Thursday, 5 August 2010

Blue lines and speeches


There are ongoing arguments regarding where the tree that sparked the latest confrontation was. UNIFIL and the IDF are standing by claims that it was in the Israeli area.

Regardless, as I posted yesterday, it’s time for cool heads.

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Of much greater import, in the long run, was a speech given by Hassan Nasrallah two nights ago.

 Nasrallah

Nasrallah’s speech covered the border clash, but of more importance was his response to the issues surrounding the STL.

Here’s an English transcript.

The gist of the message is this:

The Israeli press has been crowing over how Hizballah will be indicted.
We believe that Israel killed Hariri.
However, due to tensions, we will delay the announcement.

[Hizballah has been leant on by Syria and Qatar in an attempt to get them to keep quiet according to numerous commentaries.]

On Monday, I will release information that will prove Israel killed Rafic Hariri.
We will work with the government to deal with the outcome and to investigate the witnesses who withdrew their testimony.
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Yes, Nasrallah will provide proof that Israel killed Hariri.

Hariri

After staring blankly at my wife, who was giving me the lowdown as the speech was playing, (real time translation of bombastic Arabic political chat being beyond me) I muttered something along the lines of, “Oh shit.”

Yes, following the events of the last few days, Nasrallah is going to drop the bomb (metaphorically-speaking).

The problem with this is that, I would be willing to bet, Hizballah will present their evidence in the public forum. I doubt there will be any effort to allow outsiders a look at the material before the Party broadcasts it. Regardless of whether or not Hizballah have the evidence, it’s going to blow the whole STL out of the water and, potentially, start a war of words with the Israelis... at the bare minimum.

If he has the evidence, then relations between Israel and Lebanon nosedive, the STL's finished, it's credibility ruined. If he's wrong, a substantial proportion of the population will believe him anyway, the Israelis are going to be pissed, and the STL's still dead in the water.
Either way ... it's not going to be pretty.

Given that Lebanon and Israel just fought over a tree*, how dangerous is this going to be?

*Yes, I’m aware it’s much, much more complex than that.