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  • » 06/30/2011, 00.00

    LEBANON

    Hariri assassination: arrest warrants for four members of Hizbollah



    The UN’s Special Tribunal for Lebanon issues the arrest warrants. Saad Hariri, son of Lebanon’s slain prime minister, who is himself a former prime minister, is pleased by the decision, calling it an “historic moment”. The newly formed pro-Syrian, Shia-dominated cabinet is now at risk. The political confrontation could bring chaos to the country.
    Beirut (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The UN-Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) investigating the 2005 murder of Lebanon's former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri has issued arrest warrants against four Hizbollah officials. Mr Hariri's son, Saad, welcomed the indictments, describing them as a "historic moment" for the country. However, the decision will weigh heavily on the newly formed, Hizbollah-backed cabinet and could spark a new bloody civil war.

    This morning, three STL judges issued sealed indictments, handing over their report to Lebanon’s state prosecutor Saeed Mirza.

    Local sources said that the four men implicated are Mustafa Badreddine, Salim Ayyash, Hassan Issa, and Assad Sabra. All of them are prominent members of Hizbollah, and are accused of playing an active role in planning and executing the attack.

    On 14 February 2005, a car bomb ripped through parts of Beirut, killing former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and 21 other people, including many members of his armed guard.

    Suspicions fell immediately on extremist Shia group Hizbollah and Syrian secret services, despite Damascus’ repeated denials.

    The STL is based near The Hague (Netherlands) and has been denounced by Shia extremists, who refuse to recognise its jurisdiction.

    In Lebanon, divisions regarding the tribunal have caused social unrest and political confrontation several times over the years.

    In the wake of the news, current Prime Minister Nagib Mikati has called on the Lebanese people to show unity and wisdom to avoid further divisions and internal conflicts.

    Hizbollah and its allies dominate the new pro-Syrian cabinet Mikati put together after five months of talks and stalemate.

    Now Lebanese judicial authorities have 30 days to execute the orders, during which time the new cabinet is set to go before parliament to present its programme.

    Whilst the indictments might jeopardise the survival of the new government, its impact on Lebanon’s future might even be worse and plunge the country into a new and bloody war.
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    See also

    16/11/2010 LEBANON
    Despite attacks, Patriarch Sfeir renews his support for international tribunal
    Tensions are rising in Lebanon over UN-backed special tribunal after rumours suggest some Hizbollah figures could be indicted in Hariri bombing. Hizbollah leader warns his movement will cut off the hands of anyone who tries to get at its members.

    26/11/2010 LEBANON
    Tensions running high in Beirut as Hariri indictments approach
    Rumours about the involvement of Hizbollah officials in the Hariri murder have paralysed the government in some measure as the opposition boycotts the cabinet. However, in Lebanon few fear a possible coup by Hizbollah. The ongoing struggle involves regional and world powers.

    25/11/2010 LEBANON – TURKEY
    Erdogan in Beirut, a mediator on a Neo-Ottoman quest
    Local politicians and public opinion praise the Turkish prime minister, who stressed historic ties between the two countries and his desire to do “everything” to preserve Lebanon’s unity and peace. For Erdogan, Beirut is an important step to reassert Turkey’s role in the region.

    17/06/2011 LEBANON
    An anachronistic government in the hands of Hizbollah and Syria
    The new cabinet headed by Nagib Mikati embodies Shia and Syrian influence. The Special Tribunal for Lebanon on Rafik Hariri’s murder is the issue that might lead to confrontation with the West.

    13/01/2011 LEBANON
    As Lebanon’s government collapses, the country’s stability is endangered
    Led by Hizbollah, opposition ministers resign over the Special Tribunal for Lebanon set up by the United Nations to investigate into the Hariri assassination. Syria, Saudi Arabia, the United States, France and Iran are involved in a diplomatic tug-of-war. With the country on the edge of the abyss, a simple incident might trigger civil war or clashes between Sunnis and Shias.



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