Looking Behind and Into the Assassination

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Hassan had previously received warnings from Arab intelligence agencies that Israel was upset with him for cooperating with Hezbollah (Photo: Haytham alMoussawi)

By: Ibrahim al-Amin

Published Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Let us try to enter the mind of whoever decided on and carried out the assassination of Wissam al-Hassan.

They (an individual, organization or state) must have considered Hassan to be an enemy who needed to be got rid of. This may have been to punish him for something he did, to prevent him from doing something, or to use the assassination to send a message with political and security overtones to the parties seen as standing behind Hassan. Accordingly, in addition to making the necessary logistical and technical preparations, the killers would have considered the likely repercussions of and reactions to such a move, both if it were to succeed and if it were to fail.

Given Lebanon’s experience over the past decade, any rational person would know that the assassination of someone of Hassan’s stature would have an explosive impact. But this rational person may have decided to proceed with the operation having taken the anticipated fallout fully into account. It is also clear from the nature of the operation that the perpetrator was highly professional. That leaves us with limited possibilities.

First, that Lebanese parties were involved, in collaboration with external parties, because they supposed the direct political fallout from an operation of this magnitude would benefit their political side. The assassination could be expected to bolster the political camp to which Hassan belongs. The political repercussions would, therefore, be highly negative for the perpetrators if they were opponents of March 14.

Second, that the perpetrators’ external political connections enabled them to conclude that the killing would not cause a major change in their domestic political scene, nor even in the regional and international scene as it relates to Lebanon. That implies that they had the capacity not only to execute a plan aimed at eliminating an enemy, but also to ensure that the fallout would remain limited.

Third, the bombing was the work of a party that is hostile to everything in Lebanon, such as Israel. Hassan had previously received warnings from Arab intelligence agencies that Israel was upset with him for cooperating with Hezbollah in uncovering Israeli espionage networks in Lebanon.

Fourth, that al-Qaeda opted to pre-empt an anticipated confrontation between it and Hassan. There have been many indications, including the outcome of his last meeting with the director of the CIA and his aides, that Hassan was a partner in the process of gathering intelligence on groups affiliated to al-Qaeda in Lebanon and the region. He and the Americans agreed to exchange information about the activities of these groups in Syria and Lebanon.

Can any of the possibilities currently being talked about be ruled out?

Yes, though that might displease a great many parties today. There are 1,001 reasons that make Syria an unlikely suspect.

People working in security deem it naive to think Hassan’s assassination was a response to his uncovering of the Michel Samaha case. There are many reasons for that, including the fact, revealed by the crisis in Syria, that the Syrian security establishment is in seriously and dangerously decrepit condition – as evidenced by its failure to take the most basic security measures to prevent repeated attacks on high-level regime figures.

How could such a precise and professional action be carried out by an entity that cannot protect its own centers from simple infiltration? Does everyone remember how the opposition managed to poison senior officers in the national security bureau, and then came back and carried out a multiple assassination by bringing explosives into the meeting room? How can a state which could not find or arrest its own prime minister after he defected and remained inside the country before leaving, suddenly display a high degree of proficiency in a security operation that would have required thorough and professional preparation?

How could someone who demonstrated the utmost stupidity in preparing Michel Samaha’s plan for confronting the regime’s opponents in Lebanon, become highly sophisticated a few weeks later and mount an operation like that which targeted Hassan? In the past, some used to cite the fact that the assassination attempts against Marwan Hamadeh, Elias al-Murr and May Chidiac were botched as evidence that Syria was behind them!

At present, a specialist team is conducting the investigation. The hard evidence available so far is confined to footage of the booby-trapped car being parked, also showing the time, and some distant and unclear images of the individuals who drove it to the location. Investigations are proceeding – and will be kept under wraps for some time – into questions such as: How did the perpetrators know about Hassan’s arrival in Beirut the previous evening, and his decision to go to the apartment in Achrafieh which had been exposed some time previously? Who were the people who were in a position to know that? Are any them linked to the perpetrators, or were they under surveillance, enabling the perpetrators to reach Hassan? What about the mechanism of the explosion, the nature of the device, and the bombers’ confidence that they could hit the target with such precision and ease? What traces did they leave behind? Can communications data help identify them? What kind of movements were witnessed in the area recently, and how could the killers operate with apparent ease?

Meanwhile, as some engage in a vile game of exploiting blood, a family has had a massive calamity inflicted on it. One need only look again at the images of Wissan’s two sons at the funeral to appreciate the enormity of the personal tragedy, which alone lives on in memory.

Ibrahim al-Amin is editor-in-chief of Al-Akhbar.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.


Israhell did Rafik Hariri but they did not do this one . They might have participated in the logistics(smuggled military grade explosif) The head of the french intelligence ( a pro-israhelli by the way ) is likely to be behind this one . France involvement and failure in syria is the main cause. The despicable french clown president, who recognised the so-called (fake) " free syrian army" and pay them money while dreaming of lebannon beeing again a french protectorat is wiping out all traces of french involvement in syria . Wissam was killed because he knew too much .. The french are behind the rumor saying that this was done by syria . The biggest looser is again France and that stupid March 14 by refusing to protect lebannon against they deadliest ennemy Israahellll...

Please Arabs, PLEASE: Stop fighting each others! The only side that is laughing at you is Israel, US and the extremist religious Qatar and Saudi Arabia. These countries wants to steal your natural gas! Wake up Syrians and the Lebanese people! Even you Palestinians got A LOT of gas worth billions that is waiting for you! If you still fight each other the West are going to steal all you resources!

It is not about religion, if you are Christian och Muslim, nor if you are Shia, Alawi och Sunni. That is only a division technique West are using against you!

So Muslims and Christians, ALL ARABS: Get along with each others and fight the Western terrorism!

Al Akhbar reported that a short time before he was killed, Wissam al Hassan was in the company of a "female journalist" who joined him in the 'secret office'.
If this information is confirmed, who was she? Was she an informant? or a 'special' friend?
There are a a lot of shadows behind Wissam Al Hassan's ascension as a a body guard to the post he occupied now to allow speculations on who he really was.

Thanks for the interesting analysis.
I guess the the suporter of 14-March and the western press will continue accusing Syria because

"It can’t be what shouldn't be"
" es kann nicht sein, was nicht sein darf"

@Wilhelm Busch

You have the guts to quote a Humanist like Wilhelm Busch on behalf of the Assad Regime?

Sag mal. Schämst du dich denn gar nicht?

Are you not ashamed of Yourself?

I argue that Wissam Al Hassan may have been an agent of the CIA and/or the Mossad
His actions against Al Qaeeda are in line with the USA fight against terror. His attitude toward Syria of providing 'help' to rebels by allowing the financing and passage of weapons to topple Syrian regime is also in line with USA policy.

One may argue that he uncovered Israeli spy rings in Lebanon. In fact, he did not. It is the Hezbollah who uncovered the spy rings and Al Hassan had no choice then to go along to protect his identity.
It is quite possible that his elimination was becoming a necessity because the Hezbollah was working on investigating who was the chief leader of these spy rings in Lebanon and they were close to find out it was Al Hassan.

It is possible that the Mossad and the CIA , worried that if he is caught, their operations in Lebanon would be seriously damaged, decided to get rid of him and replace him by someone else.

Al Hassan's still suspicious alibi at the death of Hariri that was dismissed thanks to Hariri jr's intervention raises questions whether he was not already a well protected agent.

I congratulate you for such a fertile imagination; I am anxious to kow your opinion on:
*bombing of US embassy, in April 1983;
*bombing of US Marines barracks, October 1983;
*1985: Twa hijacking + throwing the dead body of US sailorman R D Stethon on tarmac, after having tortured him;
*1988: Kidnapping + torture + killing of US Col. Higgins...
were all these work of the CIA, Americans, and Israelis, also?

one simple word: What a shame!

Wissam Al Hassan was not in the picture then,

If I start to list CIA's and Zionists' terrorist acts it would take a lot of time and space. Zionists murdered a lot of Palestinian activists (non-combatants) and a lot of bystanders, much more than this pathetic "list" by a Zionist. Not mentioning non-Palestinians. Not mentioning CIA all over the world.

And so-called "war on terror" by USA imperialists goes hand in hand with using Al-Qaida in Libya and Syria, MEK in Iran and so on. After all, Al-Qaida was a result of CIA terrorism against pro-Soviet regime in Afghanistan, before USSR send any troops there. The "ambassador" murdered in Libya had been organizing Al-Qaida against Qaddafi, and sure was a man of CIA when he was killed by his former assets.

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