Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Iran War

Anti-Syrian and Christian Lebanese Minister Pierre Gamayel has been assassinated. Why? Well Hezbollah wants more power in governmental affairs and was planning massive protests to demand them, rather than rely on something as mundane and anti-Islamic as an election. Syria and Iran want the Lebanese government disbanded; a Democratic Lebanon is as much a threat to the tyrants as a Democratic Iraq. Should Hezbollah kill two more ministers the government will dissolve for lack of a quorum. Does Lebanon realize it is at war with Syria, and therefore at war with Iran? We don't, I can hardly expect them to acknowledge the fact, but trust me, they know. May Mr.Gamayel rest in peace.

Updates from the blog From Beirut to the Beltway (Hattip Sandmonkey)
Update. Angry crowds are gathering outside the St Joseph hospital and chanting anti-Aoun and anti-Hizbullah slogans. As Anton Effendi said, this assassination guarantees that any street protest now will devolve into clashes. The Kataeb party, of which Gemayel is a member, is calling on people to excercise self restraint.

With this assassination, March 14 has lost a member of parliament and a cabinet minister. For the Assad regime, one less March 14 vote means one less vote to ratify the international tribunal.

The eyes now are on the UN Security council, which must endorse the international tribunal as soon as possible

Update 2. Syrian-installed president Emile Lahoud has canceled the November 22nd independence day celebrations to mourn the loss of what he now referred to as a minister. Not long ago, he considered Gemayel and the rest of cabinet illegitimate following the resignation of the Shia ministers and the pro-Lahoud minister.

Meanwhile, Interior minister Ahmad Fatfat has accused Syria of standing behind Gemayel's assassination.

Update 3. Geagea has called on Lahoud to resign immediately, accusing him of acting as a cover for the terrorist attacks. He also called on the Amal and Hizbullah ministers to return to the cabinet.

Update 4 (11am EST). The crowds outside the hospital are calling on people and March 14 to take to the streets.

Meanwhile, gunmen have fired shots at the office of another March 14 minister, Michel Pharaon in Ashrafieh.

It looks like March 14 is under attack.

March 14 leaders will meet tonight to decide on a course of action.

Update 5. A distraught Amin Gemayel (Pierre's father) addressed the crowds. He asked all those who loved Pierre to preserve the cause he died for. He called for self-restraint so not to desecrate what he said is the cause for freedom. He asked everyone to use this night to pray and think about the meaning of martyrdom, and how to protect this country, away from revenge and irresponsible actions.

" We want the Lebanese cause to triumph. I wish upon all those who loved Pierre to safeguard the cause", he said.

Update 6 (11:40 EST). Walid Jumblatt visited the hospital and have a short statement amid anti-Aoun and anti-Nasrallah chants. He affirmed that the international tribunal is coming and warned against civil strife. "They want to create civil strife... We will triumph. We will not let them drag us to sedition," he said.

"As we were on that great day (March 14) with Pierre in the lead, peaceful and democratic for Lebanon, we will remain," he added.

Update: Abu Takla comments at Michael J Totten's blog.
one more to go, not 2. If they assassinate one more minister, the cabinet is automatically dissolved, because it would lack the two-thirds + 1 it needs to be constitutional.
And they did try. Anti-Syrian and Christian Lebanese Minister Michel Pharaon was also targeted today.

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