The United Nations report on the assassination of popular former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri in 2005 was just released. As expected, Hezbollah was implicated in the assassination in which a one-ton truck bomb was detonated, killing 22 people and leveling a seaside block in Beirut.
In normal times in a normal nation, a report placing blame for the assassination of a rival politician would cause the accused political party to be thrown out of office. Not so in Lebanon where Hezbollah, the Shiite terror group backed by both Iran and Syria now effectively runs the nation.
In fact, some Lebanese politicians are falling all over themselves to defend Hezbollah, saying, in effect, “Move along citizens, there’s nothing to see here.” High profile Druze politician Walid Jumblat even had the temerity to say that, had Hariri not been assassinated, he would have counseled papering over the assassination report, “to avoid leading the country towards strife.”
Other Lebanese may not be so willing to forgive and forget. The son of the assassinated leader, himself a former prime minister, Saad Hariri thanked the UN for its candid report.
Lebanon’s state prosecutor received a sealed indictment from the UN Special Tribunal naming four suspects in the assassination. The suspects are Hezbollah members. Lebanon’s judicial branch lacks the will and the firepower to arrest the suspects who enjoy Hezbollah’s formal protection. This impasse will lead to international sanctions against Lebanon.
Meanwhile, the Syrian government has attacked the UN report as an Israeli plot – as if the UN does anything to help Israel.
The bloody unrest in Syria, palace intrigues against Iran’s President Ahmadinejad, and Hezbollah’s implication in a major assassination all point to heightened unrest in the region.
Hezbollah might be tempted to use some of its 50,000 rockets aimed at Israel to divert attention on behalf of itself and its patrons in Damascus and Tehran – a scenario I specifically detailed in my report, “The Next Middle East War,” at www.MidEastReport.org.