Foreign Policy Blogs

Special Tribunal for Lebanon Bombshell!


That was all I could say when I heard the news that Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah had announced that members of Hezbollah would be indicted by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL).

This is HUGE news and it has the potential to change the regional status quo in several major ways.

  1. The most important implication from the Syrian perspective is that it shifts blame for the Hariri assassination away form Syria. The assumption over these past 5 plus years has been that Syria was in some way to blame for the killing of the Lebanese Prime Minister. If the UN STL, and subsequently other international actors (most notably the US) officially accuse Hezbollah for Hariri’s murder it could mean a windfall in diplomatic karma for the Syrian regime.
  2. Just because the Hezbollah leader has acknowledged the fact that members of his organization will be indicted for Hariri’s murder does not mean he will allow any sort of punitive action to take place. In his remarks last night Nasrallah has already implied that Hezbollah considers this to be an aggressive act aimed at weakening Hezbollah. He said “Let them issue the indictment, those who are conspiring against Lebanon and the resistance, and whose projects have failed are the worried parties because their projects will fail again”. Maybe all the predictions of a summer war were right after all…
  3. Will Syria continue to support Hezbollah in the face of this new accusation? The Syrian regime’s steadfast support of Hezbollah has proved to be a consistent bone of contention in Syria’s relations with the US. Those who do not support a rapprochement between Syria and the US, especially certain members of the US Congress, often point to Syria’s links with Hezbollah as exhibit A for their lack of support.

My head is still spinning from this announcement and I’m sure more thoughts and reactions will be coming in the days and weeks to come as the story unfolds. I think my initial reaction still says it best…WOW!



Walter Raubeson

Walter spent the last two years living and working in Damascus, reporting on the Syrian social, political, and cultural scene. Recently returned to the US, Walter continues to monitor Middle Eastern events with verve, and also gusto.

Having graduated from New York University's Masters Program in Political Science- International Relations-in September 2008, Walter's MA thesis analyzed the Lebanese political system; focusing on the impact of foreign intervention within Lebanon, particularly the roles of Iran, Israel, Syria, and the US.