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Did Hezbollah Murder Hariri? | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Two weeks ago, Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah, leader of Hezbollah, described the 7th of May as a glorious anniversary in the history of Lebanon. What is the anniversary, and what happened on the 7th of May that is worthy of celebration? It was on this day that the militias of Hezbollah attacked West Beirut, the Sunni districts, and burned, destroyed, and killed inhabitants of the district. This is the day he describes as glorious; it is a barbarous day, which is one of the worst that Lebanon has known since the end of the civil war.

What Hezbollah did on that day was not against foreign powers, or even against an armed Lebanese power, but it was a barbarous invasion of unarmed Lebanese citizens, who were different from Hezbollah politically and in creed, and who used to express their opinion – the same as Hezbollah – in parliament and through the other means of political life.

Therefore, the story of Der Spiegel magazine was neither surprising nor shocking in its report that a special group of Hezbollah was the one that carried out the complete operation of assassinating Rafik al-Hariri.

Even if the story is not true, it will not change the fact that Hezbollah has a tarnished reputation. The latest of Hezbollah’s actions in Egypt was the recent organization of terrorist operations; before that was the attack by its militias on the Sunni regions in Beirut. I say that even if it is not true that Hezbollah assassinated Al-Hariri, it has become an organization of bad reputation in Lebanon and in the Arab world.

Had the accusation of involvement in the assassination of Al-Hariri been directed at Hezbollah two years ago, perhaps the number of those who believed this would have been very small. However, today, many people have not been surprised by it; on the contrary, for some people – who believe that Hezbollah has acquired influence, strength, and foreign affiliation enough to make it easy to point the finger of accusation at it – their suspicions have been confirmed.

As for Hezbollah, perhaps it is not bothered about its reputation, because it does not consider itself to be in a beauty contest, but it relies first and foremost on its military power, which exceeds the power of the army of its country. Therefore, Hezbollah does not care about the people’s opinion before committing any action. Hezbollah does not care whether or not people will know that it killed Al-Hariri and the rest of its political opponents in 14 March Forces. Hezbollah does not care if the Egyptian street gets angry when its terrorist cell in Egypt is exposed. Hezbollah does not care even about the way its Lebanese compatriots in the suburb think. This is because it considers itself an armed party above all other considerations, and hence let everybody else go to hell.

Unfortunately, this impression seems true, and the evidence on this is Hezbollah’s celebrations of the anniversary of the “glorious” 7 May on which it stormed West Beirut, a date that even the families of the victims have been too ashamed to commemorate for fear of opening old wounds.

This condescending way of thinking confirms that the behavior of Hezbollah has changed from what it used to be in the past, when it was interested in understanding the people’s opinion of it. Hezbollah has been changed into a group that wants to remind the people of its strength, which it continues to call “the weapons of the resistance.” Hezbollah believes that by keeping its weapons it would be able to commit all these atrocities in Lebanon and in the Arab world without punishment or accountability.

Yes, people now are too afraid not only to confront Hezbollah, but also to criticize it. Today the situation has become difficult and grave, as it has become incontrovertibly clear that Hezbollah, which built its striking force to liberate the occupied Lebanese territories, is using it to spread its hegemony over the country. It has been proved that all the past theoretical pronouncements about the Hezbollah transforming itself into a civilian party, and participating in the political process like any other political group, were a big lie.

Finally, we would like to ask: Does Hezbollah think that it can continue to practice all these violations and atrocities ad infinitum?