Hezbollah Indicted for Assassination of Lebanese PM

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After months of delay and hesitation, the United Nation’s Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) has presented indictments to Lebanon’s state prosecutor in the case of the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri. To no one’s surprise, the indictments named four members of the terrorist group/political party Hezbollah, including one of its top military commanders. Yet fears of extreme internal discord, not the least of which would be sown by the looming influence of Syria and Iran, make the likelihood of punishment for the crime not favorable.

The indictments come at a time when the new Hezbollah-dominated government is preparing for a vote of confidence in parliament, and underscore the delicate political considerations that caused the UN to keep putting off formally announcing the charges, despite the fact that leaks dating back to 2010 had established the Hezbollah connection to the crime. The UN feared both a Sunni backlash against Hezbollah and the unpredictable response of the terrorists to being singled out for justice in the high profile assassination case, believing the indictments could ignite another civil war.

The prosecutor, Saeed Mirza, now has 30 days to arrest the suspects and turn them over to the STL for trial. If the prosecutor fails to arrest the suspects within that period, the STL will then make the indictment public and summon the suspects to appear before the court. If they fail to appear, the court has the option of trying them in absentia.

Hezbollah has rejected the indictments and the authority of the tribunal, claiming the court is a tool of the Israelis and Americans and vowing that it won’t cooperate with any efforts by the STL to try its own party members. Hassan Nasrallah, the group’s spiritual adviser and acknowledged leader, blasted the court as “corrupt” and stated, “They will not be able to arrest them in one year, two [years], nor in 30 or 300 years[.]” Nasrallah previously threatened to “cut off the hands” of anyone who tried to apprehend members of his group and claims that the goal of the tribunal is to sow sectarian strife in Lebanon between Sunnis and Shias.

Hariri was a beloved figure in the Sunni community, having served as prime minister four different terms between 1992 and 2004. His murder in a massive car bombing on February 14, 2005 set off a series of demonstrations that eventually led to the Syrian army quitting Lebanon the following spring.

The indictment names Mustafa Badreddine, the brother-in-law of assassinated Hezbollah commander Imad Mughniyeh, as the prime suspect and the chief planner in the assassination. Badreddine replaced Mughniyeh as Hezbollah’s chief operations officer after he was killed in a mysterious explosion in Syria on Feb. 12, 2008 — presumably carried out by Israeli intelligence, although there were murmurs at the time of his death that Syria’s President Assad or a rival Hezbollah faction might have been responsible for the attack.

Also named were Salim Ayyash, 48, who headed up the terrorist cell that carried out the operation. Ayyash holds a US passport and was a volunteer with Lebanese civil defense. It is believed both men have fled Lebanon and are currently hiding in Iran.

Little is known about the two other conspirators — Asad Sabra and Hasan Ainessi — except that Hezbollah has confirmed they are members of the terrorist group.

In a vaguely worded policy statement, of which portions related to the STL were released on Friday, the new government stressed its “respect” for all UN resolutions and its intention to follow the tribunal’s instructions in order to get to the bottom of the Hariri assassination. The policy statement must be approved in parliament in order for the cabinet to be seated.

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  • UCSPanther

    Nasrallah will one day be remembered alongside murderers like Adolf Hitler and the Hezbollah flag will be remembered in the same light as the swastika and the Hammer and Sickle…

    • SpiritOf1683

      That won't be the case until every leftist has either been cured or has gone to meet his maker. And that will be a century or two away.

  • Asher

    Due to technology, internet, and TV. the world may get to see the destruction of Islam!

    • Fred Dawes

      I hope so Asher,.. But if this nation keeps allowing millions of muslims to come here are American destruction will televise and our government will love to see that.

      • SpiritOf1683

        Exactly. In 1960, Christians made up 60% of Lebanon's population. Today it is closer to 25%. The Muslim population of that country is now around 70%. That is demographic conquest in action – the same as what we're seeing the beginnings of here.

        • Fred Dawes

          it will happen here if our government has its way. by the way in 1960 the christian population had built out of nothing a great nation now look at it.

  • Fred Dawes

    Total evil that is Hezbollah and it has a reek smell about it.

  • muchiboy

    Talk about the Lebanese caught between a rock and a hard place.The moral path of perusing the Hezbollah suspects maybe civil war,something Lebanon knows well,thanks to the PLO,Israel,etc.Should justice prevail and chaos reign?Or do you turn the other cheek and go forward?The Tutsi of Rwanda have taken a difficult and pragmatic approach to civil peace.Despite the genocide inflicted upon them by the Tutu,they recognize that the Tutu are an overwhelming majority and always will be and reconciliation is of prime importance.Talk about the Wisdom of Solomon.muchiboy

    • SpiritOf1683

      And we know about the so-called wisdom of Naziboy. It goes "Every Jew must die".

  • Fred Dawes

    Islam means death and rape and total madness, it means evil and all the follows are evil by the fact that person wants to murder us all, you can fine no wisdom in islam only hell.

  • SAM000

    The writer of this article has missed the most important point of the Lebonees political turnaround.

    A reporter questioned Saad Hariri and Valid Junbalat about their rapprochement to Syria and their Hand shake with ASSAD the Syrian corrupted Dictator.

    They answered that, USA has deleted Syria from his Evil of AXIS and has approached ASSAD, USA has sold Lebanon to Assad, We prefer to negotiate ourselves with Assad, maybe we can save the MINIMUM of the Lebanon's rights.

    The Assassination of Rafiq Hariri was orchestrated in Tehran and ordered by Khameneii, Syria was payed to help and provide the military coverage for the operation GROUP.

    Everything was crystal clear in the report of the German investigator, the report was ready last year, USA didn't supported the report, Obama approached ASSAD and TEHRAN, total report was reduced to it's ridiculous actual size.

    The Muslims (Shias and Sunnis) hate Hezbollah and know the facts, but SMALL Lebanon is never supported and Lebanon has become a matter of DEAL between USA and IRAN.

    You the Americans, you can see that your own Administration is more MUSLIM than the MUSLIMS.