It wasn't until late 2007 that the awkwardly titled UN International Independent Investigation Commission actually got around to some serious investigating.
By then, nearly three years had passed since the spectacular public murder of Lebanon's former prime minister Rafik Hariri.
[. . .]
The massive detonation that killed him on Feb. 14, 2005 unleashed forces no one knew were there. All of Lebanon seemed to rise up in the murder's aftermath, furiously pointing at the country's Syrian overlords.
The not unreasonable assumption was that Hariri had died for opposing Damascus.
Lebanon's fury quickly accomplished what the assassinated leader had failed to achieve in his lifetime.
The murder gave rise to the so-called Cedar Revolution, a rare Lebanese political consensus. Syria, cowed by the collective anger, withdrew its troops.
This didn't last and things promptly deteriorated, not least with the Hezbollah-Israeli war of 2006 that made all Lebanese helpless bystanders.
Who did it?
# Evidence gathered by Lebanese police and, much later, the UN, points overwhelmingly to the fact that the assassins were from Hezbollah, the militant Party of God that is largely sponsored by Syria and Iran. CBC News has obtained cellphone and other telecommunications evidence that is at the core of the case.
# UN investigators came to believe their inquiry was penetrated early by Hezbollah and that that the commission's lax security likely led to the murder of a young, dedicated Lebanese policeman who had largely cracked the case on his own and was co-operating with the international inquiry.
# UN commission insiders also suspected Hariri's own chief of protocol at the time, a man who now heads Lebanon's intelligence service, of colluding with Hezbollah. But those suspicions, laid out in an extensive internal memo, were not pursued, basically for diplomatic reasons.
The investigation goes into great detail.
And the worst bit? No one did anything about it, not in Lebanon and not in the wider world, because no one wanted to risk a confrontation. (Hezbollah, incidentally, has said it'll cut the hands off of anyone who tries to arrest a Hezbollah member for involvement in Hariri's assassination.)