Monday, November 5, 2012

STL Suspect Hussein Oneissy at Wissam Hassan Assassination?

Lebanese commentators are abuzz about allegations that a Hizballah operative indicted by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon for the assassination of former Premier Rafic al Hariri, was seen at the scene of the assassination of ISF Information Branch chief, Gen. Wissam al Hassan.
On November 2nd, Akhbar el Nasher reported on a tweet by journalist Maria Maalouf in which she wrote that Future MP Nohad Mashnouq had informed her that video images captured at the scene of the crime showed Salim Ayyash at the scene.
On Novemeber 3rd, a Youtube video published by Radio Sawt Beirut showed what claimed to be Hussein Oneissi at the scene of the explosion.  Meanwhile, journalist Nadim Koteich revealed via twitter that high ranking politicians within the March 14 movement had information that the assassinated Hassan had obtained images of one of the STL indictees and was monitoring his movements, and that that information had been shared with the President's office in Lebanon. 

The assassination of Gen. Hassan has been widely blamed on the Assad regime, with some noting that the operation would've requried the involvement of a local group allied with the regime, the most proficient of which is Hizballah.  The Information Branch, which Hassan headed, was credited with the disruption of major terrorist cells affiliated with the Assad regime, as well as a large number of Israeli agents and cells.  Most recently, Hassan was believed to have been behind the arrest of former Lebanese minister, and close Assad associate, Michel Samaha, who has confessed to transporting explosives across the Syrian-Lebanese border for use in terrorist and assassination operations at the behest of the Assad regime.
In addition, the Information Branch was seen as a uniquely singular organization in which Hizballah and other Assad organs in Lebanon did not have a controlling hand.  This status is believed to have been enshrined in the Doha Accord which came about after the Hizballah invasion of Beirut in May 2008.  Seen from this perspective, the assassination of Wissam Hassan has been viewed as a critical strike by Hizballah aimed at consolidating power in Lebanon amid instability in neighboring Syria and the theat of a strike on Iran's nuclear facilities.

Update: As suspected (pun intended) it was revealed that the person seen in the video was just of an unfortunate resemblence to Hussein Oneissi.  The STL revealed, after examining video evidence of the crime scene that no indictees were visible.  Here is the Naharnet article.

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