Analysis by Mona Alami
BEIRUT, Feb 21 (IPS) - For many in the Middle East, politics is essentially a matter of converging interests -- and the life and death of Imad Fares Moughnieh is no exception. His assassination in Syria has resonated across the borders of Lebanon, Syria and Iran.
".....The assassination of Moughnieh in a country known for its impenetrable intelligence apparatuses raises many questions. According to Saad Ghorayeb, Moughnieh, who has managed to thwart U.S. and Israeli intelligence for more than 20 years, probably relied very little on traditional security networks. "Only a chosen few, whether in Syria or Lebanon, knew his true identity. Syria being the weakest link, the security breach must have occurred high up in Syrian intelligence hierarchy.".....
According to Saad-Ghorayeb, Nasrallah's speech was significant in terms of pointing the blame. "Sayyed Hassan (Nasrallah) accused the factions who supported Israel in the July war -- perhaps hinting at Arab countries -- of collaboration in the Moughnieh killing," says the analyst. "This type of operation could not have been engineered by a single intelligence agency, acting alone, and was perhaps the result of a joint effort between different countries." The place of the assassination are also of considerable importance, says the analyst, especially since Nasrallah hinted that since "Mougnieh's killing took place outside the natural battlefield," so too would Hezbollah's retaliation.
"A Hezbollah leading figure was killed in Damascus, which makes the implications certainly regional. The presence and intervention of Iranian foreign minister Manoucher Mottaki at the Moughnieh funeral also underlines Iranian support to Nasrallah's stance and any action he might undertake in the future," says Saad Ghorayeb. He believes that in the event of a military intervention, the conflict will, this time, most likely be regional.
More speculation continues to fuel conspiracy theories in Beirut. The official Syrian news agency, SANA, reports that Syria denied Iranian claims that the two countries would conduct a joint probe into the assassination of the top Hezbollah commander. This contradicts Iranian deputy foreign minister Ali Reza Sheikh Attar's announcement of a joint investigation earlier.
What motivated Syria's change of heart? Who killed Imad Moughnieh? The answers to these two questions will undoubtedly shape future events in the region."