November 22, 2006


I don't know if this is true, so take it for what it's worth. From Blacksmiths of Lebanon:

Al Seyassah daily learned from authoritative sources in Beirut, that one of the editors of the Syrian National News Agency (SANA) placed a phone call to a pro-Syrian Lebanese newspaper at 3:05 pm on Tuesday. The caller inquired about the details of the assassination of Lebanese Minister for Industry Pierre Gemayel, raising eyebrows at the Lebanese newpaper. The timing of phone call was 55 minutes before the assassination was carried out.

Ten minutes after the call was place, the Syrian editor placed another phone call in order to apologize for a misunderstanding.

Link to original in Arabic.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at November 22, 2006 01:25 AM


Wait a minute, I heard this one before...

A man gets a call from his brother who he hasn't spoke to in months. After a pleasent 20 minute conversation, the man puts down his phone only to immediately recieve another call, this time from his mother.

"Son, I have some terrible news. Your brother was in a car crash last night and was pronounced dead at the scene."


It would take a lot of evidence for me to believe this is not a take on the famous urban legend.

Posted by: Jordan at November 22, 2006 03:26 AM

Al Seyassah is not exactly a beacon of honest reporting. Just FYI...

Posted by: Bad Vilbel at November 22, 2006 09:45 AM

"I don't know if this is true, so take it for what it's worth . . . "

What's the point of posting this rumor? Are you going to grab anything that supports your suspicions?

Posted by: I heard at November 22, 2006 12:30 PM

It sounds like exactly the sort of bureaucratic screw-up a bungling Third World dictatorship is perfectly capable of making.

So, I guess I'll accept the word of the "authoritative sources" until evidence to the contrary arises.

Posted by: TallDave at November 22, 2006 12:37 PM

Rumor over ad Sandmonkey's is that this paper is about as credible as the National Enquirer.

Posted by: James M. at November 22, 2006 09:37 PM

It sounds like exactly the sort of bureaucratic screw-up a bungling Third World dictatorship is perfectly capable of making.

You don't have to be a bungling third-world dictatorship to screw up.

IIRC, back in WW1, there was a german artillery unit that did a bombardment 24 hours before the attack was scheduled. Someone either misread a calendar or typo'd the orders. Oops.

...but yeah, it sounds fishy. If you're planning a hit, you don't want anyone not directly involved in planning or execution to know anything about it, that's basic operational security. Syria is a police state, and it's lasted long enough for them to be competent at that kind of thing.

Posted by: rosignol at November 22, 2006 10:20 PM

Oh Michael,

You'd be well-advised to learn a thing or two about the Arab media. Al Siyesseh is -- as Sandmonkey points out-- the Arabic equivalent to the National Enquirer. They post incredulous reports that you don't read anywhere else; entire articles referenced to "anonymous sources" that make you think the world is going to end.
Come on. Get with the program.

Posted by: unaligned lebanese at November 23, 2006 12:27 PM
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