Hezbollah militants may be charged in Hariri death

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Hezbollah militants may be charged in Hariri death

Lebanon is braced for another political crisis as a special tribunal set up to try the killers of Rafiq al-Hariri, the former prime minister, appears to be heading toward indicting members of Hezbollah, the Shiite militant group.

Hasan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, which is supported by Syria and Iran, has been making frequent television appearances, hammering home the message that his organization will fight any charges. He portrays the suggestions as a conspiracy engineered by Israel.

The 2005 assassination of Hariri -- a well-connected Sunni leader backed by Saudi Arabia -- was a political earthquake in Lebanon, deepening divisions in society and inflaming sectarian tensions. It was the start of a campaign of killings that claimed the lives of several anti-Syrian Lebanese figures.

For years, Hariri's supporters maintained -- and U.N. investigators indicated -- that elements in the Syrian regime, which then controlled Lebanon, were behind the killing. Anti-Syrian protests and international uproar in response to the assassination led to the establishment of the tribunal and forced Damascus to withdraw its troops after nearly 30 years of a military presence in Lebanon.

-- Financial Times


Region's leaders to meet on Uribe-Chávez dispute

An emergency meeting of South American leaders has been scheduled for Thursday in Quito, Ecuador, to defuse a bitter dispute that began when Colombian President Álvaro Uribe accused his Venezuelan counterpart, Hugo Chávez, of supporting Colombian guerrillas.

That prompted Chávez to sever relations with Colombia and charge that Colombia is preparing to invade his oil-rich country. In a speech Sunday, he accused the Obama administration of being behind the machinations and said he would immediately end oil exports to the United States should Colombia strike, "even if we have to eat rocks here."

With only days left in Uribe's presidency, his government released video and photos last week that Colombian diplomats said show rebel activity inside Venezuela. Chavez denies the allegations.

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