Assassination Up-Ends Region
We may be dealing with the fallout for some time. On February 14, former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri was assassinated by a suicide bomber. Suspicion immediately fell on Syria, with the aid of Iranian-funded terrorist group Hezbollah.
For over a decade, Lebanon has been virtually a puppet state of Syria, which has 40,000 troops and secret agents in Lebanon and heavy influence over Lebanese politics.
Recently, Lebanon’s anti-Syria movement has gained strong momentum, much to Damascus’ chagrin. The latest addition to the opposition was Hariri, who recently supported a bold call for Syrian troops to withdraw from Lebanon. It seems this outspokenness prompted his assassination.
Both Lebanon and Syria are useful tools for Iran, and a free and sovereign Lebanon is not on Tehran’s agenda. Iran, to support Syria and retain the status quo in Lebanon, likely gave the go-ahead for Hezbollah to knock out Syria’s latest problem. If so, it is a measure of the brutality Iran’s leaders will employ in order to achieve their goals.
Shortly afterward, Syria and Iran announced strategic alliance to counter threats to either state.
But it appears the assassination may actually have a destabilizing effect. Anger over Hariri’s murder, both among the Lebanese and worldwide, was overwhelming—and almost entirely aimed at Syria. In the face of relentless public protests, the pro-Syrian Lebanese prime minister resigned and dissolved his government.
Syria is far from leaving Lebanon alone, but a confluence of events is putting enormous pressure on Damascus. We may be witnessing the beginning of considerable political change within the Middle East.
We can expect Iran to emerge the victor, but Bible prophecy is inconclusive about the role Syria may play in coming events. It is a situation we must carefully monitor.