Basically, nothing is new in the article because it recycles the first hypothesis for Hariri's murder: Hariri was killed by Syria and its allies in Lebanon. Strange enough, this hypothesis was advanced by the German Detlev Mehlis who was appointed to lead the special tribunal investigating Hariri's murder. Mehlis's work was described as lousy: he interviewed only people close to the Hariri clan, he did not conduct extended investigations, many of his witnesses were discredited, and finally Mehlis was disgraced, a disgrace that threatened to taint the way the UN does international justice. The UN appointed then the Belgian Serge Brammertz to conduct the investigation. Brammertz's method was different: he relied more on facts and solid evidence than on hearsay. Moreover, Brammertz's investigation seemed to lead to a new hypothesis: the business dealings of the late murdered Hariri.
Nevertheless,the Spiegel article, ignoring a considerable amount of evidence pertaining to the credibility of both prosecutors, affirms nonchatlantly:
In late 2005, an investigation team approved by the United Nations and headed by German prosecutor Detlev Mehlis found, after seven months of research, that Syrian security forces and high-ranking Lebanese officials were in fact responsible for the Hariri murder. Four suspects were arrested. But the smoking gun, the final piece of evidence, was not found. The pace of the investigation stalled under Mehlis's Belgian successor, Serge Brammertz.
The tribunal is now headed by judge Daniel Bellemare. If you listen to the careful and media shy Bellemare in a press briefing answering journalists' questions you wonder how Spiegel was able to access such 'explosive' revelations. Israel's new foreign minister was the first to react calling for
And if this latest piece of disinformation from Spiegel is meant to influence Lebanese who are going to vote on June 4th, it surely missed its target. Lebanese media, from all sides, are skeptical and unmoved. But the main target for such an irresponsible piece of journalism (or can we still call it journalism ?) is maybe the international opinion who is opening up to Hezbollah as a political force in Lebanon. Is Lebanon going to be the new Gaza ? Are we going to try to stall the democratic process there, and stall the Israeli-Arab peace process knowing that: 1) Lebanon and Hezbollah are at the center of the Israeli-Arab tensions, not Hamas and the lousy Abbas who were defeated and are unable to speak for their people ? 2) That Israel's new right wing government does not want to hear of any peace process and is reluctantly preparing for a new war on Lebanon after experiencing a humiliating defeat at the hands of few hundred Hezbollah militants in 2006. 3) That Hezbollah is a very popular movement inside Lebanon, and who are, contrary to Hamas and the representatives of the Palestinians, widely supported and respected in the Arab world ?
Having failed in the war against Hezbollah, Israel is now trying to manipulate international justice against its most serious ennemy in the Arab world who are at the brink of winning a historic election in a country Israel occupied twice, and desperately wanted to neutralise its resistance. The next act ? If Hezbollah wins the elections, Israel might contemplate another war on Lebanon. However, Israel never learned the lesson: Lebanon is not and will not be a second Gaza.
Angry Arab reminds us that on this day in 2000 Israel humiliatingly fled Lebanon, thanks to Hezbollah. This was before the 2006 defeat.
Read here why Spiegel's article is probably a 'plant'.
And once again, French blogger Loubnan Ya Loubnan gives us a socratic tour of the western media reporting on the latest developments in the Hariri investigation and the Spiegel's article.