Saturday, January 22, 2011

Who Killed Lebanon's Rafik Harari? Say It Nicely or the Terrorists Will Get Angry!

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By Barry Rubin

We are awaiting the publication of the international tribunal report on who killed former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri  We all know the Syrian government did it but recently there seems to have been more and more evidence that Hizballah was involved as well.

The problem is that if the tribunal says that and not everyone in Lebanon--including Harari's son, Said--says that they are deeply offended, Hizballah is totally innocent and wouldn't hurt a fly (unless it was a Zionist imperialist fly) there's going to be big trouble. Already, Hizballah has brought down the Lebanese government and staged a show of force in Beirut to make that point clear.

This is the latest example of the "do what I want or we will kill you" syndrome which has been so successful around the world. As in: Publish those cartoons and we'll kill you; translate Salman Rushdie's book and we'll kill you; cross the street in Israel and we'll kill you; be a Christian and we'll kill you; and the latest, show this film on Iran's nuclear program and we'll kill you.

Ibrahim Kalin, chief adviser to the Islamist Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan--who is an ally of Iran, Syria, Hizballah, and Hamas--claims that his government has been urging everyone in Lebanon to get along with each other. Perhaps, he suggests, the tribunal report should be delayed, since if--my words here--everyone pretends that the Hizballah terrorists didn't murder the leader of the moderate forces it will be easier for the moderate forces to stay in a coalition government with them.

He added:

"Of course, the truth about the Hariri assassination should come out, but it should come out in a way that will not fracture the Lebanese society. Otherwise, in the name of finding the truth, we create a situation in Lebanon where people start killing each other off. And then what truth are you talking about?"

Right, so if the tribunal tells the truth about who murdered Hariri (and about a dozen other members of parliament, journalists, and others, all from the moderate side), the terrorist killers will then kill more people, and so what good will it be to know that they are terrorist killers?

Still, I believe in doing things constructively so I tried to figure out a way to have the truth come out "in a way that will not fracture the Lebanese society" (by making the killers angry).

I began with the vulgar,  Hizballah and Syria killed Harari,

then went to the more subtle, Hizballah and Syria were happy when someone killed Harari.

But finally I found the solution. Here's what the tribunal should say:

If Harari were driving down the street, and Hizballah and Syria knew there was a bomb that someone had planted in the roadway in order to assassinate him because he was being too pro-Western and actually standing up to the revolutionary Islamists, they would call Hariri up to warn him but wouldn't use their speed dial. Thus, tragically, the warning would be too late and Harari and two dozen bystanders would be killed.

How's that, Mr. Kalin?

Here's a good, brief, background piece on this issue and what might happen next by Professor Bill Harris, a real expert on Lebanon.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). The website of the GLORIA Center is at and of his blog, Rubin Reports,

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