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Hezbollah to Refuse to Handover Suspects to Hariri Tribunal – Sources | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Beirut / Paris, Asharq Al-Awsat – According to political sources, all political and legal signs in Lebanon indicate that Hezbollah has recognized that it will almost certainly be indicted by the Hariri tribunal, and that all the pressures that it has exerted domestically and regionally will not succeed in preventing or even delaying the issuance of this indictment.

The sources also told Asharq Al-Awsat that Hezbollah “is aware that taking to the streets…will not change anything, and in fact may make things worse for Hezbollah.”

A political source within Hezbollah informed Asharq Al-Awsat that the group will try to “prevent the implementation” of the decision that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon is expected to issue “by refusing to surrender any of its [Hezbollah’s] members or members of the opposition indicted by the tribunal.” The source added that “Hezbollah will continue to work to drain the tribunal of power.”

However the Hezbollah source, who spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity, also stressed that “the decision [to issue] an indictment is not inevitable” and that “Hezbollah and the [political] opposition have numerous ways to confront this decision, utilizing all political and constitutional means via [state] institutions.” He added that this includes “refusing to handover any individual indicted [by the tribunal] whether he is a member of Hezbollah or any member of the oppositions, as well as blocking the financing of the tribunal which would confirm Lebanon cutting itself off from its commitment to the tribunal and it’s decisions.”

The source added “everything is possible in confronting this decision and its implications except for escalation on the ground” stressing that “we will try to avoid tension and inciting the street because such tension is not in our interests.”

For his part, Hezbollah bloc MP Ali Fayyad said that “the initial consequences of the issuance of the expected decision will be a crisis of governance or a power crisis” adding that “the majority is no longer the majority, not on the grass-roots or political levels.” Fayyad also confirmed that “the opposition is completely capable of confronting the indictment institutionally.”

MP Ali Fayyad said that “the call for calm by the other side is negative and unconstructive plan in this context to buy time until the issuance of the decision, and this is an open and dangerous approach.” He said that “the other team is calling for calm to buy time until the issuance of the indictment, whilst we are calling for calm for the sake of [Lebanese] stability which we believe is threatened by this decision.”

As for the possibility of a meeting taking place between Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, Fayyad said “Hezbollah is prepared to respond to any endeavor if it leads to a result, and in principle, it is not opposed to a meeting such as this [between Hariri and Nasrallah] on the condition that this will be a step forward towards a genuine solution.”