The Special Tribunal for Lebanon:
Independent Investigation or US-Israeli Cat's-paw?
By Mike Whitney
January 18, 2010 "Information Clearing House" --
In August 2010, Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah presented "intercepted Israeli reconnaissance footage" and "the recorded confessions of Israeli spies" at news conference in Beirut to support his claim that Israel was responsible for the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri...
Nasrallah's revelations were compelling but, unfortunately, they were ignored by the western media except for the Christian Scientist Monitor which compiled the information in an article titled "Is Hezbollah right that Israel assassinated Lebanon's Rafik Hariri?"
Here's an excerpt from the CSM:
“Israel has the capability to carry out this type of operation, such as Hariri’s assassination and the other assassinations that targeted Lebanon during the past few years,” said Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, adding that Israel’s motive was to cast the blame on its enemies, Syria and Hezbollah. ("Is Hezbollah right that Israel assassinated Lebanon's Rafik Hariri?", Christian Scientist Monitor)
Nasrallah's damning evidence is especially important now that the prosecutor for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) has issued his draft indictments. (On Monday) For now, the contents are being kept secret, but it's widely expected that members of Hezbollah will be charged in Hariri's murder.
Nasrallah has warned that he won't allow members of his militia to be arrested, so if warrants are issued, fighting will surely break out. Already, many schools in Beirut have been closed and Lebanese security forces have been put on high alert.
At the same time, the Obama administration has been working behind the scenes to influence key members in Lebanon's government to support the US-Israeli position. In fact, Lebanon's Foreign Ministry summoned US Ambassador Maura Connelly to explain why she had met with Lebanese lawmaker Nicolas Fattouch over the weekend. It appears as though the US is meddling in the country's internal affairs in an effort to discredit Hezbollah. Connelly has not yet explained what she was up to.
The Special Tribunal for Lebanon is supposed to be an "independent" investigation into the assassination of Rafik Hariri, but that doesn't seem to be the case....
The loose ends and unanswered questions abound. The case that's being made by the STL may seem convincing, but there is an equally cogent narrative that supports Hezbollah's position.
Here's how British politician George Galloway summed it up in a speech in Edmonton in November 2010:
"I believe, and I don't know anybody who is objective in this matter who does not believe, that Hezbollah are absolutely innocent of this crime, and it is time that the tribunal looked to the people who benefited from this crime.....in Israel.
"Any law student here knows, the first thing you do when confronted with a crime is ask the question, cui bono, who benefited?
"Did Syria benefit from the killing of the Sunni leader in Lebanon? Syria lost everything.
"Did Hezbollah benefit? Would Hezbollah benefit from destroying forever the respect and admiration that the Sunni Muslim population, not just in Lebanon but throughout the Arab and Muslim world, had towards them? No! They would lose everything.
"But Israel gained everything from this crime. It deepened the schism between Sunni and Shia in Lebanon. It deepened the schism between Sunni and Shia throughout the Muslim world. They plunged Lebanon into absolute chaos, and may do so again in the next few days and months.
"If this tribunal issues this indictment and anyone seeks to implement it, there will be war in Lebanon and there will be war almost certainly between Israel and Lebanon, and all of us will be dragged into it one way or another." ("Galloway unedited: 'Special Tribunal for Lebanon' should have asked 'who benefited?'", rabble.ca)
Is that the goal, another war in Lebanon to create the "New Middle East" that Bush and Condi used to opine about? It's too soon to say, but it's not looking good.