Lebanon gets chance of justice in Hariri murder

Washington Post:

A sharply divided U.N. Security Council voted Wednesday to create an international criminal tribunal to prosecute the masterminds of the February 2005 suicide bombing that killed former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri and 22 others.

The vote will lead to the creation of the first U.N.-backed criminal tribunal in the Middle East, raising expectations that Hariri's killers will be held accountable. But that has stoked fears among Lebanese authorities and some council members that supporters of Syria -- which has been linked to the assassination -- will plunge Lebanon's fledgling democracy into a bloody new round of internal strife.

Fearing unrest, authorities imposed a partial curfew in Beirut, leaving the streets deserted. Lebanese placed lighted candles on boulevards and balconies to celebrate the outcome and sent congratulatory text messages countrywide.

Lebanon's political leaders are deeply split over the ongoing pursuit of justice by a U.N. commission that has implicated senior pro-Syrian military officers in Lebanon, as well as Syrian officials close to President Bashar al-Assad. Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora urged the council to establish the court, while Lebanon's pro-Syrian opposition leaders opposed the initiative and in March blocked parliamentary approval for such a court.

Syria is also suspected in the recent violence at a Palestinian refugee camp that is purported to be by an al Qaeda affiliate. Gateway Pundit links a report saying that a ranking al Qaeda terrorist arrested at a Beirut hotel is in fact a Syrian double agent.

The Syrian action in concert with al Qaeda highlights Zawahiri's "greater Syria" strategy of spreading influence in the region. It is also a matter of necessity at this point, because al Qaeda and Syria have lost their rat lines into Iraq to support al Qaeda's war in that country because of the loss of Anbar and the efforts of the Sheiks in the "awakening" movement that is spreading throughout Iraq. This inability to infiltrate al Qaeda human bomb attacks into Iraq coincided with Syria's need to do something in Lebanon to distract people from the now announced UN tribunal that will focus on their part in the Hariri murder.


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