On Saturday, the German Der Spiegel reported that Hezbollah is a top suspect in the 2005 murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Until now, Syria has been viewed as the primary culprit for the car bombing.
Damascus’ alleged links to the murder sparked a broad movement against Syria’s 29-year occupation of Lebanon. Hariri’s son Saad became the leader of the Lebanese anti-Syrian coalition, the March 14 alliance. Massive anti-Syrian demonstrations, coupled with intense international pressure prompted Damascus to withdraw its forces from Lebanon in April 2005.
New Lebanese parliamentary elections are slated for June 7. Independent polls are rare in Lebanon, which makes gauging voter sentiment difficult. Nevertheless, the Syrian and Iranian-backed Hezbollah is projected to win a majority, which would undermine the progress of the March 14 movement. However, the new links to Hariri’s murder, if proven, could deliver a setback to Hezbollah’s electoral aspirations.