Lebanon’s Michel Samaha trial and what it reveals

Hezbollah has not directly commented on the light sentence, which is close to a verdict of innocence, in the Michel Samaha case

Diana Moukalled

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Hezbollah has not directly commented on the light sentence, which is close to a verdict of innocence, in the Michel Samaha case. It settled with repeating that it respects the judiciary’s decision. Hezbollah acts as if it’s unconcerned with the scandal which shook Lebanon last week. What happened was a real scandal because the military judiciary sentenced Samaha to four-and-a-half years in prison with each judicial year equal to nine months. Samaha who’s been in custody since August 2012 will thus be eligible for release in December 2015.

Yes, Hezbollah and the “resistance” forces did not feel they had to clarify their ally’s, or rather allies’, involvement in crimes in Lebanon and tried to conceal the case by resorting to propaganda campaigns touting fake victories on the Syrian front of al-Qalamoun.

Media outlets affiliated with Hezbollah and the Lebanese resistance tried to downplay the military judiciary’s ruling

Diana Moukalled

However, there seems to be solid evidence pertaining to the crime of which Samaha is accused; leaked videos that purport to show Samaha’s involvement in planning murders and explosions in coordination with and under the supervision of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and security official Ali al-Mamlouk.

A scandal

Silence over such facts and exaggeration of events in the faraway hills of Qalamoun where Hezbollah is fighting are viewed as a scandal against Hezbollah. This time though, Hezbollah’s efforts are different. The Shiite party and its supporters have made great efforts to deviate attention from the leaked Samaha videos by exaggerating Hezbollah’s progress in Qalamoun, fabricating stories and scenarios regarding battles in the area.

However, the ruckus celebrating Hezbollah’s battles in Qalamoun seemed incapable of matching Samaha’s videos and what they revealed.

The videos showed him repeating several times that Assad and Mamlouk were aware of explosions and assassinations plots in Lebanon. Hezbollah, who is fighting in Syria and dragging Lebanese youths into the fight to defend itself, has overlooked these videos and did not address them. It seems these videos are not something the party wants to investigate so it resorted to creating media fabrications about Qalamoun.

Media outlets affiliated with Hezbollah and the Lebanese resistance tried to downplay the military judiciary’s ruling, saying the judiciary has been lenient with verdicts against figures from the opposing political bloc.

Why do we accept the reality?

It’s really strange that there are still people who believe that the Lebanese must, despite everything that’s been revealed, accept that such leaders are in positions of power and have their crimes justified. When Samaha served as a minister in Lebanon, he represented the Syrian regime and he was even a negotiator on its behalf with European capitals. When Samaha carried explosives from Syria to Lebanon - as the court found - he did that in the name of the Syria regime. However it seems that according to Hezbollah’s rules, Samaha’s confessions grant legitimacy to what the ex-minister was about to commit.
Lebanon is completely violated, just as Syria is.

Hezbollah does not care about this violation and it’s actually a partner in it. The claims that it’s fighting in Syria to protect the Lebanese people has been debunked several times. But when considering these statements from the angle of what Samaha and the Syrian regime did, we begin to understand the allegations and realize that they are actually part of a regional and sectarian system. We have repeatedly seen how Iran’s and Syria’s influence via Hezbollah or via other parties meant killing other Lebanese people and violating our country.

Nothing is clearer than Michel Samaha’s crime and the facts which he unknowingly exposed. As for the victories in Qalamoun, they are just delusions which nobody buys into.

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on May 20, 2015.


Diana Moukalled is the Web Editor at the Lebanon-based Future Television and was the Production & Programming Manager with at the channel. Previously, she worked there as Editor in Chief, Producer and Presenter of “Bilayan al Mujaradah,” a documentary that covers hot zones in the Arab world and elsewhere, News and war correspondent and Local news correspondent. She currently writes a regular column in AlSharq AlAwsat. She also wrote for Al-Hayat Newspaper and Al-Wasat Magazine, besides producing news bulletins and documentaries for Reuters TV. She can be found on Twitter: @dianamoukalled.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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