I was talking to Firas (member of this blog), and we came to an agreement that Syria is most likely behind this assassination, and will probably kill more people in the near future.
In our discussion, we tried to answer two key questions:
1. Why Hawi?
because he is a person of national prominence, yet without much national following. Therefore, although his assassination would definitely "shake" the Lebanese, it would not lead to a mass outpouring that would unite the country in outrage. Both Firas and I agree that individuals with such characteristics are the most likely targets for future assassinations.
2. Why the assassination?
Well, basically, we see the assassination as a response to the electoral results in the North. The Syrian regime is sending a message to the victors that they have the will and the ability to cause instability in
Their ability is derived from the Lebanese security apparatuses that remain intertwined with their Syrian counterparts, as well as all the other political institutions that the Syrians managed to create during their 15 year stint in the country. Their will is the consequence of the simple fact that the electoral results from the North have effectively expelled the Syrian regime from the Lebanese parliament.
Today, the Syrians have been expelled from Lebanon in the following manner:
1 - the Syrian military has left
2 - the Syrians, as I just mentioned, have effectively been expelled from the Parliament
Syrian influence in Lebanon remains in the following manner though:
Economic - I haven't heard of any major economic interests being dissolved. Such an initiative could have taken place behind the scenes, but thus far I have not heard one story about what has happened to the economic interests of some of
Security - The security apparatus remains untouched. After more than 15 years of being a sister institution, it is extremely difficult for me to believe that members of the Lebanese security apparatus have become independent of the Syrian apparatus in a matter of months. Most high and middle-ranking members probably have personal contacts with their Syrian counterparts, as well as solidified relationships which are most likely based on past favors, etc.... It is hard for me to imagine that these individuals have broken their bonds and all of a sudden become adversaries as is the norm in relationships between security services of two sovereign states.
Political - Syrian presence remains in other non-parliamentary political and even societal institutions. Labor unions, and non-security bureaucracies are prime examples of institutions in which individuals may have owed their positions to Syrian intervention on their behalf.
Now that the Syrian regime has been expelled from the country military, as well as from the national parliament, it appears to be exerting its power in
"If you don't concede to some of our demands, expect instability and chaos."
I believe that some intense negotiations are taking place between the opposition and the Syrian regime as I am typing up this post; and I fear that the opposition is going to have to concede to at least some of the Syrian demands. Reforming institutions takes time (a lot of time) and both the opposition as well as the Syrian regime know that very well.
"we'll sell you the time you need to reform your institutions by not creating chaos, but it will come at a hefty price."
I can only imagine what that price may be. Maybe Berri was part of that package. I don't know... but unless there is some sort of an agreement, I believe that the killings will continue, and might very well escalate.
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
So... why Hawi?