I’ve written a piece about the complicated legacy of Wissam al-Hassan for the NY Times global opinion page. I had written an alternative ending for the piece that didn’t make it in because of time constraints, but I’ll work it up into a new post and maybe publish it tomorrow.
Also, here’s something I taped for The Guardian earlier this morning (fresh with the sounds of the Brown University cafeteria in the background…)
The Many Faces of Wissam al-Hassan
True, Wissam al-Hassan was one of Lebanon’s most important security chiefs, the head of the powerful Information Branch of the Internal Security Forces (I.S.F.) and a major figure in the murky world of Lebanese intelligence. But unlike most other assassination targets over the past seven years, he was not a politician.
Lebanese security chiefs survive by making themselves valuable to many different parties. While Hassan was known for his close ties to former Prime Minister Saad Hariri and the Western-backed anti-Syrian political coalition known as the March 14th movement, he was also skilled at navigating the treacherous terrain between Beirut and Damascus. If in death he has become another totem in March 14th’s macabre pantheon of assassinated public figures, in life he was more complex, a key node within the web of shifting alliances that belie the divisions of Lebanese politics. (keep reading)