Hezbollah, Israel, Lebanon, March 14, Syria

The Hariri Murder: Hizbullah Presents Its Case Against Israel

I will be live-blogging tomorrow’s speech by Hizbullah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, which is slated to begin at 20:30 Beirut time (17:30 GMT, 13:130 EST).

In case you’ve been living under a rock, this speech promises to be one of the most significant political events of the past five years. Hizbullah has announced that it will unveil “material evidence” that Israel was responsible for the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri on February 14, 2005, while also revealing sensitive information about how exactly it came upon this evidence.

The party’s opponents say that this is a ploy to deflect blame away from Hizbullah itself–which is rumored to be facing an imminent indictment by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon–while its supporters believe that the STL is an American/Israeli plot targeting the Resistance.

I can guarantee you that both friend and foe will be watching very closely.

Tune in on Monday for live coverage and a rowdy discussion in the comment section. To bring yourself up to speed on this story, click here for my most recent commentaries.

**

8:37: Nasrallah begins speaking. He will address the question of why Hizbullah is revealing this information now and not years ago, after he has had a chance to present it. (The front row of the press conference is full of journalistic luminaries: Jean Aziz, Ghassan bin Jeddo, etc.)

8:38: In 1993, a Hizbullah operative named Ali Deeb (Abu Hassan) was imprisoned by Syrian intelligence.

8:42: The reason for his imprisonment, according to Ghazi Kanaan, was that an Israeli collaborator in Lebanon told Hariri that Imad Mughniyeh was planning to kill him, and so Hariri passed on this information to the Syrians, who imprisoned the Hizbullah operative because Mughniyeh was not able to be captured.

8:44: An Israeli agent named Ahmad Nasrallah (no relation to SHN) confessed to passing along this information to Rafiq al-Hariri’s security people. He attempted to plant in Hariri’s mind the idea that Hizbullah was trying to kill him. He specifically told them that Imad Mughniyyeh was trying to kill Hariri, and that they had made several attempts, and that they were thinking about killing Bahiyya al-Hariri, and that Rafiq would be compelled to go to Saida for the funeral, and they could kill him too. This agent was imprisoned in 1996, freed in 2000, and is now living in Israel.

8:54: A presentation of Israel’s accusations that Hizbullah killed Hariri, since the assassination.

8:57: We move now to the second portion of the presentation, which consists of our accusation against Israel. Israel possesses the ability to carry out the assassination. Today we will show that Israel has a variety of collaborators in Lebanon, in every domain.

9:00: Bashar al-Assad informed me, just months before UNSCR 1559 was passed, that Syria was told that it could keep its troops in Lebanon as long as Hizbullah was disarmed and the Palestinian camps were disarmed. Syria refused, and so a great event was needed to pressure Syria to get out of Lebanon. This is the context of the Hariri assassination.

9:05: Israel possesses various sources of intelligence in Lebanon. Most important are the spies and collaborators. These only began to be discovered in 2009 and 2010, so for those of you who are asking us why we didn’t provide evidence in the past, this is one of the main reasons.

9:08: A presentation of the various collaborators and what they confessed to providing in the way of information, to Israel. One, named Philipos Sader, confessed to providing information about the residence of the Lebanese president and the yacht of the General of the Army.

9:10: Why has the STL never looked into the confessions of these collaborators? These statements are available and they are legitimate. Instead, the STL is relying on false witnesses.

9:14: One collaborator confessed to passing on information about the movements of Samir Geagea, and of Saad al-Hariri’s visits to the former. Why is Israel interested in the movements of Geagea and Hariri? They’re not interested in Hizbullah’s leaders, but they’re interested in Geagea and Hariri? The collaborator was also asked to survey certain cafes in Jbeil (Byblos) and which politicians frequented them. Now, as far as I know, Mohammed Fneish and Na`im Qassim (two Hizbullah leaders) are not visiting cafes in Jbeil, and maybe some of our allies in the FPM are, but for the most part the politicians who are going to cafes in Jbeil are part of March 14th.

9:18: The bomb found in al-Zahrani was intended for Nabih Berri, and it was planted by Israel. The intent was to create sectarian violence in Lebanon. They killed the Sunni prime minister of Lebanon, and then they wanted to kill the Shiite Speaker of Parliament. (This is based on a confession by a another collaborator, named Mahmoud Rafi`.)

9:21: Another collaborator admited to transporting large black boxes full of weapons and explosives.

9:24: I call on people to go through all of the confessions of all of the collaborators, which are available in the Lebanese security agencies, to develop a map of the entire Israeli collaborator network in Lebanon.

9:28: The cornerstone of all of Israel’s operations in Lebanon is aerial reconnaissance. Israel possesses a very high degree of technical competence in this field. The secret that we want to reveal today is the following:

Hizbullah acquired the ability, at a point in the 1990’s, to tap into the direct feed from Israeli reconaissance planes that passed from their cameras to the Israeli control center.

9:32: We did not have the ability to know exactly what they were filming at all times, or why, nor were we able to capture all of the various reconnaissance operations at all times, because there were many. At some point, Israel began to encrypt the feed and we were not able to capture everything.

9:34: On September 5 1997, an Israeli commando team landed in Lebanon via the sea and made its way to a spot that the Israelis had been surveying for a long time, and which we determined was going to be the scene of an operation. So we placed an ambush there and waited for months to see if there was going to be an operation. [The Ansariyya Operation] Fifteen people were killed.

9:41: We are going to show two other examples of Israeli surveillance prior to assassinations. We don’t have footage of the actual assassinations because even though the Israeli UAV was in the air at the time, its signal was encoded. (These include the targeted killings of Mahmoud al-Majzoub [leader of Palestinian Islamic Jihad] and his brother.)

9:46: I will now move to discuss the assassination of Rafiq al-Hariri. I was asked by the Hariri family if Hizbullah could help in the investigation, shortly after the killing. We formed a joint investigation commission, but after the political turn of the ensuing years, it came to naught. [See question session below].

9:50: Recently, Hizbullah formed a team of experts to go through our enormous archive of Israeli surveillance films leading up to the 2005 assassination so as to determine whether there was indeed evidence that Israel was preparing an operation. We are still in the process of this, after hundreds of hours, and yet we have come to very important conclusions.

9:53: The footage that we will show is from Beirut and from the road that leads from Beirut to Hariri’s residence in Faqra.

9:58: [Shows presentation of footage of the route that Hariri took when he was killed. There is a special focus on street corners, because those are the places that are favored for car bomb attacks against politicians (because the convoy has to slow down).]

10:05: In all of these places that we showed you (in Ras Beirut, etc.) does the Resistance have control centers or offices, etc.? No. Is it just coincidence that the Israelis were surveilling these areas in such detail before the assassination?

10:07: [Shows a presentation of footage of the road to Faqra, which is the only way to get there from the coastal highway. This was the road that Hariri used to take to get to his resort.]

10:09: No one from Hizbullah, to my knowledge, lives in Faqra. Now we will show you surveillance footage focusing on the highway into Saida, leading all the way up to Shafiq al-Hariri’s house (the brother of the victim).

10:14: There is another important secret that we may reveal in the future, if a serious investigation is launched.

10:15: [Presents information about Israeli aerial activity over Lebanon on the day before and day of the assassination. This information is available to anyone with radar in the area.]

10:20: We have evidence that an important collaborator named Ghassan al-Jid was in the area of the assassination on the day before (February 13, 2005).

10:25: Question session begins.

10:28: Question: What will the resistance do if the STL ignores your evidence or if Lebanese parties don’t follow it up? Nasrallah: We will interpret this as proof that the Tribunal is completely politicized.

10:32: We were surveilling an Israeli collaborator who had been following Rafiq al-Hariri’s routes, and we told this to Saad al-Hariri in 2005 or 2006.

10:35: Question: Syrian intelligence had offices in many of the locations that the Israelis were surveilling, even if Hizbullah did not. Plus, how do we know that you haven’t taken a long Israeli film and made a specially edited montage to prove your point? Answer: we will present all of our evidence to Lebanese investigators, and let them come to their own conclusions.

10:43: Nasrallah: The whole point of the STL indictment is to tarnish the image of Hizbullah. We want the truth about who killed Hariri, but we also are very, very, very concerned about public opinion in Lebanon and the Middle East, as it relates to the resistance. This is why we are presenting this evidence to the public.

10:45: Question: Will Hizbullah resign from the government if it is indicted? Answer: We will not discuss these kinds of political issues until after the indictment.

10:49: It was after the July War that our relation with the Hariri family and the joint investigation effort went sour.

10:52: I will not ask Saad al-Hariri to drop the investigation or to renounce the tribunal or Bellemare or anything. What we want is the truth and justice.

10:54: We have not presented this evidence directly to the STL because we won’t cooperate with anyone we do not trust.

10:56: Jean Aziz’s question: The inaugural declaration of this cabinet includes a clause which states that the government will cooperate with the STL. Does this press conference demonstrate the lack of truth in that statement? Nasrallah: we were cooperating with the STL until they decided to go on summer vacation. When they come back, we’ll revisit the issue.

11:01: Press conference ends.

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Discussion

142 thoughts on “The Hariri Murder: Hizbullah Presents Its Case Against Israel

  1. There is no doubt that the speech by Sayed Nasrallah tomorrow will be very important in shaping some of the parameters of the debate surrounding the STL but no matter what he says it still is only one side of the story. That is why tomorrow will be important but not decisive.The real decisive day will come when the STL reveals its hand.
    While I am watching this affair unfold I get the feeling that the Sayed is simply practicing the dictum: The best defense is a well good offense but what if he is being lured to fire his last bullet? or What if Hezbollah is not indicted?

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | August 8, 2010, 11:41 pm
  2. I would say it’s not only the indictments, but also the trial itself. A trial where Lebanese politics are discussed could be worse than the indictments themselves.

    Posted by Doc | August 9, 2010, 2:23 am
  3. I can guarantee you that both friend and foe will be watching very closely.

    Not me! :)

    Posted by Badr | August 9, 2010, 2:33 am
  4. This means you’re neither friend nor foe, Badr. QN statements are tautologies (the logic kind, not the rhetoric kind) :-)

    Posted by Honest Patriot | August 9, 2010, 5:16 am
  5. HP,

    I’m serious despite the smiling icon, but do you mean what you said in your comment? If you do, be ready to stand to be corrected. :)

    Posted by Badr | August 9, 2010, 5:57 am
  6. Badr, well, with a grain of salt, of course. Despite the serious nature of many issues here, there are two observations that are pretty much valid:
    (a) there is a level of entertainment in all this blogging and a certain camaraderie among all contributors, despite sometimes antipodal positions
    (b) QN has a truly superior intellect coupled with a remarkable sense of humor and is, in my opinion, extremely gifted to the point of having tremendous potential for a future leadership role that is likely to be transformational. I’ve always maintained this and, in fact, take pride in being one of the very early (if not the earlies) proponents of this opinion back on SyriaComment.

    Cheers!

    Posted by Honest Patriot | August 9, 2010, 6:14 am
  7. … and to put things into perspective, it is quite instructive to read (or re-read) the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides, particularly the speeches by the opposing leaders in which each uses extensive and deep logical constructions to argue their (of course opposing) cases. History repeats itself – in a general way where humans convince themselves of extreme positions and go to war on that basis. Each party is very good at logic. Of course they arrive at different conclusions because they start with different (contradictory) facts. Exposing the “true” objective facts, is, alas, often a futile exercise. Winners write history. Now, that’s a tautology (the logic kind) if there ever was one.

    Cheers!

    Posted by Honest Patriot | August 9, 2010, 6:20 am
  8. I do agree with HP (& Thucydides!) on that matter : “Until the lion has his – or her – own storyteller, the hunter will always have the best part of the story”.

    Posted by quelqu'une | August 9, 2010, 6:38 am
  9. I am going to reveal a secret of my own: HP is actually my mother.
    ;)

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | August 9, 2010, 6:44 am
  10. … and, as they say in Lebanese, “l2urd b3ineyn 2immo ghazel”
    LOL – just kidding son.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | August 9, 2010, 7:41 am
  11. HP,
    Now that’s another tautology, an anthropomorphic one :-)

    quelqu’une,
    But the lion has no rights. He was created for us to kill and put in iron cages. If you don’t believe me then reread Genesis lol.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | August 9, 2010, 7:51 am
  12. QN,

    Having gotten most of my info on this affair on this blog, my feeling is that the most significant point is that the STL has no friends in Lebanon. Is anyone standing up for it?

    Posted by Netsp | August 9, 2010, 8:39 am
  13. off topic — @ HP 10, you’ve made my afternoon! in middle school, we had a social studies class based on arabic proverbs (it was part of a broader unit on the ottoman empire), and for some reason that is the one that always stuck in my head… but i was never sure if it was a ‘real’ proverb or not. do lebanese really still say it?!! i’ve never heard it till now, but i’d be SO pleased :)

    Posted by f | August 9, 2010, 8:41 am
  14. Netsp

    Some are still standing up for it, and if the court surprises us all with credible evidence and some real suspects after five years of being fairly tight-lipped, I’m sure that much public faith will be restored.

    In the meantime, Nasrallah is capitalizing on the radio silence and the atmosphere of swirling rumors and conspiracy theories to push his party’s narrative.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | August 9, 2010, 8:44 am
  15. “The lion has no rights”
    Ghassan, s’appuyer sur la Genèse pour dire de pareils trucs, c’est typiquement une ruse de chasseur! ;-)

    Posted by quelqu'une | August 9, 2010, 8:44 am
  16. Speculation mounts ahead of Nasrallah’s news conference
    By The Daily Star

    BEIRUT: Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah’s much-anticipated news conference on Monday was the subject of intense media speculation over the weekend. The news conference is expected to set the political road map for the next period in Lebanon.

    In a televised speech last Tuesday, Nasrallah openly accused Israel of the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and said he would unveil proof to that effect at a news conference this week.

    In July, he had revealed he was aware the UN-backed tribunal probing the Hariri murder was likely to indict members of his party, slamming the court an Israeli project.

    But last week, the Sayyed said Hizbullah spent months compiling information showing efforts by Israel to implicate Hizbullah in Hariri’s death.

    Al-Akhbar columnist, Ibrahim al-Amine, who is close to Hizbullah, wrote on Saturday that “Monday night will be unlike other nights in Lebanon.”

    “The news conference that will be held by the Secretary General of Hizbullah Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah will open the doors wide open to another talk in the town,” Amine said.

    He added that Nasrallah is expected to reveal details related to the ongoing security war between the resistance and Israel. Amine wrote that the goal of the news conference was two-fold: Nasrallah wants to accuse Israel using clear-cut evidence, while drawing attention to the flaws in the work of the investigative missions that looked into the Hariri assassination.

    According to Amine, Nasrallah and his team spent a considerable time gathering documents that would support the Sayyed’s thesis. Nasrallah had also discussed all the relevant documents with legal experts, including Speaker Nabih Berri, who is a lawyer.

    Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Rai, however, reported on Sunday that Nasrallah will reveal during his news conference why slain Hizbullah commander Imad Mughniyeh will be accused in the Hariri murder.

    According to Al-Rai, Nasrallah will reveal how an Israeli collaborator had told late Prime Minister Hariri in 1993 that Hizbullah had plans to assassinate him and that Mughniyeh was plotting the attack.

    Mughniyeh, also known as “Hajj Radwan,” was assassinated in a car bomb in Damascus on February 12, 2008.

    Phalange Party leader Amin Gemayel told MTV on Sunday that Nasrallah would do better to submit evidence that Israel killed former Premier Hariri in 2005 to authorities, instead of revealing it through the media.

    The former Lebanese president said the only acceptable reference that can verify the validity of the evidence presented by Nasrallah was the STL

    “Nasrallah does not decide what is right or wrong,” he said.

    Nasrallah’s statements on the STL sparked fears of an outbreak of violence in already tense Lebanon and prompted a landmark summit in Beirut late in July between Syrian President Bashar Assad, Saudi King Abdullah and Lebanese leaders in a bid to ease tensions.

    Sources close to Berri told Ash-Sharq al-Awsat in comments published on Sunday that he was planning, in cooperation with President Michel Sleiman and Prime Minister Rafik Hariri to launch renewed efforts to bolster the current calm in Lebanon. The sources said the nature of efforts will be revealed in due time.

    Meanwhile, Future Movement officials denied over the weekend news about an imminent meeting between Nasrallah and Prime Minister Saad Hariri to discuss recent developments.

    Future Movement official and former MP Mustapha Alloush denied on Sunday the prospects of such a meeting. – The Daily Star

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | August 9, 2010, 8:48 am
  17. Dear f, whether said or not, the saying (“proverb”) I quoted is practiced every day in every family in Lebanon and probably worldwide. That’s why you read my incessant praise of my dear son QN. ;-)

    Posted by Honest Patriot | August 9, 2010, 9:47 am
  18. … and yeah, it’s said, often… a living “proverb”

    Posted by Honest Patriot | August 9, 2010, 9:47 am
  19. QN 8:44-

    but can we realistically expect to find out anything beyond names and charges in the indictment phase?

    if the STL’s evidence can’t be made public until later in the process, how do you see that impacting the domestic situation?

    Posted by f | August 9, 2010, 11:58 am
  20. dear HP, thank you :) and i agree it is an international phenomenon!!

    Posted by f | August 9, 2010, 11:58 am
  21. f,

    In the indictment phase, we won’t get anything but names and charges. You’re correct about that. But if the indicted are dead, missing, or if the Lebanese govt refuses to arrest and extradite them, they could be tried in absentia.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | August 9, 2010, 12:27 pm
  22. QN,

    In the indictment you will get additional info to what you mention. Things like: “the prosecution will show that suspects A and B met to build a bomb together” or “were communicating to coordinate the attack”. So it will not be just charges, but specific things the prosecution is confident it can prove. This is evidence for what evidence the prosecution has.

    Posted by AIG | August 9, 2010, 1:06 pm
  23. While I have not been following the procedural particulars, it is, in general, not at all required for there to be much in the way of ‘facts’ or ‘evidence’ in an indictment, certainly in the US, but also in other jurisdictions, i.e: “On Feb. 14, X murdered Y in violation of murder statute 12345″ is enough.

    In the STL, it is my understanding the pre-trial judge has to ‘confirm’ the indictments: the procedures of which I am uncertain. I guess I could look it up, but baseless speculation is more fun … :)

    If someone wishes to correct me, I shall be all-too-pleased.

    Posted by david | August 9, 2010, 1:53 pm
  24. Did I just hear Nasrallah admit that Syrian interogation technics are nothing short of medieval torture chambers (how they interrogated Abou Hassan Salame). Are the tactics they used any diefferent?
    What is the proof then that all testimonies are not coersed and made under duress?

    Posted by Marillionlb | August 9, 2010, 2:06 pm
  25. Daid, you are right on the STL. The pre trial judge is not a member of the chamber. He is to review the case of the Prosecution who in its own way is also independent but cannot make indictments that are not approved by the pretrial judge. Let me say it for the unpteenth time; as soon as the pretrial judge was in a position to commence the duties prescribed by the STL he set in motion the process that released the 4 generals from custody. So the prosecutor builds his own case but the case must meet the approval of the pretrial judge who is not to sit as a member of the Chamber.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | August 9, 2010, 2:07 pm
  26. Yes, GK, but what everyone is wondering is what would be in the indictments. So I am wondering if the ‘confirmation’ process of the indictment(s) by the pre-trial judge includes any sort of documentation, public or not, of the prosecutor’s case. Do you know? My general sense of the legal principles underlying modern criminal procedure lead me to say no, nothing, but I am unfamiliar with the Lebanese code.

    I should just look this up and stop blindly guessing … :)

    Posted by david | August 9, 2010, 2:12 pm
  27. So far 21:18, there’s nothing.

    Posted by Amir in Tel Aviv | August 9, 2010, 2:19 pm
  28. Amir,

    Why do you say that? The part about Nana is amusing.

    Posted by AIG | August 9, 2010, 2:21 pm
  29. Amir, what u doing living in Tel Aviv? Or were you spawned by the SLA?

    Posted by Nu'man | August 9, 2010, 2:36 pm
  30. The exact description of the position of pre trial judge:

    “A single international judge serves as the Pre-Trial Judge. He may request deferrals of cases from the domestic courts of Lebanon, decides on detention matters in the pre-trial phase, reviews and confirms indictments, and organizes and facilitates the work of the parties in the pre-trial phase. He may also issue arrest warrants, transfer requests, and any other orders required for the conduct of the investigation and for the preparation of a fair and expeditious trial. ”

    Once the Prosecutor obtains confirmation from the pretrial judge the office proceeds to issue indictments and:
    “Once the indictment is confirmed, the accused will be notified of the charges. The Prosecutor will disclose all relevant evidence to the accused and both the prosecution and the accused will prepare for trial, which will be heard by the Trial Chamber.”

    I can only imagine that since all relevant evidence will be disclosed to the accused that means that the indictment must spell out the general circumstances of the case .

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | August 9, 2010, 2:37 pm
  31. AIG

    What amuses me (well, not really), is that AlJezeera, the leading Arab news network, is playing the whole thing live with no edit, and with all of the sound defects, supplied by the HA.
    It’s obvious that the Arabs love their divine Sayed.
    .

    Posted by Amir in Tel Aviv | August 9, 2010, 2:40 pm
  32. Well, yes, but that is what those in lower Manhattan would call discovery. And it generally occurs post-indictment, but pre-trial. So again, it seems the indictment could just say ‘x murdered y.’ And then proceed to discovery. I will stop here and look it up.

    Posted by david | August 9, 2010, 2:46 pm
  33. Amir,

    I don’t think Arabs love him but more greatly appreciate him – the you seem to appreciate that you live in Tel Aviv.

    Posted by Nu'man | August 9, 2010, 2:53 pm
  34. am i missing something? i don’t see why this footage is particularly incriminating in terms of the assassination.

    and do we know how long the uncut UAV recordings were? beirut is small. they probably surveilled the whole city this way.

    Posted by f | August 9, 2010, 3:05 pm
  35. The Israelis and Hizbollah are clearly spending to much time playing on their play-stations. The sounds effects were straight out of ‘Medal of Honor’. They should get out more!

    Posted by The Medlar | August 9, 2010, 3:27 pm
  36. Ya QN-

    I think we can all go back to our, much more interesting, lives now. This was nothing, nothing at all. Claims, a bit of non-descript video, assertions … but nothing of any compelling value.

    This isn’t proof. It’s (rather primitive) propaganda.

    How sad for SHN.

    Anyone could create a similar “dossier” to implicate the Syrians, the Iranians, the US, any other EU or NATO country for that matter, the Russians, Saudi Arabia, Jumblat, the whole Qornet Shehwan Gathering, your mom and my grandmother in Hariri’s assassination.

    Yaaaaaawn. ;-)

    –MSK*

    Posted by MSK* | August 9, 2010, 3:33 pm
  37. Yes right, all the combined evidence, including confessions of “Israeli” collaborators, spy plane footage, “Israeli” operations inside Lebanon is “nothing” according to some. But the false testimony of clownish farcical witnesses is clearly compelling evidence. When one has an agenda, one will only see what serves that agenda. “Israel”, as I said before, is clearly the one responsible for Hariri’s murder, period.

    Posted by Nour | August 9, 2010, 3:42 pm
  38. Ya Nour, ya batal, ya rafiiq,

    When did you ever hear me say or read me claim that the other testimonies are compelling evidence? Would you please be so kind and point it out?

    Now, as for the assertions of SHN, until those confessions will be presented and proven not to be lies, or extorted through torture or other forms of pressure … they are nothing but claims.

    The spy plane footage only proves that Israel was surveilling a lot of Lebanese territory. Tell us something we didn’t already know. So they were looking at areas where Lebanese politicians hang out. BFD.

    And Israeli operations inside Lebanon … are also old hats. But nothing that points towards assassination of Hariri, let alone prooves it.

    You want to believe whatever suits your view of the world … others want to see hard evidence and question political leaders – ALL of them.

    I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree, habiibii. ;-)

    –MSK*

    Posted by MSK* | August 9, 2010, 3:49 pm
  39. What are you expecting? A video that clearly shows an “Israeli” carrying a star of david flag, screaming in Hebrew while he’s detonating the bomb? That’s nonsense. The collection of evidence clearly points to one direction. Yet, there is absolutely not a shred of credible evidence pointing toward Syria or HA. This clearly leads to the conclusion that the International Investigation is politicized.

    Posted by Nour | August 9, 2010, 3:54 pm
  40. Ya Nour,

    Please re-read my previous comment. To summarize: “Claims are not evidence.”

    –MSK*

    Posted by MSK* | August 9, 2010, 3:57 pm
  41. I guess the whole point is that the “international” court did not get this footage, though it obviously was there. And presumably Hezbollah and Israel were not the only ones with access.

    Posted by interested | August 9, 2010, 3:59 pm
  42. there is obviously a clear pattern between the *types* and focus of the surveillance and israeli directed assassinations over time. the evidence presented is very convincing in ‘raising the horizon’ of the investigation.

    plus, the political context is everything — israel’s and the US’s attempt to foster sectarian rivalry across the region, and to weaken syria and hzb.

    it fits perfectly.

    another israeli screw up. typical for that insane regime.

    Posted by HGF | August 9, 2010, 3:59 pm
  43. Great job and thanks QN!

    Posted by Darwish | August 9, 2010, 4:04 pm
  44. I have to watch the presentation sometime soon.

    But on the basis of QN’s blogging, It doesn’t seem that Nasrallah presented anything groundbreaking. There do seem to be a lot of pieces that could be put together (particularly, if it is true that Hizbullah was tracking Israeli collaborators that were working in the area just prior to the murder, they would have records of that). Though, he does give plenty of evidence by which the tribunal could falsely indict Hizbullah members (mistaking Hizbullah’s tail for being part of the assassination team).

    Overall, most significantly, I think that this will be approximately equal to the quality of evidence used by the tribunal to make its indictments. It simply leads me to believe that this case should be closed without indictments. If there was better evidence out there, it would have been acted upon by now. All that’s left is speculation on inconclusive circumstantial evidence.

    Posted by Joe M. | August 9, 2010, 4:04 pm
  45. They are not claims. They are evidence. You are completely turning the nature of investigations upside down. There were spies working for “Israel” who clearly confessed their involvement in operations on behalf of “Israel”. This is only one piece. There were footages of MK planes clearly focusing on a particular road and particular points on that road at a particular time. There were evidence of “Israeli” involvement in other assassinations. There were spies also working in the telecom sector on behalf of “Israel.” All this evidence should lead the investigation toward a particular direction. Yet the international investigation chose instead to rely on the fabricated testimonies of false witnesses.

    Posted by Nour | August 9, 2010, 4:06 pm
  46. nour — spies who confessed involvement in OTHER operations and crimes, and snippets of what is likely hundreds if not thousands of hours of israeli surveillance of lebanese territory.

    syria also had spies, monitored lebanon and its politicians, and took part in operations on lebanese soil. according to your logic, does this that syria and israel must have assassinated hariri together?

    Posted by f | August 9, 2010, 4:13 pm
  47. Nour,
    No one is claiming that antone should jump to any conclusions. The thing to do is to respect the process and hear the endictment, the evidence, the trial and the rulings . That is about it. It was Nasrallah who has chosen to challenge the evidence prior to its being presented . I must agree with MSK*, today’s performance reminds me of the Alexander pope line that says: ” Blessed the one who expects nothing for he shall not be disappointed”. Well, I did not expect much based on the way this drama has been unfolding.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | August 9, 2010, 4:13 pm
  48. Joe M:

    I would disagree with you there. I don’t believe “If there was better evidence out there, it would have been acted upon by now.” because the investigation is politicized. There is no way this investigation was ever going to point the finger at “Israel.” That was not its mandate and was not the whole reason it was created.

    However, I would urge you to actually watch the press conference. The intercepted video footage clearly shows that “Israel” was focusing on particular points. It’s not just random general footage. I believe it is the most compelling evidence we have seen so far. Especially knowing that you’re never going to get slam dunk evidence clearly showing the “Israelis”, or anyone else for that matter, committing the crime.

    Posted by Nour | August 9, 2010, 4:13 pm
  49. *does this mean

    Posted by f | August 9, 2010, 4:13 pm
  50. Ya Nour,

    There is no proof yet that there were or are any spies, other than claims and confessions of men who have, so far, not seen any court of law where they could present evidence to their innocence.

    All we have are claims. We do not know if those “confessions” are real or made up.

    And the video footage is not exactly “same day” stuff. Also, we do not know if it’s even real Israeli footage.

    Sorry, but I’d like to see “hard, material evidence” not just claims by the head of a political party involved in all this.

    –MSK*

    Posted by MSK* | August 9, 2010, 4:14 pm
  51. I am sold! especially when I heard the music played while showing the MK or “EM Kemel” footage. By the way those red circles showing the road curves, were added by whom? Abu Kemel?

    Posted by V | August 9, 2010, 4:15 pm
  52. nour – the video footage does NOT show us israel’s focus! it merely shows us the focus of those clips selected by hezbollah as part of its press conference.

    Posted by f | August 9, 2010, 4:15 pm
  53. Ghassan,

    Nasrallah himself stated that this was never meant to be “hard evidence.” That simply doesn’t exist. But the point is that all that he presented is clear evidence that should have taken the investigation in a particular direction. At least to examine the possibility that “Israel” may have been responsible. But the investigation never EVER did that. There was never a serious attempt at objectively looking at all pieces of information and going where the evidence takes you. Rather the investigation was proceeding according to a pre-formed agenda. And this is where the problem is. The international investigation has proven to be politicized and therefore there is serious doubt as to its credibility.

    I think any objective reading of the entire collection of evidence would clearly lead one to at least consider “Israel” a possible suspect. Yet this was never allowed to even be pondered. And to claim that we should just wait for the indictments and then see if the courts will convict the suspects based on the evidence is nonsense. Because the whole point is to create chaos in Lebanon and to undermine the resistance. The indictments themselves will do this. Even if a few years down the road the suspects are acquitted, it won’t matter, because the indictments will have served their purpose. And since this international investigation has clearly been shown to be politicized I don’t see how we can just sit back and allow them to issue their indictments as if they are not functioning according to an agenda.

    Posted by Nour | August 9, 2010, 4:22 pm
  54. Stepping back from the Sayyed’s maskhara for a moment — thank you HP for the Thucyidides comment; I had much the same experience in 1982 while the Israelis were overhead (although I don’t think they had yet started planning for 2005).

    Posted by Zubaida | August 9, 2010, 4:22 pm
  55. Here’s a riddle: how do you tell when the advert for one ramadan soap opera ends and another begins?

    In search of common ground, can we all agree, at least, that Lebanese television IS a Zionist plot to weaken Lebanon’s youth?

    PS: Good god!!! Something called the Cedar Stampede with music by the Rednex? Get you tickets now: “El Rancho is hosting the first festival of a kind in Lebanon and the Middle East, under the patronage of the Ministry of Tourism: The Cedar Stampede. Experience real Tex-Mex flavours with performances by Apache Indians, Rodeo world champions and many more.”

    The kitsch capital of the world, hands down!!!

    Posted by david | August 9, 2010, 4:23 pm
  56. Joe m,
    Could you make a couple of remarks about your professional interpretation of the phrase “in the public interest; as it appears in the following statement from the STL:

    “Once he reaches the conclusion that there is sufficient evidence of the commission of a crime by an individual to justify the filing of an indictment and that it is in the public interest to do so, he will present the indictment setting out the charges to the Pre-trial judge for confirmation.”

    Does the public interest standard offer the prosecutor the option of not filling charges/ making indictments?

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | August 9, 2010, 4:23 pm
  57. First great coverage QN!!

    What I found most fascinating by this conference is not the evidence presented, but the fact that Hezbollah was able to intercept MK’s transmissions, decode them and obtain the incredible footage shown (did you see the shots on Oyoun es-simen?). It’s crazy that Israelis engineers didn’t even think of using encryption. And kudos for Hezb’s engineers (I bet they come from AUB :P).

    About the evidence presented, it clearly isn’t extensive (A full presentation of the evidence shown and not shown will take much more than 2 hours), but I can see the big lines in the reasoning: Israel has the motive to assassinate non-Hezb personalities (as shown by the spy’s testimonials). It has been extensively monitoring their moves. Plus, it has been proven in the past that whenever it monitors an area, there’s a chance that an action will occur there. Finally, right before Hariri’s assassination, a large amount of Israeli’s activities had been observed.

    Of course, the way Hezb’s presented the evidence was (and should be) obviously skewed. And we really cannot reach trustable conclusion unless more data is revealed and more analysis and comparison of data was made.

    Anyways, I don’t believe that the STL will even consider the evidence, and even so, it will not affect the decision (do you really think they will increment Israel?). This conference will only serve to raise more doubt around STL’s work and accelerate the burial of this whole investigation. I believe that Hezb’s image benefited from a huge boost tonight (Hezb must have really good PR consultants).

    Posted by Habib | August 9, 2010, 4:35 pm
  58. Here is the relevant excerpt of the 1/1/09 Haaretz artical by Amos Harel:

    “The German newspaper report presumably did not take Israel by complete surprise. Although Israeli intelligence shared the UN’s initial assessment that Syria was behind Hariri’s murder, there were dissenting views. A document submitted to the chief of Military Intelligence in late 2001, more than three years before the murder, predicted that Hariri might be murdered by Hezbollah. And shortly after the assassination, a senior MI official submitted a minority opinion that blamed Hezbollah rather than Syria for the killing.

    Hariri was killed by a bomb placed in a truck that was stolen from Japan, and the MI official’s view was that only Hezbollah, a globe-spanning terrorist organization, would have been able to pull off such a sophisticated, expensive attack, which included procuring accurate intelligence about Hariri’s movements. The official also opined that the attack served Iranian interests, and that Hezbollah had an interest in creating trouble for Syria.”

    Posted by lally | August 9, 2010, 4:37 pm
  59. I am always surprised by people like Nour: Nour and HA would have cried foul to Tehran and back should this sort of circumstantial evidence be used to indict SHN or HA.

    The real question is not just regarding some people’s logic but rather SHN current position and the reason underlying his weekly Chavez hour. All the hype for this? Really? Is this the “critical secret” that he was referring to or did I miss something?

    My guess is that the evidence against HA is at least as “strong” as the one SHN presented today and that he needed to put this counter-story out in the open and drill it in people’s minds, otherwise the STL’s story alone could be harmful and damaging and maybe convincing enough that even Nour may believe it!

    Posted by Guest | August 9, 2010, 4:43 pm
  60. Amir in #31 says
    “It’s obvious that the Arabs love their divine Sayed.”
    Way to paint over $350Million people with one brush, Amir, further employing sarcasm.
    You’re in good company with AIG who occasionally falls into such traps.
    And before you cry double-standard, quote and show me generalizations from others and I’ll equally condemn them.
    We’re after civil, intelligent, and objective debate here. Keep the superficial fifth-grade bullying for when you party with your friends.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | August 9, 2010, 4:48 pm
  61. I am no expert, but this is the way it works when you have no smoking gun: the “crown makes its case” and THEN the defense proposes alternatives and in doing so points the finger at another guilty party. Legally that is the way it should work.
    Because HA knows there will not be a day in court but only in public mind, they said why not present our case early on, the story that has been out there the longest will stick!

    Posted by Guest | August 9, 2010, 4:49 pm
  62. HP,

    Show me one occasion I made a generalization.
    You are libeling me, so bring the proof or shut up.

    Posted by AIG | August 9, 2010, 4:54 pm
  63. Inteenet connection dead so I revert to mobile phone. OTV is now airing Hassan’s theories part deux, as told by Wi’am Wahhab. For those of you who might have been swayed by Hassan half baked “proof”; a must see.

    Posted by Marillionlb | August 9, 2010, 4:58 pm
  64. HP,

    Where is the proof? It is very easy to spew libel. How about backing your claim?

    Posted by AIG | August 9, 2010, 5:10 pm
  65. with all due respects to musings on tautology,qn and the monkey-a deer to its mothers ‘s eye, thucidydes’ pelopponesian wars, the nechanics of pre-trial judge/prosecutor/indictment process etc… it seems to me that syed nasrallah has thrown, in a brilliant way, a polluting wrench into the international jury pool. and not just a ‘monkey wrench’! jeez! i thought i was ‘convinced’ by the mehlis report that syria and lahoud were the guilty ones…fancy that!! israeli perfidy cannot be underestimated. i trust that the stl report/indictments will be more enlightning than the effort of mehlis. i have doubts.

    Posted by anthony adamany | August 9, 2010, 5:14 pm
  66. I didn’t need to listen to HA leader’s press conference to be convinced that Israel is the main suspect in murdering the late PM Hariri. they have the motive(instability of Lebanon), the means( experts at killing).BTW, Israel and the usa are the only two countries who didn’t cooperate with the UN STL investigation. You guess why.
    Clearly, Syria, and HA had the most to loose by the murder of Hariri.

    Posted by PROPHET | August 9, 2010, 5:14 pm
  67. HP,

    I know you are very sensitive to insults. How come then you said nothing to Nour about the fact that in all his posts he puts Israel in quotation marks? He is insulting all Israelis. Seems that you don’t mind those insults do you?

    Posted by AIG | August 9, 2010, 5:15 pm
  68. There isn’t always a solid proof, AIG. Someone could ask you for a proof that God exists. No one can proof that at all, yet 99% of humanity believes that God exists.

    Posted by PROPHET | August 9, 2010, 5:21 pm
  69. HP,

    Where is your proof? Spewing libel and running away is cowardly.

    Posted by AIG | August 9, 2010, 5:21 pm
  70. I agree with Habib’s analysis.

    Ghassan,
    It is subjective. But I have never seen (in my short professional career) a prosecutor fail to move forward with indictments on a big case (even on weak evidence), because they tend to believe it is in the public interest to go to court, rather than not to. It’s just a mentality you get when you’ve been working on a case for a while.

    I wish prosecutors would ask the more basic questions of whether the entire structure of law they are using is in the public interests, for example, like harsh drug laws in the USA and thus decide not to proceed on minor drug cases that has severe penalties… but that is seldom the case.

    But again, the really important part is that it is highly likely that the tribunal is working from very incomplete evidence, of a similar nature to that presented by Nasrallah. And that makes me highly skeptical of the conclusions of any party.

    (though, i believe the zionists were the most likely to have done it)

    Posted by Joe M. | August 9, 2010, 5:21 pm
  71. AIG, I DIN’T FORGET ABOUT OUR DEBATE REGARDING “DEMOCRACY FOR JEWS ONLY” IN ISRAEL. IT’S JUST I’M TIED UP AT WORK.

    Posted by PROPHET | August 9, 2010, 5:22 pm
  72. I have to say I appreciate the comments made by Nour… of course we have to recognize that there is some political motivation behind the speech, and obviously Hezbollah cares very much about its image, not just in Lebanon, but the wider Arab world. Though I am sure the Tribunal will present evidence that is ‘just as compelling’ as tonights… we have to remember that nothing has been issued or said yet, so we really have no clue exactly who will be indicted and what the nature of the indictments will be (evidence et al). Once the indictments are issued then we can actually compare them with what was presented tonight. I lean towards disputing the claims that the footage is merely comprised of random selections. If the Israel’s were just monitoring the city in general, why not direct the cameras in a sweeping motion. It’s obvious from the footage that something was being closely watched – now whether that is explained by the presence of Syrian Intelligence outposts, as some have claimed, or a more sinister operation, we just don’t know. Despite all of this, I still wonder how the information that the STL was going to issue indictments against Hezbollah members was leaked in the first place. Either I completely missed something in the news or there are some serious holes in the investigation itself, which I think has already been pretty clear from the start. Maybe I’m just out of the loop, but how many of us knew prior to this speech that Hezbollah was able to tap into these feeds in the first place?

    Anyway – I’m still unclear on some of the details if someone could help clear them up for me.

    Who exactly was responsible for procuring the confessions of the spies that were mentioned? I’m confused as to whether it was the Lebanese government and whether or not those testimonies were submitted to the STL.

    It’s also worth remembering that from the outset the prime target of the STL has been Syria… no other theories were considered from the outset. I would definitely recommend reading this interview with Jurgen Cain Kulbel who wrote a book following the assassination where he focused on the theory of Israel’s complicity. The transcript of the interview is quite interesting, though unfortunately the book has not been translated into English. Has anyone heard of this or read it?

    Thanks again to QN for the transcript of tonights speech. And yes, Habib, I was sitting tonight with plenty of AUB’s engineering majors while watching the speech at AUB hahaha.

    Posted by jfsouza | August 9, 2010, 5:23 pm
  73. It was pretty weak. Film gleaned from over a decade of UAVs photographing major Lebanese cities?

    Posted by Mushkelji | August 9, 2010, 5:25 pm
  74. AIG!!YOU JUST GAVE ME AN IDEA,I WILL START PUTTING ISRAEL IN QUOTAION MARKS. DON’T TAKE IT AS AN INSULT, IT’S A REALITY THAT WE DON’T RECONIZE “ISRAEL”

    Posted by PROPHET | August 9, 2010, 5:28 pm
  75. Honest Patriot,

    It was my intention to generalize. Generalization makes life easier; black and white and that’s all.

    “civil, intelligent, and objective debate” is boring. I like it rough sweaty and non-PC.

    ===
    BTW
    I didn’t understand the linkage of the Hariri assassination with the Israeli commandos incident in the beach of Ansaria . Ma’ariv published in 2007 the fact that the Israeli UAV’s communication was compromised.

    http://www.fresh.co.il/vBulletin/showthread.php?t=346432#post2362457

    .

    Posted by Amir in Tel Aviv | August 9, 2010, 5:34 pm
  76. Amir,
    I Think he was trying to show a pattern of Israeli behavior when they have a military operation to conduct. At a first they conduct surveillance using the UAV, and eventually carry out either a commandos operation or some kind of assassination.

    Posted by PROPHET | August 9, 2010, 5:39 pm
  77. HP,

    I am still waiting for the proof.
    And as for double standards, when Joe M. wrote in comment 69:
    (though, i believe the zionists were the most likely to have done it)

    I didn’t see anyone complaining including you. Yes, all the Zionists killed Hariri. We are all murderers.

    Posted by AIG | August 9, 2010, 5:48 pm
  78. On the drone feeds:

    Encryption of the video feed from a drone presents an issue because it slows down the feed, especially when using satellite links.
    These feeds can be intercepted using of-the-shelf equipments as is known since the 90’s.
    (although critical feeds like the control feeds are of course encrypted).

    Israel began using hardware encryption (which is fast and) on its drones from the early 2000’s. The videos presented are undoubtedly genuine Israeli non-encrypted feeds from before 2000, but very unlikely than any of those were from 2005, close to Hariri’s assassination and therefore not likely to be associated with it.

    US drones, by the way, are still non-encrypted and won’t be until 2014:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/18/AR2009121804281.html

    Posted by G | August 9, 2010, 5:53 pm
  79. G,

    Just a little correction. The encryption does not have to slow down the feed, it makes the delay, between when the pictures were taken to when they are viewed in the control center, longer. The delay is the transmission time plus the encryption time. The pictures are thus more “stale”. That is why the hardware encryption solves the problem.

    What do you make of the fact that the pictures are not FLIR?

    Posted by AIG | August 9, 2010, 6:01 pm
  80. AIG out of all you picked the old lady to argue with !!? whatchout for the rolling pin behind her back :)

    Posted by V | August 9, 2010, 6:02 pm
  81. Amir. Thanks for the link.

    From what I can tell, the army refuted the Maariv information. Given the reaction in the Israeli media, this “old” news is taking center stage.

    Will have to wait a bit for analysis pieces to appear; unless the military censor embargoes them.

    Given that there is “large” movement of IDF ground force assets moving toward the borders w/ Lebanon & Syria……Just a warning, we are to understand.

    Posted by lally | August 9, 2010, 6:03 pm
  82. V,

    Old or young, nobody should spew libel. By the way HP, where is your proof to back your libel? I am still waiting.

    Posted by AIG | August 9, 2010, 6:09 pm
  83. AIG;

    You are right about the time lag, of course, but I am not sure there wouldn’t be an additional effect of the feed’s bit rate.
    I’m no expert on encryption but I would guess it might introduce an “overhead” on the data feed just like error-correcting protocols do on the Internet. In that case, the feed would slow down because of the need to transmit more data.

    As for the question of FLIR, I guess the simplest answer would be the pictures were taken during the day. J the fact a drone has FLIR capabilities doesn’t mean they are always used.

    Posted by G | August 9, 2010, 6:14 pm
  84. Joe m,
    You have heard me say this before and I mean it; I am not wedded to any particular theory about who is responsible and who was at the top of the pyramid. I am certain of only one thing, it is not likely that there will be a smoking gun and if by chance there is then probably it will be for only foot soldiers. I do not want to rehash what we have said over the past few weeks except to say that I do not share your conviction about the Israelis because no one has explained how the Israelis could have influenced both the Syrian Mukhabarat and the Lebanese authorities not to preserve the crime seen. Fitzgerald, if I remember correctly, was shocked by the fact that there was a rush to cover up the crime seen.
    Whoever pulled the trigger was simply an actor in a sophisticated plan. Definitely the planners were not amateurs.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | August 9, 2010, 6:18 pm
  85. From YNET’s Breaking News feed:

    Nasrallah: Israeli drones documented Hariri murder
    Published: 08.09.10, 22:59 / Israel News

    share
    Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah described the exact times and locations in which Israeli drones flew over Lebanese territory on the day before the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri, as well as on the day of his death, in order to prove that Israel was watching the murder from the sky.

    “We are bringing up information that requires the launching of a real investigation. Those who desire to arrive at the truth must take this information and investigate the Israelis,” he told a special press conference. (Roee Nahmias)

    Posted by lally | August 9, 2010, 6:22 pm
  86. Lally;

    The Maariv story is talking about the 97′ operation, in which we can all agree the feed was indeed non-encrypted and intercepted by Hizbullah since we all saw it with our own eyes today.
    But the Hariri assassination took place in 2005, after Israel started to use encrypted feeds (probably much because of what happened in 97′).

    If the intent was just to demonstrate Israel uses drones, well, OK then. But if you believe you saw evidence of drones looking on Hariri days before the assassination than I am betting what we saw were actually old video’s being put out of context.

    Posted by G | August 9, 2010, 6:24 pm
  87. Ghassam.

    Was strict preservation of crime scenes SOP? Who would have been officially charged with carrying out the protocols?

    Posted by lally | August 9, 2010, 6:26 pm
  88. FYI

    I was KIDDING when I said that HP was my mother.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | August 9, 2010, 6:26 pm
  89. lol QN sorry we need proof

    Posted by V | August 9, 2010, 6:30 pm
  90. G.

    I’m not confused about what happened when. My point was the official denial of the Maariv claims. (Some posters on the “Fresh” thread posit that denials were made in order to protect morale)

    Posted by lally | August 9, 2010, 6:33 pm
  91. Nasrallah produced nothing of substance. Spies that “confessed” after interrogation by Syrian mukhabarat?? Ya sure!

    It seems if Nasrallah’s “proof” was this; he was be writing his farewell speech or paying for his tombstone.

    All the footage that most likely was edited and over a decade old proves nothing!

    Let’s wait for the indictments and the natural process before passing judgments!

    Posted by danny | August 9, 2010, 6:51 pm
  92. Wooha! This blog moves fast!

    – QN, habibi, 3am tinkirni? yeee, yeee, ma3lesh… (just kidding, of course.. Folks, I confirm that there is no parental lineage between HP and QN).

    – Amir, I like your style: you declare your intention and your method. Fine, I won’t bother you any more.

    – AIG: give me a bit of time to review what you’re asking and respond. Just a quick response your request for me to disavow a statement from Joe M., namely, “..the zionists were the most likely to have done it.” Yeah, another generalization. Noted. However, I have to take you back to SC days, and if Joe M. here — who in fact sounds quite rational and intelligent now, save for the generalization you noted and maybe others — if he is the same Joe M. as back in the old days of SC, then I have to take you back there to search the record and discover the intense debate I had at that time, essentially dismissing what was then perceived by me to be irrational extremism. As a result, I no longer read his posts. Probably ditto with many others. Note that the fact that I pay attention to you means I perceive that it’s worth debating and pointing things out to you. Already, such recognition is a mark of honor. Now for the other stuff… lemme read it and respond…

    Posted by Honest Patriot | August 9, 2010, 7:01 pm
  93. Ghassan,
    I don’t have a “conviction” on who did it, I have a belief about who i think was most likely to have done it.

    As for getting rid of the evidence at the scene, i would suspect that to have been the result of typical embarrassment by the Lebanese government. There need not have been a conspiracy in that respect, as incompetence would have been sufficient and predictable. But that can be easily investigated and determined, all the people who did it are still alive…

    I agree it was professional. And I am more convinced now than ever that it is best not to indict Hizbullah members. (I must watch the speech sometime soon, maybe the video itself was more compelling than the descriptions, but it seems very clear that the culprit will never be found and that moving forward on bad evidence is a recipe for disaster).

    Posted by Joe M. | August 9, 2010, 7:04 pm
  94. AIG,

    Review your post:

    http://qifanabki.com/2010/08/02/nasrallah-tribunal/#comment-11862

    and my response/comment:

    http://qifanabki.com/2010/08/02/nasrallah-tribunal/#comment-11864

    There’s one example. Mind you, remember also the posts in which I praise you. Note both.

    And, lighten up a bit. Libel? libel? Commenting that you have at times engaged in generalizations is libel?
    Hmmm… someone needs a vacation.

    Look at Amir. He’s proud of his generalizations. There are many Arab Amirs as well.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | August 9, 2010, 7:14 pm
  95. AIG,

    Review your post:
    #comment-11862

    and my response/comment:
    #comment-11864

    There’s one example. Mind you, remember also the posts in which I praise you. Note both.

    And, lighten up a bit. Libel? libel? Commenting that you have at times engaged in generalizations is libel?
    Hmmm… someone needs a vacation.

    Look at Amir. He’s proud of his generalizations. There are many Arab Amirs as well.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | August 9, 2010, 7:15 pm
  96. Joe M said:

    “And I am more convinced now than ever that it is best not to indict Hizbullah members. (I must watch the speech sometime soon, maybe the video itself was more compelling than the descriptions, but it seems very clear that the culprit will never be found and that moving forward on bad evidence is a recipe for disaster).

    …and you are supposedly a lawyer! You seem to be the one who is politicizing the STL. Is it so hard for you to wait and see the evidence before becoming the judge and the executioner?

    You make me laugh to the extent you are grasping at straws! Why is it clear to you that the culprit will never be found?

    Posted by danny | August 9, 2010, 7:18 pm
  97. HP,

    Which statement in my post that you linked to do you take to be a generalization? There are no generalizations in my post. Just pure facts about Lebanon that you do not like. It is not my problem that you are insulted by the truth.

    Posted by AIG | August 9, 2010, 7:38 pm
  98. I read QN’s live blogging/summary of the speech and I am a bit puzzled. There is absolutely no evidence that Israel is responsible and nothing that indicates Israel is likely to be responsible. All you have is:
    1. Nasrallah speculating that Israel benefits from chaos so would assassinate Hariri to create chaos; and
    2. It one point, Israel took videos of areas in Lebanon that were relevant to the assassination scene.

    1 is really silly, since it is likely wrong – Israel would benefit more from Hariri being in power and chaos has been good for Hezbollah, not March 14th. In any event, an equally, if not more credible case could be made that Syria did it because Syria benefits from Chaos or Hizbollah did it because Hizbollah benefits from chaos. It is a stupid point and I am not sure why Nasrallah made it.

    2. Is a logical fallacy. While Israel may have photographed the relevant scenes at the relevant times (that last point isn’t clear at all from Nasrallah’s speech), it isn’t evidence or even probative of anything. You can’t conclude Israel focused on a particular site and therefore took action at that site unless you know what else it was photographing. It may have taken pictures of hundreds of sites and travel routes as part of its intelligence gathering, which would be natural if it wanted to track the movements of Lebanon’s leadership. Unless you know what else they photographed and how often, you can’t conclude anything from those particular photos (and Nasrallah indicates there were lots of photographs — “Hizbullah formed a team of experts to go through our enormous archive of Israeli surveillance films”).

    Maybe Israel was responsible, but Nasrallah presented nothing to make that a more credible claim than it would be if he simply made the accusation with no support.

    What is interesting about Nasrallah’s speech is therefore not what he presented as support, which is very little, but that he felt compelled to say anything at all. It seems to me that all he is doing is presenting a fig leaf for a loyalty test of his supporters.

    Posted by dontgetit | August 9, 2010, 7:38 pm
  99. AIG, you called Lebanon a racist country. This is a generalization.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | August 9, 2010, 8:01 pm
  100. HP,

    A country in which blacks can’t vote is a racist country. It is not a generalization. A country in which only a Sunni can be PM is racist. That is a fact, not a generalization. I did not say all the people in Lebanon are racist. That would be a generalization. I said the country is based on racist laws and it is.

    You need to find another example.

    Posted by AIG | August 9, 2010, 8:20 pm
  101. AIG, there are 15 million (or so) Jews worldwide. Do you know how many Lebanese worldwide ?

    Posted by Honest Patriot | August 9, 2010, 8:24 pm
  102. AIG – You are mostly all complicit, whether it is the murder of Hariri we are talking about or not.

    Jfsouza – It was Nasrallah who came out and said that mini-Hariri told him that the STL will issue indictments against HA members.

    To quote QN: “…the most noteworthy thing that Nasrallah said was the following:

    “Before his trip to Washington, Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri visited me, and I am grateful for his visit. What I am about to report right now comes from my estimation that [al-Hariri] was eager… and prepared to cooperate for the sake of protecting the country. So he said to me: “ Ya Sayyid, in such-and-such a month… an indictment will be issued that accuses members of Hizbullah [of assassinating your father]. These people are renegades, and the party has no connection with them. I promised you in the past that if such a thing were to occur, I would declare publicly that Hizbullah has no connection with it… [and that] there were some renegades who carried out this operation.” [And we discussed] the country and the sensitive conditions, and how we need to cooperate, etc. ””

    Also while it was not known with certainty that HA was intercepting the video feed on Israeli UAVs and planes, it would have been easy to guess. I remember reading, years ago, that Muqtada Al-sadr’s militia in Iraq was doing the same with American UAVs; so it was not surprising at all.

    Posted by Nasser V | August 9, 2010, 8:26 pm
  103. AIG,never mind. I rest my case. Feel free to take it as a win.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | August 9, 2010, 8:34 pm
  104. lally,
    i didn’t mean to dismiss your question but I had to take my daily jog, sorry about that. Why would anyone suspect that preservation of the scene of a crime is SOP? I don’t mean this to be a flippant remark in any way but I would have expected this to be SOP unless it is pure incompetence as Joe m is suggesting or an intentional effort to make it difficult to comb through the evidence.
    donetgetit,
    I would be interested if anyone cares to respond to the important question that you ask that is never answered. Why is it beneficial to Israel to murder Hariri. I have raised this issue a number of times but I have never gotten an answer besides the pure emotional ones . Is there a relatively rational explanation why having say Mikati or Hoss as PM is more beneficial to the Israelis?

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | August 9, 2010, 8:54 pm
  105. I feel that I should use one more arrow in my quiver to make , briefly, the argument one more time , for the principle of the rule of law.
    Forget our previous discussions during which I referred to Plato, Montesqiue, the US supreme court etc… The memory of the world cup games is probably still fresh in our minds. A basic rule of the game is that all players have to accept the jugement of the ref for all plays. Refs do make mistake and they might make a call that some will consider to be unfair but the only way that the game can be played is for both parties to accept the rulings of the whistle by the ref. There has to be a process to determine the outcome of the game. In civil society we accept the judicial system tio make these calls. They never get everyione to agree ion the call but that is to be expected. What is important though is for both to accept the ruling even though it might mean that some will go home without any medals and others will go home with gold.

    That is why we have no choice but to accept the final ruling of the STL, close the book and go on.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | August 9, 2010, 9:17 pm
  106. HP,

    Not so fast. What is your case anyway? After all, you are the great supporter of “logic”. So make your case. My contention is that you don’t have any case and what you wrote about me is completely untrue. How can you be preaching for a sensible debate and then throw frivolous accusations and run away? So, let’s see your logic in action.

    You still owe me an answer about what Nour wrote. How about what Nasser V wrote:
    “You are mostly all complicit, whether it is the murder of Hariri we are talking about or not.”

    HP, clean your own backyard before preaching to others.

    Posted by AIG | August 9, 2010, 9:18 pm
  107. AIG – a country which grants citizenship to Jews only, and treats its black Jewish population as second class citizens is what? A bastion of racial/ethnic equality?

    Lebanon is, in many ways, a racist state with racist attitudes. I’m amazed that you have time to point this out with regards to Lebanon and it’s political ‘troika’ arrangement, but can’t see how inherently racist every aspect of Israel is.

    Go clean your own backyard you stupid fool.

    Posted by SydneySider | August 9, 2010, 9:29 pm
  108. I believe he only gave part #1; and reserved more for when it is necessary. HA never fires all their bullets in one outing.

    If STL is using only circumstancial evidence then HA gave enough of it to counter; If not then we’ll have part #2.

    Posted by r | August 9, 2010, 9:52 pm
  109. SydneySider,

    Why are you butting into an argument that isn’t yours plus show yourself an ignoramus? Israel grants citizenship to plenty of non Jews, for example if they marry an Israeli citizen either female or male. How does that law work in Lebanon?

    Israel as a country does not discriminate against its black citizens. There are some racists in Israel that do but this is not a state policy.

    By the way, where do you think a Filipino domestic would prefer to work? In my racist country or in your racist country? How many domestics committed suicide in Lebanon last year? How many in Israel?

    My motto has been all along, let’s stop preaching to each other and try to look to the future. If you had read also some other threads from which this argument is a carry over, you would have known that it is not I that started this shitting contest. The fact is there is always some Lebanese on this blog that cannot resist the urge to start trashing Israel and criticize it. So, your indignant wrath should be directed at them.

    Posted by AIG | August 9, 2010, 9:56 pm
  110. BTW, nice treatment for an American VIP with Lebanese descent.

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3931210,00.html

    definition of apartheid:
    1.An official policy of racial segregation formerly practiced in the Republic of South Africa, involving political, legal, and economic discrimination against nonwhites.
    2.A policy or practice of separating or segregating groups.
    3.The condition of being separated from others; segregation.

    Posted by r | August 9, 2010, 9:58 pm
  111. oops, from Leb descent

    Posted by r | August 9, 2010, 9:58 pm
  112. Danny,
    I am not fully convinced, but said i am “more convinced”. But, it is a stretch of the imagination to think that an international investigation with a budget of more than $150 million will take 5 years and then arrive with hard and concrete evidence. Most crime investigations hardly have a couple investigators, and hardly have a few thousand dollar budgets, but come to conclusions faster and solidly. Granted that this is a complicated case, but even that doesn’t explain the opacity and delay of this case.

    Maybe i am over relying on my trust for Hizbullah, but i assume that their investigation was likely deep enough in scope to be representative of the type of evidence we will see via the tribunal. There’s only so much possible information available here. And after all these years, it is only reasonable to assume that the reason they have taken so long is because they haven’t have the evidence to conclude. At some point, it becomes ridiculous, and then indictments come on the basis of a theory of the case, which is a guess based on evidence. Just as hizbullah’s. and that’s what we are sure to be left with.

    Ghassan,
    Regarding incompetence, it seems likely to me. Had there been mal-intent, I think we’d know by now. And even very professional teams can easily destroy evidence accidentally.

    As for Israel’s potential motive, I think it was no stretch (prior to Hariri’s death) to have known that killing Hariri would throw lebanon into chaos, and that the Syria/Hizbullah side would likely be the loser of the chaos that was to follow. It would not have been much of a surprise to those who killed Hariri that there would have been significant sympathy, and that Lebanese public opinion would turn against Syria (particularly). That seems motive enough to me (assuming the killers knew their assassination plan was solid and they would not immediately get caught).

    An alternative motive could be that Hariri was intending to return to politics and would turn against Syria on his own (as was widely reported at the time). So, Syria didn’t seem an impossible culprit. but it appears that has now been ruled out. I can’t see a serious argument that Hizbullah would have done it, as this is not their MO, and they had no need to fight their internal rivals this way. If they wanted to act militarily against their rivals, they could have simply done so (like they did may 9th, 2008).

    I don’t have the energy or time to re-engage in the discussion regarding the rule of law in general, except to say that I would have more faith in the tribunal if it was not parachuted in from Geneva, with very political motives, born of an international environment (at the time) that was dominated by rage, revenge, and a (mostly) retarded Texas cowboy. Id be more likely to consider the tribunal part of the “law” if hizbullah members were represented in it, and was deliberately widely representative of lebanon (not only Washington, the Hariri family, Riyadh, and some incoherently assigned prosecutors like Mehlis or the current italian guy).

    Posted by Joe M. | August 9, 2010, 9:59 pm
  113. AIG, are you hitsraeli man? Are you saying that histrael is not racist :) .. very loud mouth you got bozo.

    Not only they are racist, they also are the oppressors of the poor, weak, and defenseless. They are the continuation of Hitler hence my name for them Hitsrael.

    I see that HA and Iran might not fit the west’s definition of democracy; But at least they are not occupying and oppressing any other people’s land. Besides what kind of a crummy democracy that is when they preach it but then conveniently reject it’s results in some places.

    Posted by r | August 9, 2010, 10:04 pm
  114. r,

    Let’s see if there is apartheid in Lebanon. Are the Palestinians segregated and have less rights than others in Lebanon? Of course, therefore Lebanon is an apartheid state.

    It is a pity that Shalala was treated this way and such an incident should not recur. But even she said herself that she understood why and said she is not angry. The incident was first reported in the Israeli press by the way which of course criticized the handling of this case.

    Posted by AIG | August 9, 2010, 10:11 pm
  115. HP,

    What do you think about r’s contention that Israel is “the continuation of Hitler hence my name for them Hitsrael”.

    In your opinion is this an insult?

    You are not doing your job. You were very diligent with Amir and me. What happened afterwards?

    Posted by AIG | August 9, 2010, 10:14 pm
  116. Ghassam.

    I was asking if crime scene preservation protocols are standardized operating procedures in Beirut.

    FYI, Israel has made lousy calculations in the past about the benefits of creating divisions between their enemies. The most baleful example of their machinations was the Mossad decision to empower Hamas in order to weaken the PLO. More recently, Israeli (and American) support for Fateh thug Mohammed Dahlan and his militia resulted in the rout that firmly established Hamas’ control over Gaza.

    Ingrained Israeli contempt for “Arabs” often distorts their abilities to accurately assess probabilities of success/failure. This problem is most noticeable among the politicals. Conversely, the most pragmatic voices suggesting hudnas and/or peace deals come from the highest ranks of the professionals who have served in Israel’s defense sectors.

    Posted by lally | August 9, 2010, 10:17 pm
  117. Could someone please post links to video of Nasrallah’s speech and, if possible, to an English transcript?

    Could follow it live but would like to see it.

    Thanks!

    Posted by b | August 9, 2010, 10:19 pm
  118. AIG, You are twisted dude. Palestinains in Lebanon should be where they belong in a free west bank and gaza palestinian state.

    I agree they are not treated well, but look who’s talking? The one that terrorized them in the first place, that stripped away their degnity, land and livlihood. Do you see how you are treating them in west bank and gaza man?

    Can you at least give Lebanon money so they can treat them better? You expect a little state like Lebanon to be able to swallow 600K of them just like that (like the USA taking in 80M mexicans in one shot)?

    The truth is I do not like Lebanon to be ruled by iran and HA, but when having a Hitler nation on the south side it makes Iran and HA a good choice.

    Posted by r | August 9, 2010, 10:19 pm
  119. Do upon others what Hitler did upon you. Continuing the chain of evil.

    Let me ask you this? You were waiting for the Messiah but are you still? or do the nukes you have now became him?

    You think the G-d of Abraham approves of you? .. I tell you think again :)

    Posted by r | August 9, 2010, 10:24 pm
  120. Do you see how you are treating them in west bank and gaza man?

    AIG,

    It looks like the Zionist Nazi “death camp” in the West Bank is doing better. Although
    we still haven’t found the crematorium and the mass graves, at least the economy there is improving. Much better than the Lebanese Utopia we all want to emulate;)

    Of course the Gaza death camp is still lagging. I’m still trying to figure out why.

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/west-bank-economy-heading-toward-growth-for-first-time-in-years-1.7967

    Posted by Akbar Palace | August 9, 2010, 11:26 pm
  121. r,

    The God of Abraham will be pleased with us as soon as we take Lebanon. After all, this is what he said to Joshua:

    Joshua 1:1-6.

    1 After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: 2 “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites. 3 I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. 4 Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates—all the Hittite country—to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. 5 No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. 6 Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.

    Don’t worry, I am an atheist. You can keep Lebanon as far as I am concerned. What I don’t understand is how you, a religious person can deny that your country belongs to the Jews. The God of Abraham clearly promised it to us.

    Posted by AIG | August 10, 2010, 12:06 am
  122. ya AIG, I think I wrote often before that I have engaged in the past with extremist and overgeneralizing statements on both sides but I’m not, do not want to be, nor do I have time, to be the consistent police for such statement and behavior on this blog.
    You can be sure that I condemn such statements.

    As far as using logic with you, I have to tell you my friend that I believe my case about your occasional stretch of reality, “a la Amir” speaks for itself and when i point it out you engage in sophism that I have decided it’s no longer of interest to me. Nor should I need to remind you – again – that I have argued vociferously in old SC days against folks who were attacking you and AP, or that I have recently pointed out an impressive evolution in the quality of your posts, etc.

    The fact is now, as the statements I pointed out speak for themselves, you maintain that you are essentially infallible. I have lost interest. There is no running away here. My last admonition – which I know will go unheeded – is that when you read wrong and insulting overgeneralization, the best strategy is to point them out. Be sure that a silent majority of readers get it. Tit-for-tat diminishes the value of any argument one is making. I think I made this statement before. When you tell me to “clean [my] own backyard before preaching others” you miss the point. I am not on a mission to “clean my own backyard.” I tried engaging with what seems like an eventual partner in peace. And yes, calling Israel “the continuation of Hitler hence [Nasser V's] name for them Hitsrael” is an insult and is incorrect. Like Amir, Nasser V is seeking to shock and wants to use this style. After pointing this out one time to Amir, and him explaining his attitude, I stopped pointing anything about him. He declared his method and his posts speak for themselves. Ditto for Nasser V and others.

    Earlier you had made the statement that each party needs to take on the extremist in their camp. I agree that evolution in the Arab world will happen when, under the progressive thinking and influence of modern thinkers there, society evolves and, in particular, in the words of Thomas Friedman, Islam evolves into “Islam 2.0″
    The question is what is happening in Israel? After the assassination of one of the most courageous leaders – Itzhak Rabin – the rightwing extremists take over. You now have Bibi Netanyahu, deplorable oppression of the Palestinians in Gaza (and please don’t lecture me about the Palestinians in Lebanon – I know), the hidden agenda to keep pushing the religious utopia of the Great Israel “from the Nile to the Euphrates.” You declare that you’re an atheist, that the Jews are a Nation and not a religion, and engage endlessly in this blog. I’m not quite sure what you are achieving, given that when someone does try to engage you in a positive way – as I believe I did – you fail to see the opening and instead, reflecting probably your left-brain disposition leading to nerdy pride, maintain a wholier than thou attitude as far as the infallibility of your own statements and arguments.

    Need I say more? I think not, and really would rather not.

    Know Thyself, Socrates is quoted to have said. It still rings true.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | August 10, 2010, 1:21 am
  123. AIG, you are not a Jew anymore since you did not accept Jesus his son. Check out Romans chapter 9 versus 6,7,8.

    6 But it is not as though (A)the word of God has failed (B)For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; 7 nor are they all children (C)because they are Abraham’s descendants, but: “(D)THROUGH ISAAC YOUR DESCENDANTS WILL BE NAMED.”
    8 That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are (E)children of God, but the (F)children of the promise are regarded as descendants.

    I don’t have time to talk more about this today, i will catch you here another time if interested. Just one little thing for you to think of:

    –> When the jews were still G-d’s people, and when they came back from Babylon in 605 BC the temple was built within 15 years.

    My buddy, you only got a temple mount now .. if you were still his people the temple would have been built

    Posted by r | August 10, 2010, 2:10 am
  124. Israeli strategists rely on game theory models to ensure the intended response to staged provocations and manipulated crises. With the use of game theory algorithms, those responses become predictable, even foreseeable-within an acceptable range of probabilities. The waging of war “by way of deception” is now a mathematical discipline.

    Such “probabilistic” war planning enables Tel Aviv to deploy serial provocations and well-timed crises as a force multiplier to project Israeli influence worldwide. For a skilled agent provocateur, the target can be a person, a company, an economy, a legislature, a nation or an entire culture-such as Islam. With a well-modeled provocation, the anticipated reaction can even become a powerful weapon in the Israeli arsenal.

    Posted by r | August 10, 2010, 2:12 am
  125. AIG, just a side note. I do not hate you and will never take up arms to fight you; But that does not stop me from saying the truth as I see it; and that your nation should stop opressing the weak, poor and defenseless. And I sincerely hope that one day you repent.

    Posted by r | August 10, 2010, 2:16 am
  126. Here it is from differnt translation:

    6 Well then, has God failed to fulfill his promise to Israel? No, for not all who are born into the nation of Israel are truly members of God’s people! 7 Being descendants of Abraham doesn’t make them truly Abraham’s children. For the Scriptures say, “Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted,”[a] though Abraham had other children, too. 8 This means that Abraham’s physical descendants are not necessarily children of God. Only the children of the promise are considered to be Abraham’s children.

    Posted by r | August 10, 2010, 2:24 am
  127. Nasrallah was bluffing last week when he said that he has the proof. I think he was expecting something to happen prior to Monday 8:30 PM

    Posted by Michelle | August 10, 2010, 2:24 am
  128. AIG: Check out Genesis 3:15

    15 And I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike[b] your head, and you will strike his heel.”

    Your nation in the first century helped Satan strike Jesus in the heel. He is still the one leading you and the rest of world astray now.

    Posted by r | August 10, 2010, 2:40 am
  129. You want to get on the right side before Jesus strikes him in the head

    Posted by r | August 10, 2010, 2:41 am
  130. I believe Ziad Majed presents the best arguments about Nasrallah’s speech.
    Read it in arabic here:

    http://nowlebanon.com/Arabic/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=192820

    Posted by A Purple Monkey | August 10, 2010, 2:43 am
  131. It’s been a while on this comments section, but I see that not much has changed. AIG is still trying to convince the people of Lebanon that they an their country suck, and Hitler analogies fly left and right.

    All I have to add is this. I don’t quite get Israel’s alleged motive here. The argument that Israel would kill Hariri to generate an anti-Syria backlash seems to rest on being able to read history backwards. If before the Hariri assassination people had been asked to guess what the likely result of such an event would be, would many people have said “oh there would be a massive outcry leading to the expulsion of Syria from Lebanon?” In the western media at least, which admittedly was all I was reading at the time, people were amazed by Syria’s pullback even after it occurred. Killing Hariri to hurt Syria would have been very risky, even discounting the disastrous PR that would arise in the event Israel was caught or foiled. I don’t believe in proof by motive or exoneration by motive, people and countries make dumb decisions, but this theory doesn’t make much sense to me.

    I want to hear QN’s take on how compelling this evidence is. He is one of the only commentators I’ve found, like, anywhere in the middle east, who doesn’t automatically assume that any new information backs up whatever he already believed.

    Posted by Abraham Rotsapsky | August 10, 2010, 3:15 am
  132. My last post got garbled by lack of sleep. I was trying to say that I’d been away from the comments section for a while. Anyway, I’m glad that people are quoting scripture. It’s a nice new touch.

    Posted by Abraham Rotsapsky | August 10, 2010, 3:20 am
  133. QN,

    I have to say that I didn’t see “The press conference” though I’m in lebanon and everybody was was preparing himself a seat in front of tv. Actually I thought I would rely on your blog later in the night… and went to a cousin to see some old VHS tapes of the cult series: “Beit Khalté”.

    It took me a while to read some of the comments this article generated… But what really remains impressed in mind after so much talk and conversation is the picture that you put to illustrate the article in the first place: a huge crater (a black hole into oblivion) and hundreds of people around it with different point of views… almost a “وقوف على الأطلال” situation without poets but investigators and the Qifa Nabki that comes out is defenitly swallowed by the crater.
    The murder of Hariri might become one day a modern Tragedy, the plot is there (it also happened inside the “palace”), the characters, the background of wars is there, the chorus is there, it still lacks a murderer and one solid motive…

    thank you for this place you created.

    Salamat

    Beit Mery august 2010

    Posted by georges salameh | August 10, 2010, 4:29 am
  134. The “evidence” presented by Nasrallah about Israeli observation of the scene of the crime, is very much like the reported “evidence” about HA operatives being in contact and in and around that same scene of the crime. Nothing conclusive linking either to the actual murder. The absence of definitive evidence and the preponderance of conjectural evidence cannot lead to any acceptable “conviction.” Thus, we are back at square one; both the STL investigation and the hyped-up “revelations” of HA lead us to naught when it comes to actually determining with certainty those directly responsible for the assassination of Hariri.

    That also means that one needs to broaden the scope of the analysis of the event and to speculate using inductive reasoning about who most probably was responsible. This will not provide anything tangible for court proceedings (say goodbye to the STL), but it may help provide a sense of closure for those who may need it. Those Syrian and Lebanese intelligence officials at the time, who were responsible for keeping “law and order,” failed in their assigned tasks of protecting Hariri. This failure must have been the result of incompetence or collusion: follow that lead and find someone to hold responsible. Certainly, internal investigations have been completed, maybe even with dramatic results (especially in Syria); maybe one can find there more reassuring or more adequate indications about the perpetrators.

    Posted by Parrhesia | August 10, 2010, 8:17 am
  135. HP,

    There is a huge difference between being infallible which of course I’m not, and being a racist, which is what you accused me. It is not a matter of pride, it is a matter of principle.

    For some reason I get this feeling, (and I may be wrong about this), that some moderate Arabs believe that they must attack Israel or Israelis in order to get others to listen to their views. This is how you establish your “street cred” or reflect the accusations that you are a “Zionist stooge”.
    Do you fall into this camp? I think so. Well, it is time you looked yourself in the mirror and understood that this is just intellectual dishonesty. Israel is not a tool to help you engage with your extremists and the use of such methods will only make matters worse by making the Israeli electorate even more right leaning.

    I for example had a lot of sympathy for March 14 until they all started kissing Kuntar after he was released. Now, they are no different to me emotionally than Hezbollah.

    Engagement and trust building start with little things. Samir Kuntar got a university degree in prison in Israel. It would have been nice if there were a few Lebanese that would have demanded visitation rights from the Red Cross for Israeli prisoners in Lebanon. If you want to engage me and public opinion in Israel and move us from our current positions, these are the kind of things that would work.

    Posted by AIG | August 10, 2010, 10:13 am
  136. I still don’t understand why is everyone letting AIG hijack the comment section? Seriously people!!! just ignore and spare us the BS.

    As for the topic at hand, here are my two cents:

    Obviously there isn’t an absolute proof in what SHN said yesterday, then again I doubt anyone but a complete fool expected it. That said I believe the presentation has accomplished a couple of things.

    1) First and foremost it created reasonable doubt. When your client is accused of murder a good lawyer’s critical goal is to establish a reasonable doubt which I believe SHN has done a decent job at. While his presentation might have changed very few Lebanese minds who’s absolute majority has already made up their minds years ago. It can have an effect on the minds of the regional and international followers of Middle East politics.

    2) A great PR boost to HA. This I believe was the biggest accomplishment of yesterday’s press conference. The ‘technical accomplishments’ that HA shared yesterday were impressive (i.e accessing live feed of Israeli drones, etc.), but what really caught my attention was the structure of the conference itself and how information was shared. It screamed HOLLYWOOD. The dramatic background music, the voice over and slides were professional and very unusual when you are used to the tacky propaganda Arab information ministries or even HA’s usual regurgitated usually disseminates.

    The problem is that most people in this region on both sides of the political spectrum make up their mind depending on their political and/or sectarian bias. And nothing, not even irrefutable evidence hitting them straight in the face will change their mind.

    Abraham Rotsapsky – I understand your questions regarding the accusation toward Israel, but your argument can clearly backup Syria’s defenders as well. Hell it even makes a better defense since Syria had much to lose and little to gain from Hariri’s murder.

    But I also add my voice to yours and hope that Elias can give us his personal opinion on the matter.

    Posted by Innocent Criminal | August 10, 2010, 10:24 am
  137. Abraham, Innocent Criminal, and everyone else:

    There is a new post up! Let’s move the discussion there… (and leave the nastier parts of it here.)

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | August 10, 2010, 10:27 am
  138. AIG, (#135) I’ll respond here to avoid being off-topic on the new posting. And I’m really not interested in further engagement. You’re missing a lot of facts and making certain assumptions which I don’t believe this forum is the right place to correct.

    In your first paragraph you claim that I accused you of being a racist! Really? where? Check your facts first. The fact is that you got all bent out of shape when I said to Amir that he wrongly uses generalizations as you occasionally do. You took my qualifying your posts as occasionally containing generalization of libel! Sheesh! It’s really not interesting any more at all to debate you. Then you claim that I accused you of being a racist! This is a fabrication, AIG. Conscious or unconscious, I don’t know. Probably others have accused you of such but not me. On the other hand, you called Lebanon a racist country – and that’s probably the least of other insults and degrading qualifications you launch against Lebanon. Abraham picked up on that trend of yours in an amusing way. Note that we don’t really care what you think about Lebanon, given the monochromatic condescending bias you show towards that small country and its struggles. What is curious is how you spend so much time studying that country. If you were so disgusted by it why not just stay away and keep to your technology endeavors?

    In your second paragraph, a statement that says “some …. may be…. ” can of course only be right. However, you are wrong about me. You did not do your homework of researching the old archives of SC. I don’t seek validation from anyone on the Arab streets nor in this forum. Accusing someone of intellectual dishonest is an insult. None of your caveats change that fact. The fact is you don’t know so don’t go throwing accusations around.

    Your third paragraph is a generalization if ever there was one. March 14 was and is not one person nor one group. You didn’t see them all embrace Kuntar, nor can you assume that they condoned such embrace by anyone. Israel released Kuntar. Why don’t you go chastise the authorities that did.

    I rested my case before in our debate but you childishly kept nagging that you want proof (of generalizations you occasionally make). Well, in this last post of yours you provided the best proof, thank you very much. At this time, I really (really :-)) rest my case and hope that future accusations or insults from you towards me will be understood by readers as having completely valid and irrefutable rebuttals.

    Good luck to you AIG, sincerely, in your professional and family life. I am tempted to say God Bless you but you went on record as being an atheist so I’ll just pray for you but won’t ask you to recognize nor be thankful for this.

    Cheers and Adios

    Posted by Honest Patriot | August 10, 2010, 6:28 pm
  139. HP,

    You are being intellectually dishonest again. It is clear that I meant the March 14 leadership and not the March 14 followers who obviously did not all have opportunities to kiss Kuntar. Try again.

    It is a fact that you have gone out of your way mainly to admonish Israelis on the forum. To me that is a clear indication that you are playing to the crowd. Maybe you should take Socrates’ advice.

    Posted by AIG | August 10, 2010, 6:44 pm
  140. AIG, read what you write. You said “they all started kissing Kuntar after he was released.”
    Even if you referring only to the leadership, “all” M14 leadership clearly did NOT engage in what you accuse them of. “all” means “all.” The reader is not supposed to be a reader of your mind but of your words. Grow up and stop throwing accusations around. If you were a bit more thoughtful you would have understood my occasional admonition of Israeli bloggers in a positive light.
    A modern proverb says “if you want a friend, be a friend.”

    Posted by Honest Patriot | August 10, 2010, 7:02 pm
  141. AIG, did you ever admit you were wrong? That’s the sign of maturity.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | August 10, 2010, 7:03 pm
  142. HP,
    Don’t ever except AIG to admit mistakes. As smart as He sounds, He isn’t capable of admitting Mistake. I don’t want to fall into the generalization thing, but it seems that it is an Israeli thing, and He may not even realize it. Israel has yet to learn from its mistakes, neither has He? It could be the feeling of guilt or superiority or both.

    Posted by prophet | August 10, 2010, 7:36 pm

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3issa on Of Maps and Men
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