April 15, 2005 | Press Release

Reaction to Rafiq Hariri’s Assassination

“Rafiq Hariri was close to Syria in the 1990s; he distanced himself from Syria after the war in Iraq.  Last summer, he resigned in protest of the continuing Syrian occupation of Lebanon. As a consequence, he was threatened by the Syrian Baathists.  Hariri was close to the French and the more moderate Saudis, and was seeking rapprochement with the Lebanese Christians and Druze, and with the United States.

“Last fall a car bomb – almost certainly planted by Syrian intelligence agents in Lebanon — missed one of his allies, a Druze former minister. In September 2004, the United States and France introduced UN Security Council Resolution 1559, calling for Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon. Hariri supported the resolution.  Media in Lebanon yesterday quoted French and Western sources warning the Syrians not to harm Hariri. Today, sources from the Lebanese opposition charge that the Syrian regime was behind the assassination.

“Other sources have said that Hariri endorsed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' plan to disarm Hamas and Islamic Jihad. It is known that Hezbollah, a close ally of Syria, has vowed to support the radical Jihadists against Israel, and against any settlement between Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. 

“This assassination may trigger a significant confrontation between the Lebanese opposition and the Syrian military occupiers.”

For a bio of Dr. Walid Phares, please click here.

For additional comment and analysis, please contact Bill McCarthy at [email protected].



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