The STL and the Anti-Lebanese Plot. Part 2: Focus Changes to Hezbollah
SOURCE: Al Manar
August 1, 2010
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By Yusuf Fernandez
The replacement of discredited Detlev Mehlis, by a Belgian criminologist, Serge Brammertz, as IIIC Commissioner started a new phase, different from the previous one, in which Syria was not already blamed for the murder of Rafiq Hariri in 2005. Therefore, the “blame-Syria” policy was forgotten and a new “blame-Hezbollah” strategy started to be implemented. The publication in the German magazine, Der Spiegel, of a report in January 2010 on Hezbollah´s alleged “responsibility” in the assassination of Rafiq Hariri showed that Hezbollah and not Syria had become the new target of this international campaign. Most of Lebanese are aware of this falsehood and have dismissed it because they consider this allegation as a political accusation in the context of Lebanon and Hezbollah´s conflict with Israel. There is no doubt that this manipulation seeks to foment a sectarian conflict in Lebanon and make many Lebanese turn against the Resistance, as Israel tried to do during the July war.
Therefore, the accusation has been seen by Israeli officials as a chance to try to discredit Hezbollah within Lebanon. The Chief of the General Staff of the Israeli Army, Gabi Ashkenazi, predicted internal turmoil in Lebanon after the issuance of the indictment while other Israeli officials are repeating their claims that Hezbollah represents a “security threat” to Lebanon. Behind these accusations, there is an implicit acknowledgement that the Resistance is the obstacle preventing Israel from attacking and imposing its willingness on Lebanon.
The release of four “pro-Syrian” Lebanese generals imprisoned as suspects in the killing was a severe blow for all those who had been trying to implicate Syria in the crime. The four generals were believed by Mehlis and the Lebanese 14 March bloc to have been involved in a Syrian conspiracy to assassinate Hariri and were arrested in 2005. However, Judge Daniel Fransen of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon decreed the immediate release of Mustafa Hamdan, former head of the Lebanese Presidential Guard brigade; Jamil al-Sayed, former Director-General of Security General; Ali al-Hajj, director general of the Lebanese Internal Security Forces; and Raymond Azar, the former director of the Military Intelligence. The judge said that these four generals had to be freed because there were no evidence to justify their detention, given that some witnesses had changed or retracted their statements. There were “inconsistencies in the statements of key witnesses” and a “lack of corroborative evidence to support these statements,” Fransen said.
Although al-Sayed said that he knew nothing about the preparation and implementation of Hariri’s assassination, he was pressed to name his accomplices — that is, to give false testimony. This offer was made in relatively friendly terms before his detention, then repeated more forcefully once he was in prison. However, no charges were brought against him or the other arrested generals. They were denied their legal rights, including meetings with their lawyers, in violation of the most basic criteria upheld by the United Nations, especially the International Pact on Civil and Political Rights of 1966.
“This decision (about the release of the four generals) underlines how politicized the investigation was,” Lebanese American University Professor Amal Saad-Ghurayib told Bloomberg news agency. “It also discredits the Lebanese judiciary and the politicians who accused these generals.”
Finally, the worst “error” of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon has been to ignore the Israeli hypothesis. Those who had everything to win from Hariri´s death were Israel and its agents, the US neocons. Thanks to the assassination, they achieved a major goal: the withdrawal of Syrian forces from Lebanon, which left this country almost powerless to confront Israeli threats. Once this was accomplished, they unsuccessfully tried to reach their second goal: the destruction of the Resistance. The 2006 war was launched with that objective in mind. However, after the unexpected Israeli defeat, Israel and its US allies have been forced to employ other means.
Firstly, they tried to use the Resolution 1701 to deprive the Resistance of its weapons. Unfortunately, the UN has supported this views to a large extent by ignoring daily Israeli violations of the Lebanese airspace and focusing its attention on the presence of Hezbollah´s fighters and weapons in the south of Lebanon.
Some US media have spoken about the possible Israeli involvement in the Hariri murder. On October 24, 2006, the Wayne Madsen Report wrote: “A senior French DGSE -Direction générale de la sécurité extérieure– intelligence officer told WMR that Lebanon’s ex-Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was killed in a car bombing arranged by Israel’s Mossad. The revelation from French intelligence is significant as the French government of Jacques Chirac joined the Bush administration and the neocon policy establishments in Washington and Israel in blaming Syria for the attack. According to the DGSE officer, Israel and its American backers wanted to blame Syria for the assassination of the popular Lebanese leader in order to blame Syria for the attack thus forcing the popular Lebanese revolt that saw the withdrawal of Syrian forces. That left Lebanon defenseless for the ‘Clean Break’ attack launched by Israel, with US support, against Hezbollah and Lebanon’s infrastructure. WMR was one of the first to report Israeli and American involvement in the assassination of Hariri, as well as those of Elie Hobeika, George Hawi, and other Lebanese politicians.”
On March 28, 2008, WMR reported: “A UN panel headed by former Canadian prosecutor Daniel Bellemare has concluded that former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was assassinated by a ‘criminal network’ and not by either Syrian and Lebanese intelligence or Lebanese Hezbollah as proffered by the neocon propaganda mill operating out of Washington, DC and Jerusalem. WMR previously reported that the ‘criminal network’ was composed of Lebanese and rogue Syrian intelligence agents connected to Israel’s Mossad and a White House operation run by National Security Council senior staff member Elliott Abrams, the formerly convicted Iran-contra figure. Although for political reasons the UN refrained from identifying the members of the “criminal element,” WMR has reported it also included mercenaries linked to now jailed international arms smuggler Viktor Bout and members of the Russian-Israeli ‘organizatsiya’ criminal syndicate.” WMR was criticized by the neocon press when it first reported on the actual elements behind Hariri´s assassination and charged of “anti-Semitism.”
It is noteworthy to point out that the Israeli and US strategy would been doomed to failure from the just beginning without the active cooperation and support from some sectors of the 14 March forces in Lebanon. Their strategy perfectly matches that of Washington and Tel Aviv. Their anti-Syrian stance, which led Damascus to withdraw their military and intelligence forces from Lebanon left the country open for the brutal Israeli attack in 2006. Although Israel attacked and bombed Lebanon 14 March forces continued to attack the only force which defended the country against the Israeli aggression, that is, the Resistance. Some of them even accused Hezbollah of “adventurism” during the war.
For their part, the nationalistic and anti-Israeli opposition -which primarily consists of the Hezbollah, Amal and the Free Patriotic Movement, led by retired General Michel Aoun, and their allies- which sees itself as the true defender of Lebanese independence, has been forced to combat the country´s real enemies -the powers that enslave the peoples of the Middle East and want to disarm the Lebanese Resistance led by Hezbollah- by itself. These patriotic forces are now convinced that the international tribunal is a tool in the hands of Israel, the US and their allies and all that talk of “punishing Hariri’s killers” is only a pretext that they are using to try to obtain what they lost in the battlefield.