Who Lost Lebanon?

Pages: 1 2

The picture that flashed around the world of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri embracing Syrian President Bashar Assad during his visit to Damascus last week was proof positive that a new wind was blowing through the Levant – an ill wind that smelled of a new strategic arrangement falling into place, much to the detriment of Israel and their US ally.

To imagine that image of the two leaders hugging was impossible just a year ago. Hariri, son of the assassinated former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, placed the blame for his father’s 2005 Valentines Day massacre squarely on the shoulders of Bashar Assad. In an interview following the release of the Mehlis report by UN Special Prosecutor Detlev Mehlis who was charged with investigating political violence in Lebanon, the younger Hariri related a conversation with his father who had just returned from a meeting with President Assad in Syria over the extension of President Emile LaHoud’s term in office:

Saad said: “I discussed with my father, the late Rafik Hariri, the extension of President Lahoud’s term. He told me that President Bashar Assad threatened him telling him: ‘This is what I want. If you think that President Chirac and you are going to run Lebanon, you are mistaken. It is not going to happen. President Lahoud is me. Whatever I tell him, he follows suit. This extension is to happen or else I will break Lebanon over your head and Walid Jumblat’s. So, you either do as you are told or we will get you and your family wherever you are.

Just days later, the former prime minister was killed, along with 21 others, in a massive car bomb explosion.

What does Hariri the Younger say now?

Hariri, who for years blamed Syria for his father’s death, dropped a bombshell on Monday when he told the Saudi-owned Asharq al-Awsat newspaper that it was a mistake to accuse Syria in the giant truck bomb that killed ex-Lebanese premier Rafik Hariri along with 21 others near the St George Hotel on the Beirut waterfront on Feb. 14, 2005, claiming that the charge was politically motivated.

“This was a political accusation, and this political accusation has finished,” Hariri said in the interview while emphasizing that the determination of his father’s killers lies in the hands of the Netherlands-based Special Tribunal for Lebanon, or STL, set up to probe the crime.

The Mehlis report was the first official word issued by the STL on what happened that fateful day in 2005 and it was a bombshell. Several high level Syrian government officials were implicated – including President Assad’s brother-in-law Assef Shawkat, who at the time was chief of the Syrian intelligence service – as well as 4 Lebanese army generals who were suspected of complicity in the attack and imprisoned for several years. They have since been released but not exonerated.

But something funny happened on the way to indicting the Syrian government for murder; the UN got cold feet. Succeeding reports moved blame for the assassination away from Syria and toward Hezbollah (virtually the same thing as blaming Syria given the terrorist group’s close ties to Damascus). Indicting a government for murder presents many problems with which the UN was loathe to deal which may be why Hezbollah, Syria’s agent in Lebanon, appears to be about to take the fall.

An indictment of prominent members of the terrorist group carries its own dangers due to Hezbollah’s position in the government of Lebanon as de facto leader of the opposition. With Hezbollah’s spiritual and military chief Hassan Nasrallah already making noises that any indictments directed against the group would precipitate a political crisis, Hariri’s disavowel of his earlier accusations may be designed to try and keep the peace in a country where tensions have been mounting for months.

Pages: 1 2

  • Chezwick_Mac

    The unraveling began with Obama's softening line to Iran. Those in Lebanon resisting Syria knew they'd be left high and dry by the new Administration as it coveted more grandiose accomplishments. So they all began running for cover.

    And what did Barry get for his soft line to Tehran?…no change in Iran's nuclear gambit, the unimpeded destruction of Iran's nascent democracy movement, a new virulence in Iran's Afghanistan policy, and the loss of Lebanon to the Iran-Syrian axis. That's some real skillful diplomacy folks.

    • Jacobite

      It's skillful diplomacy in convincing the population of the USA that O'bwana gives a crap about convicting Mohammedans of anything. Letting the third-world-dominated UN settle questions is just a slo-mo way of the US DoS not doing anything useful. US Leftists hate Christians and Christian/Western/European civilization. Please find a copy of "The Camp of the Saints" and read it. 35 years ago and he called it all perfectly.

  • ObamaYoMoma

    Again, it is becoming clearer and clearer that ousting the Iranian ruling Mullahs would solve so many problems simultaneously all at once. Yet the Obama administration is concentrating its efforts on squeezing Israel to create a Palestinian terrorist state.

  • Youssef haddad

    The appeasement of the Syrian regime, which started with Pelosi's visit to Syria, have sent a message of hope for the then cornered Syrian regime and have intimidated those in Lebanon who were opposing Assad. This compounded the uncertainty of the survival of a Government that lives under the threat of Hezbollah of a repeat of its May 7th 2007 invasion of Beirut. Except for a handful of political leaders who remain strongly opposing the Iranian and Syrian hegemony over Lebanon, most are capitulating to preserve themselves and their political future.

  • USMCSniper

    Damascus has a long and bloody history of intervention in Lebanon, and has made no secret of its hope to make its weaker neighbor part of Syria. Since the creation of contemporary Lebanon in 1920, most Syrians have never accepted modern Lebanon as a sovereign and independent state. The outbreak of the Lebanese Civil War in 1975 gave Damascus the opportunity to act on its belief that Lebanon and Syria are one. Syria moved troops into Lebanon before receiving the Arab League's approval. Damascus intervened in April 1976 after Lebanese Druze warlord Kemal Jumblatt refused Syrian President Hafez Assad's demand for a cease-fire in the Muslim-Christian war. Jumblatt's refusal to stop his forces' attacks upon Lebanese Christians gave Assad the pretext he needed to intervene with troops en masse. Syria remained in Lebanon and through its alliances with Iran, Hezbolla, the proxy terrorists of Iran, moved in and is now in there to stay

  • guest

    the WEST is to blame for abandoning its allies and bowing to terrorists in appeasement. despite lebanons natural tilt to the west both politically and culturally, the west itself committed an act of betrayal and cowardice at the worst crucial moments. this has been the case since 1958 when iraq was allowed to fall to soviet influence and lebanon almost succumbed that year too. but back then there were leaders like gen eisenhower who saved the day at that time. but after that , lebanon was allowed to dangle in the wind and to be a testing ground and bargaining chip