The media in Lebanon and the Middle East has been quick to react to accusations by the exiled former Syrian vice-president Abdul Halim Khaddam implicating President Bashar al-Assad in the murder of the former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.In Lebanon, some commentators class him as a traitor to his country while a leading anti-Syrian politician says the allegations prove Damascus was lying about its role in Mr Hariri’s death.A pan-Arab paper believes his allegations confirm a UN report by German prosecutor Detlev Mehlis which implicates Syrian intelligence in the killing.

In neighbouring Israel, a longstanding enemy of Syria, commentators are split over the ramifications for Damascus.In Syria itself, the official media has published numerous attacks against Mr Khaddam, many of which accuse him of dishonesty and malfeasance.

Comment in Lebanese newspaper Al-Diyar

Khaddam has been unmasked and has appeared in his true light as the Syrian Judas who betrayed his country.

Senior official quoted in Lebanon’s Al-Nahar

Khaddam’s statement is an aftershock comparable to the earthquake of Syrian withdrawal after the assassination of Rafik Hariri.

Druze leader Walid Junblatt quoted in Lebanon’s Al-Mustaqbal

Khaddam unveils the lies of the Syrian regime. Khaddam’s statement was a testimony which substantiates the UN investigation.

Comment in Lebanon’s Al-Intiqad

For years, anyone visiting Damascus was subjected to humiliation by Khaddam… Yesterday, Khaddam changed, as if he had turned into Mother Teresa and become a member of a charity working only for the wellbeing of Lebanon.

Woman MP quoted by Syria’s Sham Press

On behalf of the people I represent, I urge the Syrian leadership to try Khaddam because he went beyond his dignity and insulted 10m Syrians by accusing them of living from rubbish bins.

Comment in Syria’s Sham Press

This traitor should be executed a thousand times; for every crime he or his children committed in the past, when he was in power, in addition to the shameful end of his dark life.

Columnist in Pan-Arab Al-Sharq al-Awsat

Khaddam’s interview is more powerful than all the reports and analyses. What he said is stronger than Mehlis’s report. Everything the analysts and the Mehlis report have been saying has been confirmed by Khaddam.

Commentary in Israel’s centre-right Maariv

A former Arab vice-president does not stand up and throw dirt at his president for no reason. He does not easily leave his homeland and declare the end of his political life after 58 years. He must have good reasons.

Commentary in Israel’s top circulation daily Yediot Aharonot

What we have here is an old, sick politician who was pushed out of the circle of decision-makers in Syria, who finds it difficult to come to terms with this… Yet something bad is happening to Bashar and his regime. In September, his interior minister committed suicide. Now another pillar has fallen. Assad’s regime is getting shakier and there are already those who are ready to bet that Bashar will not survive this year in the presidential palace.

Commentary in Israel’s leftist Ha’aretz

The Syrian counter attack has begun with the revelation of details of his personal wealth.

As far as Bashar is concerned, what we have here is not the loss of a solid pillar of his regime but the removal of a rotten apple which indeed knew much information, but not so that it could bring about the collapse of his regime.