Behind the curtain

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon in The Hague (dealing with the assassination of Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri) has been going on in the background, largely ignored.

The Jerusalem Post has an interim report as to evidence from Marwan Hamade in the case about Syria’s interference in Lebanon’s affairs, to the extent of barring it from making (or talking) peace with Israel.

Hamade is described as “a Lebanese parliament member, former minister, and close ally of assassinated Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri…”

To amplify the point about Syrian interference in Lebanon’s affairs, especially with Israel, Hamade had other things to say:

Related to his statements about Israel, Hamade said that while Hariri and his block wished to normalize and demilitarize Lebanon after Israel’s 2000 withdrawal from southern Lebanon, Hezbollah and Syria wanted the opposite.

He said that Hezbollah did not accept Israel’s withdrawal and claimed a small portion of land called the Shebaa farms was still occupied.

He added that Syria also made some indications that the “Shebaa farms is Lebanese territory,” but that both claims were merely “to give Hezbollah an argument for keeping up armed resistance.”

However, Hamade said that when some in Lebanon asked Syria to give a formal statement to the UN that it renounced its well-known claims to the Shebaa farms as Syrian territory, Syria declined.

This, said Hamade, proved his point that Syria actually still claimed Shebaa farms for itself, but made enough indirect support for Hezbollah’s claims on the land to help Hezbollah keep its arms.

In short: the Syrians lied. You can read the whole Post piece, here.

The whole picture emerging is confirmation of what most observers thought what was going on behind the Assad curtain.

I don’t see anybody predicting surprise disclosures coming from the Special Tribunal, but I am intrigued as to what the consequences might be. It remains one of the (few) positive developments to put a brake on, or shine a light on, Syria’s nefarious activities that stretch back long before the current civil war. A war, let’s not forget, where the bloodletting and indiscriminate killing has been treated as if it is some kind of provincial bull fight that got out of control, but can be ignored. Efforts to deal with the situation are not efforts; they are tokenism on the international scale. I don’t suggest there are easy solutions lying around to pick up, but refuse to accept it is beyond the capacity of a willing world to do something better. So the conclusion I reach is that the world is not willing.