What an end for a story climax, the completion of challenge of the 2011 funding of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL). It ended peacefully this time, with the least damages possible to all parties concerned, by the announcement of PM Najib Mikati on Wednesday 30th November 2011 that he wired the required $32m to the STL. No further details were given; he told us that he just did it! No news where the money came from and how. Rumours spread that it will be covered from donations, or from the High Commission for Relief (HRC) budget, or may be from some dodgy black box type account! Anyway, HRC denied the news that it was funding the STL from its budget, but I couldn’t think of a better relief to avoid a better disaster!
It’s not difficult to guess that Najib Mikati is the biggest winner of this outcome; he boosted his ‘Sunni’ image and proved to a certain extent that he is not a blind follower of Hezbollah. He showed that he could achieve what Saad Hariri would not have (probably) achieved. It was reported that he received a 1432 text message on his mobile phone congratulating him. I just wondered if 1432 people have really texted the Prime Minster, then could have done it as well.
But this euphoria with the successful outcome did last until last night only, when Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah told Najib Mikati (including us watch TV), how unhappy he was from funding the ‘Israeli and American’ tool. Not only that, he clearly announced the end of the informal honeymoon between Nasrallah and Mikati by giving him an additional task to complete, or a test as he called it: ‘the false witnesses’ issue. So we should expect very soon to hear the March 8 chorus banging on this issue for the next phase.
Nasrallah speech yesterday was telling Mikati: you will see what I can do to you; I will turn your life into hell! Although technically speaking Hezbollah was not happy by the outcome , but at least it came as winner (with Syria) as it prevented the collapse of the government. But then again, Nasrallah’s share in the government is less than 7% (2 ministers), so you just wonder in what capacity he was addressing PM Mikati (Hint, hint: weapons, shhh). You can count Michel Aoun as an attaché-winner with Hezbollah, and he will get eventually rewarded through Gibran Bassil’s projects as Nasrallah hinted in his speech.
Another big winner of this funding was Walid Jumblatt himself. This would have boosted his ‘centrist’ vision, where he always advocated funding the STL. Actually, he told Al-Akhbar this morning that he didn’t meet (and didn’t want to) Saad Hariri in Paris last week. This only shows that his return to March 14 is not as close as he indicated. If he is on the STL side for now, then he places a safe bet in case the Syrian regime collapsed due to the internal popular uprising. It’s a sound insurance policy to have, in case things turned sour for him (& March 8).
Nabih Berri, the master of the Lebanese political spin, was also on the winning side; how can’t he be? He said that this mechanism is ‘a triumph for Lebanon’. These words were unimaginable from Berri just last week. May be Sayyid Nasrallah should have poured some of his grief on Nabih Berri as well, instead of pushing it all onto Mikati ONLY. But do we know (or his supporters) why STL was not the case before now? and is his current STL stance going to the real one from now and on? Only God knows.
As for March 14, surprisingly and confusingly, they don’t seem too excited within this forest of winners about this funding . The reactions were mixed, with the main ones voicing concerns about the way the funding was processed, including Future bloc leader MP Fouad Siniora. Some other Future MPs called it illegal. Weeks ago, they were talking about the commitment, and not the money. Saad Hariri has suddenly disappeared from his daily twitter interactions, without even a single tweet or word about this funding. Today, he spoke, but slammed Nasrallah for his speech on the previous night. Some unofficial March 14 figures have gone as far as admitting that they were defeated. What? defeat? this is STL getting a boost? Yes, apparently, and what an unorthodox strange thing the Lebanese politics is.