Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Other Shoe Drops: Hezbollah Indicted In Assassination Of Rafik Hariri

I don’t know how this will go over just yet, but the word “smoothly” does not come to mind.
Michael Totten
Was Nasrallah's admission of spy infiltration into Hezbollah prep for a possible exit from blame in Hariri killing? Just a thought.
Michael Young, Daily Star (Lebanon)

Keeping track of the Special Tribunal of Lebanon (STL) is not easy.

I wrote a couple of weeks ago, that the STL seemed to have settled on Assad as the one responsible for the assassination of Rafik Hariri:
First it was Syria, then it was Hezbollah--now we are back to Syria.

According to the probe into the February 2005 murder, Syrian President Bashar Assad was behind the assassination of Rafik Hariri:
The German judge [Judge Detlev Mehlis] who was in charge of an investigation on the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri says the Syrian regime ordered his assassination.

In an interview with a German radio station, Detlev Mehlis said Syrian President Bashar Assad "ordered Hariri killed" because he feared the premier was cooperating with France and the US in order to overturn the Syrian regime and disarm Hezbollah.

Mehlis revealed during the interview, which was carried by many local news agencies, that the main reason for the order was UN Resolution 1559, which took aim at Syria.
At the time, I noted that while Syria was now the focus of attention, just a few months ago, it was being reported that it was Hezbollah that was behind the killing.

And now, we are coming full circle as members of Hezbollah are officially being indicted for the murder of Rafik Hariri:
Lebanon was last night braced for a violent reaction from Hizbollah after senior operatives from the militant group were accused of masterminding the assassination of the former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri six years ago.

In a long-awaited move which threatens to reawaken sectarian discord throughout the country, the Shia group was blamed by a United Nations Special Tribunal for the car-bomb attack on its leading Sunni opponent.

Lebanon's state prosecutor, Saeed Mirza, confirmed the tribunal handed over the first indictment in its long investigation into the crime, which at the time seemed likely to lead to a major realignment in regional politics.

Its contents were not formally released but judicial sources told The Daily Telegraph that Hizbollah's senior military commander, Mustapha Badreddine, was accused of masterminding Mr Hariri's killing.

Hizbollah's commander in south Lebanon, Salim al-Ayyash, is accused of carrying out the attack, along with two other men, named as Hassan Issa and Assad Sabra.
So now that the indictment is out, what now?

Hezbollah has been strengthening its position in Lebanon--not only militarily, in defiance of the UN Resolution that brought an end to the Hezbollah-Israel war, but politically as well.

Najib Mikati, the new Lebanese Prime Minister, had both Syria's and Hezbollah's support for his new position, so it is unlikely that he will just hand the 4 Hezbollah members over.

Left unanswered is the question of Iranian involvement. After all, would Hezbollah do anything so drastic as the assassination of someone so popular in Lebanon without the approval of its mentor?

The indictments are finally out.
Now let's see if it matters.

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