Across the Bay

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Justice for Lebanon

A terrific and timely piece by Bill Harris in today's WSJ on the latest Brammertz report, which all but names the Syrian regime and their Lebanese cronies as the only suspects in the Hariri assassination, and the Syrian regime's efforts to scuttle the international tribunal that would try them for this crime.

Almost unnoticed by the global media, a crucial turning point has arrived in the U.N investigation into the murder of former Lebanese prime minister, Rafik Hariri, in February 2005. It is also a turning point for the credibility of the international community.

A report by the chief of the investigation, Belgian Serge Brammertz, presented to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on March 15, establishes that the specific motives for the assassination were strictly political. They involved reactions to U.N. Security Council resolution 1559, which demanded Syria's withdrawal from Lebanon; Hariri's opposition to the Syrian-driven extension of the term of Lebanese President Emile Lahoud; and Hariri's bid to end pro-Syrian domination of the Lebanese regime in the May 2005 Lebanese parliamentary elections.

After many months of painstaking assembly and analysis of physical, interview and communications evidence, Mr. Brammertz has essentially confirmed the findings of his predecessor, Detlev Mehlis: The Syrian/Lebanese security apparatus that commanded Beirut up to 2005 -- whose overlords are Presidents Bashar Assad of Syria and Emile Lahoud of Lebanon -- is the prime and only suspect for the Hariri murder. His report emphasizes the elaborate character of the murder conspiracy, effectively dismissing the "aerial delivery hypothesis" for the bombing, and brushing aside the Islamic fundamentalist and science fiction scenarios floated by the Syrian regime and its apologists.


After five unanimous Security Council resolutions on the U.N. murder inquiry and the proposed special tribunal, the credibility of international justice is at stake in the Hariri case.

I will return later with some remarks on this piece and more.