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03/21/2005

"A previously unknown group …"

Hobeika

January 24, 2002: A remote-controlled blast (shown above) kills Elie Hobeika, a leader of Lebanon's Christian Phalange party (and whose militia massacred hundreds of Palestinians in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in 1982), outside his home in Beirut. The Reuters news agency office in Cyprus receives a fax claiming responsibility for the attack in the name of a previously unknown group called "Lebanese for a Free and Independent Lebanon," saying that the "Syrian agent" had sold out Lebanon. The group is never heard from again.

December 8, 2004: Two U.S. contractors, Dale Stoffel and Joseph Wemple are ambushed and killed by masked gunmen shortly after leaving a meeting at the al-Taji military base near Baghdad. A previously unknown group called "The Brigades of the Islamic Jihad" claims responsibility for the killings, posting a videotape showing photographs and identity documents of the victims on an Internet site. The group is never heard from again.

February 14, 2005: Former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri and 18 others are killed by a remote-controlled bomb. A previously unknown group, calling itself "Victory and Jihad in the Levant," sends a videotape to al-Jazeera saying that it had killed Mr Hariri because of his ties with Saudi Arabia. The group has not been heard from again.

I suspect the assassinations are linked and that Syrian intelligence played a role in carrying out all three. (And similarities between this op-ed  and this article only reinforce my suspicions that a Syrian-led disinformation campaign—albeit a ham-fisted one—is underway in the Hariri bombing.)

Any thoughts out there?

UPDATE: The New York Times may have found the smoking gun in the Hariri bombing.

Posted by Rodger on March 21, 2005 at 08:50 AM | Permalink

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