The Reuters report that appeared in Ha’aretz today speculates on three possibilities as to who may have been responsible for the assassination of Lebanese General Francois al-Hajj who was killed by a car bomb on Wednesday.
First, the report suggests, ‘perhaps it was al Qaeda-type militants striking in payback for Hajj's role in the army's summer onslaught on fighters based in the Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared.’
Then again, could it have been ‘Syria warning the army not to tilt toward the United States or end its tolerance for the armed activities of the Shi'ite Hezbollah group?’
Or ‘maybe it was forces unwilling to see the army led by an officer seen as friendly to Hezbollah and close to a Christian opposition leader.’
Option three is interesting, though not unsurprisingly, rather vague. Now, an ‘army led by an officer seen as friendly to Hezbollah and close to a Christian opposition leader’ could only pose a problem for one entity that would have the wherewithal and the actual temerity to do something about it; a nation that has not baulked in the past at either covertly or overtly assassinating its enemies and potential enemies and, at the same time, make political capital out of the assassination by making it seem as though it was carried out by another of its enemies; a nation who, specifically, has an organisation whose predecessors virtually invented the art of the modern car-bomb back in 1947.
The fact is, Syria does not at all benefit by this mans death; indeed, Syria is unlikely to be involved if for no other reason than it is very much aware that the Western finger of blame is likely to be pointed to them whenever anyone in the Lebanese hierarchy is assassinated regardless of whose ‘side’ they are on.
Fatah al-Islam, the al Qaeda-type militants referred to in the first possibility, would not have the expertise in logistics or materials needed to mount such a sophisticated operation.
That just leaves those ‘forces unwilling to see the army led by an officer seen as friendly to Hezbollah and close to a Christian opposition leader’. Would such an assassination be of benefit to the cause of deliberate destabilisation of a nation that harbours an enemy on its doorstep? Could such destabilisation lead ultimately to a confrontation with the ultimate enemy of Israel and the US?
A conspiracy theory, one might ask? Well, yes. A conspiracy to assassinate, an assassination that succeeded, it definitely was. A theory? Yes again, but then so are the other two possibilities.