Jumblatt attacks STL indictment, calls it political par excellence


Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt attacked ( during an interview with Al-Anbaa newspaper to be published on Tuesday ) the Special Tribunal for Lebanon’s (STL) indictment of Hezbollah members in the assassination of Lebanon’s former PM Rafik Hariri calling it “political par excellence”.

“The Special Tribunal for Lebanon’s indictment is political par excellence.” He said

“ The indictment might plunge Lebanon into an international conflict, which is more than the country can bear,” he added

“I add my voice to that of the Mufti of the Republic, Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Qabbani, who called for keeping the issue of the STL out of the domestic political debate, in a manner that allows the consolidation of political stability, the reactivation of the work of state institutions and the addressing of people’s social demands and living conditions, without disavowing the call for justice, which is being mostly harmed by the continuous debate over it,” Jumblatt said.

But Qabbani also said Sunday that the “Special Tribunal for Lebanon was established to bring justice to the the slain former PM Rafik Hariri and all the martyrs of the nation and to find the murderers and punish them with the aim of deterring future political assassinations and to put an end to impunity .”

Hezbollah chief sayyed Hassan Nasrallah vowed last Saturday not to cooperate with STL in any shape or form.

Jumblatt defected from the March 14 (three months after the Der Spiegel report revealed that Hezbollah was behind Hariri’s murder) for fear over a Shiite -Sunni strife if Hezbollah members were indicted by the STL, but the Sunnis of Lebanon have proved him wrong so far . Not one shot was heard , not one tire was burnt and not one road was blocked in the mainly Sunni areas of Beirut, Tripoli or Sidon and Lebanon maintained its calm since the indictment was announced . Cautious tension of course is expected but Hezbollah chief may have added fuel to it in his last speech.

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”.