Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Tribunal

It is clear that the country is divided over the Hariri tribunal. Let's be honest and straightforward here: it's not about the failure of the last round of hiwar and it's not about the refusal of the majority to grant Hizbullah and co. the right to obstruct legislations tabled in Cabinet deliberations. It's about the international tribunal that will try those implicated in the assassination of former PM Hariri, MP Bassil Fleihan and all the other innocent lives that were claimed on that gloomy day of February 14, 2004.

If PM Seniora and the majority in the Cabinet were vindicated two days ago by managing to pass the tribunal's draft resolution; today's newspapers write that President Lahoud is refusing to acknowledge that move. Technically, it is not required that the President ratify the proposal at the moment; at a later stage though his signature will be required. And frankly, it does not bode well for those who want to see justice followed through, and for the first time in our history, on such a crime.

Just think about the precedent this tribunal will set for us and for our children moving forward. Just think about all those who were assassinated throughout the years, not only in Lebanon, but also around the Arab world, and we never learned who committed the crime.

It is apparent that Lahoud and Hizbullah are against the tribunal, despite all the chatter in the media that that's not the case. And even despite MP Saad Hariri's words in an interview yesterday claiming that Hizbullah has no hand in his father's assassination. I mean, first, he is not supposed to reveal what he knows regarding the investigations. Second, do you think by saying that we are more comforted or their resignation and upping the ante in their rhetoric at the particular moment of tabling the resolution is justified?

I don't need a politician to dissuade me from increasing suspicions that those who are opposing the tribunal have some connection to the crime. And perhaps Rafiq Hariri's crime was that he wanted to break with Syria and to discuss the disarmament of Hizbullah.

What's missing in the political discourse is a reason given by Nasrallah and Lahoud of why they oppose the tribunal. Instead what we get is holier than thou rhetoric that is leading our country down to the abyss.

"Nobody knows how many rebellions, besides political rebellions, ferment in the masses of life which people earth."


bodhisattva said...

do you read the daily star?

if you dont, you should! the tribunal is going through so long as the International Communities WILL is there and present (mainly the SC). That should be a relief IF you think there WILL is to get the tribunal going. If its there, then theres nothing lahoud can do, and nothing sanioura can do or anyone in lebanon for that matter to stop it. It was brandished a Terrorist act in the SC statement following feb 14 and as such, the SC has the right and authority to launch it.

hope that helps

Doha said...

I don't need to read the Daily Star to know that moving towards establishing the tribunal is not like a machine. If the parties involved in the tribunal are not invested in it, then it will be a farce. Second, the tribunal proceedings might move forward, but if a civil war breaks out because of it, then no SC Resolution can help in stopping that.

R said...

Great post Doha!

However, I just want to point out that it may be simplistic to assume that HA's motivation behind the resignation as well as most of their recent actions is only to impede the tribunal, or even primarily to impede the tribunal.

I think HA is a much more sophisticated (not necessarily in a good way) organization than that. On the other hand, Lahoud and the low level Syrian cronies like Arslan, Wahhab and the rest basically do as they are told by their masters across the borders. At the moment, it is to impede the tribunal (or try to).

But going back to HA, they have a stake here. In fact, with the exit of Syria from Lebanon, there was suddenly a vacuum that the Syrians had previously filled. The various parties scrambled to gain ground. Arguably, both March 14 and March 8 succeeded. Both polarized and mobilized their constituents. That said HA is an organization that lives on "the struggle" (hence the kidnapping and recent war), they believe in the struggle. Moreover, they are religious ideologues. But they are also strategists, making them more potent. Right now their strategy means aligning with the Syrian regime (for sectarian among other reasons), and their tactics are the ones we are seeing on the ground. Their goal is power and control, with the purpose of implementing their ideology, and they may be willing to do anything to achieve that, including impeding the tribunal formation...

bodhisattva said...


could we venture the possibility that ha CANT vote in the tribunal? they opted :) out of the hearings when saniora was insulted, didnt vote against the jumblatt warrant from syria and now skipped out on this too. Can we say syria has them from the balls? it could be a possiblity, knowing all well that on all 3 accounts what needs to be voted in CAN be voted in,

furhter, can we see that HA is playing the divide and conquer game, dividing march 14 (feb 14 and aoun) every time theres a crunch, and theyre succeeding?

Meanwhile its doing what it wants to do while no one knows what it wants to do,

its more complicated than assuming theyre doing it because theyre against the tribunal rather than seeing it as a pattern in the context of their agenda and goal (whatever that is)

Walid said...

It's funny, those who have a gut fear of Hezballah have no idea what their agenda or goal are. We know that Aoun said his bloc will vote yes for the tribunal in the parliamen even if they never get a chance to read it beforehand, and that is a quote, becasue Aoun does not have a gut distrust of everything western. We know that Lahoud wants the tribunal's power diluted to exclude jurisdiction over heads of state, and if he had his and Syria's way he woudl nickel and dime it to oblivion. Hezballah, onthe other hand, does not have a pre-judgement on the issue, but are acting more rationally than everyone and transparently saying that they need to make sure that the tribunal will indeed be impartial. If you grant that they do not share the trust that most of us have in the mechanisms of the UN and thier ability to generate automatic expectation of impartiality, there really is no reason to accuse them of wanting anything other than what they said they wanted.