UN Hariri court to 'disappear with wind': Nasrallah

BEIRUT, Natacha Yazbeck- Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah on Thursday predicted a UN court on the murder of Rafiq Hariri would "disappear with the wind" as vast crowds gathered to mark the Shiite holy day of Ashura in Lebanon.
"This new conspiracy against the resistance and Lebanon, dubbed the international tribunal, will disappear with the wind," Nasrallah said in his latest attack on the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), a UN-backed investigation into the 2005 assassination of Sunni ex-premier Hariri.

UN Hariri court to 'disappear with wind': Nasrallah
"We will defend the resistance, our dignity, our country against unrest and against aggressors and conspirators no matter what their guise," the Shiite leader said in a televised address to a procession of tens of thousands in the Hezbollah-controlled southern suburb of Beirut.
His comments came as tensions rise over the STL, which is reportedly ready to indict high-ranking Hezbollah operatives in the 2005 Beirut bombing that killed Hariri and 22 others.
Nasrallah, who commands the most powerful military force in the country, has urged Lebanon's deeply divided unity government to step aside and allow him to deal with the STL, which he claims is a US-Israeli plot.
He has also warned any accusation in the Hariri murder would have grave repercussions in troubled Lebanon.
But Saudi-backed Prime Minister Saad Hariri, son of the slain ex-premier, has vowed to see the investigation through.
In a speech marked by a more pacific tone than that adopted in recent months, Nasrallah on Thursday emphasised that his Iranian-backed militant group was keen to preserve peace among Lebanon's feuding communities, particularly Sunni and Shiite Muslims.
"We announce our commitment to Lebanon, to unity within our country, and to peaceful relations among the many confessions and communities of our country," he said.
Thursday's procession marked the end of 10 days of rituals to mourn the death of Imam Hussein, the faith's third imam.
Responding in force to a call by Nasrallah the previous night, the Shiite faithful flooded the streets of the southern suburb, uniformly clad in black and chanting their traditional saying "Hayhat minnal zilla," Arabic for "Never will we be humiliated".
The gender-segregated processions were marked by strict organisation and security measures by Hezbollah.
Crowds also gathered in mainly Shiite Muslim areas in southern and eastern Lebanon, raising pictures of Nasrallah and Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
And while Lebanon's Shiite clerics forbid anything more violent than the traditional chest- and head-beating on Ashura, a number of worshippers outside the processions organised by Hezbollah took to slashing their heads with razors or beating them with chains.
A grandson of the Prophet Mohammed, Imam Hussein was killed by armies of the caliph Yazid in 680 AD. Tradition holds that he was decapitated and his body mutilated in the battle at Karbala, now in Iraq.
Shiites make up around 15 percent of Muslims worldwide. They represent the majority populations in Iran, Iraq and Bahrain and form significant communities in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

Friday, December 17th 2010
Natacha Yazbeck

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