Hizbullah claimed this week that a report last week by Germany's leading news weekly, Der Spiegel, was actually an Israeli-American conspiracy "aimed at sowing discord between [Lebanon's] Sunnis and Shi'ites."
The article charged that the Iran-sponsored Lebanese terrorist organization was behind the assassination of popular former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005.
Both Hizbullah and Syria, suspected of having a hand in eliminating Hariri as well, dismissed Der Spiegel as propagating "lies" and "pure fabrication." Nasrallah went a step further this week in his urgent efforts to combat the report's fallout.
The Der Spiegel report claimed to be based on previously unacknowledged evidence uncovered during the United Nations investigation of the assassination. Hizbullah "planned and executed" the car bomb attack that killed Hariri, according to the German weekly, as can be seen from evidence such as mobile phone records.
Speaking at a ceremony in Beirut, called to mark nine years since Israel's unilateral withdrawal from Southern Lebanon, Nasrallah said, "The report is very, very dangerous." With apparent concern over the electoral implications of the information revealed by Der Spiegel, the Hizbullah leader charged, "The Israelis and the Americans wonder how to scuttle the elections and influence its outcome; the Der Spiegel report was the answer."
Lebanon goes to the polls on June 7, 2009.
Hizbullah and other pro-Syrian elements are expected to make significant gains against the more pro-Western
Nasrallah went a step further and claimed the report was actually an Israeli-American conspiracy.
coalition of parties. Hariri was a charismatic leader of the movement against Syrian hegemony in Lebanese politics.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who visited Lebanon over the weekend, said, "We consider what was published in Der Spiegel to be an attempt to politicise matters and we consider all such attempts provocative." During his meetings in Lebanon, Lavrov emphasized, "We will deal with all those chosen by the Lebanese people. We respect this choice and this vote."
In contrast to the Russian position, United States Vice President Joe Biden made it clear during his own high-level visit to Lebanon on Friday that the Obama administration "will evaluate the shape of its assistance program [to Lebanon] based on the composition of the new government and the policies it is advocating." American aid to Lebanon since 2006 has totalled more than a billion dollars, including millions of dollars in funds earmarked for national security forces.
Also apparently contingent on the outcome of the June elections is the first-ever shipment of American offensive military systems to Beirut. However, Biden did not explicitly refer to the military plans in any public statements; during a review of previous defensive weapon systems delivered to Lebanon he said that the U.S. is "committed to meeting your army's needs."