Syria: Reactions to the Hariri Tribunal

The UN's Special Tribunal for Lebanon today ordered the release of all four suspects in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri on February 14th, 2005, in Beirut. Syria was largely blamed for the attack, and that caused the deterioration of its relations with the West, including the Bush Administration's recall of the American Ambassador to Damascus.

The four Lebanese nationals were all are generals who headed the Syrian-backed Lebanese security and intelligence departments at the time of Hariri’s murder, according to Press reports.

Sasa from The Syrian News Wire is thrilled to see the verdict as he was reporting it on his blog and Twitter feed as the events unfolded. He writes:

Although they could still be indicted at a later date, this essentially clears Syria and renders the UN Special Tribunal meaningless.

The four men have been held without trial for three years. Lebanon thought they could fish for some evidence – the UN says there are no grounds for them to face trial.

And 3abdulsalam is critical of the entire tribunal and the March 14 team that was demanding it. He says [ar]:

بعد حبس استمر ثلاث سنوات الضباط الأربع أحرار بناء على قرار من المحكمة الدولية التي كلفت لبنان مبالغ فلكية نرجوا ألا تذهب سدى خصوصا أن بوادرها لاحت بما لا يشتهي فريق 14 الشهر.
وهل سيكون عداد انتظار الحقيقة وشعار الحرية والسيادة والإستقلال ومجموع الإتهامات التي لم تعرف سوى مسار واحد والمطالبة المحمومة بقيام المحكمة الدولية حصير الشوك الذي غزلوه بيديهم؟
After being incarcerated for 3 years, the four officers are free based on an order from the International Tribunal that cost Lebanon astronomical figure that we wish did not go to waste, especially now that the Tribunal is taking a turn not to the liking of the March 14 Alliance.

Will the waiting-for-truth ticker and the slogan of “freedom, independence and sovereignty” and all the accusations going in a single track and all the feverish demands for the International Tribunal be their own wrong doing.

After the announcement, Lebanese blogger Qifa Nabki tweeted hearing “celebratory gunfire” in Beirut:


The issue is far from over, but indicates a move toward normalized relations between Syria and Lebanon.

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