The Rash Verdict

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Saad Hariri is attending the trial in absentia of four Hezbollah members accused of assassinating his father in a massive car bomb explosion in downtown Beirut on February 14, 2005. (Photo: AFP - Jan Hennop).

By: Ibrahim al-Amin

Published Friday, January 17, 2014

March 14 is a strange lot. They are unable to let things proceed naturally. Even the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), which they hope would be a gateway to uncovering who killed Rafik Hariri, they cannot even wait for it to conclude. Like everything else, they are satisfied with the headlines and ignore the details. Aren't they the type of Lebanese who know everything and have no need for scrutiny, research, or diligence?

On January 16, in The Hague, Saad Hariri acted as if he was in Saudi or Beirut. He decided that everything the court needed was the opening session. As soon as the prosecution presented its accusations and evidence, without anything new and without any of the surprises promised by their political and security chiefs, Hariri came out with a verdict. He, like his comrades, was telling us that they need nothing of the prosecution, the defense, or evidence. He had decided in Beirut who was the killer, and he is saying now that his suspect is the court's suspect. When he accuses, the court needs to condemn, not merely repeat the accusation.

 

Hariri came out of the opening sessions of the STL to read a statement written before his arrival to The Hague. He did not even wait to listen to the defense. All he cared for was the opening session, then he got bored. He knows that everything the tribunal has was given by his security and political team, so he decided to surprise us with the shining truth.

 

"There is a Lebanese side, which is a suspect with substantiated evidence," he said. "We never thought that some Lebanese would sell their souls to the devil and volunteer to kill Rafik Hariri. This is the hurtful and painful truth. But it is the truth. Arrogance and attempts to evade justice will not work." He also claimed, "The criminals who perpetrated the assassination are Lebanese and follow a certain Lebanese party."

So, Hariri decided on the verdict. He decided unilaterally that he does not need the tribunal or additional explanations and presentation of evidence. There is no need for the defense or anything of that kind. And whoever disagrees with the "blood heir" can go to hell.

After that, they still want us to concede to such a tribunal and go along with this rash boy, just because he is the son of the victim? Do they want us to hold celebrations for justice, the truth, and other slogans, which prevented us from breathing for the past nine years?

Hariri decided it was the truth. Period.

Shall we tell him, frankly, just like he does: This is your truth and not the truth awaited by the people to know who opened the gates of hell in Lebanon and Syria nine years ago and is still doing so?

How could Hariri take such a step and hope that people accept him as a national leader and prime minister?

How could Hariri say what he said and expect an agreement the next day to run the country in partnership with those he decided were the killers? He was not satisfied with the framework of the court, which is accusing individuals. He was quick to tell those who still do not know that those individuals, whom Hariri decided were guilty, are members of a particular party.

How could Hariri tell his people, his audience, and his family what he said yesterday, then declare his agreement to sit at the same table with the killers or their representatives? Isn't this his logic? Or is he telling us, from the steps of the court, that he does not want a national partnership government?

There is more.

Saad Hariri is aware, like everyone else, that the evidence of the STL prosecutor has been prepared by the Information Branch of the Internal Security Forces (ISF) in Beirut. It was prepared in close coordination with Hariri personally, in addition to others who collaborated in this movie. Yesterday, the plaintiffs added some suspense and excitement, but they were also boring, nonetheless. Everything we saw and heard did not include even one bit of additional information from the leaks organized by Hariri and his team, for the most part, since the investigations began. He did not add anything to sustain the court's accusations in the crime of February 14.

Of course, this team will drown us in the next few days with a deluge of analysis, interpretations, explanations, wishes, and pleas related to the court's opening session. Because they are thinking of exploiting blood, they will use anything that falls into their hands.

Is there a need to remind them that the times have changed and the oppression, arbitrariness, and aggression they tried to impose in 2005 are no longer possible today, for them or their sponsor?

Is there anyone in this country who could explain to them that the Resistance's agreement on a government compromise, today, is not a sign of weakness and it is real chance for the country and its people, its alternative being an adventure that will not benefit the resistance, but will lead all its adversaries to total paralysis?

Final words ...

This court does not represent a fair consciousness. It only represents the interests of those who robbed the people of the world, pillaged their lands, and oppressed them. It is not a viable framework to announce the undisputed truth. It is only a tool serving the enemies of resistance. Therefore it is a tribunal not for Lebanon.

Ibrahim al-Amin is editor-in-chief of Al-Akhbar.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

Comments

On Jan 17, Thomas Escritt of Reuters interviewed Hariri, still in the Hague, and produced a story which appeared in Lebanon's Daily Star web edition, here. In it, Hariri paints a very different picture, telling the Reuters journalist:

We're trying to run the country with everyone, because we do not want to keep anyone outside. Lebanon is having a difficult time, especially since the international community has failed miserably to do anything for Syria. I think it is our duty toward the people of Lebanon to stabilize the country. I am very optimistic. Am I really willing to work with the group accused of my father's killing? Yes. I'm committed to the principle of "innocent until proven guilty." We know that they are allegedly persons who committed these crimes. But at the end of the day, this is a political party that has a big coalition, with Aoun and other political parties.

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