The leader of Lebanon's Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, is -- in principle -- a man of religion. However, in addition to commanding an illicit militia and ordering bloody wars, Nasrallah is a manipulator, an odd characteristic for a man commanding the so-called "Party of God."
In 2007, the Security Council created the Special Tribunal for Lebanon -- under the mandatory Chapter VII of the UN charter -- in order to bring to justice the perpetrators of the murder of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. The UN took such a draconian measure only after Nasrallah and his allies had shut all doors in the face of justice being served domestically after the 2005 crime.
Today, rumors have it that the tribunal is about indict members from Hezbollah. Nasrallah went ballistic. In two successive speeches, he described the tribunal as a scam.
In the first speech, Nasrallah said that an indictment would be tantamount to an Israeli aggression against his party. Thus, those Lebanese who support the tribunal should prepare for a repeat of May, 2008, when the Hezbollah militia swept Beirut, killing opponents and burning down a TV and a newspaper.
Supporters of the tribunal expressed dismay at this preemptive threat, arguing that only the guilty in Hariri's murder might fear a coming indictment.
In his second speech, the Hezbollah chief intended to clarify his earlier stance. He said that anyone under suspicion has the right to defense. Thus Nasrallah showed his party as the victim, in order to justify any bloody reaction that it might undertake in the future.
But notice how, in Nasrallah's mind, defense against an indictment is never through lawyers, but rather through violence. If tribunal points fingers at Hezbollah, the militia will simply kill whoever supports the tribunal under the pretext of "self-defense" against an "Israeli concocted conspiracy."
In the second speech, Nasrallah went further in his preemptive efforts. Why wait until the indictment is issued? Nasrallah wants his opponents, Prime Minister Saad Hariri the son of his slain predecessor and the most-popular Christian leader Samir Geagea to regret all the "mistakes" they've committed since February 14, 2005, the date of the Hariri murder.
In the aftermath of the Hariri assassination, Saad, Geagea and a flip-flopper politician, leader of the Druze minority, Walid Jumblatt, formed a coalition that came to be known as March 14. With foreign assistance, this group ejected Syrian troops from Lebanon after 29 years of occupation, forced the creation of an international investigation commission, and later a tribunal, and dismantled the Lebanese-Syrian security system that had been ruling the country with an Iron fist.
March 14 was strong enough to eject Syria and force Hezbollah into retreat, but not enough to take the country into stability, which was compromised through ongoing Syrian sabotage, Hezbollah's bullying, and ongoing assassinations of March 14 lawmakers and activists.
When all the Syrian-Hezbollah terror failed in dislodging March 14, which called for state sovereignty and the disarmament of Hezbollah, the party sent its fighters to kill opponents. Hezbollah succeeded in winning back the upper hand in ruling the country.
But despite all its success, Hezbollah and Syria were unable to stop international justice and found themselves in confrontation with the world and a big number of the Lebanese. When fighting the world, Nasrallah follows a classic template: Hezbollah is right, patriotic and practicing self-defense, all its opponents -- whether Lebanese or world governments -- are puppets of Israel and its conspiracy.
To Nasrallah, supporting the tribunal means that Hariri and Geagea are offering a "hosting environment" for the conspiracy against his party. Therefore, Hariri and Geagea should not only change stance and denounce the tribunal, but should regret their past insults against former officials who were running the country when Hariri was killed.
An ever shrewd manipulator, Nasrallah does not make a single reference to all the March 14 blood spilled since 2005. All the instigation that Hezbollah and its allies practiced against Rafik Hariri and later March 14 figures who were murdered, does not count as a "hosting environment" that Hezbollah provided for criminals, according to Nasrallah's logic.
Finally, Nasrallah addressed the March 14 supporters urging them to correct course, and maybe abandon their leaders. He says Hezbollah is not afraid. Well, of course, since Hezbollah is armed and plans to kill again if it is ever indicted.
But Nasrallah is wrong. March 14 -- save for Jumblatt -- are the brave ones to fight injustice with justice and to continue their fight peacefully and unarmed. Nasrallah and his party might not be physically scared, but they certainly know that if justice was not served on the case of Hariri and others, blood will only invite more blood, and there will be a vicious circle of revenge.
Perhaps more than others, Nasrallah -- who annually laments the murder of the third Shiite Imam Hussein in 680 CE -- knows that some crimes live for generations. If justice is not served on the Hariri case, Nasrallah should be afraid. There will come a day when Nasrallah's arms, manipulation, charisma and shrewdness will not stand in the face of truth and justice. As a Shiite, Nasrallah might understand this lesson best.
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