The line of defense put forward on Monday by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, whose group has been implicated in the murder of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri, was anything but convincing. In a much-publicized press conference, Nasrallah exhibited evidence that he claimed proved Israel was behind the bombing that killed the Lebanese prime minister in 2005.
One point, perhaps, was worth noting: From Nasrallah's claims it was clear that Hezbollah is capable of intercepting aerial footage from Israeli UAVs – although he also admitted that ever since intercepts led to the killing of 16 Israel commandos in 1997, all drone transmissions have been encrypted.
During his lecture, the Hezbollah secretary general showed his audience photos from Israeli UAVs apparently hovering above Hariri's home, as well as the route to his brother's house in the coastal town of Sidon. He also offered records of an upsurge in Israeli overflights on the day of the assassination – all of which as if to offer a smoking gun to prove Israel's guilt.
The evidence is hardly compelling. Even Amin Jumayel, whose son was killed apparently by the same assassins that killed Hariri, and his brother Bashir was murdered by the Syrians, said that Nasrallah's evidence was circumstantial and didn't constitute proof.
The unconvincing audio visual display Nasrallah unveiled during the press conference, however, served as undisputable proof for some Lebanese politicians and reporters, and of course for the Al-Jazeera network which once again has rallied around Hezbollah. One of the reporters in Beirut went above and beyond, forgetting his role as a reporter, and literally turned into an enthusiastic Nasrallah fan as though he was a teenage girl asking for the autograph of a pop star.
The problem is that in today's Arab world, having Al-Jazeera's support is like having the support of the court. As soon as it received the Qatari television network's seal of approval, Nasrallah's speech, pathetic and devoid of content as it was, became absolute and conclusive proof of Israel's guilt.
Nasrallah is currently fighting for Hezbollah's future within Lebanon, and the lackluster presentation he unveiled in his speech, seen by residents of the entire region, was an attempt to save the organization's status in the face of serious suspicions of Hezbollah's role in the Hariri assassination.
Nasrallah, Hezbollah's undisputed leader, is facing a complex problem. On the one hand, he has been trying to take over Lebanon since becoming the Hezbollah's secretary general in 1992, and on the other hand, he wants to refrain from a violent takeover. It is precisely Hezbollah's growing power that serves Nasrallah's interests and especially Iran's interests. A violent coup following the announcement of the conclusions of the UN tribunal on Hariri's murder would only serve to turn the world against Lebanon.
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