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Conspiracy and Justice in Lebanon - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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As the anniversary of 9/11 – the terrorist attacks that struck New York and Washington in 2001 – approaches, publishing houses in the west are releasing books and DVDs that include analysis and interpretation of the events of 9/11 that highlight the evidence of a “conspiracy” or “inside job.” This is an attempt for 9/11 to be added to the “conspiracy files” that include the assassination of JFK, the war in Iraq, and other events.

As for the Arab world, there was Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah’s television speech during which he put forward alleged “evidence and proof” of Israeli involvement in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. This is one of a series of Arab events that are surrounded by numerous conspiracy theories, such as the death or suicide of Egyptian General Abdul Hakim Amer, the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, as well as the deaths of Iraqi Defense Minister Adnan Khairallah, Queen Alia of Jordan, Egyptian Defense Minister Ahmed Badawi, and former leader of southern Sudan John Garang; these figures all died under mysterious circumstances and question marks and doubts remain over their deaths.

It seems that the case of Rafik Hariri’s assassination is destined to have the same fate as these, especially in light of the rising voices in the region calling for a political deal to take place to quell the turmoil, with the most important part of any expected deal to be the expected charges against Hezbollah to be dropped in return for the movement laying down its weapons. Such a deal would see current Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, giving up his quest to find out who was responsible for his father’s death, granting a total amnesty, and this will be a great challenge for him and an issue that must reconcile his own personal pain with regards the loss of his father and the general interests of Lebanon.

The finger of accusations, in the eyes of many of those observing and analyzing what is happening, is pointing squarely at Hezbollah. There are witnesses and evidence that strongly suggest that some members of Hezbollah who were acting alone are responsible for this crime, especially in light of the assassination of influential Hezbollah members who had connections and communication with other foreign parties, the most prominent of which was Imad Mughniyeh, who was assassinated in a car bomb under mysterious circumstances. A number of conspiracy theories have been put forward with regards to Rafik Hariri’s assassination, with each party using evidence and their own interpretations to build a comprehensive story that lies somewhere between defamation and half-truth, while those who listen to such theories repeat them with such conviction that they are used as a reference to explain what happened.

Creating conspiracy theories is an attractive prospect, as this allows the people to be at ease, and strengthens their submissive and docile natures. Every nation, culture and civilization possesses stories about mysterious events, and nobody can confirm or deny the reality of what happened due to the absence of comprehensive evidence. Hariri’s assassination does not need to enter the smoke and mirror world of conspiracy theories, for there are witnesses and evidence that have been obtained, and these accused parties whose interests at the time were served by his death, along with the fact that nobody can deny that Israel is capable of carrying out a terrible crime such as this, and its black record is filled with similar crimes in different places around the world and against many innocents.

History will be the true judge of Hariri’s assassinations, for the Lebanese courts were unable to deal with this, while Lebanese security was unable to carry out an independent role in this regard, which made it necessary for an international body to investigate this in a direct and decisive manner. There are strong attempts to push the issue of Hariri’s assassination into the realm of conspiracy theory, and this is a romantic and popular solution to a complex and important issue. The coming days will see sparring between those who are following this path of conspiracy theory, and those who want justice to be done, with regards to Hariri’s assassination. The greatest fear is that justice itself will be killed and join Rafik Hariri.

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi is a businessman and prominent columnist. Mr. Shobokshi hosts the weekly current affairs program Al-Takreer on Al-Arabiya, and in 1995 he was chosen as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum. He received his BA in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa.

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