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1, 2, 3, Why Kill Hariri?

02/16/2005

ONE: On February 14, 2005 Rafiq Hariri, who recently resigned from his post as the Lebanese prime minister and joined the opposition that is calling upon "Sister Syria" to end her occupation to Lebanon, was assassinated by a car bomb loaded with 100 KG (or 1000KG) of explosives.

Before Hariri moved, three decoy motorcades used to go in different directions to confuse those who might want to kill him. The real motorcade was always equipped with a device that deactivates the nearby cell phones, to foil possible car bombers on his route. Nevertheless, the man was assassinated in broad daylight. A long-bearded idiot belonging to an unknown Islamic organization sent a 45-second video tape to Al Jazeera claiming his responsibility for the operation. His reasons were "quite clear;" he said he will kill the Lebanese ex-prime minister to punish Saudi Arabia for her harsh policies against Saudi Islamists. Except for the Syrians and the puppet Lebanese Government everyone put the blame on Syria. After long discussions and debates, analysts concluded that even a moron cannot believe the Al Jazeera bearded idiot.

Well, perhaps it is a good time to remember another Middle Eastern story. A few days before Hariri was murdered there was an interesting Egyptian story about a liberal politician who heads a political party that asks for democracy and reform. The story goes that the politician, who now enjoys his time in the prison, had forged all but 14 of the more than 2,000 signatures he was required to furnish to the committee that licenses political parties. Three simple facts made me, a moron, confused. First, Nur, the imprisoned politician, needed only 50 signatures, second, the man is a lawyer, and third the government discovered the crime one year after the papers were submitted, three months after the approved the party and two days after Nur met with Madeleine Albright and talked about the need for constitutional changes.

As a Middle Easterner I can assure you that our region has no native morons at all. Never did our governments treat us as morons. Nor did we ever, especially when it comes to security institutions, think of them as mentally retarded. After all, security has been the only thing they have been doing persistently and successfully for the last sixty years. Hariri's story is like Nur's story, not meant to be a French movie that audience comes out of the theatre analyzing and asking what did the Director really mean. Those stories are rather like American advertisements. They are meant to be quite clear and very impressive. They should be clear enough so that even a moron like me will get the message and they must be impressive enough so that all people would remember them for ever.

TWO: Hariri's killing is a clear message to the Americans and their agenda of democracy and reform; what is questioned is not the message but rather the receiver's answer. So far the United States has expressed her kind concern for Nur's painful fate and Hariri's ended fate. Would the Americans have more answers in the future? In the past they tried five answers, three unfortunately failing and two not-less-unfortunately successful. The failing strategies were, first, Albright's using of soft power, which means improving education, economic liberalism and human rights, second, supporting local democrats and reformers, as it was, or has been, the case with Iran, Egypt and Saudi Arabia and which climaxed with the stimulation of Iraqi Shiite riots in 1991, and third, the economic siege that was exercised over Iraq and Libya. Nothing of that helped fixing the situation. The two successful strategies were the direct use of harsh power as in Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq, and the bribing of the local security as was the case with the Iraqi Republic Guards who opened the gates of Baghdad wide before the American tanks, and the Eastern European security services, which were involved, directly or indirectly, in plotting against the very regimes they used to work for, and ending authoritarian Communism in that part of the world.

Do the Americans have in mind more alternatives? Do they have a strategy at all, or is it a sort of wait-and-see technique? And have they not yet seen enough? The Egyptian and Syrian message is simple, direct and clear. The difference in intensity between Cairo and Damascus is rooted in the "language" the Americans used to frighten Syria or threaten Egypt. Had the Americans used the same language with Egypt, Nur's body would have soon flown up high in the air to immediately land on the ash and wreckage of his own car. The flights do not crash in air because their locations are precisely determined. Arab regimes in Egypt and Syria have precisely stained their locations in blue bruises on Nur's eye and in red blood on a downtown Beirut street. Obviously they are going to fight their war until the last citizen of "their" countries. Now, for Arab people to determine their position, an American answer must immediately be marked on the Middle Eastern map.

THREE: We cannot go through the killing of Hariri without revisiting the Syrian Saudi relationships. Both the Syrian killing of Hariri, who was well-known for his strong ties with the Kingdom, and the provocative videocassette pointing to Saudi conflict with her extremists, stirred up the anger of Riyadh. The earlier withdrawal of the Lebanese and Saudi double national Hariri from the Syrian camp and his joining of the Opposition were certainly not less provocative to Syria. It looks like the temporary Damascus-Riyadh alliance is disintegrating before Washington pressure. There was a time when Riyadh plotted and financed an assassination of Ayatollah Hussein Fadlallah, who was then the spiritual leader of Iranian and Syrian backed Hezbollah. It did that in 1985 on behalf of her eternal ally, the United States. Four years later, Hariri could bring together in Taef/Saudi Arabia all the fighting Lebanese factions and the Syrians as well to launch a new reconciliatory era, in which the Lebanese rebuilt their ruined country, the Syrians continued their military occupation and security domination, and the Saudis furthered their manipulation of Lebanese politicians and intelligentsia. Is Saudi Arabia now submitting to the pressure of the Americans? Could it be a hopeful sign of imminent dramatic change in the Syrian regime, perhaps conducted by an American army whose forces are already stretched all along the eastern borders of Syria?

Egyptian Moron
EgyptianMoron@hotmail.com

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Original text copyright by the author and MidEastWeb for Coexistence, RA. Posted at MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log at http://www.mideastweb.org/log/archives/00000333.htm where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Distributed by MEW Newslist. Subscribe by e-mail to mew-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by email with this notice and link to and cite this article. Other uses by permission.

by Egyptian Moron @ 12:33 PM CST [Link]

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Replies: 1 Comment

It's too early to declare Iraq a success. An election doesn't make it a success otherwise the Palestinians election is a success. Yasser Arafat was elected by his people therefore it makes it a success.

Posted by Butros Dahu @ 02/21/2005 09:25 PM CST


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