Hariri: Accusing Syria Of Assassinating My Father a "Mistake"

P.M. Hariri made this non-appology apology to Alsharqalawsat:

At some point, we made a mistake. At one stage, we accused Syria of assassinating the martyred premier. That was a political accusation, and that political accusation is over. There is a (UN) court that is doing its job, and we for our part must reassess what happened. The tribunal is completely independent of our political accusations, which were made prematurely. The tribunal only takes into consideration evidence.

That is for all intents and purposes a political bombshell of Jumblatt-esque proportions. But we have been seeing this coming since Mr. Hariri started improving his relationship with the Syrian president.

There will definitely be a sense of betrayal with many of the Future Movement rank-and-files who spent the last 5 years of their lives burning bridges with Syria and syrians and wasting energy on convincing people that the Syrian regime is pure evil.

The real question is why did Mr. Hariri reverse his position?

The problem is that all the answers to that question are not good. Does Mr. Hariri know something about the upcoming STL indictment? Wouldn’t that mean that the Tribunal is not as air-tight as Mr. Hariri and his allies keep insisting?

The other answer is even worse: Could Mr. Hariri have sold-out justice for his father to political expediency (or Saudi pressure)? Wouldn’t that mean that Hezbollah’s accusations of a politicized process are justified?

All the same. We have now officially entered a new political era.

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  • f

    Eh. To be honest, I kind of thought he’d said something to this effect already.

    The tribunal sold out justice to political expediency, presumably with Saad’s acquiescence, some time ago. I like the theory that Kanaan was ‘suicided’ as a gesture to the Hariri family to make abandoning the Syria track more palatable (if justice has already been served, who cares who gets indicted, right?). But it’s probably just another Levantine conspiracy :)

    I don’t believe that the STL is fabricating evidence, but they’re clearly turning a blind eye where they’ve been told not to see anything.

    The whole thing stinks.

  • http://oussama-hayek.blogspot.com/ OH

    I agree with you that this is a whole new era. My own view is that this is a statement based on fear of an impending showdown with Hizbollah. I wrote about it on my blog.

  • http://ml42.blogspot.com Bruno

    Would you say it is now correct to say Lebanon has become a Syrian-Saudi condominium where Iran has a veto? There are now no major political forces left that are not subservient to one or another of its near and far neighbors.

  • f

    Bruno — I have a feeling we’re going to find out whether or not Iran really has a veto in the ‘Syrian-Saudi condominium’, as you call it, rather sooner than any of us would like.

  • Shiwa7ad

    As OH said, it is possible that this latest change is simply dictated by fear of Hezbollah. But I really wonder why Hariri is remaining prime minister. Why is he putting up with all this humiliation ? He’s rich, he can live a dream life anywhere in the world. If Saudi Arabia is forcing him to stay, why is it doing so ? What benefit is Hariri to Saudi Arabia if his role is just to agree to whatever Syria/Hezbollah decide ?

  • http://beirutspring.com Mustapha

    f,

    yes the whole think stinks, but really, didn’t we know this all along?

    OH,

    I read your post. I’m not really sure this is about preventing civil war. It does seem more like a pre-emptive move against Hezbollah though..

    Bruno,

    You forgot to include the Americans, the french, the turks, the egyptians and just about anyone who wants a dog in this race,

    Shiwa7ad,

    Good question that every person I know have asked at least once before..

  • Mariam

    Blaming Syria was a mistake from day one, I think. I don’t think Syria benefits at all from killing Hariri. That’s my opinion. But the fact is his Saad El-Hariri is like a Jumblatt – where it suits him to throw accusations he will. First it was Syria and now they want to turn all problems on Iran and Hezbollah- as if Syria is not involved with them.
    And Mustapha, like you mentioned so many countries “want a dog in this race” and really we can say anyone of those could have a hand in the assasination(s) .. but we only have to wait and see. Oh, and you did forget Israel.
    And my opinion, we’ll never see anything because simply whoever did it – wouldn’t want anyone to know – and it would be against the Tribunal’s interest to say anything.
    There’s money and lives on the line for all this. This is so much bigger than Lebanon.
    Yes, I believe in conspiracies – looking beyond our bubble as Lebanese – we’ll see how much bigger this is.

  • f

    you know, mustapha, i actually bought it for the first few years! the alleged commitment to justice and freedom and independence and all those other ideals they’ve progressively binned since may 08.

    do i sound too bitter? in spite of everything, i still believe that we’ll live to see the lebanon we want. but it’s much further away than we thought it would be back in 2005.

  • http://beirutspring.com Mustapha

    Mariam,

    The accusations did not come out of the blue. Syria has a history with violent meddling in Lebanon and was known to specifically target Sunni strong men.
    Moreover, Hariri the father was reportedly threatened again and again by the Syrian regime over UNSCR 1559

    f,

    To tell you the truth, the undoing begun much earlier than that, namely since Nabih Berri was brought back as speaker of the house.

  • Shiwa7ad

    LBC claimed that the fact that Ash Sharq el Awsat is owned by Saudis carries a special significance, probably meaning that this interview received the Saudi stamp of approval (or even that Hariri adopted this new position under direct Saudi pressure).
    That makes me wonder even more what the Saudis are getting out of this.

  • f

    shiwa7ad — i can’t imagine what the syrians could’ve offered the KSA to seal their rapprochement other than HA and/or iran. but how could this ever be implemented on a practical level — and without totally compromising syria? betting on a syrian military return to lebanon would be a risky game indeed.

    of course, there are many things in this world i can’t imagine. i’d be very curious to hear other theories.

  • f

    mustapha,

    you may be right about that.

    man. does it say something that i’d forgotten that there was ever even a moment we dared to hope M14 might buck the quadripartite alliance and elect someone else?

  • Shiwa7ad

    f- Maybe the Syrians offered something that has nothing to do with Lebanon. Something that has to do with Iraq, where it is said that Syrians and Saudis are politically close, or perhaps a promise to prevent Palestinian groups from trying to undermine the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

  • f

    has anyone else heard about amal and ssnp allegedly mobilising to come to the aid of ahbash in the clashes? sounds like syria really may be turning against HA.