Four Lebanese generals held since 2005 over the killing of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri have been freed. Their release comes hours after a UN court ruled there was not enough evidence to hold them.
Supporters of the generals, mainly from the pro-Syrian Hezbollah movement, fired guns into the air and set off fireworks to celebrate the ruling. The UN court was set up to investigate the bomb attack which killed Mr Hariri and 22 others in February 2005. The decision to free the generals comes less than two months before a finely-balanced legislative election that pits the pro-Syrian bloc against their pro-Western rivals, including Mr Hariri’s own political movement now led by his son.
The AP article hints that Hezbollah may gain on the anti-Syrian coalition in the next elections. “The June 7 vote could boost the Iranian-backed Hezbollah and its allies, possibly paving the way for renewed Syrian influence over Lebanon,” as Hillary denied that the Obama policy of engagement was being conducted at Lebanon’s expense.
Clinton said she delivered a letter from Obama to Suleiman expressing strong support for a free, sovereign and independent Lebanon. She said U.S. attempts to engage Syria and Iran are not being done at the expense of that support.
“There is nothing that we would do in any way that would undermine Lebanon’s sovereignty,” Clinton said. “I want to assure any Lebanese citizen that the United States will never make any deal with Syria that sells out Lebanon and the Lebanese people. You have been through too much and it is only right that you are given a chance to make your own decisions,” Clinton said.
Including, presumably, the chance to decide to accept Hezbollah’s dominance. Hillary Clinton has recently made statements assuring Iraq it would not abandon them — as a preface to announcing they would be on their own in two years . The Secretary of State’s denials that Lebanon has been sold out, must like the Iraqi assurances, been made to reassure those who believe they are being betrayed that they have nothing to worry about. Why they might think that is obvious. And perhaps in her fine lawyerly way, Hillary may be right. After all, worry and resignation are two distinct and separate words. As time goes by the people in the region will have the opportunity to juxtapose the sordid actions of the Obama administration with their lofty assurances. My guess is that any resemblance between the two will be purely coincidental.