Chatah, a Hezbollah, Syria critic asssassinated in Lebanon

shatah 0109Dr. Mohamad Chatah, a former Lebanese finance minister and ambassador to the United States, died Friday when a car bomb struck his convoy in downtown Beirut, Lebanon’s National News Agency reported.

The blast killed five others and left 71 wounded, Lebanon’s health ministry said. Cars were burned beyond recognition as a wall of flames and thick black smoke shot up from the blast site.

Chatah’s bodyguard, Mohammed Badr, was among those killed, the news agency said.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Chatah’s last tweet, posted about an hour before his death, talked about Hezbollah, the Lebanese-based Shiite militant group with which Chatah was at odds.

“#Hezbollah is pressing hard to be granted similar powers in security & foreign policy matters that Syria exercised in Lebanon for 15 yrs,” Chatah tweeted.

Witnesses describe the impact of the explosion in Beirut on Friday which killed Mohamad Chatah, a key adviser to the now exiled former Lebanese prime minister, Saad Hariri. The 62-year old is the second senior opposition figure to have been killed in the past 14 months. Chatah was an outspoken critic of the Syrian regime and of Hezbollah, which has held sway over the Lebanese government since Hariri was ousted three years ago. Fifteen other people were killed in the blast
The explosion in Beirut on Friday which killed Mohamad Chatah, a key adviser to the now exiled former Lebanese prime minister, Saad Hariri. The 62-year old is the second senior opposition figure to have been killed in the past 14 months. Chatah was an outspoken critic of the Syrian regime and of Hezbollah, which has held sway over the Lebanese government since Hariri was ousted three years ago. Fifteen other people were killed in the blast

That group decried the attack in a statement aired on Hezbollah TV, saying the it “only benefits the enemies of Lebanon.”

The group called on “all the security and judicial agencies to be on high alert to expose the perpetrators and bring them to justice.”

Chatah was known as a staunch critic of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whom he accused of meddling in Lebanon’s internal affairs. Hezbollah has sent fighters to help al-Assad’s forces in the Syrian civil war.

“A united and peaceful Syria ruled by Assad is simply not possible anymore. It has been like that for some time,” Chatah wrote in his last blog post. “The status quo ante cannot be restored. Iran and Hezbollah realize this more than anyone else.”

More than 100,000 people have died in Syria’s civil war, in which al-Assad’s forces are battling rebels seeking an end to his family’s four-decade dynasty. Al-Assad and the core of his regime are Alawites, members of an offshoot of Shiite Islam, but most Syrians and a large portion of the rebels are Sunni.

The war has spilled across the border into Lebanon. Dozens have been killed there in largely sectarian violence, including dual bombings last month that left 23 dead in Beirut.

The Abdullah Azzam Brigades, a Sunni jihadist group linked to al Qaeda, claimed responsibility for those bombings. The group warned that more attacks would come unless Hezbollah stopped sending fighters to support Syrian regime forces.

Chatah graduated from American University in Beirut and was Lebanon’s ambassador to the United States from 1997 to 1999, according to his blog. Chatah also was a senior adviser for former Prime Minister Saad Hariri and was the finance minister in former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora’s Cabinet in 2008 and 2009.

Hariri issued a statement Friday condemning the killing, calling it “yet another terrorist message sent to us, we the free men of Lebanon in the Future Movement and March 14 coalition.”

Hariri’s “March 14 coalition” is a pro-Western, Sunni-dominated bloc. It takes its name from the day in 2005 when thousands gathered in Beirut a month after the assassination of Hariri’s father, former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, to demand an end to the Syrian occupation of Lebanon.

Shortly before Lebanon’s presidential election in 2007, Chatah decried the violence plaguing Lebanon ahead of the country’s elections.

“We’re still witnessing killings, explosions targeting those people who really were after one thing: They were after the independence of Lebanon, restoration of its sovereignty, re-establishment of state authority and having a normal life. And for that, they’re paying with their lives,” Chatah said.

On Friday, Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati posted a tweet saying he is calling off his vacation and heading back to Lebanon.

“I condemn this assassination, which targeted a political, an academic, a moderate and an upscale figure who always believed in dialogue and the language of reason, logic and the right to have a different opinion,” Mikati said.

Chatah was married and had two children.

His death comes 20 days before the U.N.-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon begins the trial of four Hezbollah suspects over the 2005 assassination of Rafik Hariri. Like Chatah, Hariri was also killed in a car bombing.

CNN

  • Hannibal

    Tsk Tsk Tsk… It is the Mossad. YEAH RIGHT!
    It is about time to rid the world of Rabin Damascus.

  • Hannibal

    Tsk Tsk Tsk… It is the Mossad. YEAH RIGHT!

  • cook

    Rest in peace 🙁

  • Heraclitus

    Rest in peace 🙁

  • libnan1

    RIP, at FPM we condemn the loss of life of any civilian Lebanese. We did not agree with your political views, at the same time we strongly reject your assassination as all disagreement should never end with bodily harm or death no matter what. God bless your sole and the sole of all martyrs.

  • libnan1

    RIP, at FPM we condemn the loss of life of any civilian Lebanese. We did not agree with your political views, at the same time we strongly reject your assassination as all disagreement should never end with bodily harm or death no matter what. God bless your sole and the sole of all martyrs.

  • FadiAbboud

    how convenient is it that the martyrs who are staunch critics of Hezbollah always seem to get assassinated…

    • man-o-war

      It’s easy to point fingers at HA, but it makes no sense to me. So the bombings in Beirut in HA areas was by who? The bombings at the mosque in Tripoli? The Embassy bombing? Do you think its tit for tat? I guess it just seems odd that HA would continue to draw negative publicity during such a fragile time for them.

      We should be asking who benefits from the chaos brought onto Lebanon in the past year? Syria is in shambles, Iraq is in a civil war, Lebanon is nearing the abyss, and Iran’s sanctions noose is getting tighter. I ask again, who benefits from this? Of course, the obvious answer is Palestinians ; )

      • 5thDrawer

        Somebody had to have the time to set that up, and to know his route, and be aware of which car was his … from the look of it, a perfectly targeted ‘least damage’ weapon. Something like the head of security felt, only a smaller size.

      • nagy_michael2

        Ask again why is it always somebody who is anti-syrian, anti-hezbollah always get assasinated. Ask why the Iranian embassy bombers and other bombings of Hezbollah areas the people were discovered, jailed or executed. ask why they never find anyone who kills M 14 figures and their followers. Syria always find a way to kill us and Tripoli bombings points to Eid but no one dares to arrest him. Stop asking dumb questions.

      • Hind Abyad

        Part of the “Plan”.. like in Syria each friday there was a bomb.

      • hezzies are terrorists

        Israel did of course. Ask the hezzies and of course I’m being sarcastic.

      • The real lebanese

        Beirut isnt all HA territory

      • Guest

        As Laquees was to Nasrallah so was Shatah to Hariri. As Mughniyeh was to one side so was Hassan to the other side. Does anyone not see the pattern here of similar figures from both different sides being killed as one for the other one? There is really no mystery as to what is going on.

  • FadiAbboud

    how convenient is it that the martyrs who are staunch critics of Hezbollah always seem to get assassinated…

    • man-o-war

      It’s easy to point fingers at HA, but it makes no sense to me. So the bombings in Beirut in HA areas was by who? The bombings at the mosque in Tripoli? The Embassy bombing? Do you think its tit for tat? I guess it just seems odd that HA would continue to draw negative publicity during such a fragile time for them.

      We should be asking who benefits from the chaos brought onto Lebanon in the past year? Syria is in shambles, Iraq is in a civil war, Lebanon is nearing the abyss, and Iran’s sanctions noose is getting tighter. I ask again, who benefits from this? Of course, the obvious answer is Palestinians ; )

      • 5thDrawer

        Somebody had to have the time to set that up, and to know his route, and be aware of which car was his … from the look of it, perfectly targeted ‘least damage’ weapon. Something like the head of security felt, only a smaller size.

      • nagy_michael2

        Ask again why is it always somebody who is anti-syrian, anti-hezbollah always get assasinated. Ask why the Iranian embassy bombers and other bombings of Hezbollah areas the people were discovered, jailed or executed. ask why they never find anyone who kills M 14 figures and their followers. Syria always find a way to kill us and Tripoli bombings points to Eid but no one dares to arrest him. Stop asking dumb questions.

      • Hind Abyad

        Part of the “Plan”.. like in Syria each friday there was a bombe.

      • hezzies are terrorists

        Israel did of course. Ask the hezzies and of course I’m being sarcastic.

      • The real lebanese

        Beirut isnt all HA territory

      • Guest

        As Laquees was to Nasrallah so was Shatah to Hariri. As Mughniyeh was to one side so was Hassan to the other side. Does anyone not see the pattern here of similar figures from both different sides being killed as one for the other one? There is really no mystery as to what is going on.

  • Fauzia45

    They assassinated him because he was a danger to them !He stood for what they fear most !They assassinated the others that they feared most !The list of targets were those who believed in Lebanon first!They were free minds ,men of ideas ,,These, they will not be able to face even with a mighty powerful force!!!!!!!

  • Fauzia45

    They assassinated him because he was a danger to them !He stood for what they fear most !They assassinated the others that they feared most !The list of targets were those who believed in Lebanon first!They were free minds ,men of ideas ,,These, they will not be able to face even with a mighty powerful force!!!!!!!

  • Maborlz Ez-Hari

    Again another very sad day in Lebanon, God rest your soul and may peace and security conquer the rage fueling these atrocities.

  • Maborlz Ez-Hari

    Again another very sad day in Lebanon, God rest your soul and may peace and security conquer the rage fueling these atrocities.

  • Guest

    As Laquees was to Nasrallah so was Shatah to Hariri. As Mughniyeh was to one side so was Hassan to the other side. Does anyone not see the pattern here of similar figures from both different sides being killed as one for the other one? There is really no mystery as to what is going on. The political arm of Hezbollah will say one thing (positive) while the military arm of Hezbollah will do another different thing (negative)

  • Guest

    As Laquees was to Nasrallah so was Shatah to Hariri. As Mughniyeh was to one side so was Hassan to the other side. Does anyone not see the pattern here of similar figures from both different sides being killed as one for the other one? There is really no mystery as to what is going on. The political arm of Hezbollah will say one thing (positive) while the military arm of Hezbollah will do another different thing (negative)