Nasrallah has spoken…

… and the Middle East listened. The full two-hour presentation and Q&A session was carried live not only by every Lebanese channel (except, unsurprisingly, Hariri’s own Future TV), it was also carried in full by Al Jazeera and even Al Arabiya. And by Israeli TV, but they ‘stopped [the] live broadcast when al-Manar unveiled footage allegedly intercepted from Israeli surveillance planes of the Lebanese coastline, including the site of the murder of ex-PM Rafik Hariri prior to his 2005 assassination.’ (original source: Al Akhbar newspaper) For more or less complete transcriptions in English of the text see Qifa Nabki or Al Manar.
Nasrallah presented a pretty convincing case – based on Israeli drone surveillance footage, confessions of Israeli collaborators and public statements by Israeli politicians – that Israel had the motive, capability and intention to assassinate Hariri – as well as plenty of documented experience in the assassination of foreign dignitaries abroad of course – and was moreover closely monitoring Hariri’s tracks in the days leading up to his assassination – surveillance images presented live during his speech. The story starts back in the early nineties when Israeli collaborators informed Hariri that Imad Mughniyeh (a main military leader of the resistance, himself assassinated in a ‘mysterious’ car bombing in Damascus in early 2008)  ‘wanted to murder him’. Plenty of circumstantial evidence, no real smoking gun, but probably about as close as anybody ever got – certainly a lot more convincing than anything the STL itself has ever come up with, and that was the whole idea of this press conference: to convince the Arab audience. The entire presentation was riveting and very professionally  produced. And of course, the simple cui bono question has always pointed to Israel and against Syria and Hezbollah, neither of whom stood to gain anything from killing Hariri.
The big revelation militarily speaking – and the one that really hit the Israelis  where it hurts – is that Hezbollah has been able since at least 1997 to intercept and decrypt Israeli drone footage as it was sent to the IDF command centers. Nasrallah obviously relished in recounting the resistance’s ambushing and killing of a team of Israeli navy seal commandos as they landed in Ansariyyeh in 1997, after lying in wait for months on the evidence of Israeli drones’ intensive monitoring of the location. He also relished in revealing Israeli drones and collaborators closely monitoring the moves of Israeli ally Samir Geagea and the seaside home of president Suleyman…

By the way, if you are looking for serious reporting on what was probably the most widely watched media event in the Middle East this year (possibly barring Star Academy), don’t bother with the increasingly biased and irrelevant BBC, who just tuck a measly ten-line excuse for an article (Nasrallah shows Hariri murder ‘evidence’) way down on the frontpage of their website, of course surrounding the word ‘evidence’ with their famed quotation marks – those raised eyebrows invariably reserved for Arabs in the BBC’s Middle East, where Israeli  spokesmen are apparently the only ones whose statements  never need to be ‘independently confirmed ‘… Instead read serious and dependable media such as Al Jazeera (Israel implicated in Hariri murder) or Reuters (Hezbollah says Israel staked out Hariri routes). Or alternatively, you could read the Israeli Haaretz newspaper, which manages to not mention the captured drone images  (shown extensively during the speech) even once. But at least they are clear about whose side they are on…

In related news, the US Knesset – oops, sorry: the US Congress – has moved to block the paltry aid the Lebanese army receives from the US ($100 million, mostly spent on training plus basically a few old Cessna planes, some sniper rifles and a handful of secondhand cars). As one Rep. Cantor put it: ‘Lebanon cannot have it both ways. If it wants to align itself with Hezbollah against the forces of democracy, stability and moderation, there will be consequences.’ In other words: allow the Israelis to walk all over your country and kill you at will or… allow the Israelis to walk all over your country and kill you at will. ‘Forces of democracy, stability and moderation’ indeed… Meanwhile, private donations are reported to be ‘flooding’ into the presidential palace at Baabda to better arm the LAF. If you too want to contribute, call this number to donate (does that sound like a scam or what?)… Unsurprisingly, Iran too has reiterated its willingness to offer assistance but realistically speaking, of course, any significant response would have to come from Russia or China.

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