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The Iran-Hezbollah-Egypt Imbroglio and the Lebanese state

April 16, 2009

The issue of the alleged Hezbollah cell formed on Egyptian soil continues to escalate.  Asharq al-Awsat reports that Egypt has ratcheted up its security measures as Egyptian MPs and NDP officials continue to insinuate that there is direct Iranian involvement in the affair.   Apparently the Egyptians fear that Hezbollah “sleeper cells” may attack Egyptian targets at home or abroad.  Asharq al-Awsat also reports today that a high level Iranian official refused to comment on any involvement of Iranians or the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, simply saying that Egyptian-Iranian relations are presently  ”inflamed”.

The most interesting item in the Saudi owned Asharq al-Awsat’s robust coverage of the issue is the following on Nasrallah’s possible culpability:

وكان مصدر قضائي قد قال إن نيابة أمن الدولة التي تحقق في القضية تدرس مدى تورط الأمين العام لحزب الله اللبناني، حسن نصر الله، في القضية، خصوصا بعد اعترافاته الأخيرة التي أعلنها على الفضائيات وقال فيها إن المتهم الرئيسي سامي شهاب كُلف من حزب الله بتقديم دعم لوجستي إلى قطاع غزة، عبر الأراضي المصرية. وأضاف أن النيابة تلقت أيضا طلبا برقم 6865 لسنة 2009، من المحامي المصري سمير الششتاوي تقوم بدراسته، ويطالب فيه بإدراج اسم نصر الله كمتهم في القضية، كـ«شريك بالاتفاق والتحريض والمساعدة»، ما يتوجب معه «مخاطبة النائب العام في دولة لبنان باتخاذ الإجراءات القانونية ضد أمين حزب الله، وإلقاء القبض عليه لمثوله أمام جهات التحقيق في الجرائم المنسوبة إليه وتقديمه للمحاكمة أمام المحاكم اللبنانية»، طبقا لاتفاقية التعاون القضائي بين مصر ولبنان.

A judicial source has said that the General Prosecutor who is investigating the case is considering the extent of the Secretary General of Lebanese Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah’s involvement, particularly after his recent admission announced over the satellite TV.  He [Nasrallah] said that the chief accused, Sami Shihab, was commissioned by Hezbollah to offer logistical support to Gaza through Egyptian territory.  He [the judicial source] added that the Prosecutor delivered a request under number 6865 of 2009 to the Egyptian lawyer Samir Shashtawi for his consideration.  He asked in the the request to include to include the name of Nasrallah as an accused in the case as as a “consenting party, incitement and assistance”, which requires, “the speech of the Secretary General in the state of Lebanon to take legal measures against hte Secretary General of Hizbollah, and arrest him so he appears before the investigation into the relevant crimes and bring him to trial before the Lebanese courts,” in accordance with the agreement of judicial cooperation between Egypt and Lebanon.

While the above clearly reflects the nadir that relations between Hezbollah and Egypt have reached, it also highlights the precarious position the Lebanese state could soon find itself in.  The issue clearly has grown to include Iran and it is only a matter of time before other regional players (Hamas, Saudi Arabia, Syria) begin to firmly line up behind their respective allies.  If the Egyptians continue to push forward (and there are no signs that they plan to do otherwise) where will the Lebanese state stand?  What will be the position of the relevant Lebanese authorities such as Michel Suleiman, Ibrahim Najjar etc. on formal charges against the Lebanese citizen Sami Shehab and/or Nasrallah himself?  What are the implications for domestic Lebanese politics and the elections?

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The Iran-Hezbollah-Egypt Imbroglio and the Lebanese state | Latest Celebrity News
04.16.09 at 23:44
News in Brief: 17 April 2009 « Nima Maleki: Politics and Critical Thought
04.17.09 at 12:45

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