Tensions in the Middle East are rising with many now expecting Israel to launch a new war against Lebanon. Speculation has been building over several months with the trigger-point expected to be indictments of a number of people with links to Hezbollah over the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in February 2005. The UN Special Tribunal for Lebanon which has been investigating the assassination is expected to formally charge suspects in the next few weeks or months.
The twists and turns of the investigation have come amidst a number of events leading to and since the assassination. RafiK Hariri and 22 others were killed and many more seriously wounded when a devastating bomb blast hit Hariri’s convoy right in the heart of Beirut opposite the InterContinental Hotel on Valentines Day, February 14, 2005.
The attack shocked the world and was immediately blamed on Syria, with calls, led by the United States and Israel, for the withdrawal of all 14,000 Syrian troops and intelligence agents which had been present in the country for almost 3 decades. The bombing split Lebanon open resulting in chaos. The government collapsed and protests were staged in many parts of the country both for, and against, Syria.