A UN probe into the murder of Lebanon’s former prime minister has turned up the heat on Syria. The investigation has reported that many leads point directly towards the involvement of Syrian security officials in the assassination of Rafik al-Hariri.
Members of the Lebanese intelligence services are said to have co-operated with their Syrian counterparts. Suspicion has even fallen on Lebanese President Emile Lahoud, a close ally of Syria’s leader Bashar al-Assad. Assad reiterated last week that he and his country had absolutely nothing to do with the murder. However the probe’s findings will do nothing to allay European and particularly US fears about Damascus’s influence over its neighbour, despite the withdrawal of its troops earlier this year. The killing of Hariri sparked anti-Syrian protests that, together with international pressure, forced the country to end its 29-year-old troop presence in Lebanon in April. Now Syria says the US could use the report to isolate it and perhaps seek economic sanctions. The United Nations Security Council will discuss the document next week.