In February of last year the Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri (right) was assassinated. Almost immediately afterwards, the US, the EU and the UN said that Syrian leader Bashar Assad and other Syrian bigwigs were responsible. Before you could say, “Where is the proof?”, the UN had set up an inquiry to interrogate Syrian and other leaders who the US alleged were “implicated” in the killing.
We do not know who was responsible. The Syrians could well have been at the bottom of it, seeing as they had a lot to gain from the removal of the “troublesome” Hariri. However, other players, including the Americans, the Israelis and Lebanese factions could equally have had a hand in destabilising the evolving political situation in the region.
Last week it was reported that the Syrian president had agreed to meet members of the UN inquiry team to answer questions relating to the Hariri assassination, while Assad himself was quoted as saying that he would indeed meet the UN delegation, but only to "discuss the issue with them" - that, he stressed, was quite a different thing to an "interrogation".
Also last week, Israeli security forces stormed a Palestinian prison in which Ahmed Saadat was being held. Sadaat, the leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) accused of the assassination of an Israeli minister, was subsequently taken into Israeli custody, along with a few other Palestinian freedom fighters. Several Palestinians were killed in the operation.
The timing of the Israeli assault, occurred immediately after the withdrawal of American and British monitors who had been stationed in the jail after an agreement in 2002 that allowed the lifting of the siege on Yassir Arafat’s compound.
The respected Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has alleged that there was British and American complicity in Saadat’s arrest by Israel, with unconfirmed reports that Israel had indicated to international monitors that they were determined to arrest and try Saadat, despite the finding by a Palestinian court that he was not implicated in the murder of right -wing Tourism Minister Rehavam Zeevi.
British foreign Secretary Jack Straw (right) has claimed that the British monitors were withdrawn because of fears for their security, which leads us to believe the claims that Israel had indicated to her allies that they were determined to get Saadat no matter what. You do not have to be Sherlock Holmes to figure this one out!
So, is there going to be a UN inquiry into what happened at the prison in the West Bank town of Jericho? Why did the Anglo-American monitors unilaterally void this agreement? How soon after their withdrawal did the Israelis move in? Will Jack Straw and his boss Tony Blair be visited by a UN delegation? And what of our dear Dr Rice and good ol' Dubya? Will they be called upon to give their penny’s worth to the (as yet non-existent) inquiry? We should be told.