Assassination of Rafiq al-Hariri

Wednesday, February 16, 2005 11:25 AM

The comments below more or less summarize the official line from Damascus on the car-bomb assassination yesterday of billionaire ex-Lebanese PM Rafiq al-Hariri  on the Corniche in Beirut. Earlier, Reuters quoted Rime Allaf, Middle East analyst at London's Royal Institute of International Affairs as stating: "This is the work of an intelligence service, not a small group."

With orchestrated pressure from Washington upon Syria which culminated in the Israeli-inspired "Syrian Accountability Act" passing the U.S. Congress several months ago and more recently the turning up of the heat from Washington due to the violence in Iraq, would Damascus really have opted to order a high profile assassination of Lebanon's most prominent citizen in broad daylight in downtown Beirut? Does Syria want another civil war in Lebanon?

On cue, the White House swung into action  and issued a virtual ultimatum to Syria. With a little more encouragement from Tel Aviv, Washington will be set to launch a massive cruise missile attack into Syria, or at perhaps a high altitude B-52 strike. It would seem, thanks to events spinning out of control on purpose, that we are on the verge of witnessing internecine civil war in both Iraq and Lebanon, as Syria gets poleaxed in the background.

Meanwhile, in a wonderful case of the tea kettle calling the pot black, White House water boy Scott McClellan proclaimed with a straight face: "Syria and their troop presence in the Lebanon is a destabilizing force in the region." Does the cherub-faced McClellan think the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq has been a stabilizing force in the region? He probably does, reflecting the ridiculous mind-set of his vacuous boss. 

Over at the State Department, spokesperson Richard Boucher was recorded as stating, "It [Syria] has not provided internal security for Lebanon." Again, does this nincompoop think Washington has provided "internal security" for Iraq?! Whom does Boucher and the rest of official Washington think it is kidding? At least Syria is next door to Lebanon, and it is an Arab country like Lebanon. On the other hand, Washington is thousands of miles away, and looking to cash in and create problems.


M. Agha [As quoted in The Guardian of London]

Teshreen, Syria, February 15

"The continuous explosive situation in the occupied Palestinian territories and in Iraq is an integral part of the US-Israeli strategy of hegemony and expansion ... The Beirut blast ... is part of the overall hostile criminal plot to destabilize the region and push it to the verge of collapse....

"The assassination ... was condemned by President al-Assad as a criminal and terrible act. Syria supports Lebanon at this very critical moment and urges the Lebanese people to unite and confront all elements seeking to sow the seeds of dissension and civil strife. The Lebanese must unite and speak with one voice against the hostile forces that committed this heinous act. However, first and foremost we must also ask the question: who stands to gain from this criminal act?"

Who indeed?