedars Revolution, setup to help Lebanon achieve what its people have long been yearning for - freedom, sovereignty, and independence with a democratic state that respects its pluralistic multiethnic society; a country that is a positive example in the region and one that contributes to the democracies of the world in the midst of the Global War on Terror.