Some blame Syria’s al-Assad for Bombing in Christian Beirut that Kills Top Lebanese Security Official

A powerful bomb exploded in Ashrafieh, a largely Christian neighborhood in the Lebanese capital of Beirut, on Friday, killing Wissam al-Hassan, an intelligence expert in the Lebanese security apparatus who had been critical of Syria.

Tensions immediate rose in hot spots such as Tripoli or the Bikaa Valley, with protesting youth burning tires in the streets and cutting highways off from traffic. There have been occasional firefights in recent months in Tripoli between Allawite Shiites and Sunni Muslims. Until now, Beirut had largely been spared such violence over the Syrian revolution.

Aljazeera English has video:

Sunni politician Saad al-Hariri blamed Syrian president Bashar al-Assad for the bombing, as did Druze leader Waleed Jumblatt. Generally, Sunni Muslims in Lebanon wish for the overthrow of the al-Assad Baath government, which is dominated at the top by Allawite Shiites. Most Lebanese Christians and Shiites, on the other hand, either support al-Assad or are worried about what will happen to their communities if he falls.

There have previously been assassination campaigns in Lebanon, as in 2004-2005, when critics of Syria were bombed or shot, including al-Hariri’s father, Rafiq, a former Lebanese prime minister.

Posted in Lebanon | 7 Responses | Print |

7 Responses

  1. In a televised interview with CNN, Saad Hariri spoke from his hometown Riyadh in Saudi Arabia. Specifically asked who had the capability in Lebanon to organize such a carbomb attack, Saad did not give an answer. Later in the program a Lebanese did answer the question and quickly named five political (militant) organizations. Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan have provided safe havens for foreign militants crossing the border with arms, munition and anti-tank grenades. When there were many ugly and devastating car bomb attacks in Damascus and Aleppo, the US ambassador to the UN blocked an attempt to discuss a resolution condemning these acts. The region is on fire and the western powers including and especially the US have exacerbated the violence by advocating a violent overthrow of the Assad regime. Two permanent members of the Security Council have been clear a regime change by military action was not acceptable. Turkey, France, U.S. and GCC nations are responsible for this policy and led to the failure of the UN mission by Kofi Annan. There are 32,000 deaths (militants, civilians and Assad forces) and as I understand 28,000 persons have gone missing according to Syrian activists group Avaaz. The region is on fire. Turkey may be inclined to support a temporary cease-fire during the Eid al-Adha next week. Let’s hope wisdom and humanity prevails after 19 months of destruction.

    A revenge for the Assef Shawkat assassination?

  2. Juan,

    You forgot to add Syria’s rubout of Bashir Gemayal in 1982 to your list. These guys are brutal thugs and they don’t have an hesitation to act like the Corleone crew when it comes to protecting what they see as their interests. Hard to see how Lakhdar Brahimi will be able to succeed where Kofi Annan couldn’t.

  3. Your sectarian angle on this story is a little baffling…

    ‘Abdu l-Bari ‘Atwan has a good piece on this in al-Quds al-‘Arabi: link to\19z999.htm&arc=data\2012\10\10-19\19z999.htm

  4. Can anyone take seriously the word of Walid Jumblatt? That man is nothing but a weather-vane. His politics are understandable, given his circumstances, but his effrontery and shamelessness are remarkable even in the annals of Lebanese affairs.

    As for the murder of Hariri pere, the Syrian gov’t was officially cleared by one of the heads of that UN tribunal (I forget which chief investigator it was. There have been so many, they rotate them faster than ISAF commanders in Afghanistan. Maybe it was Mehlis?)

  5. Wissam al-Hassan built a case implicating members of Hezbollah in the assassination of Rafiq al-Hariri. Hezbollah is a prime suspect in this bombing.
    The Christians in Lebanon have long been divided between the pro-Assad and anti-Assad group. I don’t see the Christians being behind Assad the way they are in Syria.
    Whatever happens in Lebanon, I don’t see why Christians would feel safer by being on Assad’s side.

    • Re: Wissam al-Hassan built a case implicating members … Syrian intelligence in Rafiq Hariri assassination
      Hezbollah for same, after STL ordered release of four Syrian generals who had been held in Beirut prison for nearly four years without charge
      Unraveled highly sophisticated telecom espionage ring set up by the Israeli Mossad
      I could continue with more factions in the Lebanon power game, like Sunni jihadists spilling over across borders. Perhaps Saad and Wissam overplayed their hand in antagonizing the Syrians lately – see also one of many car bomb attacks in Damascus and Aleppo. Violence begets violence and the feelings of revenge can last for generations.

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