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Will the Wissam Hassan assassination topple al-Assad? - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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I do not recall who first put forward the resounding phrase that the assassination of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri drove the Syrian forces out of Lebanon, while the assassination of Wissam Hassan will drive al-Assad out of Damascus. This is something that an analyst said regarding the assassination of Wissam Hassan, head of intelligence in Lebanon’s Internal Security Forces. This is a prophecy that is not far from realization. The assassination of this Lebanese security figure – the man who uncovered assassination and bombing plots in his own country planned by neighboring Syria – will convince many that the survival of Bashar Al-Assad in power in Syria will only mean more killing, terrorism and threats to the region. Removing Bashar al-Assad from power is not just a necessity for Syria, but for the region as a whole, as well as the international community. This is a necessity in the same manner that the toppling of Gaddafi was a necessity, particularly as he continued to sow violence and fund terrorist over a period of four decades, resulting in the entire world coming to the unanimous view regarding the necessity of getting rid of him.

It is most likely that this obscene operation, the assassination of Wissam Hassan, was carried out by Hezbollah, as it previously carried out the criminal assassination of Rafik Hariri in 2005. This assassination also undeniably confirms that it was the Syrian regime that was behind the killing of dozens of Lebanese figures over the past 30 years.

The assassination of Wissam Hassan is proof that the wounded al-Assad regime is still dangerous, and does not care about the consequences of its crimes. All of the disasters that are happening today – such as the assassination of Hassan, the bombing of Turkey, the targeting of Lebanese villages and the growing role of Al Qaeda in the Syrian revolution – can all be traced back to the delay in supporting the Syrian revolution. This delay in toppling the al-Assad regime increases its chances of remaining in power in one form or another, or indeed as part of an independent statelet that will continue to terrorize the region and the world. The survival of the al-Assad regime, or indeed it increasing its life-span, in ruling Damascus increases the threat to the region as a whole, particularly if it is able to rehabilitate its security and military apparatus with unlimited support from Russian and Iran, not to mention if it is able to build alliances, such as its relations with the al-Maliki regime.

Those who predicted that the assassination of Wissam Hassan would drive al-Assad out of Damascus were not exaggerating. For when al-Assad failed in his campaign of assassinations and bombings – which Syrian Intelligence chief Ali al-Mamluk assigned to Lebanese Minister Michel Samaha, before this was uncovered – this inspired the belief that the Syrian leader’s claws had been removed and that he no longer posed a threat and we could therefore afford to tolerate him until his regime collapses naturally as part of the civil war that is taking place between the regime and the internal opposition. However al-Assad’s insistence on committing more and more crimes, and his success in assassinating one of the most important officials in terms of Lebanese security and safety, represents an alarm bell that a wounded al-Assad is more dangerous than a healthy one, confirming the importance of toppling the Syrian regime as soon as possible.

It is true that Syria has become a quagmire that everybody is trying to avoid, particularly due to the divisions amongst the Syrian opposition who have failed, until now, to fulfill the dream of the Syrian people, whilst also alienating many regional and international governments. In addition to this, there are some armed religious groups affiliated to the terrorist Al Qaeda network and others who are fighting in Syria, and this has threatened to put an end to the limited Arab and international support for the Syrian revolution, which in turn has strengthened the position of the al-Assad regime. However despite all this, we say that the ouster of the al-Assad regime remains a necessity, particularly in terms of the threat of its survival, which represents a danger to the entire world.

Just imagine al-Assad escaping the ordeal that he finds himself in today, with the al-Maliki regime in Iraq remaining in solidarity with him, whilst Iran, along Hezbollah, feeling that they have secured a victory in the battle for Syria. Can you imagine what state would our region be in if this was to happen? This would result in a Spring of Terror which would threaten the present Arab regimes and seek to overthrow them. We must confess that we are facing a brutal period in our history, and we have no choice but to confront this. What is happening in Syria is quite natural; we are looking at a people who have lived under the thumb of the regime for the past 40 years, being ruled by iron and fire by the regimes of al-Assad the father and al-Assad the son. As it was right to topple a brutal regime such as that of Saddam Hussein, the Syrian people have the right to topple the brutal Syrian Baathist regime as well. This is the desire of the majority of the Syrian people, and they have declared this in their own blood! This is something that was not the desire of the Gulf States or America, but rather the Syrian people themselves. Indeed, during the early days of the revolution these countries sought to convince al-Assad to assimilate the protests and satisfy the demands of the Syrian people, however he chose the security solution against their advice, and what happened happened.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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