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.Basically telling us what we already knew: Hezbo'allah was behind it.
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.
Mr Hariri's son, Saad, who later became prime minister himself but was ousted when Hizbollah and its allies withdrew from a coalition government in advance of the findings, hailed the indictment.Gee, ya think?
"After many years of patience, of struggle, today we witness a historic moment in Lebanese politics, justice and security," Mr Hariri said.
But it is unlikely that the new, Hizbollah-backed government will execute the indictment and hand over the accused.
In the years since the killing Hizbollah has built up the strongest military force in the country. Opponents feared it might even try to provoke a war with Israel to distract attention from the scrutiny to which the tribunal's findings would subject it.Riiiight. Your troops were in Lebanon. You back Hezbo'allah both as a proxy against Israel and as a conduit for making Lebanon a de facto if not de jure province of "Greater Syria." You have intelligence and military agents all over the country.
Rafiq Hariri, a billionaire businessman as well as five-times prime minister, was killed when a huge car bomb hit his motorcade as it sped through downtown Beirut on Feb. 14, 2005. Twenty-two others were killed in the attack, part of a wave of political assassinations that swept Lebanon between 2005 and 2007.
It was seen as motivated by his pro-western stance and his opposition to Syrian influence in Lebanon. Amid widespread popular protests, Syria was forced to announce its military withdrawal after nearly three decades.
Damascus itself was initially blamed but has repeatedly denied involvement.
And yet you had nothing to do with the Hariri assasination.
This is why the ongoing rebellion in Syria is so important, and why we should be doing more to aid the people there against the murderous Assad dynasty.
Via Michael J. Totten, who adds, "I don’t know how this will go over just yet, but the word 'smoothly' does not come to mind."