Salim Nassar is not to be trusted, neither in 1976 nor in 2010.

So we all know now that Henry Kissinger’s alleged reply to Raymond Eddé in June 1976 is a hoax. The US embassy in Lebanon denied it, Carlos Eddé denied it, and its real author, Lebanese journalist Salim Nassar, denied it himself (see my November 14, 2010 post).

You might say: the case is closed at last, 34 years later. But no, As-SafîrAl-Akhbâr, and Al-Moqâwama are keen to focus on the trustworthiness of the letter’s content despite its formal fakeness. I have no doubt that sayyed Hassan will capitalize on this point in his next speech.

Salim Nassar stated that all what sayyed Nasrallah said about the US policy towards Lebanon is 100% true, and that the facts Nassar mentioned in his 1976 letter are information gathered by head of intelligence back then, the Presidential Palace among others.

My opinion is that this guy is not to be trusted, and here’s why.

First, I don’t trust people who engineer conspiracy theories. The mere fact of writing this fake letter and publishing it as a true one is a proof of dishonesty. On page 11 of the June 18, 1976 issue of the news weekly Al-Hawadeth, the text was published as “Henry Kissinger’s reply to Raymond Eddé.” Moreover, the publication was concluded by the mention “tabq el-asl“, i.e. literally conform to the original. There was absolutely no way for any reader to infer that the letter was a “hypothetical” one based on “official” sources.

The forger wanted the public to believe the lie. Not to be trusted in 1976.

Second, Nassar claims the text was based on “official” sources, and on opinions of direct witnesses of Kissinger’s 1973 visit to Lebanon. The first part is total B.S.; only the second is correct. Here’s a history lesson in a nutshell. US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s only visit to Lebanon took place on Sunday, December 16, 1973. The safety of his landing at Beirut airport could not be ensured because of a (pro-)Palestinian demonstration not far from there, so he was welcomed by the Presidential delegation in the military airport of Riyâq (Beqaa). The Presidential delegation included Lebanese President Suleiman Frangieh, Prime Minister Taqieddin al-Sulh, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Fu’ad Naffah. Also, a written letter to Kissinger was addressed by Pierre Gemayel, who was not present. As to the American witnesses: Assistant Secretary of State Joseph J. Sisco and US Ambassador to Lebanon William B. Buffum.

Kissinger at Riyaq base, An-Nahar, December 17, 1973, front page.

Kissinger arriving at Riyâq air base, with Sisco on his right and Buffum on the left. (An-Nahâr, December 17, 1973, front page)

 

But how can I claim this is a conspiracy theory?

The fact is: none of the aforementioned witnesses ever evoked this version of Kissinger’s policy toward Lebanon… save one man: Suleiman Frangieh.

Frangieh is our man. He is our witness. He’s the source. I have enough elements to prove that Frangieh was lying (was he lying?), or at least wrong (… or was he genuinely wrong?), when he publicized his interpretation of the delegation’s meeting with Kissinger. I will mention some of them right here and leave the rest to an article I am writing on the subject.

1- A reading of the press in 1973 shows that there was no talk of a Kissingerian partition plan in Lebanon in 1973 whatsoever. The conspiracy theory emerged in 1975. It was then taken to the next level in 1976 by Suleiman Frangieh, Raymond Eddé, and Salim Nassar, who all labored under a dense fabric of first-hand conjectures, second-hand sources, and a posteriori analyses.

2- Frangieh claimed loudly in 1976 that there was a plan to ship the Christians away from Lebanon, and Eddé believed the plan was to partition Lebanon into 2 states (Christian and Muslim), and give the rest to Syria and Israel. Read Salim Nassar’s forgery again. What does “Kissinger” reveal about his alleged policy? His plan is to serve Israel’s interests and to destroy the Lebanese Muslim-Christian coexistence by partitioning Lebanon into confessional states, as evoked by a 1954 correspondence between David Ben-Gurion and Moshe Sharett. (Kissinger had never read this correspondence because they were not available in English at the time.)

My question is: If Kissinger really said that, or at least alluded to it in front of the Lebanese delegation, why did only Suleiman Frangieh bring it up… 3 years later… evoking forced emigration instead of partition?

Also, there is no way Nasssar could have based his forgery on “official” or trustworthy Lebanese sources because no argument could have been derived from them. Instead, the finger is pointed toward Israeli sources.

Not to be trusted in 2010.

Update, November 20, 2010: Appendix & comments on the Appendix.

“The Story Behind Kissinger’s “Letter”,” by Salim Nassar, Al-Hayat, November 20, 2010 (Arabic, .pdf).

1) Error on date: Dec 16 instead of Dec 14 (p. 2);

2) The author exculpates George Habash and denies the Palestinian attempt to shoot down the diplomat’s plane, based on… Palestinian sources, and lays the blame on an unknown Lebanese-American agent (p. 2). This is not sufficient proof. (a) No politician’s words can be taken for true, esp. when dealing with decisive information; (b) maybe it wasn’t Habash but another Palestinian group; (c) that doesn’t rule out the possibility of a an assassination attempt, which justifies the alternative landing. Anyhow, the whole paragraph doesn’t make sense.

3) Kissinger did not “accuse” the Lebanese state of being unable to ensure his security; he observed it.

4)  The reported content of the meeting between the two delegations is absolutely inconsistent, vague, full of imprecisions, and therefore does not prove anything. “Frangieh asked him an embarrassing question…”, “When the conversation reached a political conflict…”, etc. Three lines all in all, let alone the 2 small paragraphs on Communism, Zionism, and the Palestinians… This affair is preposterous; there are no facts, only abusive interpretations.

5) The author confesses having forged the letter to be believed, and admits he thought it would die out, like any other exciting news… I don’t get it. What kind of game uses very compromising information where conspiracy theories ride high?

6) Talking about the author’s sources… As we have already said herein, the crucial information is provided by Israeli sources. As for the cited Lebanese sources, they are mere collateral anecdotes, most notably the “funny” passage about visiting Baalbeck and the Golda Meir “joke,” but they do not inform us about any conspiracy.

Update, December 16, 2011:

Interview with Salim Nassar on ANB TV, Nov. 2010.

Mr. Nassar admits having lied to Raymond Eddé and Abou Iyad, who had both called him to ask for a copy of the letter. He claimed, then, having received the letter from Kissinger, which was, in his own words, published in the L.A. Times!

Today, Nassar wonders how Eddé and Abou Iyad believed him, as the content of the false letter, he says, was far too compromising and incriminating to Kissinger to be published…

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