Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Opinion: What Has Happened Since Hariri’s Assassination? | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Eleven years have passed since Rafik Hariri was assassinated by the Assad regime. His killers have succeeded not only in depriving Lebanon of its former prime minister and one of its most important leaders, but they have also succeeded in demolishing his project to build and develop a new Lebanon.

By killing Hariri, Assad and his allies have impeded his plans to build and construct a better Lebanon. Hariri wanted to attract investors to Lebanon, transform it into a place where trustworthy international institutions thrive and where all strata of society is involved in building it rather than competing over seats in parliament and government.

Hariri even went to his adversary Hezbollah and offered to participate in the development of areas under his influence and change the situation of the Lebanese citizen who is forced to emigrate in order to earn a living. He believed that Hezbollah, the rest of the opposition and their followers would find benefits for themselves in his plans and would be a positive part of them instead of being a negative party committed to using weapons to obtain their share.

He convinced important Lebanese expats and the Saudi, Gulf, Egyptian, European, American and Russian governments of his plans and flew to Iran several times to reassure Tehran. He was welcomed by most of these figures, governments and international funds and features of his plans’ success began to show. This was until Assad killed him despite the fact that he agreed to step down from his role as prime minister and bowed to pressure by extending the former president Emile Lahoud’s term.

Hariri’s killers not only wanted to get rid of him but also get rid of his big plans so that Lebanon remains a country under their control and that is preoccupied with marginal differences. Since the day that Hariri and other patriotic political Lebanese forces were assassinated, reconstruction, dreams, and hope have stopped. This was the goal and this is the result.

However, the price of the crime is high. The killer, or killers are known; Assad and his allies who have Syrian blood on their hands today. There is no longer a need to debate their role in the crime because six years after killing Hariri and his companions, they have committed a much greater crime and have killed about half a million Syrians.

Despite Hariri’s assassination causing enormous problems for Assad, people like him do not comprehend the lessons of history and this is proved by the fact that he chose to perpetrate crimes in Syria whilst the blood of his victims in Lebanon had not yet dried. Instead of trying to appease his citizens at the beginning of 2011 and testing different solutions to accommodate their protests, he was quick to threaten them, kill them and deliberately commit mass murders.

We do not need to open Assad’s brain in order to understand it and he leaves his mark on every crime. He thought that the best way to stop Hariri’s plans and those of other moderate Lebanese leaders that did not accept his dictation was to kill all of them.

Despite the Lebanese people remembering the assassination of their visionary, moderate and patriotic leader every year, they do not realise the importance of commemorating him by reviving his project to unite all Lebanese people through positive change as opposed to sectarianism.