A SPECIAL UNITED NATIONS investigator provided more compelling evidence last week of Syria's involvement in the February assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. But in case anyone still had any doubts, another Lebanese politician, newspaper publisher Gibran Tueni, was killed by
a bomb in his car Monday, a day after his return from refuge in France. Tueni, who had fled to escape death threats, was, like Hariri, a sharp critic of Syria's control over Lebanese politics.
German prosecutor Detlev Mehlis reported evidence that "high-ranked Syrian officers" were involved in Hariri's death, as were Lebanese officials who have been arrested. Syria sent troops next door into Lebanon in 1976, soon after its civil war started, and kept them there until Hariri's killing sparked such an international outcry that it was forced to bring the soldiers home. But Damascus still controls much of Lebanon's intelligence network and business community.
Mehlis said that although his team was able to interview five top Syrian officials, President Bashar Assad's government continues to block the U.N. probe. Especially telling were reports from witnesses that Syrian intelligence documents concerning Lebanon had been burned. Syria's claims that it could find no material relating to Hariri's killing in intelligence archives points to a thorough whitewash.