There is no doubt that the al-Assad regime and Hezbollah were behind the assassination of Brigadier General Wissam al-Hassan. He was not killed because he was “anti-Syria”, as one news agency claimed, but rather because he was a professional security figure, an honest patriot and a brave man, the likes of which is rare to find in Lebanon today.
I knew Wissam al-Hassan for nearly three years, and I was closely acquainted with him for more than a year and a half. I did not know if he was a Sunni or a Shiite; I did not ask, for this was the last thing I cared about, but I never heard the man utter a single word that could be interpreted as sectarian, or any inflammatory language. He used to refer to Hezbollah, despite its many sectarian acts and crimes against Lebanon and the Lebanese, as “the party”, and if he talked about the tyrant of Damascus he would say “our neighbors”. Hence he was not killed because he was “anti-Syria” in orientation, but rather because he was a professional security figure and a Lebanese patriot who sought stability for his country. He was also among the largest storehouses of Lebanon’s secrets and knew all movements of all parties in the region’s gang, whether in Beirut or Damascus.
Those who knew Wissam al-Hassan were aware that he was a candidate for assassination, and that this could happen at any moment. In the last meeting we had, he told me face to face: “The situation is dangerous, and what’s coming is going to be spectacular!” I asked him what he was talking about, to which al-Hassan explained: “there is a significant and serious operation that will soon be revealed”. I interrupted him asking about the nature of this operation, and he smiled as usual and said “it’s going to be big and you’ll be able to distinguish it”. Two days later the story of former [Lebanese Information Minister] Michel Samaha was revealed, which snowballed into even more accusations against figures very close to the al-Assad regime’s circles. Today, Wissam al-Hassan can be considered a victim of his devotion to the security of Lebanon, and I have no doubt that he was aware he would be killed at the hands of those whom he exposed. Yet he was a brave man in every sense of the word, a true believer in what he sought to achieve, and he was amazing proof of God’s mercy.
The assassination of the martyr Wissam al-Hassan tells us that those who killed him are the same ones that killed the martyr Rafik Hariri. The assassination of al-Hassan also tells us that the al-Assad regime, which is inevitably going to fall, will not leave until it has killed off Lebanon’s finest men, if it doesn’t succeed in inflaming the whole country in the process, just as it has destroyed Syria. The al-Assad regime has not just opted to burn Syria but the region as a whole. The actions of this criminal regime, along with its aides in Hezbollah and Iran before them, represent a declaration of war against the entire region and its stability. This is why we must accelerate the arming of the Syrian rebels, and provide them with everything they need in terms of military aid and so on. This is a task for the Saudis, the Turks and the Qataris. Likewise there is a need for international mobilization, through an alliance of the countries willing including France, the UK and the USA, in order to accelerate the fall of the criminal regime in Syria.
Our region will never know stability with the al-Assad regime, and today we need to turn the page on Lakhdar Brahimi and open the page on arming the rebels and accelerating the fall of al-Assad instead, otherwise the late al-Hassan is only one of a long list of assassination victims.