A three meter crater took the life of eight people in Achrafieh on Friday. One of those eight people was the head of Lebanon’s ISF intelligence, Wissam Al Hassan.
The assassination of Wissam Al Hassan cannot be tackled except by asking two main questions: how and why.
How was he assassinated?
No, I’m not referring to the bomb which went off but as to how this bomb found Al Hassan on the day that he returned from abroad, on a busy street in Achrafieh at the exact same time he was passing. The answer cannot but be clear: there was an informant among Al Hassan’s entourage who monitored his every move, waiting for the right time to press the trigger.
Why was he assassinated?
Some people want to think it’s Israel. Al Hassan has rounded up many Israeli spies – but the biggest fish that he caught was non-other than Michel Samaha who happens to be Bachar el Assad’s favorite man in Lebanon, possibly surpassing the allies that are giving men in Syria to defend the regime. Being the head of the investigation with Samaha, Al Hassan managed to find connections and revelations about the work of the former and the involvement of the Syrian regime in the everyday lives of Lebanese, something that existed in theory before. But never this practically. Al Hassan managed to create causality between Samaha and many incidences which took place on the Lebanese scene and by virtue of Samaha’s proxy, the causality extended to our neighbor to the East.
Al Hassan has also created a tough link between Samaha and high ranking Syrian officials, such as Bousayna Chaaban, who – it transpired – had asked Samaha to work on dismantling the fragile status quo that existed in Lebanon. In order to do so, Samaha had too much help.
The investigation has also led to the unveiling of documents which accused one specific party on the Lebanese scene with an assassination that is uncannily like Hassan’s: a man who just returned from a trip abroad, as he went to a meeting, on a side street in a bustling region.
1 + 1 = 2
The informant who managed to conjure up the plan that took away Hassan’s life, as well as the lives of eight other people in Achrafieh, is most definitely Lebanese. You need to be Lebanese in order to have that much proximity to the second man of the ISF. The execution of the idea was also Lebanese – and God knows we have way too many Lebanese traitors in our midst who can’t wait but execute the commands they get. The command is, obviously, Syrian – straight out of Damascus. The Syrian regime in its current state can only send out a request. Some Lebanese are all too willing to abide.
The question to be asked is: why would a beaten but still fighting Syrian regime want to get Al Hassan out of the way, fully knowing that this won’t stop the investigation taking place into Samaha?
The answer is simple: the investigation was going way too fast for the liking of the crumbling regime and its Lebanese arms that were readied to be broken by it. Killing Al Hassan would buy time for the parties affected by his work to catch their breath and ready their upcoming steps. This is the tip of the iceberg for Lebanon. What will come soon will be much worse. After all, isn’t time valuable enough to kill for?
The assassination of Wissam Al Hassan is also another attempt by said “foreign agent” to instill chaos between Lebanon’s Sunnis and Shi’a. Those who benefit from such a scenario are Israel and Syria, the former because it would weaken Lebanon, especially its foes, and the latter because the Alawite leadership sees no problem in pitting the Sunnis against the Shiites. Iran, on the other hand, doesn’t have it in its best interest to have such a strife in Lebanon because it would damage the only section of the country it cares deeply about.
Israel is probably smiling giddily at what’s happening in Lebanon now. This is all too good to be true. But it stops at that – because the immediate interest in the whole matter is for the Syrians to defuse some of the tension on their regime. And that’s a gamble they’re willing to take. Will most fingers be pointed at them? They’re sure of it. But they can take it because the whole world, apart from Russia and China and Iran, have their fingers already pointed at the regime and they haven’t succumbed. They can kill their own people for months on end and get away with it. What’s a top ranking Lebanese official compared to the tens of thousands that have been killed already?
Israel may have done it too. They’ve killed tens of thousands and have assassinated Lebanese officials before (Imad Moghniyeh comes to mind). But I believe Syria is more plausible and it seems our president and prime minister share that belief.
The Future for Lebanon
This won’t be the last of assassinations to hit the country. I hope it is. But my instincts tell me it’s not. The March 14th movement is effectively comatose after what they did on Sunday. The big comeback they were planning to make turned into a knife that got sunk right through their heart – could they recover from it? I don’t think so. The anger in the streets is the most substantial in recent memory – even surpassing that of the May 2012 events in the Sunni streets. The dichotomy couldn’t have been clearer: as people celebrated with baklava in one part of the country, others were protesting with burning tires. Because burning rubber brings dead people back. The country is on the verge of a volcano if things keep escalating. Our politicians need to sober up for just one fraction of a moment and see exactly how big a mess they’ve all made out of things.
The 2013 elections are definitely in jeopardy. If the situation doesn’t start to get better really soon, I don’t expect we’ll be heading to the ballots in May to vote for the same people all over again.
The government should obviously not resign at the moment because a political void is exactly what those who planned the Achrafieh blast want from us. Our president needs to head out to the U.N. and immediately ask for “peace” keeping forces to be spread around our borders with Syria. I’d even call for the borders to be shut down because their economic value has become non-existent.
May all the victims of the Achrafieh massacre rest in peace.