DEBKA should be taken with the usual large 'pinch of salt', since this site is as impartial as Al Jazeera, some good analysis. However, with DEBKA editorial line the conclusions drawn are hardly surprising or useful it understanding the issues. No doubt, the Israeli's would love the blame to be put on Syria. The sources are undoubtabley Isreali, if they exist?!.
From the pictures last night it looks like it was a very large bomb. It will interesting to find out what if any the forsensics can ascertain about the explosives type, soucre and quantity -350Kg.
So we have the Israeli's saying it is Syria and Syria saying it is Wahabbi's (inference being it is AQ). For all we know it could be Mossad, in an attempt to blame the Syrians. Time will tell.....
Hariri had joined the anti-Syrian opposition. It wouldn't be the first time Damascus has taken a "zero tolerance" line of direct action against its critics. The Syrians wiped out about 10,000 people and made an example of an entire city(Hom, I think)a decade or two back to silence opposition in their own country.
Syria, is no different to Turkey or Israel or for that matter Jordan, in mis-treatment of civilians.
Leaving that aside, BBC reporting that it was probably a suicide bomb, this would explain way it detonated despite the extensive range ECMs used by Hariri. Suicide bomber strengthens case for AQ/Hamas/Hizbollah involvement.
You are free to draw your own conclusions. However, Debka has a pretty good track record as far as its analysis of whats going on inside Israel and the frontline states.
The bottom line is that a suicide bomber with 360 kilo's of explosives killed
Hariri and nine other people. It doesnt take a genius to figure out that this unfortunate event favor's Syria. The current PM is pro-Syria.
What I found really impressive was the denunciation of this killing by all three major Lebanese political groups.
Assad, is a dictator, but, he uses guile and intelligence that Saddam could only dream of. Can you please explain how by proxy bombing Hariri, the Syrians gain.
It clearly does not want a general outbreak of violence in Lebanon because the Israeli's and US are not going accept re-intervention (on the streets) of large numbers of Syrian ground forces, as this would be the ideal excuse for US/Israeli air strikes at the political and military centres of gravity (both Syrian and Hibzollah). The risk of civil war strengthens extremists on both sides of the Palestinian / Israeli conflict as well as the Lebanese conflict and generally destabilises the Middle East further, during the early stages of a warming relations
Whether or not AQ directed this attack does not matter. The attack strengths their grand strategic ambition - To form an Islamic caliphate â Strategically they aim to achieve this by turning neighbour against neighbour, destabilising pro-western and anti-Islamic regimes (Syria, Egypt) whilst weakening the US and radicalizing the Muslim populations to get them to coalesce into a single political/military entity.
Don't forget if you take a long-term view (2-3 generations) protracted war by states tends to destroy all but the very core of them. The UK was bankrupt by the end WWII, as was most of Europe. It took the shield of US Armed Forces and time for the damage to be made good. (Similarly the US took many years to recover from their civil war). If the west and the US extend themselves too far, we risk weakening ourselves voluntarily and losing the battle before it has begun.
I'm no expert but would I be correct in suggesting that to win at asymmetric warfare, the winning side needs control of events to determine when to expend resourcesbattles and the war itself. At the moment the west has assumed a purely reactive-short-term posture. Sooner or later the west will need to pull back, re-group and define objectives that it will secure and defend . Thus allowing the enemy to be drawn out and destroyed or weakened so much that a decisive blow can be delivered
I don't have a great deal of time for Fiskie, but here you are.
The killing of 'Mr Lebanon': Rafik Hariri assassinated in Beirut bomb blast
By Robert Fisk in Beirut - 15 February 2005
I saw the blast wave coming down the Corniche. My home is only a few hundred metres from the detonation and my first instinct was to look up, to search for the high-altitude Israeli planes that regularly break the sound barrier over Beirut. There were customers coming bloodied from their broken-windowed restaurants and the great cancerous stain of smoke rising from the road outside the St George Hotel.
Beirut is my home-from-home, home from the dangers of Baghdad, and now here was Baghdad in Lebanon, a St Valentineâs Day massacre in the streets of one of the Middle Eastâs safest cities. I ran down the Corniche, everyone else fleeing in the opposite direction, and walked into a mass of rubble and flaming cars. There was a man, a big, plump man lying on the pavement opposite the still-derelict, war-damaged hotel, a sack, it seemed, except for the skull, the top missing. And there was a womanâs hand in the road, still in a glove. There were bodies burning in a car, flaming away, a terrible hand hanging outside a motoristâs window.
There were still no policemen, no ambulances, no fire brigade. The petrol tanks of the cars were starting to explode, spraying fire across the street. No one could take in the extent of the damage because of the heat and the smoke. Then I recognised one of Rafik Haririâs bodyguards, standing in terror. "The big man has gone," he said. The Big Man? Hariri? At first I thought that Lebanonâs former prime minister, "Mr Lebanon", the man who more than anyone else rebuilt this city from the ashes of civil war, must have left, "gone" away, escaped.
But how could he have escaped this funeral pyre? A group of cops ran into the devastation, and a man, another bodyguard, ran shrieking towards a set of burning Mercedes limousines crying "Ya-allah", calling upon God to be his witness. Hariri travelled only in a convoy of heavily armoured Mercedes. No wonder the explosion was so massive. It would have to be to rip open the armoured doors. I followed a plain-clothes detective past a still-burning car - there was another body inside, cowled in flames - to the edge of a pit. It was at least 15ft deep. This was the crater. I slowly clambered down the edge. All that was left of the car bomb were a few pieces of metal an inch long. The blast had sent another car, perhaps one of Haririâs, soaring through the air into the third floor of the empty hotelâs annex, where it was still burning fiercely.
Hariri, I kept repeating. I had sat with him many times, for interviews, at press conferences, at lunches and dinners. He once spoke most movingly about the son he lost in a driving accident in America. He had said he believed in the afterlife. He had many enemies. Political enemies in Lebanon, Syrians who suspected - correctly - that he wanted them out of Lebanon, real estate enemies - for he had personally purchased large areas of Beirut - and media enemies because he owned a newspaper and a television station.
But he could be a good and kind man, even if he was a ruthless businessman; I once compared him to the cat which eats the canary then cheerfully admits that it tasted good. He sent the quotation off to his friends. His hand was one of the mightiest I had ever shaken.
I could not see his body. But amid the smoke and fire, I looked beyond to the new Beirut centre ville, the reconstructed centre of this fine city which Haririâs own company - he owned 10 per cent of the shares in Solidere - was building from its Dresden-like ruins. He had died within metres of his own creation.
This was a bomb that took a long time to construct, a long time to plan. Parked outside the wall of an empty hotel, few would have looked at the car or noticed that it was weighed down on its axles by the weight of explosives, as it must have been.
The perpetrators were ruthless men, heedless of the innocent. They wanted to kill Rafik Hariri. Nothing else mattered. In the surrounding streets, men and women were emerging with blood all over their clothes. Thousands of windows had smashed into them and they stood there, dribbling blood on to their shoes and trousers and skirts as the first ambulancemen screamed at the firemen to clear their hoses from the pavements.
The length of the street was slippery with water and blood. I counted 22 cars exploding and burning. The Saudi billionaire who dined with kings and princes - whose personal friendship with Jacques Chirac helped Lebanon ride its $41bn (Â£21.7bn) public debt - had ended his life in this inferno.
In private, he did not hide his animosity towards the Hizbollah, whose attacks on Israeli occupation troops before their 2000 retreat would set back his plans for Lebanonâs economic recovery. And while he tolerated the Syrians, he had his own plans for their military departure. Was it true, as they said in Beirut, that Hariri was the secret leader of the political opposition to the Syrian presence? Or were his enemies even more sinister people?
Lebanon is built on institutions that enshrine sectarianism as a creed, in which the president must always be a Christian Maronite, the prime minister a Sunni Muslim - like Hariri - and the speaker of parliament a Shia Muslim. Anyone setting out to murder Hariri would know how this could re-open all the fissures of the civil war from 1975 to 1990.
Thousands of weeping followers of Hariri gathered outside his palace at Koreitem last night, demanding to know who had killed their leader. Hariri men toured the streets, ordering shopkeepers to pull down their shutters. Were the ghosts of the civil war to be reawoken from their 15 years of slumber? I do not know the answer. But that black cloud that drifted for more than an hour over Beirut yesterday afternoon darkened the people beneath with more than its shadow.
LEBANON THIRTY YEARSâ WAR AND PEACE
Post 1948 Major influx of Palestinian refugees builds tensions between Christian Maronites and Muslim Shias. Yasser Arafat establishes PLO stronghold in Lebanon.
1975 13 April Civil warstarts.
1978 14/15 March Israel invades and occupies south Lebanonbut UN forces it out.
1982 6 June Israel launches second invasion after assassination attempt on Shlomo Argov, its ambassador to the UK.
1982 14 September Israel occupies west Beirut following assassination of the president-elect, Bashir Gemayel. Hundreds of Palestinian refugees in Sabra and Shatila refugee camps are murdered.
1983 17 May Israel and Lebanon agree on Israeli withdrawal, with a security buffer in south Lebanon.
1983 23 October Bombs kill 241 US Marines and 56 French paratroopers, right. Militant Shia groups claim responsibility.
1987 1 June Prime Minister Rashid Karami killed. Salim Hoss becomes PM.
1988 22 September Lebanon has two governments. East Beirut goes to the Christians under General Michel Aoun.
1989 14 March Aoun declares waronSyrian forces.
1989 22 October Taif agreement signed.
1989 22 November Prospective president Rene Moawad assasinated.
1990 13 October Civil war ends as Aoun flees.
1992 31 October Rafik Hariri becomes PM.
1998 24 November The army chief, Emile Lahoud, becomes President.
2000 24 May Israel moves troops out of south Lebanon.
2000 October Hariri becomes Prime Minister for the second time.
2004 September UN Security Council resolution 1559 demands that foreign soldiers leave Lebanon.
2004 September Hariri stands down as PM having opposed the extension of Lahoudâs term.
2005 14 February Hariri killed in a car bomb attack.
After all, it's hardly the top item on Syria's agenda to piss off Israel, the US, and France all at once! Or - perhaps it was an MI6 job intended to restore transatlantic harmony, seeing as it's got France and the US agreeing? /tinfoil
May he rest in peace. He was a great man, a man that wanted peace. He built the whole country, sometimes using his own money. In Saudi Arabia and Lebanon, my extended family is mourning him, for he was a relative (from my dad's side through his mother). A great man indeed. Very Gentle and Kind... I remember visiting him in 1998 with my dad in his own residential complex just beside my house in Riyadh. Simple life, thats the life he lead. He had many enemies, but he had more friends. I personally admired him for his steps in improving the lives of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of his countrymen.
Again, Rest in peace brave leader. The world will never forget you.