Hizballah's four top commanders face indictment by the UN Special Tribunal for Lebanon-STL for the 2005 murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri in West Beirut, debkafile's exclusive intelligence and counterterrorism sources reveal. The STL expects to issue the indictments next month or early January 2011.
Monday, Nov. 8,The Wall Street Journal disclosed the name of Mustafa Badr al-Din, Hizballah's No. 2 after Hassan Nasrallah as deputy for special security affairs. debkafile's sources name at least three more leading lights of the Lebanese Shiite militia who face summonses to stand trial before the international tribunal for planning and executing the Hariri assassination. They are:
Wafiq Safa: Head of Hizballah's special security and intelligence apparatus, one of Nasrallah's closest cronies.
His powers are broader than his title would indicate: Safa acts as deputy of the Iranian Al Qods officer, Gen. Hossein Mahadavi, who has taken command of the Hizballah militia as chief of staff. In this capacity, Safa would be assigned to spearhead the grab for power Hizballah is planning for the moment the STL issues indictments. Safa is also charged with coordinating military cooperation between Hizballah and its two Lebanese allies, Michel Aoun's Christian militia and Walid Jumblatt's Druze forces. Given the tactical talents he displayed by engineering the cross-border abduction of Israeli soldiers in 2006 and other Hizballah border encroachments, Wafa may be wily enough to wriggle out of being extradited to The Hague for trial.
Talal Hamiya: Head of the Special Duties branch of Hizballah's Jihad Council. A former operations deputy under Hizballah's late military commander Imad Mughniyeh (who died in a bomb explosion in Damascus in 2008), his current duties include command of the special details securing Hizballah's various branches and the conduct of "special" (terror) operations around the world. Hamiya is also responsible for Hizballah's intelligence service.
Ibrahim Muhammad Akil, incumbent military commander of southern Lebanon, i.e., the front against Israel.
debkafile's sources say that the tribunal's special prosecutor, Daniel Bellemare, has obtained proof that on the day of the Hariri assassination, the four Hizballah officials named here had set up a makeshift command center for running the operation – a huge explosion which killed another 22 people. From there, they used Hizballah's internal military telephone network to post their orders and coordinate the tasks of the field teams.
Bellemare's investigators have been going around Beirut looking for evidence of this telephone network – often in unlikely places. Last month, their search at a military clinic ran into violent resistance from Hizballah, drawing a complaint from UN secretary Ban Ki-moon.
If Hizballah makes good on its threat to overthrow the Lebanese government and so preempt the STL's indictments and its officers' extradition, debkafile's sources fear Lebanon could find itself governed by terrorists who, moreover, have been inculpated for political assassination by an international tribunal.
In these circumstances, the UN Security Council would have little choice but to lead an international boycott of Lebanon, impose stiff sanctions aimed at toppling the Hizballah regime or even mandate an invasion to restore legitimate government in Beirut.
Hizballah's first act on attaining power would almost certainly be a demand for the UN Secretary General remove the 20,000 UNIFIL peacekeepers policing South Lebanon.