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The car bomb culture | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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There have been four different interpretations for the assassination of the former Lebanese P.M. Rafiq Al-Hariri; each of them has its own logic and justification. The interoperations varied between the accusation of government groups and public ones of being behind the murder.

The first interpretation was introduced by the Syrian government bodies and other elements, which swiftly accused Israel, first implicitly, then in an explicit way, pointing that Israel is the first beneficiary of the Chaos that could take place in Lebanon and the relevant divisions and confrontations that would lead in the end to the fragmentation of Lebanon according to the plans of the Zionist and imperialist projects (that work all the time to divide the Arab states into small sub-states on ethnic and sectarian bases to allow the Hebrew state to become the dominant figure in the region. Such interpretation ignores that no one now regards Israel in such a matter anymore, because Israel is tending to clam the situation with the Palestinians, so why would it invite escalation with the Lebanese? For sure, Rafiq Al-Hariri has been a friend to the west and he would not by any chance be the prime name in Lebanon on the assassination list of Israel.

The second interoperation was totally contradictory arising from the Lebanese opposition as well as the western spheres. It laid the full responsibility on the Syrians based on the Syrian history in Lebanon, first because the Syrian intelligence had great experience in performing such operations, and second because Syria and its followers in Lebanon are the ones in charge of the Lebanese security, and on a third aspect, this interoperation came so because Hariri Had gone very far with his opposition to the Syrian presence in Lebanon. In this context the resignation of Hariri from the Prime Minister&#39&#39s post was very close in meaning to the Security Council resolution 1559, which calls for an immediate Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon.

Again, this interpretation ignored that Syria has got enough troubles already and is trying to be as for as possible away from trouble, being the first candidate to be accused of such a crime because of its heavy security presence in Lebanon.

Also, this interpretation did not solve the Puzzle: how could some one like Al-Hariri – who never hesitated to invest politically and financially on the Syrian Soil – be assassinated Like that?

The third interpretation was based on a number of historical, economic and social dimensions. It was said that the assassination of Hariri was quite typical to the assassination of Marouf Saad in Sidon three decades ago, when the Lebanese contradictions collided together and crushed some political characters who were not targeted personally by the assassination plots rather then using their murder to move violence in Lebanon from a political status to an armed military one. In this sense, the traditions of civil military violence in Lebanon were the ones that destroyed – at the end – the civil peace.

Again, this interpretation has been contradictory to a vast array of Lebanese bitter memories from the civil war that lasted for 16 years and made the Lebanese more persistent to avoid the recurrence of such a dramatic experience. This interpretation is also highly unconvincing because Al-Hariri was the least person in Lebanon to be accused of sectarianism. He served as a crossing bridge between all sects, and he was not viewed as a leader of one of them.

The fourth interpretation came from the Jihad and Support Group that claimed responsibility for Al-Hariri&#39&#39s assassination. Al-Hariri was the meeting point of a number of symbols and signs regarding the relations with Saudi Arabia; he was welcomed in the west, and was more pro tolerance and democracy.

All these elements, which Hariri represented, were the enemies and the conventional targets for the weapons of the terrorist fundamentalist groups nowadays. Still, some people doubted such interpretations saying that even the name of that group seems to be like an illusive fiction, rather that real, and just a front expressing some thing else, but not an entity on its own.

Moreover, Al-Quaeda group acquitted itself from the whole operation and emphasized that they are not into it. So, it was difficult to understand how could getting rid of Hariri achieve the goals of such a group that has never been known in recent political history.

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It is most probable that these four interpretations will stand together at the same level till the end of the world, and no matter how far extensive investigations are undertaken by local or international entities, we would not know for sure who is behind the assassination of Rafiq Al-Hariri. It is not only because the murder was very mysterious, but also because the perpetrators have never been discovered in any of the major similar assassinations taking place in Lebanon. Therefore, the criminal investigation pursuit to uncover the perpetrator is very illusive in itself, because the assassination of a person of the weight and importance of Al-Hariri is much larger than the other traditional political criminal operations committed by some groups, states or competing governments.

May be it is wiser to see this issue as a part of the struggle of major historical currents that will never reconcile or make a truce, rather than expressing themselves – every now and then – in the form of violent political earthquakes, volcanoes, or hurricanes leaving behind nothing but death and destruction.

Maybe the life of Hariri itself would lead us to know who is the real perpetrator. He was born in Sidon in 1944, and he had to witness during the six decades of his life a lot of political and economic turbulence on the Lebanese and the Arab arena. During this period, the late Rafiq Al-Hariri had to see with his the sharp Lebanese eye three successive generations of revolution crossing Beirut and changing the pattern of Arab life, turning it upside down in search of salvation and to get rid of retardates, backwardness and incompetence. The first generation of revolutionaries came with the Arab military leaders who led the coups and revolutions in their countries, carried out by the waves of Nasserism to Beirut, and continuing with full momentum of the Unionist sentiments, yet, leading Lebanon – due to the accompanying revolutionary contradictions – to the civil war in 1958.

A second generation emerged nearly at the same time with the armed struggle in Algeria and then in Palestine. Both of these types of revolutionaries found a place in Beirut across the fault-lines between the Eastern and Western parts of this city. The third generation of revolutionary terrorism also came to exist through the civil war since 1975, raising slogans and flags that express the nationalist and patriotic sentiments as well as the pains of this country. Hence, Lebanon had to witness a wave of plane kidnappers, bank bombers as well as others reciting poetry, singing for revolution and crying out load the frustrated dreams.

Facing all these generations of Arab revolutionary young men, Al-Hariri happened to belong to a very different group of Arabs who believed from the beginning that the revolutionary way was a losing, defeated and a totally incompetent one (despite all the dreams it built and tried to achieve). The group, which Al-Hariri represented, was the one that understood fully the true facts of international balance of power and how these powers operate together. For Al-Hariri and his likes, political, social and economic reconstruction is the key to lead the nation towards salvation and overcoming retardness and incompetence. Since Al-Hariri became an active young man in the 1960&#39&#39s, the path of the late Lebanese P.M. was basically towards constructions. His constructions appeared everywhere, in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Syria and other Arab countries and started to surface as white spots on the black Arab landscape.

On the other side, Al-Hariri was building the banking institutions, educating the people to establish a human capital and linking institutions through numerous NGO&#39&#39s. When Al-Hariri had the chance to rule, his main project was to rebuild Beirut, which has been destroyed by the civil war.

This generation of Arab builders was attacked and targeted by another new generation of Arab revolution advocates and rebels who would build nothing, free no Arab land, save no Arab dignity, but at the end carry and implement the culture of car bombs that assassinates, destroys, and searches for chaos and sets up the fires, which no one can put out. The assassination of Al-Hariri was a confrontation point between the culture of building and that of demolishing and exploding. It was also the beginning of a new chapter of the Arab bleeding life.