The tribunal delivered indictments on June 30 against four men that Hezbollah has acknowledged as members of the organization. Nearly no one here expected the warrants to be served or the men to be arrested, and Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, almost taunted officials who might think of trying to detain them.
“No Lebanese government will be able to carry out any arrests, whether in 30 days, 60 days, 1 year, 2 years, 30 years or even 300 years,” he said in July.
He called it a trial in absentia, whose verdict “has already been reached.”
The most prominent of the four members is Moustapha Badreddine, a brother-in-law of Imad Moughnieh, a shadowy Hezbollah commander killed in 2007 and blamed for some of the group’s most spectacular acts of violence. Among them was the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Marines barracks in Beirut, which killed 241 American service members.
1) The Assad family got a pass. Few in Lebanon believe that Hezbollah would have carried out this crime without approval in Damascus.
2) I remember when governments in Europe and North America hesitated to act against Hezbollah on grounds that terrorism represented only a portion of its activities; it also supposedly carried on important social welfare work. The indictment drives home the point: political murder is the essence of Hezbollah.
3) As the New York Times reports, nobody in Lebanon expects the UN indictment to mean very much. Let’s recall this expectation of international futility the next time somebody urges Israel to rely on international forces to protect its borders and its people.