Zvi comments on this post:
It sounds as though Hezbollah is very much on the defensive at the moment. It is apparently looking for a way to avoid being blamed as an organization.
The risk to HA is not that a formal STL charge against HA would ignite a civil war. The other Lebanese factions are severely outgunned. They know that the US and Europe will emphatically not save them, and that Syria/Iran will pump in as much weaponry as HA needs to crush them. So the other factions will bluster and anger will grow, but unless HA makes a staggering series of mistakes, they will not mount a serious military challenge.
However, there are significant risks to HA. If the STL makes a credible claim that Hezbollah as an organization was involved in the assassination of Hariri... .
1. This could indirectly implicate HA in the assassinations of other opponents of Syria, which could damage some of HA's alliances.
2. It would probably cause the breakdown of the current government (led by Saad Hariri) to whose collective throat Hezbollah so casually holds a knife.
3. It could severely impact HA's quest for legitimacy in Europe. Heretofore, the EU has been reluctant to place HA on the European terror list. This has allowed Hezbollah to operate with a degree of freedom in many countries. If the EU were to finally add HA to the terror list, then this would cause HA's European financial assets to be frozen and would make it that much more difficult for HA to operate around the world. Heretofore, Lebanon's chief "Europatron/Euromeddler" (France) has opposed adding HA to the list. But if the STL were to formally accuse Hezbollah of participating in the assassination, the EU might feel compelled to act. At the very least, it is very difficult to imagine even left-wingers being so urgent to "engage" the "political arm" of Hezbollah at a time when Hezbollah is under a cloud for assassinating a reigning head of state.
4. This would give Sunni Arabs abroad another dose of dislike for Hezbollah.
5. Don't ignore the humiliation factor or the fact that failing to kill the SLT, despite all of their machinations and violence (even starting a war and launching a coup), makes Hezbollah and its regional masters look like local bullies.
Nasrallah said: "I will declare that Hezbollah had nothing to do with it" and "We must understand that Lebanon is entering a very sensitive and complicated phase... This is not due to internal circumstances or a war with Israel, but because of a report that will soon be published by the international tribunal."
Translation: Hezbollah may try to sacrifice some of its people in order to protect the organization as a whole (whether this causes trouble in the ranks, we'll see). Hezbollah *will* drag Lebanon into it.
But I don't see "complicated" translating as, "We wil smash the nonsense out of the treacherous Zionist-loving March 14." It probably translates to "Please, everyone, walk very, very carefully; this place could blow up like a powder keg." Hezzies will be told to be on guard against Israeli invasion, not because Iran expects this but because it's a useful distraction from the fact that the organization is being indicted by an "incorruptible" foreign investigation for murdering the prime minister, and also that HA has been lying about its non-involvement.
But one thing that is easy to verify. HA is involved and Nasrallah is a liar.
How can we tell? Because Nasrallah is telling us "The guys who did it were undisciplined members." So he knows who they are and what they did, and claims to know why. And yet he has never turned over these "undisciplined members" to the police, even knowing that they assassinated the prime mininster and committed mass murder? Instead, he has denied that HA was involved. Well, clearly he knew.
So, well, Nasrallah is liar and a skunk. We knew that ; - ) but there are so many journalists and people in the Arab world who think that the man walks on water. Poor, poor dupes.