Three Years Ago: Murder in Beirut. Fouad Ajami, @HooverInst.

Nov 07, 2016, 02:57 AM

Author (Photo:English: Photo taken of Finance Minister Mohamad Chatah ) Twitter: @BatchelorShow

Three Years Ago: Murder in Beirut. Fouad Ajami, @HooverInst.

"...Chatah wasn’t a warlord, or a man of the militias. He was an economist, a technocrat with a Ph.D. from the University of Texas. He had served as his country’s ambassador to Washington, and knew the world of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. In his early 60s, he was a Sunni Muslim whose political career was tethered to that of his mentor, the legendary tycoon Rafik Hariri, who dared question Syria’s domination of his country and was killed by a car bomb nine years ago.

Chatah’s assailants must have intended the connection: The economist was killed a few hundred meters from where Hariri’s convoy had been attacked. Unlike his mentor, Chatah had no huge security detail and moved about with relative freedom. He had one young bodyguard who perished with him. Both the car bomb and the location of the crime bespoke of brazen killers who meant to convey a sense of mastery and indifference.

An international tribunal looking into the Hariri assassination has picked up steam of late, and the suspects in Damascus, and among the Hezbollah movement, have made no secret of their animus toward it. This deed against Chatah is of course part of this larger struggle. Hariri’s son and political heir, Saad, in exile in Saudi Arabia and Paris, minced no words: Chatah’s killers were the same men who killed his father, he said...."