Repost from the old site.
One wonders where to begin with a post like this. Rafik Hariri, of course, was the Prime Minister and self-made billionaire who ruled Lebanon for a time recently. He was assassinated in an expertly planned car bomb attack, but no one really knows who did it. All suspicion fell on Syria, and Syria did have good reason to kill Hariri.
You really need a lot of background in Lebanese and Middle Eastern politics to even begin to understand the twists and turns of this sinuous murder mystery.
Hariri was elected head of Lebanon and proceeded to go on a borrowing spree, mostly with Saudi money, and rebuilt Lebanon after the Civil War destroyed it. He did this by playing all factions off each other. He also instituted a Lebanese version of free market economics, an economic system that, thank God, is largely absent from the Middle East because it contradicts Arab and especially Islamic values.
Hariri is a Sunni, but a fairly secular one. The Sunnis make up maybe 17% of Lebanon. The Shia, represented by Hezbollah, make up about 40%. The Maronites make up about 30%. The Druze and Orthodox Christians make up about 10%. There has been no census taken in about 50 years, because everyone is afraid of how things are going to turn out.
The Christians used to be the majority – in fact, Lebanon was originally split off from Syria by the French to give the Christians their own country. Partly for this reason, it’s very existence is resented by a number of Lebanese Muslims, especially Sunnis, who figure that Syria and Lebanon are all one country.
Syria itself has long regarded the severance of Lebanon from Mother Syria as illegitimate, and her behavior in recent years has been motivated in part by these feelings. The Shia were long-downtrodden, especially by the Sunnis. The Sunnis were the Muslims who were pretty much in charge of the place in terms of who was in charge of the Muslims in the country. The Sunni held the reigns, and discrimination against the Shia was rife.
Shia were regularly attacked by Sunni gangs in Beirut up into the 1970’s. The Shia complain that the Sunnis would only allow them to be garbagemen – that was the best job they could get. After the late 1950’s, when a Christian lost the election and Lebanese Christians feared that their power would be constricted, there has been a power-sharing agreement in place.
The Prime Minister must be a Sunni, another high post must be a Christian, etc, etc. As the Christians have gone from majority to minority, this system has become less and less fair. In particular, Muslims, especially the Shia, are dramatically underrepresented. The Christians did not want to give up their power in the late 1950’s, so the US Marines landed to enforce illegitimate Christian rule over Lebanon.
The Civil War began in part once again over demands that Lebanese democracy be derived more on one man one vote and that the excessive power of the Christians be curtailed. Further, the Christians have always run the Lebanese economy, at least in recent years.
I say all of this because in the US there is a strong tendency to side with the Lebanese Christians against the evil Muslims. Further, the Lebanese Maronite Christians (the largest sect) have made an important alliance with the Zionist Jews in Israel, an alliance that helped to drive the Civil War.
So US Zionist propaganda, which floods our media night and day, strongly favors the Maronites once again. As an example of this alliance, one of the highest ranking neoconservatives of all is a Maronite Lebanese lawyer named F. Michael Maloof who is very close to uber-neocons Douglas Feith and Richard Perle. He is up to his eyeballs in the planning of the war on Iraq.
With the Lebanese Civil War and the rise of Hezbollah, the Shia have finally been given a place at the table of Lebanese politics. The Druze are a real wild card. They shift all over the place on the whim of their erratic leader, Walid Jumblatt, from anti-Israel and anti-US to anti-Syrian and pro-US.
The Shia, and Hezbollah along with the more secular Amal Party, are allied with Syria and Iran. Syria keeps Hezbollah armed in Southern Lebanon as a tool to threaten Israel with in order to try to get the Golan Heights back. That’s all Syria gets out of the game. If Hezbollah is disarmed in Lebanon, Syria loses it’s most powerful weapon and may never get its land back.
Hezbollah has since taken up the cause of Lebanese nationalism, agitating for the return of the Shebaa Farms and some nearby hills that they say Israel is occupying. It is probably Lebanese land, but Israel seems to have captured that land from Syria when it grabbed the Golan.
For its purposes, Syria wants to say that the Shebaa is Lebanese for purposes of keeping Hezbollah armed, and to say it’s Syrian as soon as Hezbollah tries to make peace with Israel or vice versa. So Syria must play a double game here, but everyone is in this crazy part of the world.
As a condition of ending the Civil War, Syria was tasked with ruling the place. Syria had actually entered the war to save the Maronite Christians from defeat, but the Christians soon forgot about this and turned on the Syrians. The Taba Agreement, constructed with the help of the US and other powers, put Syria in charge until the Lebanese could figure out how to stop killing each other.
Syria quickly started meddling in Lebanese politics bigtime, and an independence movement arose to get Syria out of Lebanon. This was ignored by the US until George Bush came to office. Now the same US that put Syria in power started demanding that Syria leave. Not only that, but there were increasing demands on Lebanon to “disarm all militias”, code words for disarm Hezbollah.
Now, Syria needs Hezb in Lebanon until it gets the Golan back, so them’s fighting words to the Syrians. At the same time, the US invaded Iraq and threatened Iran, Libya, and Syria, while Israel killed Arafat by poisoning him.
This whole process was set into motion by the neocons who were operating in the interests of the Israeli government. It was an Israeli plan to deal a powerful blow to some of their worst enemies in order to secure the realm, as Xymphora lays out brilliantly here.
Part of this Zionist plot was to knock out Hezbollah in Lebanon as part of a triple blow against Syria, Iran and Hezbollah. Hezbollah kept getting more powerful on Israel’s northern border, and the Israelis were getting more upset.
So the US and France pushed through a UN resolution, UN Security Council Resolution 1559, calling for Syria to get out of Lebanon and for the disarming of Hezbollah. Note that France is still an imperialist power in the region, defending the interests of the Christians who they put in charge of their former colony.
Also, the US Congress pushed a bill called the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2003, a bill that may as well have been written by the Israeli Knesset. It’s so pro-Israeli, it’s almost impossible to comprehend that the US Congress wrote it. Apparently, it imposes sanctions on Syria for a variety of mostly-bullshit reasons.
The US is in Iraq, apparently forever, threatening Syria and Iran, for the most part in order to benefit the Israelis, since Syria and Iran have no particular beefs with the US. Iran and Syria clearly want the US out of Iraq and US guns away from their doorstep. They have no interest in keeping the US in Iraq at all.
Anyway, the US status of forces agreement that they are trying to negotiate with the Iraqis is explicitly meant to use Iraq as a base for attacking neighboring countries, mostly Iran but possibly Syria too. So rage at Syria and Iran for not being overjoyed about the US military in Iraq is misplaced. No sane Syrian or Iranian leader would want us there.
Amidst this backdrop, Hariri supported UN Resolution 1559, probably because finally even the Lebanese Sunnis were getting fed up with Syria’s high-handedness. They had supported Syria for a long time, but Syria kept trying to push people to their limits.
It was the Maronite Christians who really hated the Syrians being there. Why is uncertain. The Maronites despise the Shia and Hezbollah and want the Palestinian refugees gone too.
By the way, the reason that the Palestinians have never been allowed to work or become citizens in Lebanon is because of the Maronites. The Maronites fear that allowing the Pallies to become citizens will increase the Muslim population at the expense of the Christians.
So the Hariri crowd was riding the wave of anti-Syrianism. At the same time, he was closely allied with the Saudis. The Saudis’ whole role in the region is to support the Sunnis and screw the Shia, in a word. So the Saudis were backing Hariri solely because he is Sunni, and also to stop Iran and Hezbollah and increasingly Syria, who is allied with Iran and Hezbollah and hence in the enemy camp as far as the Saudis see it.
There really is not much sane reason for the Saudis to fear Iran. All the hate in the region goes from Sunni to Shia, pretty much. Perhaps the Iranians could energize the long-downtrodden Saudi Shia to rebel against the Saudis, but the Saudis ought to give them more rights anyway. Sunni fears of Iran attacking the region are simply insane, kind of like Nazi fears of the USSR overrunning Europe, so the Nazis had to attack first.
Iran has never attacked another state in at least 100 years and possibly longer. The Shia are on the outs in the Arab World, and the Sunnis have all the power. There are no nefarious Shia plots to evangelize Shia Islam and convert all the Sunnis – this is just mad Sunni paranoia. But the Saudis do work hard in Iran to convert the Shia Ahwaz Arabs to Wahhabi Sunnism, and they have had some success at this.
The Shia have been killing a lot of Sunnis in Iraq, but the Sunnis started it. Saddam Hussein, a Sunni, started the war against Iran for no good reason, and received volunteers and money from most of the Sunni states in the region.
Against this backdrop, as Syria was leaving Lebanon (though a spy network remains behind) Hariri was killed in the very professional car bomb attack. An Al Qaeda type radical Salafist Islamist associated with Jund al-Sham (Army of the Levant) was promptly fingered in the attack, though there were a lot of questions about whether or not Syria was actually involved.
The US and France got a UN commission to actually send a law enforcement team to investigate the killing. A couple of teams were sent out there and a couple of reports came back. One team was headed by Detlev Mehlis, a German.
Jürgen Cain Külbel, a journalist in Germany, is an acquaintance. He’s a former member of the STASI and is associated with the former East German government and the political party that came afterwards. Külbel is a Leftist, and for a long time he was pushing theories saying that US imperialism was in back of a lot of the shenanigans in the ME, including I guess the invasion of Iraq.
He showed a profound disinterest in investigating any Israeli or Jewish Lobby involvement in many of the conflicts over there. This is standard Leftist line that absolves Israel of everything and pushes it all off on imperialism.
So it is interesting that Külbel has now come around to the notion that Israel killed Hariri and then tried to pawn it off on Syria. He has also shown links that Mehlis had with the US AIPAC. Mehlis, as it turns out, used to work for WINEP, which is nothing AIPAC as a research arm. So his finding that Syria was involved has been attacked by Külbel.
Külbel was subsequently imprisoned for ten days for violating a court order by printing some East German STASI papers on his website. I’m not sure of their contents, but it may have shown how Mehlis was associated with WINEP. So the Voltaire Network has taken up the cause of Külbel, about which I feel they are making a mountain out of a molehill.
Of interest to our Maronite discussion above, a group called UNIFL, which has interests that are almost precisely in line with the Israeli government, figures in all of this. These are the most hardcore radical rightwing Maronites, who are for all intents and purposes a quasi-fascist movement.
They were deeply involved in the War Against Iraq and other great big messes. They’ve been selling this BS story about how the Christians are so persecuted in Lebanon, and the persecution is being done by evil fundamentalist Islamic Syria (run by ultra-secular Alawis).
It’s mostly just a pack of lies, but there were arrests, tortures and killings under Syrian rule, it is true. That’s all over now, and the Maronites did tons of killing in their own day.
After all, they committed the most and worst massacres of all during the Civil War.
Maloof is in with these guys, so is a guy named David Wurmser (Israeli agent neoconservative with dual citizenship) and his evil witch of the West wife Meyrav (read Hebrew for “Mary”, no? Israeli agent neoconservative with dual citizenship).
So is Richard Pele (Israeli agent neoconservative. Dual citizenship?), and worst of all, Daniel Pipes (Israeli agent neoconservative. Dual citizenship?) of Middle East Watch and Campus Watch and all of that Zionist fascist censorship, harassment and firing crap leaping up all over our land). Nice long sentence.
Pipes, whose father was an evil Cold War maniac and professional liar about the Soviet Union, inherited the evil maniac part, but all he cares about is Israel. Paul Wolfowitz (Israeli agent neoconservative with dual citizenship) is also in deep with these guys.
Harold Rhode (Israeli agent neoconservative. Dual citizenship?) is another one, but no one has ever heard of him, so I will make him famous today for all time. Rhode is a Jewish guy who is religious and was obsessed with attacking Iraq. He was in on the plot to attack Iraq with all the rest of them from the very start.
Afterward, he became obsessed with the Jewish religious relics that the evil anti-Semitic Arab-Nazi government had somehow, through a sudden stroke of anti-Semitism, managed to preserve, despite their genocidal intentions towards all the world’s Jews.
Saddam wanted to kill every Jew on Earth, of course, but damn right he was going to save those Jewish holy books. That proves Saddam was a madman all right, just like the yahoos screamed before the invasion.
Rhode ran over to Iraq as soon as the war was done and got himself a big team put together right away while the museums and archaeological relics of the nation were being devastated. After all, the history of Jews receives precedence of the history of those lowly, dirty Arabs and over the very history of mankind itself, right? Jews take precedence over Arabs. Jews take precedence over humanity. You get the picture.
Well, anyway, a lot of money was spent grabbing every single Jewish relic in Iraq and “storing” it away in the US (in Jewish hands, I guess). Well, that’s sort of illegal. Now that Iraq is more stable, the Iraqi government wants their Jewish stuff back. It belongs to Iraq, not to the world’s Jews. Whoops, I forgot. No nation is allowed to own Jewish relics. Jews take precedence over all real nations on Earth.
Also, it’s funny that the US (Are we the second Jewish state?) bent all over backwards to grab all that old Jewish stuff, while we sat back and watched, first, while the whole non-Jewish history of Iraq was looted and destroyed to Hell, in particular the History of the Ottoman Empire.
Well, screw the Ottomans, they were just evil Muslims who ruled the Arab World and treated the Jews like crap, right? Or they were just scummy Muslims, screw em. Anyway, obviously the Jewish history of Iraq got nabbed by the nimble hands of the Jewish “Americans”, but the non-Jewish history of Iraq was scatted to the Seven Winds and the Seventy Thousand Thieves.
After all, in any country with lots of Jews, only the Jewish history matters ,and the non-Jewish history is just, pshaw! Right? Trash the museums and the libraries and re-burn the Library of Alexandria if the US and Israel are in the book-burning and library-sacking business, which apparently they are.
Funny how the US can’t spare a soldier to save the history of Muslim Ottoman Iraq from being ruined. Those records have been flooded and subjected to all sorts of abuse, and the US can’t spare one sentry to guard that stuff. Wow, gee, why do they hate us anyway?
They must be jealous of all of our stuff, and our freedoms, and you know, our stuff.
Ever notice that the far-Right jingoist dickheads who scream the loudest about “our freedoms” and “they hate us for our freedom” are the first ones to start shutting freedoms down? Scooter Libby (Israeli agent neoconservative. Dual citizenship?) is in with UNIFL too. So are Steven Hadley and Donald Rumsfeld. Hadley’s some weird poli-sci ultra-rightwing Vulcan dude.
Külbel also accuses UNIFL along with Israel of killing Hariri.
And it’s surely possible that a Maronite or UNIFL-type spy was used by the Mossad in Syria to kill Iranian super-agent Imad Mughniyeh. My theory, yes, I read up on that one too.
Why can’t Syria uncover the Mossad network deep in its very bowels?
Why can’t Iran either? Iran did catch one Mossad agent, and they just sentenced him to death after one of the shortest trials in recent history. If he’s really Mossad, hang him high, go ahead.
And I know that Iran is full of US spies and even US undercover troops (500 total? How many?). Same with British spies. Iran can’t catch these guys? The US guys are running around blowing up stuff up, and the British are giving bombs to Iranian rebels, including Al Qaeda types called Jundallah in Balochistan.
I guess Mossad, the US and probably the UK too, are all trying to get at Iran’s nuclear sites, and yes, I am certain the Iranians are making a nuclear bomb right now. I think they already have one, but it’s just a uranium bomb, and that isn’t good for anything but making one square mile of Earth uninhabitable for 70 years.
Actually, just to be a completely evil and horrible scumbag and make people hate me even more than they already do, I will right now officially support Iran’s efforts to get a nuclear bomb.
Is that an evil position or what?! Not to shoot one, just to get one.
Also to make a whole bunch of evil biological and chemical weapons and WMD-this and WMD-that. Also, just to be even more of an ass and arouse more hatred, I will say that I was deeply sad when North Korea blew up their reactor, because I wanted them to make more nukes to threaten people, namely the US, my country with. Not to shoot at us. Just to even it up.
Why be an ass? Long argument, but it has to do with imperialism’s gross abuse of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Agreement.
I’m not saying this is what happened or anything, Maronites and Mossad killing Hariri. No one on Earth will ever know what happened. Figure it out yourself, I give, and I spent many long hours reading and poring over this mystery until I finally just gave up and don’t want to read about it anymore.
Such are the homicidal intrigues of the Middle East, like vines in a jungle, no beginning, no end, no middle, nothing much to grab, and every new lead carries you off on more red herrings and impossibilities and possibilities, and everything seems possible, but still nothing ever totally adds up. God I love a mystery. To a point.
Sorry this went on, but I never wrote a Hariri post. Now it’s done, and hopefully I won’t need to write any more. Believe it or not, I could have written way more, but I’m not into putting readers to sleep. I’m long-winded enough, as it is.
Try the Angry Arab blog (I’ve talked to this guy; As’ad, a Leftist Arab nationalist professor at a university very close by) if you can’t get enough of this maddening Lebanon stuff.
Or Joshua Landis’ (an acquaintance) great Syria Comment if you want to dip into the Syrian mystery casserole, where nothing makes sense either, and you think you can see the fish in the bowl, but the more you look, the more you can hardly make them out, and plus they always change.