Monday, August 09, 2010



Speculation mounts ahead of Nasrallah’s news conference
By The Daily Star

Monday, August 09, 2010

BEIRUT: Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah’s much-anticipated news conference on Monday was the subject of intense media speculation over the weekend. The news conference is expected to set the political road map for the next period in Lebanon.

In a televised speech last Tuesday, Nasrallah openly accused Israel of the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and said he would unveil proof to that effect at a news conference this week.

In July, he had revealed he was aware the UN-backed tribunal probing the Hariri murder was likely to indict members of his party, slamming the court an Israeli project.

But last week, the Sayyed said Hizbullah spent months compiling information showing efforts by Israel to implicate Hizbullah in Hariri’s death.

Al-Akhbar columnist, Ibrahim al-Amine, who is close to Hizbullah, wrote on Saturday that “Monday night will be unlike other nights in Lebanon.”

“The news conference that will be held by the Secretary General of Hizbullah Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah will open the doors wide open to another talk in the town,” Amine said.

He added that Nasrallah is expected to reveal details related to the ongoing security war between the resistance and Israel. Amine wrote that the goal of the news conference was two-fold: Nasrallah wants to accuse Israel using clear-cut evidence, while drawing attention to the flaws in the work of the investigative missions that looked into the Hariri assassination.

According to Amine, Nasrallah and his team spent a considerable time gathering documents that would support the Sayyed’s thesis. Nasrallah had also discussed all the relevant documents with legal experts, including Speaker Nabih Berri, who is a lawyer.

Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Rai, however, reported on Sunday that Nasrallah will reveal during his news conference why slain Hizbullah commander Imad Mughniyeh will be accused in the Hariri murder.

According to Al-Rai, Nasrallah will reveal how an Israeli collaborator had told late Prime Minister Hariri in 1993 that Hizbullah had plans to assassinate him and that Mughniyeh was plotting the attack.

Mughniyeh, also known as “Hajj Radwan,” was assassinated in a car bomb in Damascus on February 12, 2008.

Phalange Party leader Amin Gemayel told MTV on Sunday that Nasrallah would do better to submit evidence that Israel killed former Premier Hariri in 2005 to authorities, instead of revealing it through the media.

The former Lebanese president said the only acceptable reference that can verify the validity of the evidence presented by Nasrallah was the STL

“Nasrallah does not decide what is right or wrong,” he said.

Nasrallah’s statements on the STL sparked fears of an outbreak of violence in already tense Lebanon and prompted a landmark summit in Beirut late in July between Syrian President Bashar Assad, Saudi King Abdullah and Lebanese leaders in a bid to ease tensions.

Sources close to Berri told Ash-Sharq al-Awsat in comments published on Sunday that he was planning, in cooperation with President Michel Sleiman and Prime Minister Rafik Hariri to launch renewed efforts to bolster the current calm in Lebanon. The sources said the nature of efforts will be revealed in due time.

Meanwhile, Future Movement officials denied over the weekend news about an imminent meeting between Nasrallah and Prime Minister Saad Hariri to discuss recent developments.

Future Movement official and former MP Mustapha Alloush denied on Sunday the prospects of such a meeting. – The Daily Star

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