Rafik Hariri

January 19, 2011 by staff 

Rafik Hariri, Rafik Baha al-Din Al-Hariri (November 1, 1944 – February 14, 2005, in Arabic: ???? ???? ????? ???????), was a businessman and Prime Minister of Lebanon from 1992 to 1998 and from 2000 until his resignation, October 20, 2004.

He led five cabinets during his tenure. Hariri dominated the country’s post-war politics and business and is widely recognized for the reconstruction of Beirut after the civil war of 15 years.

Hariri was assassinated Feb. 14, 2005, when explosives equivalent to around 1,000 kg of TNT were detonated as his motorcade passed the St. George Hotel in the Lebanese capital, Beirut. The investigation by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, his murder is still ongoing and currently led by the independent investigator Daniel Bellemare. In its first two reports, UNIIIC said the Syrian government might be linked to the assassination. [1] According to a survey of Canadian Broadcasting Corporation News, the special investigation team of the UN had found strong evidence for Hezbollah’s responsibility in the assassination. [2] Hariri’s killing led to massive political change in Lebanon, including the Cedar Revolution and the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon.

King Abdullah ended the initiative of Saudi and Syria due to a lack of progress, Prince Saud al-Faisal said.

There are fears that sectarian clashes in Lebanon awaits the findings of the international investigation into the murder of Lebanese ex-PM “Rafik Hariri in 2005.”

Hezbollah has vowed revenge if, as expected, its members are involved.

Last week, the powerful Shiite movement brought down the government of Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri – the son of Rafik Hariri”- over its refusal to denounce the court and cut its financing.

Delegations of Turkey and Qatar are currently in Lebanon to mediate between political groups.

In an interview with al-Arabiya television, Prince Saud al-Faisal said that King was “pulling his hand” in Lebanon and warned of a “dangerous” situation there.

He said that efforts by King Abdullah and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad – who, respectively, exert a great influence on Lebanon’s Sunni and Shiite camps – had failed to reach an acceptable compromise.

He warned that the crisis could lead to “partition” of Lebanon, where political stripes generally operate according to religious and sectarian lines.

Hezbollah denounced the UN-backed probe, calling an American-Israeli conspiracy, and denies any involvement in the assassination. But supporters say the court is an essential step towards justice in the country.

On Monday, the prosecutor of the Hague-based Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) presented its first indictment in the case, but the names of the suspects will not be revealed unless charges are laid.

Turkish Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, and Prime Minister of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jaber al-Thani are now leading efforts to defuse the crisis amid fears of mounting sectarian violence.

Local media said they were trying to revive the initiative did not Syrian-Saudi, who called Saad Hariri to disavow the STL in exchange for guarantees of Hezbollah’s weapons arsenal.

Meanwhile, consultations on forming a new government were postponed until next week.

Correspondents say the protracted crisis is likely to follow, and there are widespread fears that this could lead to the kind of sectarian violence the last time in May 2008 which left 100 people dead and brought the country closer to civil war.

[Via BBC & Wikipedia]

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