Who Was Mohammed Shatah?

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In 2006 Shatah played a role in the negotiations that brought an end to Israel’s 34-day war on Lebanon with the enactment of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701. (Photo: Bilal Jawish).

By: Marc Abizeid

Published Friday, December 27, 2013

Former Lebanese Finance Minister Mohammed Shatah, killed in a massive blast in downtown Beirut Friday morning, was a leading member of the Western-favored March 14 movement and a close adviser to ex-Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

No one has claimed responsibility for the car bomb that killed Shatah, a strong opponent of the government in Syria, but who was also seen as a moderate with ties to figures across Lebanon’s political landscape.

“I honestly don’t know why he was targeted. I asked a lot of people, and everyone gave a different explanation,” Bassem al-Shaab, an MP with the March 14 Future Movement, told Al-Akhbar.

“He was a very moderate, very enlightened man,” Shaab added, describing Shatah’s death as “a tragic loss.”

Shatah, 62, wore many hats: A diplomat, he served as Lebanon’s ambassador to the United States in the late-1990s under the government of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, himself killed in an explosion in downtown Beirut almost nine years ago.

He was an influential economist, holding positions at the International Monetary Fund, and serving as vice governor of Lebanon’s Central Bank in the early and mid-1990s during a period of reconstruction when the country was reeling from a 15-year civil war.

In 2006 Shatah played a role in the negotiations that brought an end to Israel’s 34-day war on Lebanon with the enactment of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701.

From 2008 to 2009 Shatah served as finance minister before becoming an adviser to Saad Hariri, Rafik Hariri’s son. The younger Hariri was prime minister from 2009 until the government collapsed two years later, prompting him to go into exile over fears for his own life.

Shatah’s political allies and foes alike praised him for his diplomacy and openness, with commentators saying that his killing revealed that the perpetrators showed no mercy for moderate forces.

“He represented a voice of moderation,” Sami Nader, a political analyst and professor at Beirut’s Saint Joseph University, told Al-Akhbar.

“He spent most of his political career building bridges and trying to find compromises,” Nader added. “When you get rid of such a symbol, that means you are targeting the things they stood for: dialogue, moderation, compromise … ”

His slaying comes over a year after the assassination of Brigadier General Wissam al-Hassan, another prominent March 14 figure who died in a car bomb explosion.

Since that killing Lebanon has been wracked by a series of car bombs targeting mostly civilians in Beirut’s southern suburbs and a twin explosion outside mosques in the northern city of Tripoli.

March 14 figures were quick to pin the blame for Shatah’s killing on Hezbollah, which vehemently denied involvement, describing the assassination as a “terrorist” act and “heinous crime.”

“It’s not for me to suspect [who was behind the explosion], but Shatah had political enemies. One of them was the Syrian regime, and one of them was Hezbollah,” Shaab said, noting that Shatah had also been involved in the international tribunal set up to investigate Rafik Hariri’s 2005 assassination.

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon is set to begin hearings next month in the Hague, where several Hezbollah members will be tried in absentia over accusations of involvement in Hariri's killing.

Hezbollah has criticized the tribunal as being partial toward the March 14 bloc, accusing it of basing its evidence on false witnesses.

MP Ibrahim Kanaan told Al-Akhbar that the former minister’s assassination came as a surprise, as he frequently reached out to his opponents and worked with figures from all sides.

“He was well known for his strong political positions, but he was also a positive person and very open-minded,” Kanaan, who is affiliated with the rival March 8 bloc, said.

“He worked with people from different parties and who held positions that differed from his own, not just March 14,” he added. “Maybe that’s why he was targeted.”


This is my second comment today which needs to be stated as a reminder for those who so quickly forget.
Regarding the assassination of those that are anti-Hezbollah, here’s a look at other recent attacks in Lebanon, which definitely can be blamed on the Sewer Rat leader and his henchmen.

-Oct. 1, 2004: Former Economy Minister Marwan Hamadeh survives a powerful Beirut car bombing, the first in a string of similar attacks targeting anti-Syrian politicians and journalists.

- Feb. 14, 2005: Former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri is assassinated in a massive bombing in Beirut. Bassel Fleihan, who served as economy minister in Hariri’s government, also died in the blast. Anti-Syrian groups, then in the opposition, blame the Syrian and Lebanese governments, charges both deny.

- June 2, 2005: Anti-Syrian journalist and activist Samir Kassir is killed by a bomb placed under his car.

- June 21, 2005: Anti-Syrian politician George Hawi, a former Communist Party leader, is killed by a bomb planted under his car.

- Sept. 25, 2005: Prominent anchorwoman May Chidiac of the leading anti-Syrian TV station LBC loses an arm and a leg from a bomb placed under her car.

- Dec. 12, 2005: Gibran Tueni, a prominent anti-Syrian newspaper editor and lawmaker, is killed by a car bomb.

- Nov. 21, 2006: Pierre Gemayel, the industry minister and a prominent Christian politician, is shot dead by gunmen in a Beirut suburb.

- June 13, 2007: Walid Eido, an anti-Syrian member of parliament, is killed along with his son, two bodyguards and six others in an explosion in Beirut.

- Sept. 19, 2007: Antoine Ghanem, a pro-government lawmaker from the right-wing Christian Phalange Party, is killed in a blast in the Christian suburb of Sin el-Fil, east of Beirut. Six others are also killed.

- Dec. 12, 2007: Brig. Gen. Francois Hajj, the army’s head of operations, and his driver are killed in a car bombing in the Christian suburb of Baabda on the way to work.

- Jan. 25, 2008: Car bomb kills senior police intelligence officer, Capt. Wissam Eid, a bodyguard and at least four others in Hazmieh, a Christian neighborhood on the edge of the Lebanese capital.

- Oct. 19, 2012: A car bomb kills the chief of Lebanon’s police intelligence department, Brig. Gen. Wissam al-Hassan, in a Christian neighborhood in east Beirut. At least seven others were also killed.

And last but not least, a car bomb on Friday killed the prominent anti-Hezbollah Lebanese politician, Mohammad Shattah. There you have it. Do you really believe that the Saudis, Qataris and/or the Zionists were truly responsible for these?

الشهيد محمد شطح في مقابلة على تلفزيون المستقبل في 12/11/2013 يقول فيها ان حزب الله هو ليس فقط خارج اعلان بعبدا بل هو خارج الدستور في لبنان

الشهيد محمد شطح في مقابلة على تلفزيون المستقبل في 12/11/2013يرد على مواقف حزب الله بشان ابراج التنصت الاسرائيلية على لبنان:حزب الله يقوم بعملية تزكيرية ليقول انني لست بميليشيا اقليمية فقط بل انا ضد اسرائيل وهذا قناع قد سقط

I am indeed most pleased to have struck the first blow. Interesting how many Hezbollah supporters came out in force to the defence of the Sewer Rat leader.

Before we go further, the following, are the words of Mr Shattah for as the newspaper says ''Shattah was staunch critic of Hezbollah and of the Syrian government'. We now know that just prior to Shattah's death, he tweeted: "Hezbollah is pressing hard to be granted similar powers in security & foreign policy matters that Syria exercised in Lebanon for 15 yrs".

To "Witness" who called my comments as being 'Verbal diarrhoea', and to "hezbeleb", who wants to archive my comments, but then feels that I nevertheless have a dense brain, tells me much. I have indeed struck a raw nerve with those Sewer Rats supporters who will quickly do their utmost to protect the image of their King Rat (Nasrallah), which I can well understand. So please go ahead and blame the Saudis, the Qataris and the Zionists as well, it appears that in your eyes, the only ones with clean hands are the Syrians, the Iranians and of course Hezbollah who will not settle for anything less than being the Pharaoh of the new Lebanon. And I am supposed to be the one with a dense brain....For if that's not an indication of how much Hezbollah needed to dispose of Shattah, then I guess Lebanon has began its spiral fall into what can only be Hell itself.

Oh no Activist400000Justice. My comment is only one of adulation and admiration of your higher intellect. You seem to have a mastery of the English language as demonstrated by your copious use of the word "for" as a conjuction. If I consider one rat to be king it would be you. I want to thank you for continuing to post your comments. Without them we're left wondering about the intricate machinations of the middle east politics. But then you come and regurgitate the garbage of the M14 media and their zionist masters and then we all remember what we should be thinking. Go forth my hero "King Rat". :)

It occurs to me that he was maybe a "leading member of Mar 14" but he was not a "leader of Mar 14." The leaders do not "take moderate positions." He was more expendable for both these reasons: for not being a leader and for taking moderate positions.

no peace or progress anywhere in the middle east until the end to demented kings of Wahhabistan.

If one was to look for the motives some might have, it's probably those 'many hats' of Shattah and because he 'represented a voice of moderation' that he was picked as a target. It's Shattah's international missions that create a higher probability for upsetting the international establishment against - of course - those who have the least interest in being "witch hunted" by the West: Syria and Hezbollah.
Who would win on that scenario?
Those are the murderers.

Hezbollah denounced this attack immediately. The people who benefit are those in March 14 who want to reject negotiation with March 8 and push harder for the takfiri gangs to terrorise Lebanon as they do in Syria. Shattah was willing to negotiate with Hezbollah and that was a crime that KSA and the takfiri gangs would never allow.

We blame only Hezbollah for this latest atrocity. But Hezbollah will never openly claim that it carried out the killing. Doing so would immediately turn the entire country against them if Hezbollah admitted to Mohammed Shattah car-bomb participation.

Let's be realistic about this latest car-bomb event that killed Mohammed Shattah. Hezbollah is the only one that benefits from such a gruesome barbaric assassination. Trust me when I say this. This was a killing done by none other than Hezbollah. There would have been an immediate denial to what happened if it was not, such as Israel immediately denied when Laqqis was killed. It confirms what I said about Hezbollah being the responsible party for we have yet to hear from the sewer rat leader who has the most to gain by Mohammed Shattah death.

I guess what I previously predicted in reference to Nasrallah's plans for taking over the ultimate leadership of Lebanon has slowly began its course. Let us now see which other prominent Lebanese figure that is equally an anti Hezbollah personality will become the Sewer Rat's next killing target..

Dear Sir, the only people who killed this man is the Saudis who are part of 14 March, and nobody else,as per today Hezbollah does not have the need to do such acts, Hezbollah are not the ennemies of Lebanese from any side, but you people from 14 March are at the sold of Saudis and Israel, you are dogs of Zionists, Hezbollah is fighting Israel, hezbollah is against the Big Israel project,but you people of 14 March are ready to sell all Lebanon for that project, we saw who is financing in Syria, i think that Saudis and Qataris are in the 1st place. We saw how Saudis are going and coming to Israel, we can see how Tripoli is full of Salafists. Is it Hezbollah who brought them in Lebanon? Is it hezbollah who is using arms to send to Al nosra true Lebanon borders? Is the takfiris are in south Lebanon?
Then please next time don't talk because you are an ignorant in politics.

The comments by activist2justice are so valuable they deserve archiving. I will be copying your comments from now on and posting each one on the above blog.
The blog was meant for archiving the comments of the salafi moron that used to comment on this website under the name Abu Umar. You have now earned that honor.
Please keep posting, as frequently as you can. Don't be shy or hesitant about putting every thought that strolls by that dense brain of yours. I want it on here so I can document it.

Verbal diarrhoea at its best above lol March 14 and its terrorist allies like Bandar Bush have no issue blowing up each other when they need it for a political purpose.

If Hezbollah was in the business of assassinating political rivals, then trust me, there wouldn't be a March 14 politician alive lol But they chose to patiently put up with all this dribble in the name of Lebanon, but this Hariri group has sold out the country to Saudi. They not even allowed to hold elections without Saudi approval, what miserable humans.

Hezbollah cleared out the fierce JabRAT al Nusra and Islamic State of Suicide Bombers and Beheaders in Qusair after 3 weeks!!! Who are these politicians to them if they wanted to take them out??

This is clearly the same people who killed Hariri senior, Israel and Sauidi hands all over this. Just watch this space lol

"Hezbollah cleared out the fierce JabRAT al Nusra and Islamic State of Suicide Bombers and Beheaders in Qusair after 3 weeks!!! Who are these politicians to them if they wanted to take them out??"


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