The International Tribunal for Lebanon has ruled and established that the person who assassinated Rafiq Hariri is Salim Ayyash, a member of Hizbollah.
Hizbollah must now hand him over to justice unless they are preparing him for other assassinations or, are they afraid of exposing Hizbollah’s roles in previous assassinations? Or, are they worried about undermining the confidence of Ayyash’s colleagues in the assassination squads?
Hizbollah’s supporters are happy with the ruling of the International Tribunal, because it was unable to prove the involvement of the party leaders or the intelligence officers of the Syrian regime in the assassination. But the real question is, who was Salim Ayyash and why would he want to assassinate Hariri? Were there commercial relations or personal disputes between them? Did he accomplish this for criminal motives, or is he nothing but a contract killer?
What if one of the leaders of Hizbollah were assassinated, and then the International Tribunal proved that the person convicted in the assassination is a Sunni and that the Future Movement is covering up for him and refuses to hand him over? Will Hizbollah deal in a civilised manner and resort to the law? Will the Lebanese forget the “Black Shirts” incident when, on May 7, 2008, Hizbollah publicly deployed its elements with weapons, and its militia militarily stormed the capital Beirut, Sidon and others, merely to impose its will on all the Lebanese by force of arms.
Hizbollah should hand over Ayyash for their own good, as they are at present the most influential party in Lebanon. In the early stages of Lebanon’s independence, the Christians formed the strongest political party and later the Muslims and Palestinians came into power. No one can predict how the balance of power may shift in the future. So, the surrender of the criminal Ayyash by Hizbollah would safeguard the party’s future and will be considered evidence of the party’s keenness to end the “impunity” and revenge approach in Lebanon.
Hariri was a patriotic statesman who loved his Arabic roots and religion and was able to dazzle the world, not just Lebanon and the Arab world. He enjoyed the respect, understanding, support, and assistance of many leaders for the advancement of Lebanon. Whoever killed Hariri, killed the rise of a state and the ambition of a people.
Power and survival are for the smartest and most pragmatic, not for those with blind, misleading beliefs. It’s incorrect to believe that either Iran or Hizbollah has a state-building project, and the Iranians under the rule of the mullahs are the best example of this. Our conditions and theirs have deteriorated after the so-called Islamic revolution in 1979, which marked the beginning of the expansion of Iran’s arms in the region. One of the manifestations or results was the assassination of Hariri.
Hariri was not the only one to fall in that crime. Assassinations in Lebanon have affected many high-ranking personalities like Basil Fuleihan, Samir Kassir, George Hawi, Gebran Tueni, Pierre Gemayel, Marwan Hamadeh, Elias Murr and Wissam Al Hassan. Not forgetting, in particular, the young Lebanese security officer Wissam Eid, who was the first to realise the need to dismantle the telephone and communications network. This action succeeded in uncovering the identities of the participants in the assassination and their association with Hizbollah. He paid, for this with his life.
The moment of pronouncing the verdict in the Hariri case was a victory for every Lebanese, and anyone searching for justice anywhere. But, as they said, “Beirut was supposed to go out to listen to the verdict in the assassination of the man who was assassinated because he rebuilt it, instead it came out crying from under the rubble, destruction and devastation.”