“Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon and the truth.” (Buddha)
Another martyr was mourned by Lebanon on Sunday.
Another martyr whose assassination -- meticulously prepared -- required dozens of kilograms of explosives 24 hours upon his return to Lebanon from abroad after punctiliously monitoring his whereabouts.
Another martyr who was virtually “sentenced to death” in the wake of a campaign of ruthless incitement that continued for months by a political and media “orchestra” whose loyalty and dependency are very well known to the Lebanese.
Another martyr who was considered politically close to the pro-sovereignty and pro-independence camp in Lebanon, for long a target for regional political interests which though ostensible hostility and aggressiveness to one another, are indeed in full agreement in their mutual desire to systematically destroy Lebanon, as well as Syria Iraq and what remains of Palestine and the Palestinians.
Another martyr fell at a time of exceptional security and political exposure; when the active involvement of a Lebanese group -- namely Hezbollah -- has become clear in the bloody execution of “the regional project” resulting in the destruction of Syrian cities and villages... with documented death toll of around 35 thousand victims in 18 months.
Wissam al-Hassan, the head of the security who was regarded as the “safety valve” in Lebanon, knew that he was a “dead man walking”, and lived his last years as such. However, while the decision to eliminate him came as no surprise to those familiar with the Lebanese scene; it was the brazen and “surgical” nature of the execution that gave the Lebanese a clear picture about the arrogance of the executer(s). It was significant that it happened in the thick of the incitement campaign against al-Hassan following his success in uncovering the (ex-minister) Michel Samaha’s mission of destruction and mayhem in Lebanon under the direct orders of Bashar al-Assad, the head of the Syrian regime, and Ali al-Mamlouk a pillar in Syria’s security service, as admitted by Samaha himself.
The murderers’ message to the Lebanese is very clear. It is a message of defiance. They do not need to hide anymore, despite their crocodile tears and their shameless calls to preserve civil peace and national unity.
They no longer need to hide behind their finger because they have already announced -- without officially announcing it -- that they are in an “open war” to eradicate anyone who stood against their masters’ project. Their justification being that they represent “the resistance”, “the rejection” and “pan-Arabism” …against their opponents who are “Arabs – i.e. Bedouin agents”, “Mossad groups”, “Feltman’s Shiites” or even “al-Qaeda’s Sunnis”.
Wissam al-Hassan’s assassination is as dangerous in its overall political message, timing and dimensions as Rafik al-Hariri’s. It is a turning point, and the beginning of a destructive series to reshape Lebanon and the region, and thus deserves to be dealt with it as such.
We remember that Hariri was assassinated after a character assassination campaign which began with accusing him of conspiring with Israel to resettle Palestinians in Lebanon... and did not end by accusing him of encouraging the growth of Sunni Islamic fundamentalist currents inside Lebanon and throughout the region. At that juncture, after the shock of the assassination, all Lebanese -- including even the followers of MP Michel Aoun who are particularly known for their good memory -- remember only too well the reaction of his political opponents.
It all started with organizing a huge rally in the center of Beirut (March 8, 2005) under the slogan “Thank you Syria”, and then the truth began to unfold, in parallel, with a series of terrorizing and vindictive assassinations.
They refused to set up an international tribunal to handle the Hariri assassination.
They withdrew the Shiite cabinet ministers from the government.
They occupied the commercial and business center of Beirut for more than a year and paralyzed all the facilities of the country, thus forcing another generation of promising educated Lebanese youth to emigrate.
They expanded their unlawful private security telecommunication networks throughout Lebanon, and accelerated the rhythm of land grabbing and purchasing through shady “front men”.
They waged an absurd war against Israel that led to an almost complete destruction of the Lebanese infrastructure, and at that time, and while some leading pro-resistance politicians then hailed Fouad al-Siniora’s government as “the resistance government”, the same government and its head were subsequently accused of being followers of the United States and Israel. Back then, according to many, Siniora’s government made a huge mistake in protecting Hezbollah with the Security Council resolution 1701, which relieved the party from directing its weapon towards the usurped Palestinian territory; however this same U.N. resolution de facto gave Hezbollah, the opportunity to redirect its weapons towards the Lebanese people, cities and villages.
In a nutshell, after the Resolution 1701 that came to protect the resistance, the latter changed and the Lebanese are now in need for someone to protect them. This is what was practically proven in May 2008, when the Beirut airport security issue was raised, in the light of the assassination of a number of eminent figures few hours after returning from abroad through the said airport. Raising the security issue in the airport, which is geographically adjacent to Hezbollah’s security zone in Beirut's southern suburbs, was the spark for what became known as the “May Events of 2008” when Hezbollah fighters invaded Beirut and threatened the Shouf Mountain.
As a result, thanks to its military might Hezbollah, i.e. Tehran-Damascus axis, imposed under its own terms the “Doha agreement” which allowed for the election of a neutral president and a “national coalition” government. But, soon afterwards it brought down the government headed by Saad Hariri, and control of the country through a government acquiescent on Hezbollah’s weapons.
In the meantime, Hezbollah, with the cover of the Aounist movement, its little Christian affiliate, imposed its actual control on most security services and agencies in Lebanon, including the telecommunication file, where it prevented independent security departments, through the Aounist Minister of telecommunication, to get the “telecommunication data”, which were vital in helping track down assassins and would-be assassins in the past. At that point, all that the Tehran-Damascus axis needed to take full control of the security services and agencies was to take over “The Internal Security Forces” commanded by General Ashraf Rifi, and especially, its “Information Branch” which was under the command of the martyr Brigadier General Wissam al-Hassan.
Hence the purpose behind targeting al-Hassan is as clear as the general course of events suggests. The list of potential martyrs is also widely traded.
Given this background, is it possible now to uncover and abort plans like the Samaha-Mamlouk plan hatched under the direct orders of the President of the Syrian regime?
Let us state a few facts here:
First: the resignation of the government headed by Najib Mikati is an option that will not make any difference one way or another. It is a puppet cabinet acting as a mere “cover” that is hardly capable of covering the truth about who now controls Lebanon.
Second: Lebanon is now witnessing an “open war” with no truce in the horizon; thus, all actions that will not take into account the nature of this war, are just absurd and worthless plans. The regional powers which have invested money, efforts and lives for years and decades to either destroy or take over Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, will not give up their achievements easily; and certainly, not take seriously any initiative in line with the mission of Lakhdar Brahimi in Syria.
Third: Any government that may be formed in Lebanon today, given the military dominance of the armed Tehran-Damascus axis, will not be able to protect the independent judiciary from falling eventually under the axis’ influence; and furthermore will not be able to continue the investigations in Friday’s crime or any previous or future ones.
Fourth: The Arab public opinion, and specifically, the informed and educated Arabs, must understand the reality of the situation in Lebanon, as it has also started lately to understand the reality of the situation in Syria. It is time for the emotional Arab political mind to understand that “rejectionist” slogans now exist where there is no “rejection”, and “resistance” slogans where there is no resistance against Israel, but instead mean bloody and fierce resistance against the aspirations and dignity of the people. Unfortunately, the first to understand this fact is the Likudist Israel itself.
This is how we must understand the assassination of Wissam al-Hassan, who is was one of the last and most important security valves that kept Lebanon’s statehood, coexistence and civil society.
The writer is a columnist at the London-based Asharq al-Awsat, where this article was published on Oct. 22, 2012