Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Rafik Hariri Assassination- Whodunit?

First off I strongly doubt that Syria or their Hizbollah buddies had any part in the killing of Hariri. They have both issued stern condemnations of the attack which they denounced as terrorism. Not that verbal denial should much weight at all in international politics. The real thing that gets me is that this attack is so clearly detrimental to Syrian interests. Syria does not want an unstable Lebanon and more over Syria wants to continue its occupation of Lebanon.

In the aftermath there have been hundreds of thousands people protesting against Syria in Beirut and Washington has recalled their Ambassador. They only reason it seems for Syria to have ordered the assassination of Hariri would have been to silence a voice against Syrian troops in Lebanon. But there are many other more vocal voices against Syria, notably Druze leader Walid Jumblatt and ex-president Amin Gemayel. Hariri was hardly unique in this regard. Although might not be the head of an ancient family like Jumblatt or Gemayel it can be seen from the funeral that he had quite a strong following.

I also don’t buy the argument that Syria is ultimately at fault because it occupies Lebanon. It's not occupying any major Lebanese cites and Hizbollah MP Mohammed Fneish will tell you, "If you go today from North to South, you won't find any Syrian checkpoints in Lebanon." Apparently that's somewhat true as well. But let’s say Syria occupies or is fighting to occupy every city in Lebanon and say they have 130,000 troops there and then the same thing assassination occurs, Syria would still not be entirely to blame. Because it can be tricky to stop these things just ask any foreign occupier in Iraq and Palestine. Although Syria should in fairness removes its presence from Lebanon if most people are opposed, it is just self-serving hypocrisy for the United States to demand Syria must leave while citing UN resolutions. Far more resolutions can be cited in Israel bloody occupation and their coming annexation of part of the West Bank and the American occupation has far more opposition.

So if it's not Syria who then is responsible. It's all speculation now but I’m not too convinced about the group that claimed responsibility. I mean they did it because of his sizable connections to Saudi Arabia? I don’t know about that one if they were that nationalistic wouldn't be more concerned of the current President Emile Lahoud's backing of Syria- the country with the most visible presence in Lebanon. I'm sure the conspiracy theorists are having a field day with this one. Most of them are likely drawing connections Mossad and Bush administration connections. The Bushies may be taken full advantage of this to bolster the pressure on Syria but they probably didn't have anything to do with it. Mossad motto is after all- By way of deception, thou shalt do war, but that aside there involvement is entirely possible but it is much harder to prove then to speculate.

In short it wasn't Syria but at this point is not all together to important who is responsible. The consequences and aftermath will be very interesting to follow in the coming weeks. I would look for greater American aggression towards Syria and even greater polarization of Lebanese society into pro-Syria and anti-Syria factions.


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