Sunday, January 16, 2011

Nasrallah and the STL

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon's indictment is, by many accounts, expected tomorrow. In anticipation, Hizbullah Secretary General Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah gave a widely-publicized speech today in which he took a decidedly nationalist tone, saying the indictments were intended to hurt Lebanon and making three key demands, all regarding Lebanon:

1. Withdraw Lebanese judges from the panel.
2. Withdraw Lebanese funding from the tribunal.
3. Cancel Lebanon's agreement with the tribunal.

The tone of his comments indicates Hizbullah's anxiety over the content of the indictment, and an attempt at damage control. If the indictment blames Hizbullah it would isolate the group politically in the wake of the Hariri assassination which was largely a point of unity for Lebanon. Hizbullah has said it does not intend to start another civil war over the indictment but there is still a significant chance of violence in Lebanon in the next 24-48 hours.

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