By Aaron Klein
The Iranian-backed Hezbollah Islamic group has been plotting with Palestinian groups to start violence inside Lebanon if Hezbollah is fingered in an international death probe, as is widely expected.
There has been concern Hezbollah might try to spark a conflict either with Israel or create civic strife within Lebanon to deflect attention from the U.N. tribunal investigating the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, who died in a car bomb explosion in 2005.
Hezbollah and ally Syria have been widely blamed for the incident.
The probe reportedly is set to indict members of Hezbollah. The indictments may come as soon as the next few weeks, according to reports, although it seems the investigation may be stalled until at least January.
Hezbollah is deeply concerned about the political fallout within Lebanon if its members are accused of murdering Hariri.
According to senior Arab security sources speaking to WND, Hezbollah last week held a series of meetings with Syrian and Lebanese-based members of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad Palestinian group. The conversations revolved around coordinating military steps to destabilize the situation in Lebanon after the release of the U.N. probe.
The sources said Hezbollah also met about the matter with other Palestinian groups that receive funding from Iran as well as the Baath party in Lebanon.
Palestinian organizations, including Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, maintain a strong presence in Palestinian camps inside Lebanon. These groups have been accused of fomenting violence at times of political convenience for Hezbollah.
Sources close to Islamic Jihad told WND some senior members of the group in Gaza oppose aiding Hezbollah inside Lebanon. The sources said this opposition led to an immediate threat by Iran to withhold financing for the group unless members agree to coordinate with Hezbollah. The information points to close coordination on the matter between Iran and Hezbollah.
Israeli defense officials fear Hezbollah may try to carry out attacks against Israel similar to those that prompted the 2006 Lebanon War. During the conflict, Hezbollah fired constant rocket barrages into Israel, killing 43 Israelis and wounding more than 4,200.
Hezbollah and Syria have attempted to discredit the U.N. probe. Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah has delivered television addresses claiming Israel was behind Hariri's killing and that spies working for Israel planted "false evidence" blaming Hezbollah.
Last month, Syria issued arrest warrants for 33 people for allegedly misleading the U.N. investigation. The targets include figures close to Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri – Rafiq Hariri's son – including his media adviser, senior security officers and journalists working in Hariri-owned media outlets.
Meanwhile, a months-long investigation by the Canada-based CBC, relying on what it said were interviews with multiple sources from inside the U.N. inquiry and some of the commission's own records, found the evidence points to Hezbollah and Syria as carrying out the Hariri assassination.
Among other things, CBC News reports it has learned that:
- "Evidence gathered by Lebanese police and, much later, the U.N., points overwhelmingly to the fact that the assassins were from Hezbollah. CBC News has obtained cellphone and other telecommunications evidence that is at the core of the case."
- "U.N. investigators came to believe their inquiry was penetrated early by Hezbollah and that the commission's lax security likely led to the murder of a young, dedicated Lebanese policeman who had largely cracked the case on his own and was co-operating with the international inquiry."
- "U.N. commission insiders also suspected Hariri's own chief of protocol at the time, a man who now heads Lebanon's intelligence service, of colluding with Hezbollah. But those suspicions, laid out in an extensive internal memo, were not pursued, basically for diplomatic reasons."
CBC Investigation: Who killed Lebanon's Rafik Hariri? - CBC News
Hariri Criticizes Leaks After Claims Hezbollah Killed Father - Bloomberg
Lebanon response to scandal over Hariri probe may be war against Israel - Ha'aretz
Murder probe imperils Lebanon - Winnipeg Free Press
Lebanon PM to visit Iran amid political crisis - Ma'an News Agency
The Late Great State of Israel: How Enemies Within and Without Threaten the Jewish Nation's Survival - Aaron Klein (Book)