The Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar and the TV channel OTV have published recordings which reveal the implication of Member of Parliament Okab Sakr in a vast arms trafic to Syria. The lawmaker was forced to admit the facts that he had repeatedly denied until now. In a declaration to the Press, he claimed that he was "proud of what he has done".

Okab Sakr is one of the three Chiite MPs who are members of the March 14 Alliance, which is the pro-Saudi and pro-Western coalition organised around Saad Hariri. Sakr is a journalist, and was deputy editor-in-chief of Al-Balad, and also founded the main Internet site of the Lebanese opposition,

Regularly implicated by the Syrian Press, he was accused of organising the traffic of arms supplied to the Syrian "contras" by NATO and the Gulf Cooperation Council.

In a communiqué published on the 18th October by Saad Hariri’s Press office, the ex-Prime Minister’s cabinet declared instead that Mr. Sakr’s role was exclusively political: "Okab Sakr is tasked by Saad Hariri with following the situation in Syria and co-ordinating with the Syrian opposition forces in order to organise support for the Future Movement of the Syrian people faced with the crimes of the regime".

It appears today that the MP is in fact the main person responsible for the arms traffic, in violation of Lebanon’s policy of neutrality and international law. The Movement of the Future (Mr. Hariri’s party) immediately offered him its support, while declaring that the MP had acted "in a personal capacity". However, a member of his parliamentary group, Khaled Daher, praised this "initiative", which he qualified as "a noble contribution to the humanitarian revolution against the murderous regime".

Refusing in advance the cancellation of Okab Sakr’s parliamentary immunity, his party called instead for Hezbollah to be judged for its supposed support of "Bashar’s regime".

Below is a translation of the recordings:

Transcription of one of the recordings

— Unknown voice : Hello.
— Okab Sakr : Hello.
— Unknown : Yes, my brother.
— Okab Sakr : Yes.
— Unknown : What is your request? What do you need?
— Okab Sakr : Machine guns, ammunition. We want B K C bullets, RPG rockets, quality weapons for Aleppo, the outskirts of Aleppo and the Idlib area.
— Unknown : Which area specifically?
— Okab Sakr : Aleppo, the suburbs of Azaz and the encircled areas. In Idlib, there are areas which are at this very moment suffering a ferocious attack. We have to guarantee this order.
— Unknown : Exactly what quality weapons do you need?
— Okab Sakr : I don’t know, there are no specific weapons. The orders generally concern anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons, with ordinary weapons, light or medium.
— Inconnu : All right, all right.

(Source - New Orient News)

Transcription of the third recording

— Abou Rachad (in charge of supplying Hama and its suburbs) : Salam Aleikom... Where are you?
— Louay (spokesman for the Supreme Council of the ASL) : Yes, my brother, we are in a room with Mr. Okab Sakr, and all the men are present. Reassure me about the situation where you are.
— Abou Rachad : It’s good that Okab is with you, because we’re in a very difficult situation … the situation is very, very urgent, worse than you can imagine. The fighting is violent and there’s intensive bombing.
— Louay : Right, OK, we have all heard that here, and Mr. Okab heard you.
— Okab Sakr : Has your situation worsened? Worse than the last two days?
— Abou Rachad : Yes. In fact the bombing has intensified, and the situation is extremely urgent, we need help.
— Okab Sakr : Right, where are you? In Hama? In Idlib?
— Abou Rachad : Hama and Idlib.
— Okab Sakr : So you’re asking us to increase the quantities? Is the quantity not sufficient?
— Abou Rachad : Yes, yes, increase the quantities.
— Louay : (speaking to Sakr) What do you think? Do we increase the quantities?
— Okab Sakr : We increase the quantities.
— Okab Sakr (speaking to Abou Rachad) : Abou Rachad, I have received many reports from several men in the interior. They have confirmed what you just said about those two areas. The situation is going to get worse. Now, I’ll tell my men to increase the quantities as far as possible, because I know about your situation. You are very weak.

(Source : New Orient News)

Pete Kimberley