Syria has condemned the findings of a UN-commissioned report which said Syrian officials were behind the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
German prosecutor Detlev Mehlis' report said evidence pointed to both Lebanese and Syrian involvement in the attack, but Syria denies this.
The Security Council is expected to reconvene to hear calls for diplomatic action against Syria.
What do you think of the Hariri report? What do you think of calls for action against Syria? How will it affect Lebanese-Syrian relations? Are you Syrian or Lebanese and, if so, what do you think?
This debate is now closed. Thankyou for your comments.
The following comment reflect the balance of views received:
Mehlis has requested a prolongation for his mission to complete the investigation. However, the US is circulating a Security Council proposal to punish Syria. Whatever happened to the principle of "innocent until proven guilty"?
M Gibril, Brussels, Belgium
Lat night I attended Lord Hurd of Westwell's Damascus lecture to the British Syrian Society and he argued that the West needs to engage Syria with patient diplomacy; talk of going to war to impose democracy is nonsense. My impression is that the Neo-Cons in Washington, cheered on by Ariel Sharon for his own reasons, want an excuse to extend the war in Iraq to Syria.
Mark Fenn, London, UK
It was inevitable that Syria would be found out as one of several guilty culprits in the assassination of Hariri. However, it would be unwise to disintegrate a clearly autocratic but functioning Syrian government. The Syrians brought peace to Lebanon and can support peace in Iraq. A stable Syria is necessary for the stability of the whole region. Cut all diplomatic contact with the Syrian political elite but don't make the ordinary Syrian people suffer...and for God's sake - no Iraq-style invasion.
Hassan Shami, London, UK
This report is a collection of facts, in the same way a scientific study collects facts before making a hypothesis. There are not any details of the actual crime, and that may not be at all possible. But what we will have after this formal list of all the facts is a list of possible motives. These will be eliminated until the strongest theory is left. Syria will have to disprove these theories through co-operation rather than vagueness and secrecy. Lebanon is a country that is tired of war and is full of people that know how to progress into the new age. Politicians like the late Rafik Hariri fought and died for this. I personally hope that this death will not wash with the reign of oppression.
Sam Hatoum, London, UK (Lebanese)
Bravo UN! It is about time Syria is being portrayed for what it is; a country that for decades has sponsored and instigated terrorism across the world. The Syrians have meddled in Lebanese affairs for far too long. First rectifying move was to pull their troops out, next step is to be held accountable for the actions and atrocities the Syrians have committed. Can't wait to see the regime go down and the Syrian and Lebanese peoples be given a chance to elect their own leaders.
Thomas Winther, London, UK
The UN report and in particular the clashing of ideas as on this page is a huge improvement over the boom, what-was-that responses of the past. It's high time the Middle East stopped shooting itself in the foot by assassinating their George Washingtons when they are needed most. I think UN investigations and the availability of the International Court in the Hague dampen ideas of military adventures into places like Syria. In my opinion only the people who live in a region can ultimately make things better.
Dale Lanan, Longmont, Colorado, USA
No surprises here at all, it was pretty obvious who was responsible. The only thing that astounds me is that some Syrians, such as Ahmad from Finland, actually seem to back and applaud their leader for playing puppet-master with Lebanon.
Anon, London, UK
This whole report is a US scam to put more pressure on Syria, and any person who stops for a second and contemplates all the incidents since Feb 14 and even before will realise that all the instability in Lebanon is only helping Israel and is only serving the US in putting more pressure on Damascus. I think the US has blatantly been the main beneficiary in Hariri's murder and I think that we should finally come to out senses and get over the media propaganda to realise who is really gaining from this whole mess.
Firas Khawaja, Tripoli, Lebanon
It sickens me to see the US administration taking yet another needlessly confrontational attitude towards a state they have long decided on, on the basis of pure prejudice, to be "evil".
Luke Jackson, London, UK
There will be only one loser and the loser is the Syrian nation. Whether our regime is involved or not in the crime, the losers are Syrian people. I don't care who the murderer is, but please give the world the peace which we miss always. Also, don't forget to punish only the murderers, not whole nation.
Tameem N, Aleppo, Syria
I understand that some people want hard proof of Syria's guilt, which of course is expected. Remember there is also circumstantial evidence. For instance, it's strange how Syria's interior minister commits suicide weeks after being questioned. Very odd. It's strange how several Syrian officials have been caught in lies. I think a lot of people (not all) in the Middle East have to stop blaming the U.S. and Israel for all of their problems.
Mike, Chicago, US
The report only reiterated the rumours that have been circulating around Lebanon for months. Yet, there was no substantial evidence provided, leaving Lebanon as confused and prone to turmoil as it was 30 years ago. If the Syrian and Lebanese officials did have something do with Hariri's death, then conclusive evidence must be brought forth against them. Otherwise, this report means nothing for Lebanon, for it has not resolved anything. It has merely set the stage for more political turmoil. It is plainly obvious that the UN's investigation is far from over.
Sanaa, USA (Lebanese)
I don't believe that there was enough information to support any of the implications made. This really reminds me of the Iraq/Kuwait situation. This is the perfect situation for the United States to hop in to Syria, just like they hopped in Iraq to "help" the people.
Rasha, Egyptian/Syrian in USA
Our country has no credibility to bring this to the UN Security Council. Why would the world trust us again? We have proven we will take any agreement as an excuse to act unilaterally.
Aaron, Minneapolis, MN USA
There is no concrete indisputable evidence and a lack of hard evidence to say the two countries are guilty. They might be, but the report does not proof this indisputably. Just what the US wanted.
The question is not weather Syrian officials are involved in the assassination plot. This is irrelevant. The question is why the UN (ie the US and France) is involved in this case. Political assassination is not a new phenomenon in Lebanon. I don't recall any of them being investigated internationally. The UN risks being viewed as an instrument of the West to further spread it hegemony over the Middle East. If the UN wants to redeem itself, maybe it should start by investigating Bush and his cronies for lying to the whole world, invading a country illegally and causing the death of tens of thousands of innocent civilians.
Hisham, Pontiac, US
I'd rather say that Hariri's murder is setback to modern democratic ideals. What his murderers fail to understand is that any nation that kills its leader may find it difficult to come to terms with good governance.
Santobayana, Calabar, Nigeria
People here are saying they've read the report and it doesn't contain facts, but it includes a witness who states that Assef Shawkat, the president's brother-in-law and Syria's military intelligence chief, forced a man to tape a claim of responsibility for Hariri's killing 15 days before it occurred and that Emile Lahoud, got a phone call minutes before the assassination from the brother of a prominent member of a pro-Syrian group who also called one of four Lebanese generals arrested later in the killing. What more do you want?
Rob, NY, US
For those familiar with Syria's atrocious human rights record and usurpation of Lebanese sovereignty, the report comes as no surprise. Hopefully, this will accelerate the democratization of Lebanon and spark a peaceful transition to democracy for Syria.
DG, Los Angeles, California, US
The report is excellent very detailed and logical. It shows the obvious involvement of the Syrian government in the assassination of Rafik Hariri. The Syrian government was never fully co-operative. I think it is a great idea to investigate all the Syrian suspects outside Syria without manipulation. What is interesting about this assassination is the full confidence of the Syrians in their innocence. With all the evidence pointing to the Syrian involvement, how come Bashar Assad does not launch his own investigation? Lots of changes are coming toward Syria very soon...
Michel, Dallas, Texas
I know that one of the explanations for Saddam Hussein's crimes is that he was isolated and out of touch with world opinion but with all the recent pressure on the Syrian regime prior to the death of Mr Hariri, I am finding it hard to believe that anyone interested in preserving that regime would be involved in the assassination of Mr Hariri. To the contrary they should have been protecting him. This was either monumental stupidity or a very diabolical set-up. The UN report does not settle it for me. Unless there is a convincing non-coerced confession forthcoming from someone I think sanctions from the Security Council to punish a whole nation would be as rash as the Iraq war.
Rey, Seattle, USA
This report is really a joke! It accuses the public front for the liberation of Palestine together with one Habashi leader together with some Lebanese officials and some Syrian officials! Amazing! Why has this report involved the Palestinians? Everyone should know that we Syrians are behind our president and any attack on my country will set the whole region on fire and will bring Lebanon back to the era of the civil war which we helped stopped! This time we will let the 'ungrateful' Lebanese kill each other without any intervention.
Ahmad, Syrian in Finland
Bravo! America. Continue to involve in the matter the assassination of Hariri, until those responsible are brought to justice.
Mohammed Conteh, Freetown, Sierra Leone
No one will deny that the Syrian regime and the pro-Syrian Lebanese regime is corrupt or clean when it comes to the murder of Mr Hariri. But any possible move from the UN or the US will bring nothing but a new face of corruption, destruction, death and chaos to the region. I feel sorry for the poor people in Syria and Lebanon who are the victim of this corrupt politics.
Tony , Aleppo, Syria
I'm not surprised by the results of the UN investigation. I'm not surprised because I believe the Syrians (and their Lebanese proxies) underestimated what the popular reaction to Hariri's assassination would be. I also believe that the Middle East has to start taking responsibility for its home-grown despots (eg, the Syrian regime) and stop blaming the US and Israel. It's time for the Arab and Muslim worlds to grow up and stop blaming everything on American/Israeli conspiracies! The Arab and Muslim worlds have proven over and over again that we are quite capable of oppressing our peoples without outside intervention, thank you very much.
Norman, Lebanese in Canada, Calgary, Canada
Finally! It took Syria three decades and tens of political assassinations to understand that it cannot operate anymore with impunity. I hope that the same lesson will be realized by other countries
George, Beirut, Lebanon
Misleading, inaccurate and irresponsible. They presented absolutely no evidence. To say that someone must have know something about an event is not the same as presenting evidence.
James Beardsley, Tucson, Arizona, USA
The world should openly condemn the actions of the Syrian regime. Why do they have to ruin the lives of the Lebanese people? What right to they have to be so cruel?
Michael, California, USA
the UN findings are to appease and curry favour with the Americans.
Hortense Vaughan, UK
The report seems very political and seems to lack depth and accuracy. If this is meant to be a proper investigation, it can't be based on assumptions, it must be based on facts, and as people on the streets, we need from Mr Mehlis the accurate facts, not some interpretation of what might have happened. Where are the details of what really happened at the crime scene? How was the scene set up? It seems to me that Mr Mehlis did not pursue the forensic evidence by any means, but only political involvements. The report lacks depth, and we as Lebanese people deserve a more intelligent explanation.
This report comes of no surprise to anyone who is not a Syrian toady or a conspiracy theorist who thinks that America is to blame for everything. Those of us who witnessed first hand what the Syrian regime did in Lebanon know full well what they are capable of. When Lebanon lost Hariri, we lost a man who believed in Lebanon not in the petty sectarianism that pervades 99.9% of our politicians. In other words, we lost everything. It comes as no surprise that people in Syria are saying that no one should interfere. They made their bed and now they do not want to lie in it. Syria should pay and pay dearly, right along side Emile Lahoud and his cronies.
Amal, Calgary, Canada
The report is close to accusing the government of Syria for Hariri's death. The question is what comes next. Sanctions against the Syrian government and encouragement of oppositions in Syria to unseat the Baathists should be the way forward. There are many Harris in our planet and I wish Syria and Lebanon the best in their struggle for democracy.
Tedla Asfaw, New York, USA
I say, "round up the usual suspects". Does anyone really expect the corrupt UN to actually do anything?
As a Lebanese who saw first hand what Syria did to my country, I am 100% certain that Syria killed Hariri as well as many before him. Syria should be held responsible for the killing along with her puppets in Lebanon. If the UN let Syria off the hook, it will send the wrong message to those who hate democracy and thrive on corruption to built their own personal wealth. Syria is the evil of all evils in the Middle East. If there is a country that needs a regime change, it is Syria.
Roger, Austin, USA
Syria and its regime of oppression is one of the most destabilising factors in the Middle East. For 60 years they have sponsored state terrorism against their neighbours as well as their own people. Even the civil war in Lebanon started with Syria's active involvement 30 years ago. Many other wars in the region were initiated by Syria against Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon and Israel with claims to Turkey's territorial integrity as well. They have supported and financed many international terrorist groups that are still based in Damascus and allow Islamic Jihadist suicide bombers to cross the border into Iraq.
Jamil Baroody, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
It does not need a UN report to figure out that the Syrians and the Lebanese intelligence were involved in this assassination. What we need to see now is to bring all the responsible (for this crime) to an international tribunal and be prosecuted.
Youssef Abboud, Toronto, Canada
This is the beginning of a new era in Lebanon and the Arab world where leaders will be held accountable for their actions. This is unprecedented. Let all Arab Leaders shake in their seats.
The sad thing is, Bashar Assad is not a bad man. He is not a new Saddam. He could open a new future for Syria. But he is weak of character and easily cowed by strong personalities - such as Hezbollah leader Nasrallah or his brother-in-law. His father knew him well and never intended for him to be president, but here we are...
John, Beirut, Lebanon
I think that there is very little doubt that the Syrian government was involved in the assassination at some level. But it is also clear that certain powers are using the report to clean up Syria and Lebanon of undesirable anti-Western elements. It is also plausible that Israel was involved in subsequent assassination to agitate the situation further.
Ahmed Al-Hasan, Amman, Jordan
The US and our Allies stand a far greater chance of advancing real democracy and justice in Lebanon then we ever had in Iraq. I hope the Administration, Mr Blair, and especially Mr Chirac stand firm in demanding Syrian accountability - and find ways to deal with their minions in Lebanon like President Lahoud and the Syrian import, Gen Aoun.
Zuheir al-Faqih, Washington DC, USA
The outcome of the report is not surprising but very bad for the people on the street in both Lebanon and Syria. Sanctions and ultimately imposed democracy (a contradiction in terms) will mean civil strife, chaos and possibly the Muslim Brotherhood coming back. Both countries are beautiful and hospitable with wonderful people, don't destroy that. People do not want tensions in the region, they do not want the West and the Americans telling them what to do.
Of course Syria is behind this. They have been controlling Lebanon for years. Not to worry though, the UN will do nothing about it.
Todd, Virginia, USA
It is relieving to see such a repressive and corrupt regime finally held to account for its crimes. It's about time the Baathist regime in Syria and its Lebanese proxies paid a heavy price for their many transgressions in Lebanese. Justice prevails.
Tony F Taouk, Sydney Australia
Why should this be a surprise? The entire history of Lebanese politics has been scarred by outside interventions, political murders, massacres and behind the scenes manipulations. Lebanon is a proxy battleground for Israel, Syria, Iran and all sorts of factions.
Carole, Bristol, UK
Another important step down the road to democracy. Let the people of Lebanon now decide how they'd like to proceed.
Andrea, NY, USA
It is sad it has to be this way, Hariri was a model man for the Lebanese; clever businessman with lots of money to build the place from scratch. And slowly but surely, it was really going well for people in Syria after the death of Assad. Until the US neo-cons came and destroyed their neighbouring region. I still had hopes for Bashar, but he apparently cannot rule over the old prehistoric and demonic gang he inherited from his father.
Josepha, London, UK
The investigators came with the exact results expected by the Americans who installed them; implicating Syria to continue their witch hunt against the country who refuses to tow the line and further US and Israeli plans for the region. No surprises there!
Nizam Addien B. Yagoub, Saudi Arabia
My reaction to the UN's Hariri report is... what has his death (even if it was murder) got to do with the UN? This is a matter for a sovereign nation (Lebanon) to deal with. How many politicians are assassinated worldwide and how many UN investigations are there of these? This is just another ploy by the US (and UK) to apply more pressure on Iraq's neighbours. This time Syria, other times Iran.
Ad, Hamburg, Germany, ex UK
The only conclusive thing about the Mehlis report: Pressure cooker mode for Syria. Proof does not matter. After Afghanistan and Iraq, the final "demonise Syria" brushstrokes are being painted. So no, George of Chelmsford, the gangsters of the Cold War are far from 'finished.' They have barely begun rampaging through the region.
Diran Mardirian, Beirut, Lebanon
From BBCArabic.com: I want to raise two points. The first concern Mr Mehlis' assertion that that it is difficult to imagine that an explosion of the scale that killed Hariri had taken place without the knowledge of Lebanese and Syrian intelligence services. Does this principle also applies to the recent explosions in London and before them, the events of 9/11? If so, then the intelligence services of those two countries must also stand accused. The second point is this: What assurances can Mr. Mehlis give that he did not come under American pressure?
Amar Akeel, Dubai
From BBCArabic.com: The Lebanese cabinet is due to meet Saturday, with the Security Council convening on Tuesday: these events give Syria an opportunity to present its case and defend itself by revealing all information that it may have withheld so far, so that it may extricate itself from this unenviable position.
Faisal Adel, Syria
From BBCArabic.com: I hope that the Syrians recognise the truth, as the Iraqis have done, namely that their government is complicit not just in the murder of Hariri but also in the murder of Iraqis. The Syrian people should hold their government to account before it made to do so by external factors.
Methaq Obedi, Basra, Iraq
From BBCArabic.com: Personally, I thought that ruling the security apparatus in Syria was implicated. This belief was further confirmed when the Syrian interior minister committed suicide. The Syrian regime is addicted to murder and its history is a shameful one. I hope that the regime will fall with minimum of losses to the Syrian people.
Kamal, Syrian in UAE
This is one of the biggest lies after Colin Powell had said Iraq had had nuclear weapon. The USA has found the best opportunity to invade Syria, as usual the UN is playing a trigger role.
Ahmed, Beirut, Lebanon
Since the beginning Syria was suspected of involvement in Hariri's death. It is obvious that Syria would never say "yes we were involved in the assassination". The issue is how to isolate Syria so that the Lebanese people can continue on the track of freedom already prompted with the happenings of earlier this year.
Adelino Chissale, Brisbane, Australia
Not surprised at all. But I'll bet the Syrians were surprised at the reaction to the murder. Instead of cementing their power base, they lost Lebanon. Hopefully they learned an important lesson - the world is changing, people want their personal freedoms and their say - the gangsters of the Cold War and of the Middle East are finished
George, Chelmsford, UK
Its a very vague report. There are not directly groups mentioned who are blamed for the assassination of Mr Hariri. This report appear to be an attempt to put pressure on Syria and its allies in Lebanon. I don't think that the Lebanese people are not going to be fooled into breaking relations with their neighbour.
Z. Hussain, Rochdale UK
Skimming through an online version of the report I was disturbed to find that the route taken by Mr Hariri in the last few moments of his life had been used only six times in the previous three months. This implies that somebody on the inside knew of Mr Hariri's movements on that fateful day and where, precisely, to place the powerful bomb which killed him. The brutal murder of such a popular and charismatic figure in Lebanese politics should concern us all and could threaten the very stability of the region in the coming months. Lebanon's fragile peace may well be shattered by Syria's blood-stained hand.
Shaun Crowther, UK
Congratulations to Mehlis. I read the report and albeit not being an expert I saw the scientific and objective side of the investigation. But I'm asking myself why Lahoud isn't named as guilty despite all the conversations showing him as a partner in the murder. Maybe to avoid explosive instability. As a Lebanese I think that the minimum for him if he has some dignity when facing us is to resign. Syrians ruled us for almost 30 years as a result of an US-Syrian deal and it's time for the Lebanese to rule themselves. Syria and the US should both stay out
Maria, Paris, France (Lebanese citizen)
Hopefully the result of the UN Investigation, through a collective shame in the Middle East, will go some way to ridding the region of its corrupt and terrorist ways and stigmatization by accelerating a move to transparency and democratic change.
Robert Hamad, Beirut Lebanon
It was obvious the Syrians would be behind this. Syria has not only terrorised the Lebanese people, but its own people for the last 30 years. Saddam is rightly on trial for the killing of 143 people in a village, Hafiz Al-Assad and his henchmen, many of whom are alive today, killed more. Surely the time has come to liberate Syria and put its regime on trial, including for the killing of Mr Hariri?
Sam, London, UK
It amazes me to think that Syria believes we're all stupid enough to believe that they didn't have anything to do with it. On the other hand, can we really believe anything any government says - truth is, after all, only that which you can make someone else believe.
Rob Howe, The Hague, Holland
The Baath regimes in both Syria and until recently Iraq have delivered nothing but disasters to their people and the whole of the Middle East. They have turned opportunities into disasters and for over 30 years of absolute control succeeded in delivering nothing but misery, fear and humiliation to their people. The killing of Hariri was not a first in the history of the Assad dynasty and may not be the last unless the international communities intervene in a robust way to stop them. Tony
Tony, Manchester, UK
I can't possibly imagine any one who could doubt for one moment the Syrian involvement in the killing of Hariri, and I couldn't believe either that until now some people still believe that America or the Israelis are behind his killing. Imagine Israel was behind the assassination of Hariri, would America or any Western government dare to involve the UN? Hariri was killed for purely sectarian reasons. In my opinion, the same way the US and UK believe that the Shia majority should rule Iraq (and that is fair to some extent) the Sunni majority in Syria should rule Syria and its time for the US to act and change regime in Syria.
Sam Mohamed, Oxford, UK
Many facts leads to a strong proof that Syria is involved in Hariri's murder. The last and powerful one is the mysterious so-called suicide of Hanaan. The question is why did he commit suicide? Out of shame, regret or a threat from someone whose personal credibility was at stake if Mr Hanaan was investigated by UN team? Now it is a time that Syria should be stopped from interfering in other Arab states.
Raza Khan, Lahore, Pakistan
Syria is a terrorist state. Who is really surprised by their involvement in Rafik Hariri's untimely death? I personally know two Lebanese immigrants in Leicester who are still deeply shocked by his murder and they were never in any doubt as to who was responsible. The question for us all now is what sanctions can we bring against the guilty? We must do something - otherwise we set a poor example when dealing with political murder and subjugation of a sovereign nation by another state.
Ian, Whitwick, England
I don't think there was any doubt that someone from Syria was involved in this terror act for an obvious reason that Hariri was against Syria's involvement in Lebanon. However the structure of government in countries like Syria, Iran, Iraq and few others is so complicated that certain power centres can act independently assuming that they have the support of the entire government. However, they don't realise how much damage they can cause to themselves and a nation as a whole.
Nader Mousavi, Birmingham, UK
With actions like this stability in the Middle East is far from being achieved.
Richard, London, UK
Is it a surprise that Syria was involved? They have supported terror against Israel and still supply arms and support to the various militias within Lebanon. They may have withdrawn their troops but their grip on Lebanon, Iraq and other Arab states is still in place through terror groups like Hamas and others.
Mark Israel, London, UK
State sponsored international terrorism is a drawback to the Cold War, however it didn't work then isn't working now and probably will never work again. Hariri knew that making peace was tough and dangerous though he never lost the big picture, stabilising Lebanon' fledgling democratic system. Murder is wrong, all of it. It can never retrospectively blessed or endorsed by being sanctioned by Syria or coalitionists within Lebanon.
Eddie Espie, Cookstown, N Ireland
Hariri was always hated by the Syrian politicians for being so successful and for wanting Lebanon to prosper, but I still think that Bashar Al Assad is involved, but the whole thing, in my opinion, will lead to the removal of the old ruling class in Damascus and will cause Bashar to gain more control over his country. Hopefully nothing bad will happen in Lebanon and that transition will be peaceful in Syria. The Syrians have suffered so much from their rulers and they deserve a change in their vicious regime.
Tarek, Beirut, Lebanon
The Mehlis report came out as most of the Lebanese people where expecting it , although I didn't understand why the final report had to be softened and the names initially appearing in it removed? This is the point that could increase the political tension, so we will need the names, the witnesses and the facts to be clearly stated.
Pierre, Beirut, Lebanon
The results are not the least unexpected. I'm happy that Mehlis underwent his investigation without fear of the Syrian reaction. Now I expect Assad to do what he promised, that is to give up to international justice all those found guilty, starting from the number two of his regime. I think that the Syrian regime's days are numbered.
Andrea Baucero, Milano, Italy
Who do you think you are trying to fool? Everyone knows that UN is a rubber stamp in the hands of US and its allies and therefore there is every reason to suspect the "evidence" provided by UN. I think that US and its allies along with Israel might actually be involved in this assassination of Hariri to further the cause of their crusade.
Ahmad Farooq, Islamabad, Pakistan
Why should we be surprised by this? Syria has a deplorable record of terrorism and interfering in Lebanon that the world has turned a blind eye to.