Who needs the Milibands when you have Lebanon? The March 14th-March 8th imbroglio continues amid uncertainty over the future of the Special Tribunal. (Literally everything on the Daily Star RSS feed is about the STL. It’s getting kind of addictive – I’ve just spent over an hour and a half reading up. Don’t worry, I’m going for a drink directly after writing this.)
The cabinet has delayed a decision on future funding of the tribunal as opposition leaders objected to the 2011 budget’s allocation of funding from the Lebanese government. A meeting yesterday ended without a decision from the cabinet, which engaged in lively debate that Hariri urged them not to leak to the media. But they did, because this is Lebanon. Hizbullah also raised the issues of false witnesses and Israeli spies, saying that these needed to be investigated before the tribunal can release inditements. Future MPs stressed that the false witness issue would be dealt with by the cabinet after inditements.
Future Movement officials have also been busy denying allegations that Syria asked Hariri to declare Hizbullah innocent and withdraw his support for the tribunal, should it accuse Hizbullah of involvement in the assassination. AlAkhbar published the claims on its front page; ministerial sources said they were designed to undermine Hariri and the tribunal and have been vigorously reiterating Hariri’s support for a non-politicised investigation. Geagea and Gemayel have been vehemently supporting the STL as well; Gemayel said recently that the fall of the tribunal would mean a return to the ‘law of the jungle’.
Hizbullah officials, on the other hand, are emphasising their ‘absolute right’ to defend themselves by any means necessary if the party is accused of involvement in the Hariri assassination. They repeated their claims that the STL is politicised, saying that US Special Envoy Jeffrey Feltman’s recent comments on the tribunal were proof in themselves of its politicisation.
And Jumblatt is just being Jumblatt. He ‘raised more ambiguity regarding his position on the STL’, saying he wished it had never been created. (Man, that’s so just Druze of him!) He also made the following glorious statement: ‘The Tribunal is present and we must be aware’. I couldn’t agree more.