Unmasking Hariri’s killers

Hezbollah and Israel are in a war of words. The revelation by Hezbollah’s chief Hassan Nasrallah that he is in possession of evidence of Israeli involvement in the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005 is not less than a bombshell.

The ‘evidence’ comprises video footage from Israeli spy planes of routes used by the deceased Lebanese leader. The Damascus-Teheran backed Shia militia, however, goes on to state that it won’t share it with the United Nations tribunal investigating Hariri’s death, as it has no faith in it. This further compounds the equation, as Tel Aviv has already dismissed the veracity of video clippings as ‘ridiculous’, terming them as a ploy to hoodwink the international community’s suspicions about Hezbollah’s alleged involvement in the killing. This blame game is bound to impact the volatility of the situation and might become an excuse to opt for brinkmanship from either party.

This new tug of war has come at a time when Southern Lebanon is reeling under renewed Israeli incursions. Mounting casualties as a result of skirmishes is already a cause of tension and geo-strategic analysts see a war in the making. This standoff needs to be toned down. It is incumbent upon both Hezbollah and Israel to desist from playing to the gallery, and let the tribunal pronounce its judgment without any prejudice. This finger-pointing will only give birth to conspiracy theories and further plunge the region in uncertainty and chaos.

Hezbollah’s unveiling of this piece of information, which it says it intercepted from Israeli surveillance of planes of the site where Hariri was killed, is not without surprises. A few days ago Hezbollah said it had testified before the UN tribunal as witness to the gory incident. However, it is not clear what made the powerful militia to spill the beans at this point of time, and that too at a public address. This disclosure will go a long way in not only reshaping the public opinion about the massacre, but also compelling the investigating commission to minutely look into it on its own. Hezbollah would be better advised to share its findings with the world in order to expedite justice. Notwithstanding its authenticity, Hezbollah’s stance has come as a great source of relief for Syria, which had been accused of masterminding the killing. With both Israel and Hezbollah having arrived at their own conclusions, the people of Lebanon and the UN court should sit in judgment. Let the face behind Hariri’s assassination be unmasked.

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