Saturday, February 28, 2009

Justice Delayed

Syria responded to Lebanese protest babes with professional bombings.

The law enforcement approach to this act of aggression is creaking along:

Now the focus in one of the Mideast's most dramatic political assassinations is shifting to prosecution, with the convening Sunday of an international tribunal on the slaying of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Despite the start of proceedings in the Netherlands, it is still not known who will be accused in the suicide truck bombing that killed Hariri and 22 other people on a seaside street in Beirut on Feb. 14, 2005.

Also unknown is the most politically explosive question — whether the proceedings will implicate Syria's government, which many Lebanese believe was behind the murder of a man who led opposition to the long Syrian military occupation of Lebanon. Syria has denied any involvement.

Most likely the first defendants before the court will be four pro-Syria generals who led Lebanon's police, intelligence service and an elite army unit at the time of the assassination. They are the only people in custody, though they have not been formally charged.

Some in Lebanon doubt the court will ever bring out the full truth, believing it might avoid digging deep to ensure Syria does not react by stirring up trouble in Lebanon and other parts of the region.

Ain't justice grand?

But who knows? Lebanon experienced its spring of hopes of freedom when it looked like Iraq was succeeding. Yet I was not confident as this drama played out.

Then the Syrians and Iranians engineered the spark at Samarra in early 2006 with the bombing of the Golden Dome Mosque that nearly triggered a civil war between Shias and Arab Sunnis within Iraq. Now that Iraq is again succeeding, will the winds of change blow through Lebanon again? And if they do, will America support this change?