Beirut bombing seen as warning message from Assad

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The bombing of a Beirut neighborhood on Friday is a message by President Bashar al-Assad’s regime to regional and international powers to stop their support to Syrian opposition.

A member from the March 14 Coalition, Ali Hamade, told Al Arabiya that Assad is sending his message to regional and international powers that the security situation in Lebanon can be exploited and destabilized if support to the Syrian opposition is not withdrawn.

In 2005, the coalition was formed by political parties and independents to be a united force against Syrian intervention in Lebanon.

“The Syrian crisis will explode to the neighboring counties if the international community will keep in supporting the Syrian rebels,” Hamade added.

Recently, the U.N. peace envoy to Syria Al-Akhdar Ibrahimi warned against the Syrian conflict spilling over into neighboring countries during his visit to Lebanon two days before the bombing.

In the attack, Wissam Al-Hassan, brigadier general at Lebanese International Security forces (ISF) and head of the police’s Information Branch was assassinated.

Hassan, 47, was known for his opposition to the Syrian regime and was linked to the intelligence chief's recent case, in which he exposed an alleged plot by Syria to sow chaos in Lebanon.

In the case, former Information Minister Michel Samaha was charged by Lebanon’s Militarily Tribunal with transporting explosives into Lebanon with the help of Syrian Security Chief Major General Ali Mamlouk and another Syrian official in an attempt to carry out terrorist attacks against political and religious figures.

Hassan’s assassination signaled the beginning of grave repercussions of the Syrian crisis in Lebanon, political analysts argued. The blast brought back the shadow of bombings that engulfed Lebanon and Ashrafieh especially during the civil war.

The blast at the heart of the Lebanese capital also occurred in a critical time when the Lebanese political parties are more than ever split over the conflict in neighboring Syria.

More about Hassan

Hassan, who is one of Lebanon’s most important security figures, was also close to the former Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri. After the latter’s assassination, he was appointed head of the Internal Security Forces Information Branch in 2006. He has long been close to figures in the March 14 movement led by Hariri’s son, Saad.

He played a major role in security investigations, including the inquiry into the assassination Hariri. He cooperated with the Special Tribunal for Lebanon along with the ISF’s top investigator Captain Wissam Eid who was assassinated as well in January 2008. The STL has eventually incriminated in the indictment high-ranking members of Hezbollah.

Hassan also gained fame for uncovering and dismantling Israeli espionage units and the arrest of more than 100 individuals suspected to collaborate with the Jewish state, including Free Patriotic Movement official, Fayez karam.

His assassination is bringing fears that the wave of the bombings and other attacks that began in 2005 post the assassination of Hariri and 22 others in Downtown Beirut back.

After Hariri’s killing, several anti-Syrian figures were assassinated, most of them in car bombings.

He survived numerous assassination attempts according to the ISF including a recent one this year. Yet his extreme cautions couldn’t stop him escaping his destiny on October 19, 2012.