The February 14, 2005, attack that killed Rafic Hariri was a terrible blow for the advancement of Lebanese nationalism, and served only to strengthen the hold that Bashar al-Assad’s Syria had on the country, as an occupying power. And although the Syrian government was eventually forced to leave Lebanon in 2006 shortly before Israel’s war with Hizbollah. The perpetrators of this crime were never caught.
A special tribunal was established shortly after the death of the former Lebanese Prime Minister, which has been headed by United Nations Independent International Investigation Commissioner Daniel Bellamare. The good news is that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) will be ready to make their decision this year. The crux of the decision falls to the case “Prosecutor v. Ayyash, Badreddine, Merhi, Oneissi and Sabra case (“Ayyash et al.”)”, and has been going on since 2009. The antecedents of the case stipulate that these four Lebanese nationals, conspired with the regime of Bashar al-Assad to assassinate Rafic Hariri in February of 2005. Specifically there are cellphone records, and metadata which points to Bashar al-Assad ordering these men to kill former Prime Minister Hariri, to prevent Lebanon from breaking away from Syria, after elections later that year.
This damning evidence will be released to the world hopefully at an opportune time which will allow for the United States to expose the crimes of the Assad regime. This is an opportunity that the United States cannot let go to waste and must capitalize on so that the administration can exert maximum pressure on the Assad Regime.
Recommendation: Expedite the release of the report from the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and have the chief prosecutor Daniel Bellamare present the report to the United Nations Security Council at the appropriate time to exert maximum pressure on the Assad regime in negotiations for his resignation (or possible ouster) from the Presidency of Syria.