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The Battle of the International Tribunal - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Lebanon’s President warned the UN Security Council against the approval of the Prime Minister’s request to set up an international tribunal for the suspect assassins of Lebanese politicians, most prominently former Prime Minister Rafik al Hariri. Adopting the same position, Hezbollah also warned the United Nations. They want a United Nations similar to the parliament, the speaker of which refuses to convene although the majority of MPs are waiting outside the building to carry out their duties. They want a Security Council similar to the government that they called illegitimate – although this very government represents the majority – based on the claim that the Shia ministers had withdrawn. That is the government cannot function if the Christian, Sunni, Druze or other ministers refuse to take part!

Why ruin the work of legitimate local and international organizations? This is due to foreign orders to derail the court, which practically accounts for disorder in Lebanon and the blocking of central Beirut, sit-ins, demonstrations, refusal to convene the parliament and rejection of the government as well as the mass assassinations of politicians, which has not been experienced by any Arab country before.

However, the Security Council will ultimately approve the tribunal and all their attempts will fail in the same way that the Serbs and Rwandans failed to prevent the setting up of the international court.

In spite of protests and rejection, we know that those who want to hamper the court are in fact in support of its creation in fear of sharing the same fate as the victims of assassinations. One politician even said that he was anxious to see the court established as soon as possible to take the pressure off those who reject it who have no choice but to involuntarily play the role of saboteurs. Despite their rejection, they realize that setting up the court is ultimately in their own interest as it will offer them protection against foreign hands and put an end to the continuous threats against them, which is the continuous nightmare for Lebanese politicians.

Although the forthcoming period before the court will not be easy for anybody and will most likely lead to more violence, it will restore matters back in place, not only relating to criminal accountability but also the nature of the Lebanese situation and its obligations. If the tribunal is set up within the next two years and the Lebanese institution becomes free of pressures, then the turn for reforming the Lebanese regime to be more representative and independent will come. Under the present situation, politicians are scared of their own shadows, ministers cannot take part in government, democratically elected MPs dare not go to parliament and the country is proportioned unfairly based on a temporary setup through the Taif Accords.

On the other hand, little Lebanon has caused the region major crises. It became a pathway for the Israelis, a hotbed for the Syrians and barracks for the Iranians. There was little choice for many Lebanese, including submission to foreigners or emigration. The country has grown into a source of crises for the region. At a previous stage, it had been used as a camp for terrorists and a field for planting drugs. This accounts for the desire of all international parties to rid the country of its thorns that will not be removed painlessly.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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