Syrian ex-VP charged with plotting coup

A military court has charged former Vice President Abdul Halim Khaddam, who defected last year, with inciting a foreign attack against Syria and plotting to take power, an official close to the court told The Associated Press on Sunday. A top member of Syria's ruling elite for nearly 30 years, Khaddam - who lives in France - provoked an outcry in December when he alleged that Syrian President Bashar Assad threatened former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri months before Hariri's assassination in Feburary 2005. From France, Khaddam has also called for for the overthrow of the Syrian regime. The court issued seven charges against Khaddam, including inciting a foreign country "to launch a direct aggression against Syria," a charge that carries life imprisonment at hard labor, the official said.