By Linda S. Heardgulfnews

Implicating one of the Shiite group’s top leaders in the death of former Lebanon PM can once again split the country

Image Credit: Illustration: Nino Jose Heredia/©Gulf News

  • If the Tribunal insists on publicly denouncing Hezbollah, its members risk having Lebanese blood on their hands.

Lebanon’s former prime minister Rafik Hariri was a great politician and the force behind the rebuilding of Downtown Beirut, following 15 years of civil war.

His assassination on February 14, 2005, along with 22 others, was a terrible act that needed to be investigated.

However, the United Nations was not the right body to set up a special tribunal for this purpose. Bringing those responsible to justice should have been solely the responsibility of Lebanon, which has had its fill of destructive foreign fingers poking around in the pie.

Firstly, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon cannot be trusted. The UN’s investigator Detlev Mehlis issued his initial report to the then UN secretary-general, Kofi Annan, in October 2005, which blamed top-ranking Syrian security officials for the deaths. His conclusion was based on pure supposition without any shred of proof.

The German magazine Junge Welt later revealed that Mehlis, who resigned half way through, was the alleged recipient of a $10 million (Dh36.78 million) slush fund to rig the outcome against Damascus. Mehlis also ordered four pro-Syrian Lebanese generals to be imprisoned without charge. They were eventually released after four years due to lack of evidence.

Serious charges

These serious charges resulted in Syria being universally condemned, forced out of Lebanon and shunned by Western countries. George W. Bush recalled his ambassador to Syria, whose parting message was one of “concern and outrage”. The accusations resulted in a diplomatic rift between Beirut and Damascus, that was somewhat healed following the 2006 Israel-Lebanon war, following Syria’s hospitality towards fleeing Lebanese refugees.

I’m not suggesting for one minute that the exit of the Syrian military from Lebanon wasn’t desirable, but it would have been infinitely preferable had it taken place without the UN’s faux cloud of suspicion that was touted with such relish by the Bush administration and the US media.

In recent years, Lebanon has gone through devastating political turmoil, culminating in a clash between Sa’ad Hariri’s March 14 movement and the March 8 supporters of Hezbollah, Amal and General Michel Aoun that, at one time, threatened to turn into civil war. Following a massive and prolonged March 8 sit-in, which brought the capital’s Downtown to a virtual standstill, the two sides came together in the nick of time.

But now that Lebanon is enjoying some semblance of stability and unity — albeit fragile — up pops the UN Tribunal, threatening to expose senior Hezbollah operative Mustafa Badr Al Deen as chief suspect in Hariri’s assassination. This is akin to pouring gasoline on glowing embers. Implicating one of the Shiite group’s head honchos in the death of a man who was so revered could once again split the country apart, leaving it vulnerable to its southern enemy Israel.

Hassan Nasrallah vehemently denies his group’s involvement and maintains his lieutenants are far too disciplined to act without his express permission. He claims an Israeli conspiracy is behind the findings and says he considers the Tribunal nothing more than “an Israeli agency”.

Personally, I find it hard to believe that anyone from Hezbollah would go to all the trouble of planting a bomb to kill Hariri when a sniper’s bullet would have been simpler and a single assassin far harder to trace.

There is one school of thought that this may have been a Mossad false-flag operation designed to stir up international condemnation against Syria and/or Hezbollah. In this connection, it’s interesting that no mainline media outlet has ever cited Tel Aviv as a potential culprit, especially when Israeli spies were known to have been crawling all over Lebanon at the time.

Juergen Cain Kuelbel, a German criminologist, wrote a book titled Hariri’s Assassination: Hiding Evidence in Lebanon based on his thesis that Israel had a hand in the former PM’s death. As the Tribunal has not sought to investigate Israel, we can never know the veracity of his assertion.

In the meantime, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah and Syrian President Bashar Al Assad chose to make a joint visit to Beirut last Friday in an effort to calm tensions and display an unprecedented show of unity, while on the following day the Emir of Qatar, Shaikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, visited southern Lebanese villages known to be Hezbollah strongholds. The fact that these friends of Lebanon have gone out of their way to show support is indicative of the seriousness of this crossroads.

If the Tribunal insists on publicly denouncing Hezbollah, its members risk having Lebanese blood on their hands. The sensible course would be to let sleeping dogs lie. Rafik Hariri was a patriot first and foremost. That’s what he would have wanted. That’s what his son wants and that’s what the Lebanese government wants. The question is will they listen or must Lebanon brace for yet another arrow through its heart?

Linda S. Heard is a specialist writer on Middle East affairs. She can be contacted at lheard@gulfnews.com


  1. Rehmat on the 03. Aug, 2010 remarked #

    A Lebanese source has reported that some Lebanese Christian group is expected to receive 1,000 militants from an Arab country during the month of Ramadan. They will be disguised as tourists but waiting for the green light to conduct communal riots to end the current Unity government by force. The Unity government supports Hizbullah for carrying its arms in order to defend the country against Israeli invasion.

    Interestingly, the US lawmakers and the Zionist-controlled mainstream media and think tanks – have recently decided to give a voice to the plight of the 300,000 plus Palestinian refugees living in 12 camps remaining after the ethnic-cleansing by Israeli foot-soldiers, the Christian Phalangist militants during the Israeli occupation of Beirut.

    The agenda of the US-Israeli covert operation is to create situation for a second Cedar Revolution, resulting in a military confrontation between Hizbullah and pro-West Sunni-Christian groups – which would be an Israeli dream come true.

    No question, the Palestinian refugees should be given more rights in housing, jobs, education and even political sector – but no Arab country be forced or bribed to accept them – except their motherland, Palestine, from where they were forced to leave in order to make space for the foreign Jews who were not acceptable in their European homelands in which they lived for many centuries.

    The results of CEEA Poll released on Monday, revealed that 76.6% of the Lebanese people believe that a Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) indictment against Hizbullah for the assassination of Rafik Hariri – an Israeli False Flag operation, will plung Lebanon in a civil war.


  2. Egoigwe on the 04. Aug, 2010 remarked #

    Why Rafik Hariri, why not JFK, Rabin or Martin Luther King? Why not Elvis or Michael Jackson? Why not Pope John Paul? Since when did the UN start delving into assassinations carried out within the borders of sovereign nations? Who referred this matter to the UN and at whose behest is this false flag investigation being conducted?

    Putting it mildly, the UN’s conduct amounts to an undue meddlesomeness in the affairs of an independent nation state. It is the flagrant usurpation of sovereignty and a nation’s independence. An abuse of privilege and a dubious intrusion into the territorial realms of another.

    This conduct of the UN is a precedent we can live without and one that must be resisted, not only by Lebanon but all lovers of true freedom. At the very best, it is an attempt at colonizing a free-spirited nation to impose the dictates and conclusions of a foreign body on same. Its construct and intent are to cause social upheaval within the confines of this nation state and by so doing cause immense civil unrest that leaves its southern borders vulnerable to attack and enemy incursion. Viewed in perspective, it amounts to a declaration of war.

  3. U.N. is unfortunately a SPINELESS JOKE and ROTHSCHILDS PUPPET AS WELL on the 04. Aug, 2010 remarked #

    I too, question the U.N. jurisdiction here. We can do all the hand wringing and no real punishment of Israel and it’s MOSSAD just fine from the U.S.S.A. Just look at the composition of CONgress, how many are totally owned and operated by Israel. 90 percent or more of the U.S. Government shows continued fealty to TEL AVIV almost on a daily basis.

    Oh, okay then, there’s the I.C.C., right? Wrong! The U.S. is not a signatory to the Rome Accord, and hence, any investigation into the Hariri assassination by the Israeli MOSSAD would have to not take place in the U.S., because it gives the prosecution in the Hague a way ‘out’ of enforcement of any ruling that is a derivative of that process.

    Hey, maybe we can abolish the U.N., and the I.C.C., and just hire VIGILANTE JUSTICE for those of us in the world who can’t get it any other way. I’m sure with all the money that is pissed away on the U.N. and the I.C.C., we could buy ourselves some mighty fine MERCENARIES to go grab these MOSSAD scum and other war criminals and then just ‘shoot them or hang them’ for us, right?

    We’re in a place in world history where it doesn’t matter what the magnitude of the crime committed by Israel or any other nation, the U.S.S.A., for that matter, and Britain in that mix, because there is simply NOBODY WHO HAS THE BALLS OR THE JURISDICTION TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT.

    so now what? More hand wringing?? Perhaps that’s all we can do, being that virtually ALL WORLD GOVERNMENTAL BODIES ARE ROTHSCHILDS PUPPETS!!!!

    maybe the mercenary thing to go round them up isn’t such a bad idea after all. Certainly much cheaper, and less likely to be co-opted by Israeli control in the U.S.S.A. and Britain.

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