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    Yet Another Plot

    AFP Picture

    On Friday, Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah declared that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) – the court formed to bring to justice the killers of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and 21 others, as well as subsequent victims of political killings – had been discredited and that any indictments handed down by the court, presumably on Hezbollah officials, were unsound and part of an Israeli plot to undermine the party.

    His reasoning was that Lebanon’s mobile phone network, the source from which much of the so-called incriminating evidence in the case has so far been gleamed, is so shot through with Zionist spies that such evidence cannot be taken seriously.

    Was this an admission of guilt? No indictments have been made, and Hezbollah is already claiming it will be fingered. In doing so, Nasrallah, like he has done every year since 2005, is dividing the country – the Shia will go along with everything he says while the Sunnis will stick by the son of their slain leader. This is nothing new, but Nasrallah has upped the ante in an already-tense standoff by suggesting that those who still seek justice for dozens of political killings are by default supporting Israel. The accusation by itself is worrying, but it also insults the memory of those who died for Lebanese freedom.

    Through such shameful cynicism, Nasrallah clearly wants to secure his party’s own perpetuity – and ensure it is able to do Iran and Syria’s regional bidding. We can also infer that he is willing to do almost anything, including jeopardize Lebanese stability, to ensure it happens. We know this because he has been the model of transparency in his latest smear campaign.

    His three targets have been, in no particular order, the US, the UN and Israel. The US, he tells us, has been paying out hundreds of millions of anti-Hezbollah propaganda dollars to ply Lebanese media outlets, while the UN, via its peacekeepers in the UNIFIL detachment in South Lebanon, is in cahoots with Israel in steering UN Security Council Resolution 1710 to its own advantage. Now, we are told that there were not one but at least three Israeli spies working in the Alfa mobile network.

    So that’s it then? We just have to accept that the STL is an Israeli construct and dismiss its findings. That would be bad enough if it weren’t for the implicit threat that came with Nasrallah’s analysis. For, if the STL is now within the crosshairs of the Resistance (which it surely must be given that it is an Israeli creation) then should the court hand down indictments on Hezbollah officials, and, should the state seek to arrest these individuals, we can expect Hezbollah to resist.

    The party did this in May 2008, when the government tried to shut down its private phone network and sack Brigadier General Wafiq Choucair, the then-head of security at Beirut Airport. Hezbollah showed us its displeasure by taking opposition gunmen onto the streets of Beirut. It said it was a necessary measure to protect the Resistance, but it was nothing less than a murderous and mayhem-wreaking attempt to bring down the government.

    The sad reality is that Lebanon lives in fear of Hezbollah’s displeasure. UNSCR 1701 was passed to strengthen Lebanese sovereignty. Hezbollah would rather see it fail. The STL was formed to finally deliver justice to a region where political killings were commonplace and went unchallenged. Its findings could be a landmark, setting a legal precedent throughout the Middle East and beyond, and issuing a warning to dictators and despots that such outrages will no longer be tolerated. Hezbollah wants it to go away.

    Hezbollah is doing what it does best. It is being threatening and divisive, denying the Lebanese the justice they deserve, and, once again, leading us to the edge of the abyss.

    NOW Lebanon

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