January 26, 2008

Lebanon's Terror War

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Captain Wissam Eid was murdered by car bomb in East Beirut by someone who wasn't happy with his investigation of the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. He had compiled evidence linking the Syrian state to that killing.

Abu Kais writes at From Beirut to the Beltway:
You know the situation is desperate when the man investigating unsolvable crimes is mysteriously assassinated in broad daylight. Desperate situations call for desperate measures, yet those measures are no where in sight. The killing machine continues unabated, amid useless condemnations and grandiose and meaningless announcements about the future of the country.

Very few of us knew Wissam Eid. He worked in the police’s intelligence unit, reportedly in counterterrorism. Terrorism in Lebanon is the nickname for acts sponsored by Syrian intelligence, and their contractors in the fundamentalist world. Wissam was probably involved in Lebanon’s “war on terror”, which, mind you, was never officially declared.

Lebanon has been under direct attack since 2004. Local and regional players have been redrawing its political map through assassinations and intimidation campaigns. At present, the country has no functioning government, no president, and the cabinet has been made to look like an enemy entity. Even the ISF, whose badge Eid carried, was called a “militia” by the likes of Aoun and his friends in the Iranian-guided fundamentalist militia.

It’s ironic that this assassination comes after a Hizbullah media campaign accusing March 14 of trying to assassinate Hassan Nasrallah. Eid’s assassination validates the opposite: Nasrallah’s opponents are being liquidated.

[...]

Murder has been profitable in our country, and in the region. No one is going after the killers—their harshest punishment to date took the form of “initiatives” and “dialogue”. Lebanon, once again, is where anything goes, a free killing zone sanctioned by its enemies, and by friends who talk too much and do nothing.
Posted by Michael J. Totten at January 26, 2008 1:10 PM
Comments

You know the situation is desperate when the man investigating unsolvable crimes is mysteriously assassinated in broad daylight.

This was a pointless killing.

The Syrians may fear that being officially found to be complicit in what is going on in Lebanon would be used as justification for invasion, but as a practical matter, the only country with the ability to enforce a UNSC resolution to that effect is the United States, which has no uncommitted forces left, and considers Iran a higher priority in any case.

While being the biggest a-hole in the middle east eventually leads to being drug out of a spider hole and hung, being the second-biggest a-hole in the middle east appears to be a viable strategy.

The only significant threat to Assad's rule of Syria for the foreseeable future originates from within Syria.

Posted by: rosignol Author Profile Page at January 26, 2008 3:43 PM

It would be sweet poetic justice if the al-Qaeda in Iraq and other Sunni/Wahhabi nutbars in Iraq are eventually pushed into Syria. I suspect that they would not play nicely with the Alawite leadership of Syria if they decided that Syria needed to be their new home sweet home. If only there were a way to make this happen. Hopefully some smart folks are working on such a plan.

Posted by: Saint in Exile Author Profile Page at January 26, 2008 7:00 PM

Saint in Exile: I suspect that they would not play nicely with the Alawite leadership of Syria if they decided that Syria needed to be their new home sweet home. If only there were a way to make this happen.

I don't think you're thinking this through. An Al Qaeda state in Syria would be a heck of a lot nastier than an Alawite-Baath state in Syria. And that's just from our point of view. Imagine how much worse it would be for the average Syrian. Al Qaeda in Iraq shoots people for smoking and saws off the heads of children with kitchen knives.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten Author Profile Page at January 26, 2008 8:22 PM

The assassination of Eid is targeting the international tribunal. That was the third attempt on him!!! Syria is trying by force (assassination) or by trying to elect a puppet president or by demanding the oppoistion to have a veto power!!! The ultimate goal is to control Lebanon again and to eliminate the international tribunal. Unfortunately, Lebanon does not have the power to to face Syria. Here where the international community should step in and help the young Lebanese government.
It is really sad to hear that Israel is negotiating with Syria on a peace treaty and Lebanon (and the tribunal) is the prize!!!

Posted by: GK Author Profile Page at January 26, 2008 8:29 PM

Here where the international community should step in and help the young Lebanese government.

You seem to pin high hopes on that "international community", help isn't coming so you'd better reformulate whatever strategy you have against the Syrian regime, and fast.

Posted by: Lira Author Profile Page at January 27, 2008 3:14 AM

"An Al Qaeda state in Syria would be a heck of a lot nastier than an Alawite-Baath state in Syria. And that's just from our point of view. Imagine how much worse it would be for the average Syrian. Al Qaeda in Iraq shoots people for smoking and saws off the heads of children with kitchen knives."

Agree completely, but Hezbollah would have its logistical lines disrupted, have a fanatical enemy to contend with, and I doubt that the Syrian folks would be much more welcoming than the Anbar tribes.

Posted by: Saint in Exile Author Profile Page at January 27, 2008 8:09 AM

I rather doubt that Israel will put Lebanon's interests above it's own. On the other hand, Israel can not tolerate a more Syrianized Lebanon, nor an al-Queda dominated Lebanon. Their interests are aligned.

In sentiment, though, they are far apart. The "2nd Lebanese War" in 2006 did nothing to bring Lebanon and Israel closer together.

Posted by: Fred Author Profile Page at January 27, 2008 12:07 PM

I wouldn't rush the judgment on this one. The March 14 people have a bad habit of blaming everything bad that happens on Syria these days, which is not to say that much of it isn't made in Damascus.

But Eid was also involved in Nahr el-Bared, so there's a good chance that a group like Jund al-Sham or remnants of Fatah al-Islam is responsible for the bombing.

Posted by: barabbas Author Profile Page at January 28, 2008 3:50 AM
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