What has happened to Lebanon after assassination of Haririi: Trend News Commentator

Ulviya Sadigova, Commentator at the Trend Middle East Desk

The 14th of February, 2005 - the St. Valentine Day was memorized as one of famous pro-Western politicians in modern Lebanon's history - Rafiq Hariri's tragic death. His death fully changed the country's interior and foreign policy.

A blast at the premier car was so strong that air blast killed 22 people. Buildings around were almost destroyed and the scene of murder reminded a battle field.

Murder of such a scale testified some forces' desire to get rid of Hariri who was supported by Europe and U.S. and twice re-elected the Lebanese prime minister.

Hariri was born in the Lebanese city of Sidon. First, Hariri demonstrated himself at Lebanon's political life which suffered from endless civil wars during signing the Taif agreement late 1980s and was elected the prime minister in 1992.

Gaining considerable capital in Saudi Arabia's construction business, Hariri invested a key part of his funds in restoring Lebanon and reviving the country's banking sector. Hariri favored return of $2 billion funds of Lebanese, who had to emigrate earlier. Stable financial funds enabled him to strengthen in Lebanon's political life where he faced sharp resistance of the pro-Syrian parties and later the government under Emil Lahud's leadership. Hariri concentrated the country's real power in his hands by making the presidential post as nominal. During his reign, Lebanon inclined toward Saudi Arabia more day by day to the detriment of the Syrian relations.

U.S. and Europe used Hariri's anti-Syrian policy as an evidence for Damascus's participation in the pro-Iranian Hezbollah party in murder of the Lebanese prime minister. But so far, Syria's guilt has not been proved, yet.

Politicians' murder in Lebanon takes place very frequently and this is more efficient means to eliminate rivals. Hariri was the sixth giant political leader who was killed within last 20 years. The pro-Syrian forces in Lebanon and former President Hafiz Asad's government were the key accused.

But even two facts did not lead to evidences against Syria: the Syrian troops' hasty withdrawal from Lebanon after 30-year supervision over the country's north regions and the Syrian Special Services Leader in Lebanon Gazi Kanaan's suicide several weeks after the tragedy. Gazi Kanaan, as the Syrian authorities strictly denied their participation in the murder.

It was beneficial for the U.S. to accuse Damascus of such a major crime, given the lack of relations between the two countries because of pro Iranian mood Syrian authorities. Therefore, the Bush administration was looking for a reason to weaken and humiliate Damascus in the political arena of Arab countries. However, despite the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1636 with regard to Syria, the involvement of Damascus in the assassination to prove it was not possible, although diplomatic relations with Lebanon have been completely disrupted.

The report of 2006 international investigation states that gangs could assist Hariri, but no unfounded accusations against Syria was mentioned.

Syria and Lebanon has exchanged with ambassadors. Damascus is unlikely to remain the principal figure in the investigation of the Hariri's assassination. France, which has close ties with the Hariri family and the first of the EU countries that accused Damascus, has initiated the restoration of relations between EU and Bashar Assad.

The mediation of various countries in the investigation of Hariri's assassination is inefficient, and rather biased. It is therefore an important step would be to work with the UN international tribunal that has recognized the attack against the Lebanese premier as an international crime

But external settlement of the issue does not mean that the death of Hariri was passed by domestic political turmoil of Lebanon, which began to emerge to a militarized state, where opposition parties such as Hezbollah and Amal became stronger.

The unexpected outcome of the war in favor of Hezbollah over Israel in 2006 forced the pro-Western Lebanese politicians to stop the boycott of a political party in the political life of the country, and come to terms with its growing power.

The relationship between the Nasrallah (Hezbollah) party and the party of Saad Hariri, the second son of killed prime minister, were relatively improved. This put en end to the constant protests and attacks of members of Hezbollah on members of Hariri - Al-Mustaqbal.

The March 14 movement, which enters Hariri's coalition, supported the transfer of the veto to Hezbollah in arming against Israel that could make the party stronger.

After the assignation of Hariri, Lebanon's policy is not anymore the front, where the western and pro-Syrian position is pronounced. The relationship between parties has become a diplomatic nature, where everyone can defend own interests.

Lebanon will not become a republic with a single religious ideology as politics of all religious communities sit in the government (the constitution says the president is Christian Maronite, prime minister - Muslim-Sunni, Speaker of Parliament - Muslim-Shiite, also the Druze community is represented in the parliament).

But the question is how long the visible balance of peace between the parties will last, and whose interests will prevail. After all, power in the Arab world has never shared between anyone; it has always belonged to one person.

Jr. Hariri has succeeded in politics. On the one hand, the availability of reliable partners as Washington and Europe, on the other hand - the weakening of Hezbollah resistance against the policy of his coalition government.

The parliamentary elections will take place in Lebanon. I hope they will develop into another civil war and a series of terrorist attacks against politicians.

Do you have any feedback? Contact our journalist at: [email protected]

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