Will Hezb'allah leaders be indicted by Special Tribunal for Hariri assassination?

It appears that - finally - the UN's Special Tribunal set up to try the perpetrators of the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri is making some progress.

Hezb'allah chief Hassan Nasrallah said in an interview that he has been told by Lebanon's prime minister Said Hariri - son of the slain prime minister - that the Tribunal would be issuing indictments of several party leaders for their involvement in the assassination:

Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri visited me ... (and) he said: 'Sayyed, in this month or that month there will be an indictment which accuses members in Hezbollah, undisciplined members which the group has no relations with'," Nasrallah said, speaking by video link to a news conference in Beirut.

Any indictment of Hezbollah members would put severe strains on Lebanon's unity government. Political supporters of Hariri and Nasrallah have traded increasingly heated accusations in the last few days after Nasrallah said the tribunal investigations could have been manipulated by Israel.

"There is no doubt that both of us would be in a difficult position (if Hezbollah members were indicted)," Nasrallah said.

Nasrallah said Hariri, who he described as a "caring" man, had said that if Hezbollah members were indicted he was prepared to state publicly that Hezbollah had no links to the killing.

Investigators discovered 8 cell phones used in the killing were linked to the terrorist group's operational arm last year. There is also ample evidence that top levels of the Syrian government was involved - including President Assad's brother in law, the head of Syrian intelligence - but that some witnesses were apparently intimidated into changing their testimony following the murder of a Syrian defector who fingered that country's leadership. 

Hariri is in an impossible position. He has been forced to seek rapprochment with the murderer of his father, President Assad, and now may face the humiliating task of defending the enemies of democracy in Lebanon. The reason is simple power politics; Hezb'allah has the guns and has demonstrated a willingness to use them to get what it wants politically.

Hezb'allah is now in de facto charge in Lebanon despite losing at the polls last spring. Until someone, somewhere can deal with Hezb'allah and get them to relinquish their arms - it will take a war to do it - Lebanon will be held hostage by the sworn enemies of the US and Israel.

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