Beirut, Asharq Al-Awsat – Hezbollah yesterday appealed to “sisterly and friendly countries” to work to abolish the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. Meanwhile, the Future Movement that is led by Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced its commitment to the tribunal, saying that this was the only way to uncover those who had assassinated Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and others. The Future Movement called on Hezbollah to “stop threatening the Lebanese, who will not be easy prey to them.”
Future Movement MP Khaled Daher confirmed to Asharq Al-Awsat that “the International Tribunal has become an unavoidable measure in order to uncover the truth about the assassination of Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and the rest of the martyrs, and to punish the criminals and bring them to justice. It is not a tool for revenge or retaliation”. Daher added that “Hezbollah agreed to the International Tribunal during national dialogue, as confirmed by the statements of the governments which participated in this dialogue. Today, Hezbollah seeks to intimidate the Lebanese, threaten their destiny and change the face of Lebanon, because the court has not been abolished. However, all of these threats are of no value, and this behavior will not help them. Hezbollah should realize that it’s only option is to communicate with its partners within the homeland, and support the principle of punishing murderers”.
Daher also said that “there is no quick solution except to arrange a meeting between Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, and for them to agree on two main points: Firstly, for the perpetrators of this assassination to be identified via the International Tribunal, if the evidence it presents in its indictments proves to be conclusive. Secondly, if the indictments issued by the International Tribunal are not based on a firm foundation, then they should be rejected by both sides, under the auspices of the President of the Republic and all Lebanese leaders.” Daher also told Asharq Al-Awsat that Hezbollah’s “threats and warnings that the country will be destroyed, and accusing others of betrayal, will not achieve anything, because the tribunal was established by an international resolution and therefore cannot be abolished except by another international resolution”.
Daher also stressed that “intimidation through force of arms will not change the equations, and will not lead to the results and scenarios desired by Hezbollah, this is because Lebanon has an army and security forces that will defend its people and institutions. Therefore, we are not easy prey for Hezbollah, and neither is the country.”
Daher also asked “what moral or legal justification is there for threatening the families of victims?” He also told Asharq Al-Awsat that “Hezbollah is seriously wrong in making such threats, and must back down from this error. It must rule with its intellect, not through force of arms, which harms everybody. If Hezbollah believes that it is capable of controlling Lebanon then we say that this is impossible. Hezbollah should not move in this direction, as this will destroy Hezbollah, its arms, the legitimacy of its arms, and turn Hezbollah into the enemy of the Lebanese.”
The head of Hezbollah’s parliamentary bloc, MP Mohammed Raad said that he believes that the International Tribunal “is a new method, and a new tool, to wage war against the Resistance, because as long as the Resistance exists, no Americans or Israelis are able to rule Lebanon, or any Arab and Islamic region.”
Raad also said that Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah previously “presented evidence and information indicating that an Israeli was responsible for this crime, however the tribunal did not turn investigate this…because the US guidelines put in place when the tribunal was first formed told them: you can investigate whoever you want except the Israelis.”
Raad also asked “who benefited from the assassination of Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri: Syria, Lebanon or Israel? Who is the one who wants to incite strife in Lebanon and deepen the divide?”
For his part, another member of the Hezbollah political bloc, MP Nawaf al-Musawi, pointed out that “there are those who insist on using the International Tribunal as a political tool to impose control over Lebanon and eliminate the resistance”. He added that “all attempts that sought to strike the resistance in a military fashion have failed, so today Israel and its allies the Americans have opted for a soft war. This is a media, political, and falsely judicial war, to undermine the independence of Lebanon. The so-called tribunal has practically placed Lebanon under US control during recent proceedings. Thus, anyone interested in Lebanon’s independence must work to abolish the tribunal”.
Al-Musawi appealed to “all sisterly and friendly countries to work to abolish the tribunal, because it will bring nothing to Lebanon except foreign control, aggression and instability, as it is based upon fraud and deception.” He also said that “the other side that is committed to the corrupt and fraudulent international tribunal continue to follow its conspiracy against Lebanon and its sovereignty. This conspiracy has been escalated, and they must expect us to defend our sovereignty, therefore they are responsible for the stage that we are in.”
For his part, Lebanon First bloc MP Mohammed Kabbara said that “Hezbollah is being loud and aggressive, threatening and menacing, under the guise of opposing the International Tribunal, portraying this issue as if it was defending the resistance.” He added that “the truth of the matter is that their portrayed stance against the tribunal, in defense of the resistance, is only a curtain which Hezbollah hides behind.”
Kabbara added that “Hezbollah is stealing the Lebanese state, harming the livelihood of its citizens, and raising unemployment…all under the slogan of defending the resistance. In the name of resistance, it runs a smuggling network across Lebanese land, sea, and air borders…transferring goods outside of official regulations.” Kabbara concluded by saying that “enough is enough, how long will we turn a blind eye [to this]?”