Hezbollah tires to hide its evil
I just read a New York Times article that reminded me think that it is astonishing how deep is the cult of ‘resistance’ in the Arab world that thugs like Nassrallah are seen as heroes. He is among the most popular figures in Egypt and Palestine (and all across the Mideast) and seen as an upright honest leader. It is fascinating how human beings can rationalize facts away when they interfere with their romantic notions. The way Hezbollah has been bullying Saad Hariri and the Lebanese people to stop seeking answers for who was behind the assassination of the former Lebanese PM Rafik Hariri should disgust any human being who cares about justice. Nassrallah is to Lebanon what an organized Mafia family head would be to a jury investigating their crimes if he publicly threatened the jury in court.
Too bad the Saudis, the Sunnis and the Americans among many others who should compose civil society and the police have done so little to protect them.
October 28, 2010
Don’t Aid Hariri Tribunal, Hezbollah Warns
By ROBERT F. WORTH and NADA BAKRI
BEIRUT, Lebanon — The leader of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, issued a stern warning on Thursday night against any cooperation with the international tribunal investigating the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, putting new pressure on Lebanon’s fragile coalition government.
The speech — delivered in an uncharacteristically quiet and grave manner — went well beyond Hezbollah’s previous statements on the matter, and could make the politically charged tribunal’s work in Lebanon far more difficult. Some of Hezbollah’s domestic political opponents reacted immediately, calling the speech a threat against the state.
The Lebanese authorities have cooperated with the tribunal since it was established. But in recent months reports have circulated that prosecutors are set to indict members of Hezbollah, and Mr. Nasrallah has denounced the investigation as a tool of Israel and the United States.
His speech came a day after a group of women attacked two tribunal investigators as they arrived at a women’s clinic in southern Beirut to conduct interviews and request documents. The clinic’s patients include the wives and other relatives of Hezbollah officials. The women stole several items from the investigators, according to a statement released by the tribunal, which is based in the Netherlands.
“Who among you accepts the idea of someone inspecting the gynecological files of a mother, a sister, a daughter?” Mr. Nasrallah said Thursday in his speech. “We have kept silent through this period out of consideration for the family of the martyr Rafik Hariri and so that no one thinks we are obstructing the investigation.”
But the episode at the clinic represents a new phase, Mr. Nasrallah said, adding pointedly that any assistance to the tribunal “is an assault on the resistance,” the word commonly used here to indicate Hezbollah.
Hezbollah and its allies have repeatedly warned that an indictment against any of its members could lead to civil strife. Although Mr. Nasrallah has said the tribunal has no legitimacy, he is clearly concerned that a verdict against Hezbollah, a Shiite group, could harm its reputation across the region or anger Sunni Muslims in Lebanon and elsewhere, for whom Mr. Hariri — a Sunni and a protégé of the Saudi royal family — was an important figure.
Although Shiite Muslims are the largest single sectarian group in Lebanon, they are a minority in the Arab world, and Hezbollah has worked hard to burnish its popularity across sectarian lines through its military struggle against Israel.
“The thing that really scares them is the business of promoting a Shiite-Sunni divide,” said Karim Makdisi, a professor of international politics at the American University of Beirut. “The accusation that Shiites were behind the martyrdom of a man who has been elevated to a great Sunni leader — this is Hezbollah’s main concern about the tribunal.”
Mr. Nasrallah has often said that Shiite-Sunni conflict is dangerous not only in its own right, but also because it could make Hezbollah more vulnerable to an attack by Israel. Israel failed to crush the Shiite group during a monthlong war in 2006 and has voiced deep concerns about Hezbollah’s expanded arsenal.
Mr. Nasrallah’s warning puts new pressure on Saad Hariri, the current prime minister, who is a son of Rafik Hariri and has consistently held up the tribunal as the means for obtaining justice in his death. Saad Hariri has said that he will accept whatever verdict it provides. But his political position has grown steadily weaker in the past year, as Syria has rebuilt its influence in Lebanon and some significant allies have deserted him.
Syria’s foreign minister, Walid Muallem, denounced the tribunal last month, and a Syrian judge issued arrest warrants against a number of officials close to Mr. Hariri who were accused of having helped provide false testimony to tribunal investigators.
The United States has become increasingly alarmed about the tense atmosphere surrounding the investigation. The American ambassador to the United Nations, Susan E. Rice, said Thursday that Syria had shown “flagrant disregard for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity and political independence of Lebanon” — unusually sharp comments that also seemed to allude to the role Syria and Hezbollah are playing with the tribunal.
Hezbollah, Syria and Iran “believe that escalating sectarian tensions will help them assert their authority over Lebanon,” Ms. Rice said.
Neil MacFarquhar contributed reporting from the United Nations.
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