Following an extraordinary meeting for his parliamentary bloc Free patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun also clashed today with March 14 leaders over their fierce campaign aimed at bringing down the Hezbollah influenced government (for its lack of commitment to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon) . Like Prime Minister Najib Mikati he accused the new opposition of of carrying out a crime against the nation.
“March 14’s actions are unacceptable. Their statement on Sunday is a criminal act and a threat against the Lebanese. For sure, their plan is doomed to failure.” Aoun, a key ally of the Iranian and Syrian-backed Hezbollah said today.
Aoun also said “The Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) is circumstantial and not permanent. Work and development in our country is what is permanent.”
Reiterating earlier statement made by Hezbollah leaders aimed at undermining STL Aoun said:
“When the March 8 ministers resigned in January, it was because of the witnesses who gave unreliable testimonies to the international commission investigating former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri’s assassination.”
Aoun told March 14 to shut up :
” I call on March 14 to roll their tongues inside their mouths … they will not be able to provoke a problem on the ground or threaten Lebanese economy.”
Asked about the possibility of further political assassinations , Aoun said: “We told you that those who are committing the crimes are the judges running the investigation of the murders .” he added: “The sea is wide open for those who are scared of assassinations”.
-Aoun added: “For us, there are much more important issues than the STL.”
Earlier today Mikati alos attacked March 14: “Sabotaging the nation is a crime,” he said in a statement. “It is the national responsibility of everyone to preserve civil peace and stability and not to sabotage or make fictitious heroic acts that stir tension.”
“ March 14 used again the assassination of former PM Rafik Hariri to pour their anger and hatred on the cabinet,” the statement quoted him as saying.
March 14 leaders met on Sunday night at Le Bristol Hotel to launch the national opposition campaign which is aimed at bringing down the Hezbollah influenced Prime Minister Mikati’s cabinet unless the latter voices his adherence to UN Security Council Resolution 1757, which established the Special tribunal for Lebanon (STL).
The motto of the meeting was:”The Tribunal is our road to Justice”
The March 14 meeting comes after STL confirmed the indictments in the assassination of Lebanon’s former PM Hariri on Thursday. An STL delegation met with Lebanon’s state prosecutor Said Mirza on Thursday and handed him a copy of the Lebanon portion of the indictment and the arrest warrants. Two of the suspects Mustafa Badreddine and Salim Ayyash are reportedly senior members of the Iranian and Syrian-backed Hezbollah while the other two Hezbollah members Hassan Aneissy, also known as Hassan Issa, and Assad Sabra played a supporting role in the execution of the assassination.
Lebanon has 30 days to find and arrest the suspects but Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah said Saturday that the party would not cooperate with the tribunal.
“No Lebanese government will be able to carry out any arrests whether in 30 days, 30 years or even 300 years.”
“We reject the Special Tribunal for Lebanon along with each and every void accusation it issues, which to us is the equivalent of an attack against Hezbollah,” Nasrallah added in his hour-long speech.
Nasrallah admitted all the four suspects are Hezbollah members:
“The suspects named in the indictment are brothers who have an honorable history in resisting Israeli occupation.” He said
The whereabouts of the four remain unknown but some reports indicated that the two prime suspects in the assassination already fled to Iran.
Professor Ghassan Karam commented about Nasrallah’s defiance in an article in Ya Libnan: ” Nasrallah has acted as judge, jury and executioner. He has determined that his people are not guilty and that no one should dream of arresting any of them”.