UN Finds Syria Responsible for Murder of Lebanese Prime Minister
The long-awaited United Nations report on the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri found that it was orchestrated and carried out at the highest levels of the Syrian government.
The brother-in-law of Syria’s president was implicated in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, and Lebanese intelligence officials helped organize it, according to a U.N. inquiry that officially linked Damascus to the slaying for the first time.
The exhaustive report into the Feb. 14 car bomb that killed the popular opposition leader and 20 others stopped short of fingering Syrian President Bashar Assad or his inner circle. But it accused the regime of failing to cooperate in the inquiry and alleged Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk al-Sharaa lied in a letter to the investigating commission. It also cites one witness as saying Assad’s brother-in-law Assef Shawkat, Syria’s military intelligence chief, set up a false confession to Hariri’s murder 15 days before it took place.
That Syria is responsible was presumed from the beginning. That the UN actually had the guts to issue such a direct finding, though, was not. It is virtually impossible to find direct proof that Assad ordered the assassination. Still, it is inconceivable that his intelligence chief and brother-in-law would have acted without his approval.
Correction: Last sentence rewritten to make my meaning more clear.