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Alan da Luz: Déjà Vu in Lebanon: Assassination of Wissam Al Hassan, Cui Bono?

1.     Everybody seems to know: Syria was behind it!
In Lebanon, the head of the secret services IFS, Wissam Al Hassan, was killed in a bomb attack in on October 19. Almost everybody started hinting at Syria: Opposition Leader Saad Hariri accused immediately Damascus to be behind the bombing Soon after, the French Foreign Minister Fabius said it was “probably Syria”. Then all papers wrote it again and again: “It was Syria!” “It must have been Syria!”

     How do they know?

      Actually, at first sight there are some reasons to suspect Syria: Wissam Al Hassan was a member of the Hariri clan, devoted to Saudi Arabia and declared enemy of Syria. One week before, a former minister friendly to Syria, Michel Samaha, had been arrested in suspicion of transporting explosives to Syria. No doubt Wissam al Hassan was behind this operation and it was explained that his assassination was clearly retaliation for the arrest of Samaha! Furthermore, Al Hassan had been a leader in former inquiries on the assassination of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005 – where Syria and Hizbollah have been successively accused of being the culprits.

2.    Hariri 2005, Al Hassan 2012: same recipe, same goals?
     The assassination of Wissam Al Hassan appears strangely similar to the murder of
     Lebanon’s Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005:
     *     Same method (precise and powerful car bomb exploding just in time)
     *     Same surprising context (the killing of an extremely well protected man
         – how could they know he was driving through this street at this time?)
     *     Same immediate accusations against Syria
     *     Same disorders happening after the event and prone to lead to Chaos
         into Lebanon, to incite sectarian hatred and to weaken Syria and Hizbollah.

     Do you believe these are just coincidences? I don’t. Let me ask again: Cui bono
     (who profits)?  To investigate this, it is of some avail to recall the circumstances of
     Rafik Hariri’s assassination n 2005:

 3.    Context:

3.1.    Rafik Hariri’s assassination and its consequences

     Rafik Hariri was killed in spite of a very strong security dispositive that protected him all the time. The core of this dispositive was a jamming system in its motorcade, doomed to impede any electronic impulse in the vicinity of the motorcade. However, this sophisticated system didn’t work. Nobody could explain why. The question on whether it was true that the system was bought from an Israeli Com-pany (Netline communication Technologies Ltd) – and so may have been deactivated easily through Israeli agents was never answered: The Israeli origin was never denied, but not admitted neither…

In 2005, the assassination of Rafik Hariri was immediately used against the Syrian, whose army was in Lebanon at this time (called years before to stop the civil war between Lebanese factions). A few minutes after the assassination of Hariri, the Israeli Radio claimed it was the work of Syria. The new was then picked up through the Western Media and a few weeks later, Syria, under strong pressure, had to withdraw from Lebanon. Sectarian incidents started soon again between Sunnis (with many Sunni leaders enemies of Syria and allied to Saudi Arabia), Shia (friendly to Iran and Syria) and Christians (strongly divided).  So as a consequence of the murder, Lebanon was strongly destabilized. One year later, Israel attacked Lebanon, killing about 1200 people (most of them civilians), destroying systematically infrastructure: Bridges, streets, power stations…  So the consequences of Rafik Hariri’s assassination were: Weakening of Syria’s position, strengthened sectarian conflicts in Lebanon, victory of the pro Saudi fraction of Saad Hariri (son of Rafik Hariri) in the elections and finally Israeli aggression facilitated through the chaos in the country!

3.2.    The International inquiry about Hariri’s assassination

     Soon after the assassination in 2005, an international tribunal set up by the UNO Security Council and led through the German “Terrorism expert” Dieter Mehlis started to investigate the assassination of Rafik Hariri. From the very beginning and before having collected any element, Mehlis explained: It “must have been Syria”. Then “proofs” were collected, for instance two witnesses, two Palestinians, who testified that the killing of Hariri was commanded by Syria. The tribunal wanted to give the impression they had been in touch with the order givers and had access to a lot of secret information. Then four Lebanese Generals were arrested, accused to have prepared the assassination together with Syria. Mehlis said also the tribunal was in possession of cell phones which “proved the Syrian involvement” – as can be read in the Mehlis report of 2005.

3.3.First failure of Tribunal

     Poor Mehlis! Its “proofs” never led to evidences: The witnesses proved soon to be
     dubious men with poor credibility and later (after they were accused to have re-
      ceived money for their witnessing) vanished in the air, while the four Lebanese ge-
     nerals had finally to be freed in 2009, after four years in prison without charge:
     Absolutely no evidence had ever been produced against them – However, insight
     into their files was denied to them after they had been freed! So the whole inves-
     tigation turned out to be a complete failure – but as the files were not open,
     nobody could have an insight into the mechanism of false witnesses and
     fabricated proofs. Mehlis was substituted by another prosecutor in 2006. Saad
     Hariri, (the son of Rafik Hariri) withdrew partially its accusation against Syria.

3.4. Second failure: Search for new culprits according to political needs
Interesting enough, in 2010, in a time of strong tensions between Israel and Hizbollah, the Tribunal opened another round of inquiry, five years after the assassination, leaving the Syria path and this time accusing Hizbollah. So – in spite of the many “proofs” and “witnesses” collected once against Syrians – it was not the Syrians, it was Hizbollah! The whole story started again, but did not go very far: It became a second failure. What this development shows is that the leading forces behind the inquiries (the US and their allies) shamelessly use the UNO and its institutions for political manoeuvres in the Middle East: The political force they would like to be rid of will be suspected of murdering and weakened. Yesterday, facts proved it was Syria, but to day they prove it is Hizbollah. To morrow, who will it be? The truth is: Facts do simply no count it is all about political manoeuvre!

3.5. Political setback for the pro Saudi party
In 2010, the Saad Hariri government lost its majority in the Parliament and had to withdraw. It was succeeded by Mikati’s government enjoying the support of Hizbollah, the Free Patriotic Movement of the Christian Michel Aoun and other groups closely or loosely allied with Hitzbollah. This was a major setback for the West, Saudi Arabia and Israel! So, something had to happen to destabilize this government!

3.6. The Samaha arrest:

The ex minister Samaha was arrested in August 2012 under the accusation of transporting weapons for the Syrian Government. A proof for Syrian terror in Lebanon? Frankly speaking: If it is true he was transporting weapons, don’t forget that in Lebanon, there is an intensive and unpunished weapon smuggling business for the “Free Syrian Army”. So why shouldn’t weapons be also transported to the Syrian Government, as long as the war is going on, fuelled through Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the West? I am strongly inclined to believe that actually, the secret services, still under control of forces friendly to Saudi Arabia, are fostering weapon traffic with one party and keen to stop weapon transfer to the other side. Furthermore, the alleged traffic through Mr. Samaha is still being investigated and no evidence has been presented – maybe the whole thing was also fabricated and Samaha did never carry out any traffic of weapons to Syria!

4.    Understanding the motives:

Looking at the facts, we can better understand the context of the assassination of Al Hassan – and the goals of such an assassination:

4.1. Who was able to do it?

      Who was able to kill a man being under such a protection system?
–     A man going around in a car equipped with sophisticated jamming devices,
     preceded by teams of agents checking the streets for something suspect?
–     A man spending most nights in his office and never disclosing his agenda (so
     nobody but a few colleagues from the Secret Service knew were he was)?
–    A man never going out twice at the same time? Never using twice the same way
     to go out of or come back to office?
Yes, who was able to carry out such a difficult operation? I have only one assumption: The murderers must come from inside the organisation Al Hassan was in (the Hariri dominated IFS)! – or from a strong enough to penetrate deeply into the Lebanese Secret Service IFS!

4.2.    Consequences?

     The assassination of Al Hasan was immediately used through Saad Hariri to require the demission of the present Prima Minister Mikati – politically near to Hizbollah and the Free Patriotic Movement of Michael Aoun, the enemies of Hariri. It triggered immediately manifestations of Sunni groups in many parts of the country and created a dangerous instability… strangely similar to the one created through the Jihad taking place in Syria with the support of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and the West!
The assassination of Al Hassan, like the assassination of Hariri in 2005, must have been the work of an organisation keen on destabilizing the country, interested in provoking tensions, disorder an chaos. Furthermore, it one goal of the assassination may have been that the chaos in Syria would extend to Lebanon: There is doubt that those interested in creating chaos in Syria are also interested in the same chaos in Lebanon!

4.3. Who did it?

     Of course I don’t know. But contrary to all those who do not know more than I, but are not afraid to write or say again and again “It must have been Syria”, I will try to find the rationale behind the murder of Al Hassan: And yes, Syria may have also been tempted to eliminate such an enemy as Al Hassan. However, doubts are strong here: For instance whether Syria was really able to penetrate the IFS apparatus at upper level? (Then the Syrian must bee very, very skilled. I do not believe they are skilled to such an extend: There is no example for such achievement of their Secret Services up to now…).

     Hints: Who may have done it?

a) Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey
     Rather than from Syria, the assassination may come from inside the pro Saudi Party, where a faction (possibly rivals to Al Hassan interested in eliminating him) created a good opportunity to destabilize the country and specially the Mikati government. Creating a good opportunity also to attack Syria – which is the main goal of Saudi Arabia today and can be inserted in the general offensive to install a Wahhabi Jihadist Regime in Damascus. Using a method which had already some success in the past – assassinating a leader of the Sunni community – would provoke rage within this community and enhance confrontation between the religious communities in Lebanon, restablishing Sunni factions allied to Saudi Arabia in power. This would allow to use Lebanon openly as a rear base to support the Jihadist fighters active in Syria.

However, after the assassination of Wissan al Hassan, the decided action of the Lebanese Army allowed to limit chaos and maintain public order in spite of the intents of Salafist groups in different parts of the country.

The visit of the Emir of Qatar in Gaza, a few days after the assassination of Al Hassan, shows the new ambitions of the Sunni Wahhabi faction – their upgraded activities will soon provoke an increased competition not only with the Shias and their offshoots, but also with Israel – for the regional domination in the Middle East and to gain the favour of the US Master. 

b) Israel

Rather than from Syria, it may come from Israel – if the assassination did not come from inside the Saudi clan, then only Israel may have been able of such a skillful operation and sophisticated, targeted killing – For instance because their drones, overflying Lebanon time after time, had discovered the route mostly used through El Hassan drivers to go in and out the office. And also because to destabilize neighbouring country is an important part of Israeli policy since 1948: With the goal to sell Israel as the only secure ally of the United States! (At the time being, Israel must worry about the strengthening of Saudi Arabia. This strengthening can only put Saudi Arabia in sharp competition with Israel. This will appear more and more during the next years!).
So, it must be considered whether the eliminating Al Hassan may be a part of the sharpening competition between Israel & Saudi Arabia in the Near East?

c) Secret services of the West

Rather than from Syria, it may also come from some Western Country or from one of their secret services active in the Middle east – repeating the operation that was not quite successful years ago with Rafik Hariri, but had nevertheless succeeded in creating continuous troubles and tensions in Lebanon: The West is also keen on destabilizing the countries of the Middle East. In this context, the destabilisation of Lebanon, the neighbour of Syria, may be of interest to them. In particular, they are interested in all which could weaken Hizbollah.

d) A Mix in cooperation

We cannot exclude neither that the operation “Al Hassan” was carried out in a cooperation between several of the parties mentioned above.

5.    Conclusion

At any rate, the assassination of Al Hassan was carried out by an organization (or by organizations) that seemed to have been inspired by the example of the 2005 Hariri’s assassination & who were keen on repeating the same scenario – to get profit out of it.

Who it was… nobody knows. However, while many traces hinted at Israel in 2005 this time it is not sure that the forces behind the assassination are the same. At any rate it was the work of forces trying to reproduce the 2005 scheme and the goal seems to have been to destabilize Syria and its neighbours, inciting Sunnis against Shiias and Christians and trying to have Lebanon dragged into disorders similar to those in Syria. 

However, like in 2005, the many journalists just writing “It’s Syria” “It must have been Syria” “It’s Assad” ”It’s in the interest of Syria” seem to be just barking with the pack, happy with this poor and superficial analysis: But looking closer at the assassination and its context, it becomes clear that other forces than Syria – or Hizbollah – are likely to have done it – because their interest in destabilizing Lebanon (after Syria) appears very clearly!

Alan da Luz, 22.10.2012


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