Yesterday, former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was killed by a car bomb in the heart of downtown Beirut.  Hariri, a Sunni Muslim, was key to the reconstruction of Lebanon following the end of the 15-year (1975-1990) civil war.  Hariri was an outspoken opponent of Syria meddling in Lebanese affairs and called on the neighboring country to withdraw its 15,000 troops from Lebanon.  Although a group calling itself Victory and Jihad in the Levant claimed responsibility for Hariri’s assassination, I strongly believe that Syria was behind this tragic event.  Now, the potential for violence escalates as the Lebanese army has been placed on full alert.  I echo the call for Syria to depart from Lebanon immediately.  Israel withdrew from southern Lebanon years ago and now its time that Syria does the same.  Lebanon was on its way to once again becoming the exotic jewel of the Middle East.  My heart breaks at the thought of more violence…

For more, read Lebanon’s The Daily Star.

Click here to view the NY Times slideshow of the blast.