Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

What the assassination means | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The legitimate question is: What would the assassination of Prime Minister Hariri mean?

First: it means that the theory that links authoritarianism and autocracy to terrorism is valid. It also means that combating terrorism would definitely require combating authoritarianism and getting rid of the tyrants. In addition to the fact that “democracies” do not fight one another, they also work together to establish a transparent atmosphere that helps greatly in isolating and combating terrorism.

On the other hand, terrorism flourishes in the reign of authoritarianism and corrupted regimes. It nests around the tyrants, and becomes a principal tool in the hands of such regimes to terrify and intimidate their own citizens. There is an inevitable relationship among the components of the triad of authoritarianism, terrorism and devastation, where the latter is the net result of the interaction of the first two.

Authoritarian regimes did not only use terrorism as a principal mean for their rule, they even pushed their opponents to use sometimes the same tools to answer the corruption and tyranny of such regimes. Most of the terrorist groups in the Arab world are nothing but the outcome of the Arab Tyranny. I would claim that the infection of the Arab world with these terrorist organizations would have never taken place if there has been a true democracy in this region.

Second: the assassination of Rafiq Al-Hariri has opened widely the debate inside and around Lebanon over the importance of the international elements (actors) as regards to investigation and protection in such cases – let away the traditional jargon used by many about state sovereignty and other cliché claims that are usually used by all authoritarian autocratic regimes, since the establishment of the Nation- State, to justify their existence. The security, freedom and dignity of the human being are much more important and superior to the issue of state sovereignty, because if that sovereignty was to lead to the prosecution of the citizen and committing all sorts of crimes against them, it would be nothing that should be searched.

It would be only a kind of enslavement of citizens and human beings and should be fought by all free people of the world to get rid of that condition. Undertaking a neutral, comprehensive and international investigation about the assassination of Hariri has not been only a French demand or a request by the Lebanese opposition, it is by far a common public Lebanese demand. Such demand is supported by all advocates of freedom and justice outside Lebanon, whether in the Arab world or abroad. Actually, Lebanon is passing a very critical stage and is witnessing some internal drastic developments that need a sort of international protection so as they would lead to the supremacy of democracy and freedom, away from the state of intelligence, civil war, and the dirty hands that are playing with the unique history and civilization of Lebanon.

Third: The assassination of Hariri is a political crime, not a criminal one. Major and critical political crimes such as this one “are usually well-planned to serve certain goals and interests of certain people and entities standing behind these terrible acts. When a pivotal character, such as Hariri is assassinated, we expect the planning to be highly technical and timely. Highlighting this would lead us to the next important point.

Fourth: There is a great difference between criminal evidence and political evidence. It is very difficult in terrorist political crimes to find criminal evidence that would condemn the real perpetrators. I even doubt that the international investigation would reach affirmative criminal evidence. Yet, the principal target is to condemn politically the political climate that led to such a crime. Immediately after September 11th, I wrote an article to point the difference between political and criminal types of evidence. I stated in that article that if the U.S. wailed for criminal evidence to put the terrorists who perpetrated this terrorist massacre to trial, it would be only giving the magic receipt for spreading terrorism instead of isolating and combating it. I also pointed that the US did the right thing when It built all its moves against international terrorism according to the “political” evidence in order to circle and attack the wider sources of terrorism that led to such a phenomenal event.

Fifth : Having someone appearing on the screen of Al-Jazeera, claiming that he belongs to a group that he called: “The Jihad and Support Group – Greater Syria”, and claiming that his organization is responsible for the assassination of Hariri as a revenge against Saudi Arabia, was all nothing but a camouflage to cover for the crime. Still, this stupid cover attempt led to adverse reactions as everyone saw how trivial, shallow and artificial that statement was. In that context, the Saudi Minister of Defense, Prince Naif Bin Abdul-Aziz said that the attempt to (intrigue) (involve) his country in the assassination of Hariri is a silly matter, made only for certain goals. He pointed that he believes that the terrorist group that broadcasted the tape does not actually exist. Again, this stupid and naïve action opened widely the debate about many terrorist intelligence – based operations (such as the ones taking place in Iraq and elsewhere), which are usually claimed to be perpetrated by the terrorist Islamist groups. Things became quite complicated and totally unclear regarding these operations. Actually, I myself believe that many of these operations are organized, planned and operated by Arab and non-Arab intelligence entities known for their lust to blood shed and sabotage as they mainly attempt to explode the situation in Iraq and Lebanon for certain merely internal reasons to help the difficult internal and political situation of these perpetrating regimes.

Sixth: It is too early to point fingers of criminal accusation at any state or entity before a comprehensive international investigation is undertaken and tangible results are achieved.

As I said, the issue is ultimately related to the political atmosphere that created the factors that-in turn – led to this crime. In this sense, we can make political accusations based on obvious and undoubted political evidence that are truly away from the emotional statements that followed this dirty crime, we can monitor some statements and writings that seem to be consistent and logical in this context.

In Al-Sharq Al-Awsat news paper, Radwan Al-Sayyed described the atmosphere currently prevailing in Lebanon as a situation where the war parties took control of the new political situation, while they are all under the Syrian tough security grip assisted by the restructured Lebanese security devices, while the old and new civilians – on top of them was Rafiq Al-Hariri – were taking care of the “civil” portion of the Lebanese state, as well as the ministries and the state devices that have been divided among the allies of Syria.

In that context, Radwan Al-Sayyed says: “The Syrian and Lebanese security devices gained wider roles and influence, not only on the military and security levels, but also in the sphere of elections, legislations and the Lebanese economic and banking sectors.

On another level, a statement by the Democratic National Assembly in Syria said that the multi-lateral and multi-purpose sabotage actions taking place in Lebanon would not have succeeded if the Syrian-Lebanese relations were sound and normal. Also, the BBC quoted a source in the UN saying that a number of strong messages have been conveyed to Syria before the assassination of Hariri regarding his personal security as well as that of Waleed Junblat. From all this, we conclude that our autocratic authoritarian regimes are not governed by the rules of logic and reason that usually govern the national human attitude , political authoritarianism is usually linked with stupidity and lack of rationality. Political tyrants never stop exercising their foolishness unless a heavy iron hammer crushes the head of such regimes, a condition we usually call “The top edge” politics. Authoritarian political regimes in the Arab world have already exercised all sorts of foolishness and committed all kinds of crimes without the least logic or reason, and of course, without any rational calculation of any thing nor with the slightest anticipation of the regional and international reactions. For those who would doubt my argument, I wish that they would list out the crimes and foolish deeds committed by the regime of Saddam Hussein since he came to power till the demolition of this regime.

Tyrants have their own calculations, which are totally different from any rational normal human thinking.

Seventh: It is the misfortune of Lebanon that it has been – throughout its modern history – living a system that resembles western democracies, yet, among a vast arena of Arab dictatorships. Lebanon has always been a focal point civilization spot that stands at the critical fault lines between the East and the West. Yet, resting amid a very retarded regional environment that stands anemic to modern civilization.

For all these reasons, Lebanon had to pay for the negative Arab interventions in its internal affairs, whether by the Palestinians, the Syrians and most of Arab regimes. Though the proverb says that “Those who drink from the river don’t urinate in it”, Arabs have been enjoying all manifestation of Lebanese beauty, joy and splendor, and they were happy to see Lebanon as the refuge for the prosecuted people, while at the same time, they went on putting their cruel hand on the Lebanese experiment to spoil and destroy it.

Since Al-Tai’ef Accord, which Hariri and Saudi Arabia played a pivotal role in it, many parties have been working to sabotage this agreement and drag Lebanon as strong as possible to the common club of Arab dictatorships and to the state of coercive intelligence regimes. The assassination of Hariri is nothing but another manifestation of the corrupt Arab interventions in the Lebanese experiment.

Finally, I feel so worried and afraid for Abu Mazen, and I pray to God that he remains away from the hands of murderers and assassins because it is a rule that whomever holds the flag of peace, works courageously towards achieving it and plays a positive role in building his country, becomes targeted in this region. I find myself quite worried concerning Abu Mazen because this region used to be an enemy to builders and a safe heaven to terrorists.

Hazem Salem