Beirut, Asharq Al-Awsat – Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah last night made a public appearance to celebrate “Martyr’s Day” in Lebanon, during which he clarified Hezbollah’s position towards the international tribunal in light of the internal debate over the “false witnesses” case on one hand, and Hezbollah playing the “wait and see” game with regards to the decision that the Hariri tribunal is expected to make in indicting members of Hezbollah.
With everybody waiting for the international tribunal to issue its expected decision – which many political parties believe will be issued without prior warning – there has been much deliberation in Lebanon over security scenarios and what might happen should the Hariri tribunal truly accuse members of Hezbollah of involvement in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
Hezbollah and those close to the group have warned of the consequences of the international tribunal issuing such a decision, with Lebanese Minister of Labor and Hezbollah MP Muhammad Fneish stating that “there is no element within Hezbollah that is not disciplined.”
Despite the pre-emptive campaign being carried out by Hezbollah in preparation for the expected decision by the international tribunal, it seems that Hezbollah is assured of the future, according to what has been said by a number of Hezbollah cadres. Hezbollah MP Nawaf al-Musawi yesterday expressed Hezbollah’s “peace of mind” stating that “the scenarios are ready and victory is our ally.” Al-Musawi also stressed that “accusing Hezbollah of committing a heinous crime such as the assassination of Prime Minister Hariri is an insult in the moral sense, an attack in the political sense, and espionage in the security sense, undertaken by the commission of inquiry.”
Brigadier General Amin Hoteit, who is a military and strategic expert close to Hezbollah, informed Asharq Al-Awsat of a number of scenarios that Hezbollah may undertake in the event of the international tribunal issuing its expected decision against it. Hoteit said that “as has become clear and consistent is its public statements and its established strategy, [Hezbollah] has based its positions and responses on a set of constants, and at the forefront of this is its belief that its innocence does not need to be recognized by a third party. Therefore any accusations would be an injustice, and Hezbollah is aware that it is not solely the target of this [injustice], but also the entire system of the resistance, and the national and regional situation.”
Hoteit added that Hezbollah will therefore seek out those who are concerned about this situation to ensure that they do not engage with the international tribunal’s decision, as unrest only gives rise to greater unrest. Hoteit revealed that Hezbollah will look to the Lebanese government, the military, the populace, and the media, and will invite all of the above to take a clear stance rejecting this unjust decision in order to prevent any unrest. In the event that Hezbollah’s efforts are successful in “defusing the violence from the Lebanese interior” Hoteit told Asharq Al-Awsat that the international tribunal’s decision will be shown to be backed by foreign powers and Hezbollah will have succeeded in confronting the international tribunal’s decision.
In the event that Hezbollah fails to convince the government, the military and security apparatus, and the populace, against the Hariri tribunal’s decision, then Hoteit said that the scenario will most likely proceed as following: if the Lebanese government adopts the decision and deals with it as if it is something that must be implemented and applied, Hezbollah will refuse to remain a part of a government that condemns it…which means that the government will not survive, either being forced to resign or collapsing following pressure form the Lebanese street.
Brigadier General Hoteit added that Hezbollah will then turn its attentions to the security apparatus which will try to implement the international tribunal’s decisions, with Hezbollah inevitably refusing to hand over any of its members.
Hezbollah seems unconcerned about the actions of the Lebanese army, and it previous announced that “the army is not the police force of the international tribunal” and this means that Lebanon’s internal security force “should prepare to face a group that will defend itself and refuse to comply with [the decision]” according to Hoteit. He added that the final option [for Hezbollah to confront the international tribunal’s expected decision] is to do with the Lebanese street which represents the most dangerous method.
Hoteit also confirmed to Asharq Al-Awsat that “in the event of the national bloc that is affiliated to the March 14 Alliance engaging with the decision…and undertaking actions that could lead to unrest, then Hezbollah’s duty is to prevent this.” He added “it is dangerous for the Christians and the resistance to be threatened…and it is dangerous for the resistance to be threatened as unrest draws Israel into the Lebanese interior.”