Rafic Hariri

Rafik Hariri
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Rafik Hariri

Preceded by
Succeeded by

Political partyTayaar Al-Mustaqbal
ReligionSunni Islam

Lebanon

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Rafik Bahaeddine Al-Hariri — (November 1 1944February 14 2005), (Arabic: رفيق بهاءالدين الحريري) a self-made billionaire and business tycoon, was Prime Minister of Lebanon from 1992 to 1998 and again from 2000 until his resignation on 20 October 2004. He headed five cabinets during his tenure. Hariri dominated the country's post-war political and business life and is widely credited with getting the country back on its feet after the devastating 15-year civil war.

Hariri was assassinated on 14 February 2005 when explosives equivalent to around 1000 kg of TNT were detonated as his motorcade drove past the St. George Hotel in the Lebanese capital, Beirut. The investigation into his assassination is still ongoing and it is conducted under the supervision of the United Nations and led by the independent investigator Serge Brammertz. It has been widely speculated that the Syrian government are linked to the assassination.[9]

Hariri's killing led to massive political change in Lebanon, including the Cedar Revolution and the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon.

Background

Born to a Sunni Muslim family of modest means in the Lebanese port city of Sidon, Hariri attended elementary and secondary school in his city and pursued his business administration studies at the Beirut Arab University. He had a brother, Shafic, and a sister, Bahia. After training as a teacher he left Lebanon in 1965 to work in Saudi Arabia for a construction company.

Hariri was married twice, and his oldest children, including Saad and Bahaa Hariri, were born to this first marriage. He married his second wife, Nazik (Nazek) Audeh, in 1965, after his first marriage ended in divorce. In 1969, Hariri established his own construction company CICONEST, which benefited greatly from the oil price boom of the 1970s. Hariri accumulated vast amounts of wealth in a short period of time and emerged as a powerful construction tycoon. In 1978 Hariri was made a citizen of Saudi Arabia by the Saudi royal family as a reward for the high quality of his entrepreneurial services, and became the kingdom's emissary to Lebanon. Hariri then went on to become Saudi Arabia's leading entrepreneur, acquiring Saudi Oger in 1979, and founding Oger International, which is based in Paris. His interests extended across banking, real estate, oil, industry and telecommunications. Rafik and Nazik Hariri had seven children and seven grandchildren.

In 1993 he founded the television station Future TV in Beirut and purchased stakes in several Lebanese newspapers. He founded his own newspaper Al-mustaqbal (The Future). He was also the biggest shareholder in Solidere, the joint-stock company that almost single handedly transformed and revived central Beirut following the Lebanese civil war.

In 1982, he donated $12 million to Lebanese victims of Israel's invasion and helped clean up Beirut's streets with his company's money. After the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, he acted as an envoy of the Saudi royal family to the country. He laid the ground work that led to the 1989 Taif Accord, which Syria organised to bring the warring factions together. Taif put an end to the civil war and paved the way for Hariri to become prime minister.

Political career

Hariri returned to Lebanon in 1992 as prime minister, under Syria's watchful and military occupation of Lebanon, he put the country back on the financial map through the issuing of Eurobonds and won plaudits from the World Bank for his plan to borrow reconstruction money as the country's debt grew to become the largest per capita in the world.

Amid the political crisis brought on by the extension of President Emile Lahoud's term, Hariri resigned as Prime Minister, saying: "I have... submitted the resignation of the government, and I have declared that I will not be a candidate to head the (next) government."

Hariri's contributions were numerous. Among the most notable, he donated a great deal of money to charity, and invested in Lebanon when few others were willing to risk doing so. Like all prime ministers since the end of the French mandate in 1943, he was a Sunni Muslim. He worked towards unity of the different religious and ethnic groups and rebuilding Lebanon.

During a BBC interview in 2001,[10][11] Harīrī was asked by Tim Sebastian why he refused to hand over members of Hezbollah that were accused by America of being terrorists. He responded that Hezballah were the ones protecting Lebanon against the Israeli occupation and called for implementation of passed United Nations resolutions against Israel. He was further accused of making the American coalition in the War on Terrorism worthless and asked if he was ready for the consequences of his refusal, reminding him that George W. Bush had said : "Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists".[1] He replied that he had hoped that there would be no consequences, but would deal with them if they arrive. Hariri further said that he opposed the killing of all humans Israeli, Palestinian, Syrian or Lebanese and believed in dialogue as a solution. He further went on to say that Syria will have to stay in Lebanon for protection of Lebanon until they are no longer needed and Lebanon asks them to leave.

On June 22, 2005, Beirut International Airport was renamed Rafic Hariri International Airport in honor of Rafīq Harīrī. Many Lebanese saw the renaming as a monopolization of Lebanon by the Hariri family, and called for the renaming of the airport to its original name: "Beirut International Airport." Additionally, Beirut General University hospital was renamed Rafik Hariri Hospital.[2]

Fortune

By the 1980s, Hariri entered the Forbes top 100. In 2002 Hariri became the fourth-richest politician in the world. Forbes estimated his personal and family's fortune at $4.3 billion on its 2005 World's richest people. After his assassination, his family inherited a total of $16.7 billion in 2006, which drew some questions which haven't been explained by the Hariri family on how $4.3 billion became $16.7 billion in the course of the year after the assassination. All his family members appeared on the Forbes' list of billionaires in 2006.

Rafik Hariri had interests stretching from Riyadh to Paris to Houston. Until returning to Lebanon, his son Saad Hariri ran Saudi Oger, a USD $3.15 billion (sales) construction conglomerate. Oger paid $375 million to increase its ownership in Arab Bank in order to keep out interested Arab-American investors.

In 1990, on the occasion of the graduation of his son, Bahaʻa, from Boston University, Mr. Hariri made the naming gift for what became The Rafik B. Hariri Building, home of Boston University's School of Management.

Distinctions, medals and awards

  • Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur (1981)
  • Chevalier of the Italian Republic (1982)
  • Cedar National Medal / Rank of Commandor (1983)
  • Saint Peter and Saint Paul Medal (1983)
  • Save the Children 50th Anniversary Award (1983)
  • Medal of King Faysal (1983)
  • Médaille de la Ville de Paris (1983)
  • Golden Key of Beirut City (1983)
  • Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres (1983)
  • Officier de la Légion d’Honneur (1986)
  • Doctor Honoris Causa of Boston University (1986)
  • Docteur Honoris Causa de l’Université de Nice (1988)
  • Doctor Honoris Causa of the Arab University of Beirut (1994)
  • Goldaen Key of Sao Paolo City / Brazil (1995).
  • Medal of the Liberator of Argentina – General José St. Martin (1995)
  • Prix Louise Michel – France (1995)
  • Doctor Honoris Causa of Georgetown University – Washington USA (1996)
  • Grande Croix de la Légion d’Honneur (1996)
  • The Grand Cordon (1996).
  • The Order of Diplomatic Service Merit Grand Gwang Hwa Medal - Korea (1997)
  • Doctor Honoris Causa of the University of Ottawa, Canada (1997)
  • Doctor Honoris Causa of the University of Montreal, Canada (1997)
  • Le Grand Collier du Trône – Morocco (1997)
  • Cavalier du Gran Croce (1997)
  • Al Nahda medal, First Category, Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan (2001).
  • Medal of Honor of the Arab Union / The Arab Union of Veterans Associations (2001).
  • "Star of Romania" Order at the rank of “The Grand Cross” (2002).
  • Union Medal / Republic of Yemen (2002).
  • Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters, Lebanese American University, Beirut, Lebanon (2003).
  • Orient Doctorate Degree, Moscow State Institute for International Relations (2003)
  • UN-HABITAT Scroll of Honor Special Citation for Post Conflict Reconstruction / World Urban Forum, United Nations - Barcelona, Spain (2004).
  • King Faysal International Award for Serving Islam, jointly with the Islamic Bank for Development (2005). >
  • Tipperary International Peace Award (2005).

Assassination

On 14 February 2005 Hariri was killed, along with 21 others, when explosives equivalent of around 1,000 kg of TNT were detonated as his motorcade drove near the St. George Hotel in Beirut. Among the dead were several of Hariri's bodyguards and his friend and former Minister of the Economy Bassel Fleihan. Rafik Hariri was buried along with his bodyguards, who died in the bombing, in a location near Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque.

The latest progress report by Brammertz has indicated that DNA evidence collected from the crime scene strongly suggests that the assassination might be the act of a young male suicide bomber.[12]

UN Investigation

Enlarge picture
Rue Minet al Hosn where Rafik Hariri was assassinated
Enlarge picture
Looking southeast across the explosion site
Hariri and others in the anti-Syrian opposition had questioned the plan to extend the term of Lebanese President Emile Lahoud, emboldened by popular anger and civic action now being called Lebanon's "Cedar Revolution". Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, a recent recruit of the anti-Syrian opposition, said in the wake of the assassination that in August 2004 Syrian President Bashar al-Assad threatened Hariri, saying "Lahoud is me. ... If you and Chirac want me out of Lebanon, I will break Lebanon."[1] He was quoted as saying "I heard him telling us those words." The United States, the EU and the UN have stopped short of any accusations, choosing instead to demand a Syrian pullout from Lebanon and an open and international investigation of the Assassination. Jumblatt's comments are not without controversy; the BBC describes him as "being seen by many as the country's political weathervane" - consistently changing allegiances to emerge on the winning side of the issues du jour through the turmoil of the 1975-90 civil war and its troubled aftermath.[2] He was a supporter of Syria after the war but switched sides after the death of former Syrian president Hafez al-Assad in 2000. His account is quoted, but not confirmed, in the UN's FitzGerald Report. The report stops short of directly accusing Damascus or any other party, saying that only a further thorough international inquest can identify the culprit. Lara Marlow, an Irish journalist also said that Hariri told her that he received threats.[3] The Lebanese government has agreed to this inquiry, though calling for the full participation, not supremacy, of its own agencies and the respect of Lebanese sovereignty.[4]

According to these testimonies, Mr. Hariri reminded Mr. Assad of his pledge not to seek an extension for Mr. Lahoud’s term, and Mr. Assad replied that there was a policy shift and that the decision was already taken. He added that Mr. Lahoud should be viewed as his personal representative in Lebanon and that “opposing him is tantamount to opposing Assad himself”. He then added that he (Mr. Assad) “would rather break Lebanon over the heads of [Mr.] Hariri and [Druze leader] Walid Jumblatt than see his word in Lebanon broken”. Irish journalist Lara Marlowe with whom Hariri talked reported similar allegations. According to the testimonies, Mr. Assad then threatened both long time allies Mr. Hariri and Mr. Jumblatt with physical harm if they opposed the extension for Mr. Lahoud. The meeting reportedly lasted for ten minutes, and was the last time Mr. Hariri met with Mr. Assad. After that meeting, Mr. Hariri told his supporters that they had no other option but to support the extension for Mr. Lahoud. The Mission has also received accounts of further threats made to Mr. Hariri by security officials in case he abstained from voting in favor of the extension or “even thought of leaving the country”.
:— "Report of the Fact-Finding Mission to Lebanon inquiring into the causes, circumstances and consequences of the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, 25 February24 March 2005" (the Fitzgerald Report)


The United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 1595 to send an investigative team to look into Hariri's assassination. This team was headed by German judge Detlev Mehlis and presented its initial report to the Security Council on 20 October 2005. The Mehlis Report implicated Syrian and Lebanese officials,[5][6] with special focus on Syria's military intelligence chief, Assef Shawkat and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's brother-in-law. United States President George W. Bush has called for a special meeting of the UN to be convened to discuss international response "as quickly as possible to deal with this very serious matter."[7]. Detlev Mehlis has asked for more time to investigate all leads. Lebanese politicians have asked to extend the investigative team's duration and charter, to include assassinations of other prominent anti-Syrian Lebanese, such as Gebran Tueni. A second report, submitted on 10 December 2005, upholds the conclusions from the first report. On 11 January 2006, Mehlis was replaced by the Belgian Serge Brammertz.

Syria had extensive military and intelligence influence in Lebanon at the time of Hariri's murder, but Damascus has claimed repeatedly it had no knowledge of the bombing. A United Nations report sponsored by the US and UK found converging evidence of Syrian and Lebanese involvement in this attack. The UN Security Council voted unanimously to demand full Syrian cooperation with UN investigators in the matter[13], and Serge Brammertz's last two reports praised Syria's full co-operation.

On 30 December 2005, former Syrian vice-president Abdul Halim Khaddam in a televised interview implicated President Assad in the assassination and said that Assad personally threatened Hariri in the months before his death.[8] This interview has caused Syrian MPs to demand treason charges against Khaddam.

UN Special Tribunal

Enlarge picture
Shrine and resting place for Hariri in September, 2005
As of 6 February, 2006, both the United Nations and the government of Lebanon had agreed to a proposal establishing a Special Tribunal for Lebanon. If the Lebanese government follows the final proposal, it will mark the first time that an international court tried individuals for a "terrorist" crime committed against a specific person.[14] The United Nations acted in early 2007 to force the process ahead, a move strongly opposed by Syria and its allies in Lebanon, and for reasons of security, efficiency and fairness, the location is to be outside Lebanon, most likely in The Hague in The Netherlands.[15]

Aftermath

Hariri was well regarded among international leaders, for example, he was a close friend of French President Jacques Chirac. Chirac was one of the first foreign dignitaries to offer condolences to Hariri's widow in person at her home in Beirut. The Special Tribunal for Lebanon was also creat at his instigation.

Following Hariri's death, there were several other bombings and assassinations against anti-Syrian figures. These included Samir Kassir, George Hawi, Gebran Tueni, Pierre Amine Gemayel, and Walid Eido. Assassination attempts were made on Elias Murr, May Chidiac, and Smir Shehade (who was investigating Hariri's death).

Notes

  1. ^  "Who's who in Lebanon, Walid Jumblatt", BBC news, March 14, 2005
  2. ^  Neil Macfarquahar, "Behind Lebanon Upheaval, 2 Men's Fateful Clash", New York Times, March 20, 2005.
  3. ^  Warren Hoge, "U.N. Cites Syria as Factor in Lebanese Assassination", New York Times, March 25, 2005
  4. ^  "Lebanon agrees to Harīrī inquiry", BBC News, March 25, 2005.
  5. ^  "UN Harīrī probe implicates Syria", BBC News, October 21, 2005
  6. ^  John Kifner & Warren Hoge, "Top Syrian Seen as Prime Suspect in Assassination", New York Times, October 21, 2005
  7. ^  "Bush Wants U.N. to Deal With Syria Report", Breitbart, October 21, 2005
  8. ^  "Harīrī 'threatened by Syria head' ", BBC News, December 30, 2005.
  9. ^  "Syria MPs demand treason charges", BBC News, December 31, 2005.

References

Books

  • Sallam, Qasim (1980). Al-Baath wal Watan Al-Arabi [Arabic, with French translation] ("The Baath and the Arab Homeland"). Paris: EMA. ISBN 2-86584-003-4
  • Jürgen Cain Külbel: Mordakte Hariri: Unterdrückte Spuren im Libanon, 2006, ISBN 3897068605
  • Jürgen Cain Külbel: Ietail Al-Hariri. Adellah Machfiyyah, 2006, ISBN 3897069733
  • Nicholas Blanford: Killing Mr. Lebanon: The Assassination of Rafik Hariri and its Impact on the Middle East, 2006, ISBN 1845112024

External links

Obituaries News coverage

Print articles not available online

  • Family of Slain Lebanese Leader Demands Probe Into Killing -The Associated Press/New York Times 17 February 2005
  • Rice Says Syria Is at Least Indirectly Responsible for the Blast By Brinkley Joel The New York Times-17 February 2005
  • Death of Businessman By Ajami, Fouad The Wall Street Journal-17 February 2005 Page A12
  • Wails at Loss of Lebanese Leader, Cries for His Vision By Fattah, Hassan M. The New York Times-17 February 2005
  • Huge Crowds Mourn Lebanon's Ex-Premier By Saidi, Leena The New York Times-16 February 2005
  • Hama Rules By Friedman, Thomas L.-The New York Times 17 February 2005
Preceded by
Rashid as-Solh
Prime Minister of Lebanon
1992–1998
Succeeded by
Selim al-Hoss
Preceded by
Selim al-Hoss
Prime Minister of Lebanon
2000–2004
Succeeded by
Omar Karami




Persondata
NAMEHariri, Rafik
ALTERNATIVE NAMES
SHORT DESCRIPTIONPrime Minister of Lebanon, businessman
DATE OF BIRTHNovember 1 1944
PLACE OF BIRTHSidon, Lebanon
DATE OF DEATHFebruary 14 2005
PLACE OF DEATHBeirut, Lebanon
Future Movement (Arabic: تيار المستقبل, Tayyar Al Mustaqbal) is a political movement in Lebanon, led by Saad Hariri, younger son of the assassinated former Prime Minister of Lebanon, Rafik Hariri.
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Sunni Muslims are the largest denomination of Islam. Sunni Islam is also referred to as Sunnism or as Ahl as-Sunnah wa’l-Jamā‘h (Arabic:
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Motto
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