One of the former investigators at the U.N. International Independent Investigation Commission said this week that the late Maj. Gen. Wissam al-Hasan’s absence from former Prime Minister Hariri’s convoy on the day of his assassination was ‘unusual,’ hinting his potential involvement in the murder.
The statement quickly brought us back to an old polemic debate and reinstated the debate from a new angle but this time, in a deeper way than before.
The claim went on describing “late Maj. Gen. Wissam al-Hasan, the head of the Internal Security Forces Information Branch, as the only one who knew the detailed itinerary of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri on the day of the assassination on February 14,” eight years ago. The accusations were vehemently denied the people closest to Hariri.
"What has happened in Syria over the past thirty months is, in fact, an extension of al-Assad’s crimes in Lebanon for nearly four decades."Abdulrahman al-Rashed
The first commissioner of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, Detlev Mehlis, described the claim as being reasonable, considering the absence of Wissam al-Hassan during the crime.
Nevertheless, those who knew late Maj. Gen. Hassan consider him as the most important man in Hariri’s security circle. He greatly helped to prosecute and face the al-Assad regime and Hezbollah, which were certainly involved in the assassination of former Prime Minister and a large number of Lebanese leaders and figures.
The origin of the problem
If the goal of such allegations was to discredit al-Hasan, who was later assassinated like Hariri through a car bomb, it has failed. The allegations have only reminded people of the horrific crimes and its relation to al-Assad and the Syrian revolution.
What has happened in Syria over the past thirty months is, in fact, an extension of al-Assad’s crimes in Lebanon for nearly four decades. Blood engenders blood.
The revolution of twenty million Syrians, in addition to regional and international support, is mainly driven by the outcomes of that bloody era. The Lebanese people have suffered for forty years under al-Assad’s regime as it killed hundreds of leaders from almost all communities and parties, ruined the Lebanese country, tainted communal relations and ignited the civil war. Furthermore, the terrible regime escaped punishment for many years.
As soon as protests erupted in Daraa three years ago, a lot of Syrian, Lebanese, Arab and international powers rushed to support the Syrian revolution to overthrow the tyrannical regime of Bashar al-Assad.
This is why, when a small investigator says that al-Hassan is involved in Hariri’s assassination, and when Hezbollah and the Syrian regime’s media echoes these claims to deter suspicions from them, they tend to forget the most important story, which is that the big trap can contain more than the bird itself.
The tables are turning
Divine vengeance is greater than the Hague tribunal, and what is happening to al-Assad and his leaders graver than what happened of late PM Hariri and his companions. The victims of al-Assad’s crimes and his enemies are countless and include presidents, heads of governments, ministers, military and party leaders, media men and women, and the public masses in general, because al-Assad killed, injured and displaced many of them over the past forty year.
Hariri is not alone, neither is his family; the majority of the Lebanese people, similarly to the Syrian people, paid for the crimes of a regime that is now paying a greater price.
This article was first published on in Asharq al-Awsat Dec. 13, 2013.
Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today.