Have you ever pictured the state of Rustom Ghazaleh before he went to the UNIIIC investigation (United Nations International Independent Investigation Commission) in 2006? We got a picture now about that, from a leaked US cable published last month by Wikileaks. He outburst, flamed, and almost used his gun against some MFA (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) officials.
Rustom Ghazaleh (or Rustum Ghazali) was the head of Syrian Security and Reconnaissance Apparatus in Lebanon (if you what that means) untill April 2005, the date the Syrian Army withdrew from Lebanon. In 2006-2007, there were many reports about the Syrian regime compromising with the STL (Special Tribunal for Lebanon) investigations, and offering Rustom Ghazaleh, Asif Shawkat and others as scapegoats in return for President Bashar Al-Assad to go out ‘clean’ from the whole thing. I think this can be concluded now from Rustom’s reaction; Rustom sensed then that his end was approaching.
Ironically, the same cable quoted from its source (with their name blacked out by Wikileaks for their own security) that an arrest of Ghazaleh might spark unrest in Dara’a, the Sunni population center closest to Ghazaleh’s hometown; the reason? Because there was a persistent feeling in such Sunni areas that the Alawites were robbing the country and the Sunnis were paying for it. Oh well, it was not a coincidence then, that the current Syrian uprising started in Dara’a in March.
Ghazaleh accused the officials of being ‘agents’ to the Americans. I don’t know about that, but in a country like Syria, the fact that this story got to an American diplomat is signficant by itself!
Quoting paragraph 6 from cable with reference ID 06DAMASCUS141:
Perhaps sensing that the end was near, an armed Ghazaleh and several similarly armed bodyguards charged into a meeting at the MFA in early January, attended by XXXXXXXXXXXX and XXXXXXXXXXXX. The purpose of the meeting had been for the five suspects to sign some routine retainer papers for lawyers arranged for them by the MFA. While Ghazaleh did not pull his weapon, he shouted in an insulting, threatening manner, calling XXXXXXXXXXXX and XXXXXXXXXXXX “agents for the Americans” and insisting that only he was standing up for Syria’s interests. XXXXXXXXXXXX said the tense confrontation lasted for much of an hour, with MFA guards coming to ask Ghazaleh to remove his weapon. (He refused.) There was a real sense that Ghazaleh was capable of shooting himself or others, said XXXXXXXXXXXX, still unnerved by the incident several days later. Ghazaleh seemed severely depressed and unbalanced, said XXXXXXXXXXXX.