During this meeting and through this message – as was previously announced – I wanted to handle several topics: the current crisis with Egypt, the release of the four generals and the issue of the international investigation and the Special Tribunal foe Lebanon (STL), the Israeli military maneuvers and the developments in this domain. But later it became clear to me that time won’t be enough to cover the three topics especially that the Israeli topic, the Israeli maneuvers, what was presented at the dialogue table, the comments issued on this topic and the seriousness of this issue need much time. So I will tackle it later in the coming few days since we have plenty of time to discuss this issue. Thus today’s speech will focus on two topics: First, the crisis with Egypt and second, the issue of the four generals, the international investigation, the STL and the case of the assassination of martyr Premier Rafiq Hariri. Still first I would like to address on this day – Labor Day – all the industrious workers in Lebanon and the world and congratulate them on their Day. I ask Allah Al Mighty that this day be a real holiday for the workers, their syndicates, labor unions, governments and political forces on which true and serious actions are taken to do justice to those laborers, solve their problems, crises, causes and listen to their rightful demands. These workers are in the eyes of Allah’s prophets and messengers at equal footing with the fighters for the sake of Allah. They have the same degree as the fighters for Allah as the Tradition of Prophet Mohamad (pbuh) says: “Whoever works hard for his children is at the same level as fighter for the sake of Allah”. So they have this degree and they deserve from us all this care.
Back to topics of the speech, the first topic is the crisis with the Egyptian regime. As you know, more than three weeks have passed on this crisis since the Egyptian General Prosecutor first made his accusations and allegations against one of our brethrens and another group of persons. Since then, a wide and broad political and media campaign was launched and is still ongoing to this very moment. The Egyptian regime took part in this campaign from the head of the regime, to the concerned ministries, concerned bodies, and media along others from the Arab world. Then I talked frankly and commented on the issue. From Hezbollah’s side, we contented ourselves generally with what I said then, and we didn’t get engaged in a media and political confrontation with the regime in Egypt. So we aren’t part in the confrontation. What we have been witnessing during the past weeks and are still witnessing until now is a unilateral political-media war launched by the Egyptian regime. Commenting on this campaign, I would like to say that should the allegations which they are talking about be true and should there be a true case, they wouldn’t have needed all this propaganda and media campaign. Should they have logic on which they would rely, they wouldn’t have needed all these insults and low and improper terms to which, unfortunately, senior officials in the Egyptian regime, editors-in-chief and senior journalists in more than one place have resorted. Since the very beginning they said that the issue is judiciary. If it was really so, why did they need all this great media and political effort? At this very moment I wonder what did the Egyptian regime achieve from its incessant campaign on Hezbollah? In my opinion, it didn’t gain anything. Yes, it gained one thing: it discharged its anguish. I see that this is what it achieved so far. Or else what are the political and media achievements it made so far? Has it achieved any of the sought, expected or assumed aims? Has the regime been able through its broad campaign to convince the Egyptian people in particular and the Arab people in general of the portrait it wanted to present Hezbollah and the resistance in Lebanon with? I say: no. I advise them to resort to unbiased parties which make opinion polls whether in Egypt or in the Arab world to discover this truth. I myself have gone through a number of such polls. They may ask through such polls whether they were convincing in the accusations they presented and the images they wanted to distort. They will find out that they didn’t achieve anything and that they convinced neither the Egyptian nor the Arab peoples.
The other point is that did the Egyptian regime – after the arrest of brethren Sami Shihab and all this propaganda and media and political campaign – become certain that the toppling attempt which it accuses Hezbollah of being engaged in or of manipulating came to an end? Does it feel the regime is secure now? Has the Egyptian regime restored its regional and international position through this campaign? Indeed no. Has it been able to distort forever the image of Hezbollah? Again I say no. Has it been able to influence the Lebanese elections? (And this has been mentioned as one of the supposed aims to be achieved through embarrassing Hezbollah) In fact, Hezbollah was not embarrassed with these accusations. Neither were its allies. Here I assure you. So none of the supposed or expected aims of the campaign launched by the Egyptian regime against Hezbollah has been achieved so far. So if they wanted to carry on in this media campaign, that’s their own business. We have said from the very beginning we are not engaged in any media or political confrontation.
During Gaza War, our stance was sound and normal. Some days before, I heard the Egyptian President in some of his speeches warning of Egypt’s wrath. We hoped that we’ve witnessed some of Egypt’s wrath when hundreds of women and children in Gaza were being killed and thousands of residences demolished while Gaza was standing alone in face of the Israel-American aggression against it. Anyway, we are not concerned in indulging in a confrontation and reiterating what I have said before. This is not something new. We didn’t form an organization in Egypt and we are neither concerned nor willing to form an organization in Egypt. We didn’t target Egypt, its security, systems or stability. We are not concerned in its internal affairs. We are working for a very clear cause: supporting our Palestinian brethrens. This is our accusation, crime and sin for which we are being punished.
Several Lebanese and Arab leaderships have called for addressing this crisis calmly and logically. That’s true. This is what we’ve committed ourselves to since the very first day. We are following this issue with legal and judiciary means. We’ll see where that will lead. Indeed there are sides which we trust in and respect and which are working to address this issue rationally and calmly. We hope these efforts will yield the desired results. Here I must thank and express my appreciation to all those who have bravely supported us allover the Arab and Islamic world and globally especially those who were harmed because they defended the resistance and more precisely those who backed us in Egypt. In fact they were defending Egypt as they were defending the Resistance in Lebanon because what happened is an abuse to Egypt and not to Hezbollah. I thank them all and appreciate their stand by our side. It was in fact a stand by the side of rightfulness, the resistance, the nation and the conscience of the nation and not a stand by the side of a definite party, political faction or group. It is a stand for all, history and a part of the true fight led by our nation for decades.
I tell the Egyptian officials: if you chose to carry on with your campaign, it’s up to you but you will not gain anything. With time your business will be dull. I even tell you that through your campaign and accusation you made us a great favor which we thank you for. I will not discuss that now because it will be revealed with time.
Indeed the intervention of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon was remarkable. He made several remarkable statements on the case of so called Hezbollah cell in Egypt. He even sent his special envoy Terej Roed Larsen to Cairo who in his turn made remarkable statements on the cause. Here I would like to pause with the text mentioned by Ban Ki-Moon. When he talks about Hezbollah, Egypt and the cell he says: “It’s appalling to me.” Notice the expression. It’s appalling to me that Hezbollah admitted openly that it’s providing support to the militias in Gaza through the Egyptian territories. (His Eminence comments saying that the UN Secretary General did not resort to such courtesies when Gaza was subject to massacre and holocaust before the eyes of the whole world.) More than 1300 martyrs -the majority of them were women and children were killed. It was a true massacre. Internationally banned weapons were used while the Palestinian people in Gaza were under total siege. Palestinian civilians were killed in UN centers. Mr. Ban Ki-Moon did not use such expressions. When talking about Lebanon, he handles Hezbollah and talks about condemnations and convictions. But when they talk about Israeli nets they say that they took record of the accusation brought by the Lebanese government on April 23rd against a retired Lebanese officer and three others charged of spying for Israel. Ban Ki-Moon said: If these allegations were verified that would be a violation of the Lebanese sovereignty by Israel. On the other hand, he dispatches Larsen to Cairo who in his turn shows up and makes lengthy statements about the seriousness of the issue coupled with conviction and the like. He didn’t even use the term “should the accusation be verified”. That’s because the issue hasn’t been wrapped up judicially yet. So far the accusation is still an accusation. Let’s say it’s the accusation made by the General Prosecutor or the security apparatus. He didn’t say if the accusation is verified we (Hezbollah) would be such and such. He instantly took a position.
Anyway, we will talk about the UN Secretary General and the statements later. This is not the point of our talk for today. It is related to the communication network in Lebanon. Here notice how a year later he is reminding the Lebanese of the communication network which was about to lead Lebanon to a tremendous catastrophe due to the hasty decisions taken at that time, to frighten the Lebanese and to threaten security… Mr. Ban Ki-Moon is thrusting the United Nations into a confrontation with Hezbollah, the resistance movements in the region and the peoples and conscience of the region for free and for the interest of the Zionist entity and the Zionist project in the region. This is inappropriate for the United Nations and its position.
In the same framework, we are witnessing a wide campaign in more than one place around the world. This campaign was taking place before but here I tell you that it will mushroom with time. This is a natural consequence of our position and importance and the seriousness of the cause we adopt and work for. In this framework comes the report of the US State Department which wants to categorize Hezbollah as the most serious terrorist organization. Still more, Israel accuses Hezbollah of plunging it with drugs. A report is issued from a European state and another is American and has to do with Mexico. So we have a campaign from all sides with the aim of portraying Hezbollah as a terrorist group which has to do with drugs, killing, counterfeiting, mafias… Well this is not true at all because Hezbollah is a resistance group which is noble, truthful, clean, pure, patient, honest and faithful. The problem for them is that it’s a serious and victorious resistance.
The reason behind all this propaganda and distorting media campaigns is our position which refuses the Zionist project, refuses recognizing Israel but as a usurper entity which occupies the lands of others and the nation’s sanctities and refuses the US hegemony on Lebanon and the region. This is our crime. Now if we sought to contact the Americans and tell them that we are not concerned with the so called Arab-Israeli conflict, we are not concerned with the cause of the nation which is the cause of Palestine, we are not concerned with defending even Lebanon whether the Lebanese authority defended Lebanon or not and our weapon will not be pointed towards Lebanon’s enemies namely Israel. Then there won’t be any problem. We will be removed from the terrorist lists. There won’t be any accusations. They would rather find excuses for us for whatever we might do or whatever we are accused of. On the contrary, they won’t oppose if we kept our weapon for internal usage. They have no problem if we pointed our weapon inward. The problem of the Americans as well as the Israelis with our weapon is that its true aim is confronting the Israeli occupation and aggression. This is the true reason. There is no other reason. Should we rid ourselves of our skin and change it and move our arms from one shoulder to another in the Lebanese fashion, we would become a civilized democratic model which American and western media takes pride in and boasts of.
Thus I address the people of the resistance in Lebanon along with our Arab and Islamic world. Do not feel sorry or sad for all the accusations and abuses you and the resistance fighters in Lebanon, in Palestine or in any other place are charged of. That’s normal. It goes with the struggle and confrontation. That’s normal for a people who stand to defend their rights, dignity and honor. It’s part of the battle that they be accused, abused and cursed as they might be killed, captured, made homeless, displaced or have their homes demolished.
The last point in this topic: I tell the campaign wagers in the Egyptian regime and also in more than one place in the Arab world or around the globe: You are wasting your money and efforts in vain. If you believe that the campaign of abuses, curses, falsehoods and accusations might harm us, our will, determination and faith, you are totally mistaken. Let July War be your lesson. For 33 days we were under continuous shelling. The whole world was condemning us: the Security Council, the G8, the decision-making capitals and several Arab countries. Harsh and very fierce legal opinions were taken against us. Accusations and sweeping campaigns were waged from here and there. We were killed and bombarded. Our families, fathers, wives, mothers and children were displaced in Lebanon, Syria and other countries. Still all through that historic battle, our will did not wane, our determination did not fade and our faith was not shaken. We are the people of faith in Allah and the Day of Judgment. We believe in the rightfulness of our cause and the integrity of our path. Consequently don’t imagine that all of that might shake any of the pillars of our will, determination and faith.
I want to take advantage of this occasion to make a new approach or review of both the case of the assassination of martyr Rafiq Hariri, the investigation, the STL and the truth in a way that serves this case. First, I want to congratulate the generals, their families and fans for their release and return to freedom. On this occasion, I would like to talk responsibly and cautiously without any zeal, emotion or excitement. That’s because we are handling a very sensitive issue, and we are talking about the most crucial stage in Lebanon’s modern history. In fact we are still living this crucial stage.
After the assassination of martyr Rafiq Hariri in February 2005, the Lebanese agreed unanimously on condemning the assassination. So that was not a point of disagreement among the Lebanese. The Lebanese also unanimously agreed on the necessity of carrying a continuous serious judiciary investigation to reveal the truth. The Lebanese unanimously agreed on the necessity of punishing the killers whoever they may be. All these points were agreed upon among the Lebanese before the demonstration staged on March 8, within March 8 demonstration and within March 14 demonstration and after them. These points were not points of disagreement among the Lebanese so that some claim them for themselves and deny them on others. These points of agreement were to form the strongest support and guarantee to the cause of martyr Premier Rafiq Hariri were we able at that stage to reserve this consensus and act accordingly. I think as such we would have offered the greatest service to the cause of the martyr Premier. Yet the Lebanese disagreed on the political accusation in the cause. The disagreement in the political accusation led to the disagreement on the party which is to carry the investigation. From the first moment of the martyrdom of Premier Rafiq Hariri – when they were still taking his body to the hospital – a political party in Lebanon rushed and finger-pointed at Syria, Syria’s allies, the Lebanese authority and the Lebanese government and accused them of assassinating him. It didn’t stop there. They judged them politically, publicly and by the media. They condemned and punished them as well. In their punishment they called on the kind Lebanese people to punish the killers of Premier Rafiq Hariri in the ballot boxes during Elections 2005 speeches. They built all their political project, political movement, relations, alliances, enmities and friendships on the basis of this accusation. This also was applied on us. We were a party on the Quartet. The beginning of the problem was with this very point. They made this political accusation and they wanted us to follow them. When we did not keep up with them, the attack began on us, the resistance and the weapon of the resistance using the attributes you know.
This hasty, fierce, severe, violent and ongoing political accusation might have led to civil and sectarian war in Lebanon. But the wise and the rational prevented reaching that far. It might have led to regional war also and the bringing about of western and American armies to Syria and Lebanon. But this was evaded through the decision taken by President Bashar Assad to pull the Syrian forces from Lebanon. On the other hand, another political party was saying we must keep open to all possibilities and assumptions of the party behind the assassination. We must wait for the results of the investigation and we mustn’t politically accuse any party. That’s because any political accusation would be the basis for definite political, public and emotional situations and for spite and hostility which nobody knows where it will lead the country. The political party which then called for investigation and refused to make political accusations was accused of defending and covering the killers. It was confronted with a media, political, psychological, sectarian and factional terrorizing campaign unfortunately. Indeed we were among this other political party which was calling for waiting for the investigation and for not accusing politically. I said more than once on the TV screen and I told MP Saed Hariri should the investigation reveal that Syria is behind the assassination, we in Hezbollah will be by your side (I won’t say before you because that’ll be overbidding). But let’s first wait for the investigation. All the terrorizing campaigns then could not force us and convince us by any means to join the band of political accusation.
Political accusation and political investment of the assassination led to disagreement on the party which was to carry on the investigation. Which party is supposed to handle the assassination of Premier Rafic Hariri and carry on the investigation? Which party must judge? Which judicial party is entitled for judging? First, we called for a Lebanese investigation and judiciary. Those who started defending Lebanese judiciary two days ago said then that the Lebanese judiciary is weak and feeble. We can’t entrust it to a cause as serious as the assassination of Premier Rafiq Hariri. They refused a Lebanese investigation and judiciary to sentence whoever is accused or is involved in the assassination.
That ended there. We called for a common Lebanese-Saudi investigation. To be just, the family of martyr Premier Rafiq Hariri accepted. Syria accepted. The Lebanese government had no problem in that. Saudi Arabia then refused and it had its considerations. We called for an Arab investigation. They refused. They then said that would be a precedent in which the Arabs can’t get engaged. They called for an international investigation. First we showed reservation. That’s true and we expressed our fear from politicization, investment and unfairness of the international investigation. But to respect the other party and the will of the other party and especially the feelings of the family of Premier martyr Rafiq Hariri and the broad party represented by this martyr we accepted and unanimously agreed on that during the national dialogue conference. More than once we participated in the Lebanese government and voted for the extension for the international investigation committee. Still we were cautious. Caution and doubt were never abolished. The international investigation committee was formed and its first head was Mehlis. After a brief period, the international investigation committee under Judge Mehlis ordered the detention of the four generals and Abdulaal brothers and others. Actually they were arrested. I confess then we kept silent despite our conviction that such an assassination might not have been in fact executed by a group of four senior generals in the country. They talked also about a group of Syrian generals. None of them executes such an assassination operation. Still we waited to see what the international investigation committee based its decision on. After a brief period, it was revealed that the international investigation committee relied on the testimony of so-called Mohammad Zuheir Assideeq and other similar witnesses. After few weeks, I met several senior officials in the current authority in various posts in the other bloc. They frankly told me that it was clear that Mohamad Zuheir Assideeq – the so-called king witness – is fabricated, a fake witness and a liar. Few days later that was known and circulated in the media. The king witness disappeared. Here comes the question: if the international investigation committee was really acting in a legal and professional way away from politicization and intrusions of some members of March 14 group and the countries supporting this group, the four generals and the rest of the arrested must have been released on that very day and not about four years after the lying of the liar was revealed and it was verified that he is fake. The whole investigation was demolished. Nothing condemns the four generals anymore. Were there fairness and justice then, Mehlis and whoever followed must have said nothing was proved against the four generals and we -as an investigation committee – will release them and if anything else was one day proved we will summon them again. This might have been fair and impartial but not keeping the generals and the other captives arrested all through this long period of time without investigation and without interrogating witnesses and with the fall of the fake witnesses. Here I tell you, they were not set free at that early time because their release would have had great and severe political, psychological and moral consequences on the other project and on all what was taking place in the region. That’s way they were kept in custody. They were absolutely political reasons. Around the world and in more than one place, there were those who were covering and safeguarding the continuity of the political arrest. Who assumes responsibility of this political arrest? We will move now to this decision and our understanding of it. We want to classify it and go from it to the next stage and try to cooperate and put it on the right track. All through these three years and eight months – all through the custody period of the generals – the leaders in March 14 bloc made many statements. Even on Wednesday most of them said and were trying to defend the Lebanese judiciary saying the arrest decision was taken by the international investigation committee and the continuity of the arrest in the jails was taken by the international investigation committee. Great! They are saying that the Lebanese judiciary doesn’t assume responsibility. This speech needs scrutiny but I will carry on with it. For conformity, I will mention the text of what Dr. Samir Jaejae said yesterday in a press conference: “Who took the decision to arrest the four generals wasn’t Amin Jmail or Samir Jaejae or Saed Hariri or Walid Jumblat but rather the German Investigator Detlev Mehlis.” In another place he says: “Some are trying to make use of this event to attack the government and the Lebanese authority. He recalled that the decision of arresting the four generals was taken by Detlev Mehlis and those who followed him: Dolyoun Bremers and Daniel Bellemars, and they haven’t issued a recommendation to free the four generals. This is a clear text. Whoever wants to review it, it is present on the website of the Lebanese Forces. Here we pose this question. Let’s keep the Lebanese judiciary aside. The subject has continuity and other considerations. But I will carry on evaluating, analyzing and reviewing the position as Dr. Jaejae said and the leaders in March 14 bloc say: i.e. that the decision of arrest was taken by the international committee and they stayed imprisoned for three years and eight months pursuant to a decision taken by the international investigation committee. That means that the release decision which was issued two days ago by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon was based on the proposal or approval of the General Prosecutor Bellemars after three years and eight months. In our opinion – and we do not force anyone to adopt our opinion but at least consider discussing it – this is a definite proof that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon all through its activities through the previous stage was politicized, unfair and biased and didn’t confirm with legal, professional and judiciary norms at all. As a proof for that nothing took place. So why three years and eight months?
The considerations which prevented the release of the four generals during the three years and eight months were absolutely political. This is condemned in my viewpoint. They say that this decision is a proof for the impartiality and fairness of the international investigation and the STL. Let’s evaluate this point together. At the same time, it’s a proof that the STL all through the path it pursued during these four years was wrong in detaining the generals and the other captives for political considerations only? Does the decision issued by the judge prove the impartiality and the fairness of the STL? To answer this question we must say something. After the whole period of detention, we are trying to understand why they were released after this long period. Three years and eight months is a long period of precautionary detention. It’s a long period for detention of the accused without evidences. It’s a long period in all norms especially after the fall of fake testimonies, the disappearance of the king witness and the withdrawal of the other witnesses who confessed that they were fabricated and instructed how to act and what to say. The issue became more than a judicial and political scandal. So there wasn’t any possibility of keeping the generals arrested. It was a scandal. True what took place few days ago was at least a correction of the mistake and at most putting an end to a judicial and political scandal. Here I tell you: was the court not formed and the issue remained in the framework or an investigation committee, this mockery might have lasted for a longer period despite all the efforts exerted. But it goes without saying that when a court is formed it must have the final word on the fate of the detainees or else it will be convicted from the first day of its formation. Well this is not for the interest of the STL especially that it found itself before a void fabricated case. Nothing can be built on it at all. Indeed there is something which we might take into consideration and which has played part in showing that the issue has become a political and judiciary scandal. It’s the great efforts to display this arbitrary detention exerted by the officers especially General Jamil Assayed, the lawyers, the families and the political, legal, media and civil forces in Lebanon and abroad. Anyway, the judge had no other choice except at least correcting what’s wrong or putting an end to the scandal – the scandal fabricated by the international investigation committee which must be held responsible despite our evaluation of the responsibility of the Lebanese judiciary. Here I reach the second stage. As for the first head of committee, he is convicted. So is the second because they kept the generals in custody all this period without any truthful evidence. As for General Prosecutor Bellemars – who used to head the investigation committee and then became a general prosecutor, there are three Bellemars. The first is the head of the international investigation committee who is an accomplice with those who preceded him in the unjust treatment of the four generals and the cause of Premier Hariri. The second Bellemars is the general prosecutor who recommended or did not object on – according to the texts – the release of the generals. This is a good and sound position. There is a third Bellemars whom we don’t know anything about. After Wednesday, will the third Bellemars be the first or the second Bellemars? This in fact is a legitimate question. Consequently we want to ask: in the coming stage how will the general prosecutor and the international investigators act? What courses will they follow? How will they behave with the witnesses, testimonies and given presented to them? Will they act in a professional and scientific way? Will the same mistakes committed during these four years in the international investigation be committed again? Will accusations be made against other persons without evidences or based on false witnesses to be released later after four years and thus another four years will be wasted from the age of the case of the martyr Premier? Or will there be scrutiny coupled with evidences, proofs and witnesses in a scientific and objective way away from readymade and pre-set accusations? Here’s another question: will the ears of the international investigators and the judges of the STL listen again to those who fabricated Mohammad Zuheir Assideeq and wrote scenarios and presented fake witnesses – one after the other- or will the doors and ears be closed before them besides holding them responsible for misleading the investigation all through these four years?
This is a serious question because whoever misled the investigation for four years might mislead it for a hundred years. He possesses the same background, the same motives and the same capabilities. The information available for us from various sides unfortunately asserts that the ears and doors are still open before this kind of people some of whom dwell currently in Holland and are exclusively occupied with this mission. These questions are not for conviction or confusion or prejudging. They are rather natural and legitimate questions.
Since the first day – since Detlev Mehlis – they called on us to agree without questioning the decisions of the international investigation committee because it’s impartial. They wrote poetry on the impartiality of Mehlis and his skillfulness and the great work of the international committee. When Bremers came, they wrote even better and greater poetry on him. The same applies to Bellemars. But four years later, the truth was revealed: falsification and politicization of the international investigation committee pursuant to a decision taken by the judge of the STL and not a decision taken by the Lebanese or any other judiciary.
Today we hope that no one will call on us to accept before hand any decision that might be taken by the general prosecutor or by the international investigation or the court’s judges because a truthful decision was taken two days ago. We must see on what evidence or proof that new accusation is based. We will not accept today what we approved of during the first days or weeks of the arrest of the four officers. People are accused and arrested while we remain waiting. No one is allowed to open his mouth because he will be accused of crippling the investigation and covering the culprits. No one can deal with ease with this great oppression which befell the officers and the captives and the very cause of martyr Premier Rafiq Hariri. I believe the decision taken by Francine ended a black stage. We are now before a new stage which we will not prejudge positively or negatively. This is fair. We are before a new stage. The general prosecutor, the international investigation and the court’s judges must prove through their new performance starting now onwards that they are scientific, professional, fair, impartial and far from politicization. They are able to prove that. The days will prove that or the opposite.
Now there are persons who are trying to give reviews saying there are political backgrounds for the release of the officers linked to the changes taking place around the world. I do not want to make haste in this domain. Rather I will put it aside. After what took place and the release of the officers, Vincent showed up to say: We don’t have any accused currently. So we are back to the starting point. My sincere advice now to all the Lebanese and to the family of martyr Premier Rafiq Hariri and his party, to the Lebanese people and all those who are saying that they sympathize and feel sorry for Lebanon: Let’s make an approach and a review and consequently see how we can cooperate to reach the truth and reveal it. Let’s not waste again the time we wasted in the past four years. Let’s repeat the national consensus we agreed on the first days after the martyrdom of Premier Rafiq Hariri. If we want to work correctly and re-track the case, I believe there are several points which we must take into consideration.
First, we must hold the fake witnesses accountable even if the international investigation committee does not consider itself concerned anymore. I don’t know what does it consider? Does it consider that Mohamad Zuheir Assideeq and his fellows must be arrested and held accountable because they misled the international investigation? If it doesn’t consider this its responsibility, we as Lebanese must call on the Lebanese judiciary to summon, arrest, interrogate and punish these persons to close the door before new fake witnesses in the upcoming course of the investigation. Consequently these fake witnesses must be punished along with whoever made, financed, protected, supported and covered them and along with whoever misled the investigation all through these four years in whatever position they be whether political, media, security or judiciary. That’s not for elimination but rather because the Qoran says: “In the Law of Equality there is Life to you, O ye men of understanding”. So that it needed so that no one dares again to fabricate new fake witnesses and mislead the investigation and waste more years in this framework. This must be taken seriously.
The second point: O Lebanese! O brothers! O leaders of political factions and parties. Four years have passed through which the country went through hard labors as a result of a political accusation. Let’s relax for a while – at least for a year – and put political accusation and political condemnation aside. Political accusation and condemnation were about to set Lebanon and the whole region on fire. Let’s put political accusation and political condemnation aside and call – all of us as Lebanese – again for a serious, scientific, technical, professional and objective investigation to reach the truth.
The third point is that the Lebanese judiciary and Lebanese security apparatuses must work in this framework and not be content that this is the responsibility of the international investigation committee. In fact they were working in this domain before but they must deal with it with new spirituality which we also demand from General Prosecutor Bellemars and the international investigation. This is in fact what we were calling for from the very beginning four years ago. Be open to all possibilities and options. For four years the investigation was moving in one direction and not allowed to move otherwise. It was Syria and Syria’s allies in Lebanon. Put whatever suppositions and possibilities you want and work accordingly. Here I again call for taking seriously the Israeli possibility in the course of the investigation. I tackled this issue, a year, two years and three years ago but it only was met with deaf ears. Why? That’s because there is a prejudgment and a fabricated investigation that insists on moving in one direction. On Wednesday, MP Saed Hariri said a true word which I agree on: the assassination operation might not have been staged by one person or a group of persons. That’s true. Every rational person accepts this deduction. But when talking about the Israeli possibility, I pose this question: Does Israel possess the capabilities to execute such an operation? This question is for all March 14 bloc and for all the Lebanese. Let’s dispense with the play of recording more points on each other. Can Israel execute such an operation or not? This is indisputable. Indeed it is able to do that. Does Israel have the motive? Indeed yes. Does Israel have interest in that? Yes indeed. Israel had an interest that a sectarian war erupt in Lebanon in which the resistance be a part so as to revenge for the victory of May 2000 and to rid itself of what it considers a threat. Israel had the interest that a new regional war takes place and that US troops do not deploy in Baghdad only but also in Damascus and Beirut and that the whole region fall in the hand of America and consequently in the hand of Israel. The assassination of Premier Hariri was a gateway that might lead to a sectarian war in Lebanon and to a regional war via the political accusations that were fabricated. Whoever says that Israel does not possess the motive or the interest to kill Premier Hariri is killing Premier Hariri again. And so far and though it’s not the first time I pose this question, I haven’t ever heard one answer from any of March 14 group who says whether Israel has the motive or interest for that or not. Rather Israel is absolutely outside the accusation cycle. It’s not even 0% in the accusation cycle according to them. This is illogical, nonscientific and not objective. Put spite, considerations and competences aside. Logically, scientifically and objectively, isn’t there a 1% or 10% probability? Have you worked on this possibility? No you didn’t. Now if we worked on this path – and I am not saying end the investigation course which supposes Syria and its allies. Carry on in this course but also open the Israeli course and work on it. Few weeks ago, the intelligence branch in the Internal Security Forces arrested a number of Israeli spying nets. That’s good but should the intelligence branch in the Internal Security Forces for four years have exerted the effort it is exerting on Israeli spying nets it might have reached somewhere in the cause of the martyr Premier, shouldn’t it? It might have reached somewhere! There is a possibility, taking into consideration that the working on Israeli nets needs much effort and the cooperation of the Lebanese people and all the security apparatuses. All people must help in that: the wife, the father, the mother, the son, the neighbor…. All must cooperate with the security apparatuses in this context. But detaining one, two or three nets doesn’t end the story with the Israelis. That’s because the Israelis are in Lebanon. That’s well known in the country. True, it is not organized because one person is linked to one Israeli officer or two persons are linked to another Israeli officer. The groups are not open to each others. Consequently a large-scale operation must be staged because it’s clear from the nets which were arrested that the Israeli security presence is very wide. As I said before it is not true that Hezbollah has the information and security capabilities to disclose all these nets as some assume. Here I say again that’s not true. It’s not a shame when someone admits the limitations of his capabilities. What the security apparatuses disclosed wasn’t discovered by us. There are many nets which neither we nor the security apparatuses know about. We must all cooperate and work in this field to disclose it. Here again I raise this question. An Israeli agent has admitted his collaboration. He is convicted in the investigation in the Lebanese judiciary. His name is Mahmoud Rafea. In his confessions, Mahmoud Rafea, who was arrested having communication and filming apparatuses in his possession – admits that he used to receive large cases or black sacs of explosives which he used to put in a definite place in Mount Lebanon. After a period of time when he would come to put other sacs, he wouldn’t find the former ones. I will evoke this question again which I have asked before but no one did answer it: Where did these explosives sacs go? Can’t Israel deliver 2000 kg of TNT to kill Premier Hariri and to execute the other operations in which one, two, ten, fifteen or twenty-five kg have been used? Mahmoud Rafea might not – even if you skin him – know who came and took the cases and black sacs, and I would believe him because this is the Israeli technique. The Israelis disjoint the members and nets apart. But that must not make us refrain from searching for those unknown phantoms who took the cases and black sacs. Why wasn’t it allowed – during the past four years – to ask what have they done with these explosives all through this duration?
Let’s cooperate. We want an investigation moving in the true and normal path. They say they haven’t found anything all through the past four years. That’s true because you haven’t taken the right path. You put the investigation on one track and you reached nowhere. Let the investigation move in other directions and see if the Israeli path would lead anywhere especially that security apparatuses are revealing that the technological Israeli capacities are very high and greater than what we have imagined. It seems there are new developments in this perspective which neither we nor the security apparatuses apprehend. We need time and effort to apprehend them whether in the communication world, the world of electronics, or the technical, execution or intelligence domain. I don’t want to scare people but there’s something serious we are facing which we mustn’t run away from and resort again to political accusation.
Finally, I respect all the conflicting sentiments experienced by the various Lebanese groups on Wednesday. All people have feelings which we respect. On one hand, it was a duty to welcome the officers and their families because they were greatly oppressed and on their oppression and arrest was based what might have rushed the country to unwelcome consequences. That was still existing. In fact, I may comprehend the release of the officers at that moment. It’s a serious stage faced in Lebanon by the Lebanese people, the state and the region, and this stage was ended. That’s why they deserved salutation. But on the other hand, we like to address the other sentiments saying: O brothers and dear ones! We do not want to use this event to glee on the others’ grief or for liquidation or to invest it for elections. We all know in Lebanon that should the whole world be demolished and build again that will not affect on the elections on June 7. The talk about influencing the elections is exaggerated. There might be a simple or modest influence because the elections are final due to the present aligning. The unclear square or the altering current that might be influenced by internal, regional or international events and thus might shift from one side to another are but a few. I don’t want to minimize the political electoral influence of the release – and we’ve read in newspapers that there were attempts to delay their release until after the elections – but let’s put this issue aside. Let’s return to our national consensus and re-track the course. Let’s not waste another four years in our quest for the truth and reaching it. Should we reach the truth, Lebanon will be before abundant welfare and this is what we all hope for and look forward too.