Former Finance Minister and Hariri aide Mohammad Chatah was one of six people killed Friday morning after a car bomb went off in the area of the multi-building Starco complex just before 10:00 a.m.. Chatah previously served as Lebanon's ambassador to the US from 1997 to 2000. Just hours after the blast, the smoke has barely settled and theories are already making the rounds on social media regarding the motives behind Chatah's death. Read more below.

(Photo via Facebook)

1. A Message to the Saudis from Syria

Lebanese-American political analyst Rana Slim says Chatah was accused by Damascus of being part of a "Saudi-funded, Hariri-run operation." She called Chatah's assassination a message to Saudi Arabia for its role in Syria.

2. Retribution for Hassan Lakkis' Assassination

Prolific blogger Beirut Spring offered this guess shortly after word of Chatah's death: that the assassination was revenge for the murder of senior Hezbollah commander Hassan Lakkis. Lakkis was gunned down as he returned home from work around midnight on December 4. Hezbollah openly accused Israel of being behind his murder.

3. Targeting Moderates To Make Room for Sunni Extremists

A number of political observers, including Michael Young and activist Imad Bazzi say Friday's assassination is part of an ongoing effort to weed out moderate Sunni politicians in a prolonged and systematic way so that the remaining political figures belong to a class of more extreme Sunni fundamentalists, including Sheikh Ahmed al-Assir, the Al-Nusra front and Fatah al-Islam, among others.

4. Chatah's Role in The Special Tribunal for Lebanon

Local news outlet NOW Media cites sources who link Chatah's assassination to his upcoming participation in the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), the trial set up to investigate and prosecute the individuals behind the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

5. The Work of Hezbollah

Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri explicitly pointed to Hezbollah’s involvement in a message he posted to Facebook on Friday. Hariri wrote that the "same people responsible for Chatah’s death were the same people who refused to participate in the STL."

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