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Hezbollah, Hariri, and the Elections

May 24, 2009

By now you’ve likely already come across Der Spiegel’s report on the alleged role Hezbollah played in carrying out the Hariri assassination.  The claims made by the piece are startling, but not entirely incredulous.  Der Spiegel writes the following about its sources:

SPIEGEL has learned from sources close to the tribunal and verified by examining internal documents, that the Hariri case is about to take a sensational turn. Intensive investigations in Lebanon are all pointing to a new conclusion: that it was not the Syrians, but instead special forces of the Lebanese Shiite organization Hezbollah (”Party of God”) that planned and executed the diabolical attack. Tribunal chief prosecutor Bellemare and his judges apparently want to hold back this information, of which they been aware for about a month. What are they afraid of?

In the above paragraph Spiegel refers to “sources”, but later in the article the author repeatedly refers to “the source”, which makes the claims more questionable.  NOW Lebanon reports that a spokesman for the Tribunal declined to comment on the veracity of the information.  Is this tacit approval of the Der Spiegel piece?  In fact, the spokesperson said, “We don’t know where they are getting the story from.”  This can either be read literally or as implicitly suggesting that the story is so far-fetched that the spokesperson can’t imagine where it could have come from.  Still, the revelations are likely to reflect poorly on Hezbollah for the elections, a point surely not lost on those who leaked and reported the story.  At this point either further clarification or silence on the part of Tribunal has political ramifications for the election.  The STL has generally, at least since Mehlis, been tight-lipped when commenting on its activity.  Likewise, I expect that there will be no confirmation or denial of the Der Spiegel report before the elections.

Hezbollah alleges that the purpose of the accusations is to, “التأثير على الاجواء الانتخابية في لبنان والتغطية على اخبار وعمليات اعتقال الشبكات التجسسية الاسرائيلية [influence the electoral environment in Lebanon and the coverage in the news and the operations of arresting the Israeli espionage networks.]“  As we recall, Hezbollah blames the Israel for perpetrating the Hariri assassination.  Thus, it is not surprising that the Party’s response is consistent with its theory of Israeli conspiracy against Lebanon.  In the next few days the Party will likely continue this line of argument.  I expect that Nasrallah will address the matter at length in one of his upcoming speeches.

Curiously, March 14 has not yet directly commented on the Spiegel allegations.  One explanation for this is that it doing so would make the report look like a ploy orchestrated by March 14 or on behalf of the movement.  As the Opposition explains the Spiegel report as evidence of foreign interference in the Lebanese elections, March 14 will not want to tie itself directly to the allegations.  Thus, Jumblatt merely said, “احذر من الشائعات والاخبار والتسريبات لصون العدالة من الجهل والظلم والحقد والانتقام [I caution against rumors, and news, and leaks, to protect justice from ignorance, wrong, wickedness, and revenge.]“  For its part, the Future Movement refused comment on the matter.Technorati Tags: , , ,

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{ 3 trackbacks }

Der Spiegelgate « Qifa Nabki
05.25.09 at 08:17
The Der Spiegel story and the Lebanese Reaction
05.26.09 at 19:16
Will the Der Spiegal Story Impact the Elections « Zawiyat al-Kuffar
05.27.09 at 17:51

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