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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Israel didn't kill Hariri

Michael Totten explains why it's most unlikely that Israel killed then-Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
I’ve been working in Lebanon on and off for years, and I’ve never once met a single person who thought Israel murdered Hariri. Not even the Hezbollah officials I spoke to before they blacklisted me thought so. Once in a while I met a Hezbollah supporter who said he didn’t know who killed Hariri and silently left open the possibility that Israel might have done it, but that’s the furthest even any of them were willing to go.

Hariri was one of the least anti-Israel Arab leaders on earth. His vision for Lebanon was one of peace and prosperity, not terrorism and war. Jerusalem had no reason at all to want him out of the picture. The Syrian- and Iranian-led Resistance Bloc, on the other hand, needed him out of the way, dead, or at least suppressed.

Almost everyone in Lebanon assumed from the very beginning that the Assad regime in Damascus ordered the hit, which is why Syria’s military occupation was terminated almost at once by a tremendous wave of multi-sectarian wrath. Most people, including me, didn’t entertain the idea for long that Hezbollah might be responsible, not because Hezbollah wouldn’t or couldn’t have done it, but because Syria had the greater of motives.


Nasrallah desperately needs to minimize the potential damage as much as he can in advance. Blaming the Jews often works in this part of the world, but this time it might not. His timing could not be worse. It wouldn’t have worked had he tried it five years ago, and that he’s trying it now only makes him look guilty.
But Nasrallah is apparently forcing Rafik's son - current Prime Minister Sa'ad Hariri - to play along.
According to Thursday's report in as-Safir, current Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri initiated a series of urgent meetings and conversations in order to discuss Hezbollah's claims around his father's assassination. For example, he met Wednesday with Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Azizi in Riyadh and French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Tuesday.

The volatile situation has raised a serious predicament for Hariri, who is currently ruling a coalition government together with Hezbollah. According to as-Safir, Hariri told his associates that Nasrallah's statements were "very important and sensitive." As such, he supports dedicating all the time and efforts necessary to thoroughly examine the assertions made by the Hezbollah leader.

Hariri also said that Nasrallah expressed an opinion held by many Lebanese and presented information and documentation that cannot be ignored. "I, personally, support their examination. It is important for me to know the truth, both as the prime minister and as the son of the slain," said Hariri, according to the report.

The Lebanese prime minister added that should Israel decline to summon for investigation the witnesses likely to appear in Nasrallah's "proof," the Jewish State will be considered in his eyes as guilty, and not merely suspect. The newspaper also noted in its report that the prosecutor in the Hariri tribunal received the material Nasrallah presented in his latest speech.
I don't know how Hariri can say this stuff with a straight face. He probably fears he will be killed if he doesn't.


At 7:40 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Sa'ad Hariri knows what Hezbollah did to his father and if he crosses them, he will meet the same fate.

So that is why the Lebanese Prime Minister is on good terms with his enemy as it often the case is in that part of the world.


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