BEIRUT: The investigation into the assassination of Maj. Gen. Wissam Hasan has moved many steps forward and same goes for the recent suicide bombings, Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi told a local newspaper.
Asked in an interview published in Al-Joumhouriyya newspaper Monday whether there was an intention to hide the revealed truths about Hasan’s assassination, Rifi said:
"Yes, the eclipse is intentional to protect the investigations’ secrecy. I have been following the case since before I left [my position as head of the Internal Security Forces] and afterward, and I am reassured that it has advanced to excellent stages.”
Highlighting his confidence in the ISF, Rifi said that the institution “satisfies his conscience,” showing “commitment to great causes” and thus the potential to “achieve a result.”
Concerning the recent suicide bombings that have hit the country, Rifi explained that the detectives had found strong evidence and that they were partially reporting their findings to the Cabinet.
He said the security forces had been able to progress in terms of standards.
“The security and military capabilities are not bad, and we have raised their professionalism to a very acceptable level,” he said. “We are communicating with modern Arab and foreign security forces in terms of information and expertise exchange.”
Rifi refused to separate Lebanon’s fate from that of the region, saying that “it is a delusion to think that we could protect ourselves from the repercussions of the Syrian and Iraqi volcanoes.”
“Hezbollah has committed a national mistake against itself and the country by bringing the Syrian fire into Lebanon,” Rifi said. He explained that Hezbollah had made a bad move by sending weapons to armed militias in Tripoli and establishing training centers there.
“I told Hasan Nasrallah personally about this in 2006 when I met him with Wissam Hasan and asked him why his party was sending groups to our regions and supporting them,” Rifi added.
“After Wafik Safa denied the accuracy of what I said, I told them that I can provide the names and locations of those training sites, so that I could convince them that they are making a losing bet.”
The same weapons distributed by Hezbollah in Tripoli, Rifi said, were then sold to Syrian rebel groups, “proving that Hezbollah’s bid was on mercenaries.”
Asked about the harmony between Hezbollah and March 14’s views on terrorism, Rifi denied such harmony, saying that his perception of terrorism was whatever harms the country, not Hezbollah and Iran.
“Nobody can pull drag us to his own project, and we will not follow Iran’s project and fight its enemies,” he said.
“We are neither Hezbollah’s soldiers to fight on its behalf, nor soldiers in the Iranian army to fight along its side,” he said, stressing the need to fight against any faction that would harm Lebanon.
“We are facing two types of terrorism,” he said. “They complement each other and fight each other, and harm the country.”
Rifi also commented on Free Patriotic Movement Leader Michel Aoun’s recent initiative calling for the direct election of the president by the people and an electoral law in which every sectarian group elects its own MPs.
“Aoun’s initiative is nonsensical, and it was merely to fill the time of void. It is unrealistic and does not have a clear goal,” Rifi said. “Aoun’s initiative is like reviving the Orthodox Gathering law on the presidential level.”
“What we need are laws that get us closer to each other, not ones that further separate us, for separation is dangerous amid the ongoing regional currents.”