Imperialist intervention in Hariri case causes crisis in Lebanon
Published Jan 30, 2011 10:07 PM
As of Jan. 24, the Lebanese Parliament is holding discussions to form a new
government. A year-old “unity government” containing all political
factions fell on Jan. 12, when Hezbollah pulled its people out of cabinet
Detroit Martin Luther King march, Jan. 17.
WW photo: Bryan G. Pfeiffer
Hezbollah is both a popular political organization representing the Shiite
Muslim community — about 40 percent of the Lebanese — and is the
best-organized national liberation organization defending the people of Lebanon
against imperialist and Israeli attack.
The current political crisis broke out after an international body called the
Special Tribunal on Lebanon leaked reports that it would indict Hezbollah
members for the 2005 assassination of Rafiik Hariri, a former prime minister
and the richest person in Lebanon. Hariri was killed by a truck bomb, his
It would be an error, however, to believe that the STL is an objective
investigative body. Like many of the other special tribunals — on
Yugoslavia or Rwanda, for example — it is a tool the imperialist powers
use to intervene under cover of the “international community.” In
the Hariri case, the U.S. and Israeli governments for years have attempted to
use the STL to deprive Lebanon of its sovereignty.
Concerning motive, the U.S. and Israel had most to gain from assassinating
Hariri in 2005, since that opened an internal struggle within Lebanon.
Hezbollah has not only denied it killed Hariri, its Secretary General Sayyed
Hasan Nasrallah says it has video evidence that Israeli planes observed
Hariri’s auto route the day he was killed, evidence the STL refuses to
Thus, the STL’s task is not to seriously investigate Hariri’s
murder, but to use the event as a political weapon. In turn, this article will
examine its political consequences.
First the Syrian government, which had troops stationed in Lebanon in 2005, was
accused of the killing. Israel and the U.S. wanted Syria’s troops out.
The Lebanese right wing was able to mobilize protest demonstrations that forced
the Syrians to leave.
In July of 2006 — with all the Syrian troops gone — the Israeli
military invaded Lebanon. The only effective resistance came from popular
organizations, mainly Hezbollah with the assistance of units from the Communist
Party of Lebanon, the Amal organization and some others. Israel did enormous
human and property damage, but the resistance was able to punish and in effect
drive out the Israelis.
Hezbollah also carried out much of the rebuilding that took place and delivered
most of the social services to the communities hurt by Israeli aggression. Even
the corporate media recognize and report Hezbollah’s popular role, doing
so as they also report that the U.S. government has classified the group as
“terrorist.” What this really means is that Hezbollah is an
effective anti-imperialist organization. So too was Nelson Mandela’s
African National Congress in South Africa, which Washington also called
Rafiik Hariri’s son, Saad Hariri, was prime minister in the year-old
unity government that collapsed on Jan. 12. Last September Hariri admitted that
the charges against Syria were political: “At a certain stage we made
mistakes and accused Syria of assassinating the martyred premier. This was a
political accusation, and this political accusation has finished.”
(Reuters, Sept. 6)
Based on testimony to the STL that later on was shown to be false, four
Lebanese generals in the security apparatus were sentenced to prison for their
alleged role in the assassination. Progressive forces, including Hezbollah,
demand that the lying witnesses be tried.
Still dealing with the political nature of the charges, Saad Hariri was
participating in negotiations along with Syria and Saudi Arabia to try to
resolve the question of the STL and the assassination charges. While visiting
in Washington, he suddenly broke off these talks — which were reported to
be on the verge of coordinating a political compromise that would limit the
interference of the STL in Lebanese politics.
In a Jan. 16 public speech, Nasrallah said the following to explain his
party’s loss of confidence in Hariri’s role: “Either Hariri
and his team did not want to proceed with the deal but had to under Saudi
pressure, and eventually went to the [U.S.] Americans and others to pressure
the Saudis to stop the effort, or they were supporting the king but the
American will was against it.” (Al Manar, Jan. 16)
The Communist Party of Lebanon, in a Jan. 18 statement, warned of the U.S. and
Israeli attempt to use the STL to incite a battle between the different
communities in Lebanon with the goal of ending the Lebanese people’s
resistance, of preventing a spread of this resistance in the Arab world and of
using religious differences to facilitate NATO and the Pentagon’s
intervention in Lebanon and Sudan.
Although it is the strongest single organized force in Lebanon, Hezbollah has
up to now made no attempt to seize control of the government, believing it can
better avoid isolation and a civil war that might allow Israeli and U.S.
intervention. Regarding the parliamentary struggle, Hezbollah has nominated a
compromise figure for prime minister to replace Saad Hariri. There is no
guarantee, however, that this will provide more than a short-term solution,
given the continued interference by the U.S. and Israel.
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