Thursday, June 30, 2011

STL indictments most likely to turn into political boomerangs

Since the threat of at STL indictment did not prevent Hezbollah from toppling the Hariri government, the US-Israeli run "Special Tribunal" as finally issued four indictments. According to the Lebanese newspaper Daily Star the names on the list include Salim Ayyash, Asad Sabra, Hasan Ainessi and Mustafa Badreddine. The latter is the the brother in-law of assassinated Hezbollah commander Imad Mughniyeh whom he replaced as Hezbollah’s chief operations officer. The 50-year old is a member of the Hezbollah Shura Council.

Needless to say, the Hariri and Gemayel clans are ecstatic and have already expressed their support for the decision.  This is not surprising considering that the Israeli-lead murder of Rafik Hariri made it possible to expel Syria from Lebanon and now the Lebanese Fascists are hoping that the STL operation will result in a major political embarrassment for Hezbollah: this decision to target a top Hezbollah official is a transparent US/Israeli/Saudi/Phalangist attempt at de-legitimizing the Hezbollah-lead Lebanese government, and a retaliation for Hezbollah's rise to power.

I really don't think that this strategy will work.

First, Hezbollah's legitimacy does not come from the approval of any US/Israeli-sponsored entity or organization, but from the ballot box and from the self-evident fact that Hezbollah is the only force capable of defending Lebanon from US/Israeli/Saudi interests.

Second, there is no force in Lebanon which could arrest the four indicted individuals againt Hezbollah's will.  Not in the Hezbollah backed government, and most definitely not in the various phalangist militias.

Third, there is no political force which can censor Hezbollah in parliament (or anywhere else) for refusing to obey the STL's demands.

So the only possible way to sanction Hezbollah would be at the ballot box, but since a majority of Lebanese clearly understand that the STL is just a puppet of US/Israeli/Saudi interests, this is not going to happen anytime soon.  If anything, this indictment is most likely going increase Hezbollah's popularity.

Still, political tensions are most likely going to rise in Lebanon as we can expect Hariri & Co to "milk" these indictments as much as possible to obtain as much politican leverage as possible..  Basically, these folks have nothing to loose and everything to (re-)gain and from now on it's simple "the worse the better" strategy for them.
I am confident that Hezbollah can handle whatever Hariri, Siniora, Gemayel and their Israeli, US and Saudi sponsors can throw at it.  Most probably, these indictments will turn into boomerangs will will come back to smack in the face of those who threw them.

The Saker