CNN is reporting that Pierre Gemayel, a member of the Lebanese cabinet, has been shot and killed.
Nothing follows currently, but I'll have details when I can get them.Update:
According to the banner on CNN, Pierre was a Christian cabinet member. No surprise there - I'm guessing that this is a continuation of Syria's attempt (via Hezbullah) to topple the Lebanese government and install a dictatorial regime more in tune with Syria's terrorist proclivities.
Both Fox and CNN are reporting that Iraq has restored its diplomatic ties with Syria
. Boy, does the timing of that
I'm not clear about these developments, but there was a Pierre Gemayel
who was involved in Lebanese Christian politics, but he died in 1984. No word on whether the Pierre Gemayel reported to have just been killed is a relative or not. It's possible that the wire services have his name mixed up - I'm keeping an eye on it to see.Update:
The Fox News
Gemayel, the minister of industry and son of former President Amin Gemayel, is a member of the Phalange party and supporter of the anti-Syrian parliamentary majority, which is locked in a power struggle with pro-Syrian factions led by Hezbollah.
Pierre appears to be the grandson
of the Pierre that died in 1984, and whose brother Bashir was also assassinated by pro-Syrian forces.
This is definitely a continuation of Syria's takeover-by-proxy
of Lebanon, and should be roundly
condemned by the international media and United Nations as such. I'm not going to hold my breath for the condemnation, though.
Any Arabic readers
out there? This appears to be a part of a lecture by the deceased.Update:
story, via the Associated Press.
His fatal shooting will certainly heighten the political tension in Lebanon, where the leading Muslim Shiite party Hezbollah has threatened to topple the government if he [sic-corrected in a later edition to "it"] does not get a bigger say in Cabinet decision making. ... Gemayel was rushed to a nearby hospital, according to the Lebanese Broadcasting Corp. and the Voice of Lebanon, the Phalange Party mouthpiece. The party radio later said he was dead, as did the National News Agency.
No mention of Syria's connection to Hezbullah, and love the use of the euphemistic Europe-ism "topple the government," as if assassination is a reasonably legitimate
method of "continuity of government." Nice of the AP to give us the terrorist
angle on this attack. And, as we all know, only Christian organizations can have "mouthpieces." So, by supposition, it's safe for us to assume that al-Manar, Hezbullah's satellite network, is the democratic voice of the People
take on the story:
He was an opponent of the influence in Lebanon of Syria, who many Lebanese blame for the February 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri.
Lebanon is in the throes of a political storm pitting the anti-Syrian ruling majority against the pro-Damascus opposition. The political tension threatens to spill into street confrontations.
Lebanon's Prime Minister Fouad Siniora said on Tuesday his depleted cabinet was legitimate despite the resignation of six pro-Syrian ministers, and warned that any anti-government protests could turn violent.
Pro-Syrian Hezbollah and its allies are preparing to take to the streets to topple Siniora's government, which they accuse of being allied with the United States, arguing that it has lost its legitimacy since Shi'ite Muslims are no longer represented.
Very fair, and very
balanced! Reuters, you never cease to amaze me! Notice the contrast between this and the AP report above--Reuters has correctly
noted that anti-Syrians constitute a majority
in the Lebanese Government, and pro-Syrian Hezbullah is the opposition. Whoever wrote the AP report seems to be very eager to lend their support to the Syrian puppet terrorists!AllahPundit
: In fact, this is so stupid that Iâm thinking it might be too stupid even for Assad. Whatâs going on here? Sister Toljah
: Allahâs on top of the story, as usual, and has the latest developments. Ouch! That hurts!
The United States has roundly condemed
That makes one
member of the United Nations. Roughly 142 to go.Update:
The head of the anti-Syrian majority in parliament, Saad Hariri, interrupted a press conference to accuse the Syrian regime of "trying to kill every free person" in Lebanon.
"The cycle (of killings) has resumed," he said.
He was referring to a spate of assassinations and attempted assassinations in the past two years, including the killing of his own father, five-time prime minister Rafiq Hariri, in a massive bomb blast on the Beirut seafront in Feburary last year.
British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett swiftly condemned the killing.
Overall, a fairly balanced report. Okay, make that two
UN members. Still about 141 to go.Update:
After a brief power outage, and a whole slew of meetings, I'm finally back. My apologies for the outage!
A large number of blogs are commenting on this now, and have picked up on some new information. Via MM
: Free Cedar
, The Beirut Beltway
, Rick Moran
Allah and others are now reporting that anti-Hezbullah
riots are forming in Lebanon as we speak
. Has the next Lebanese war started already?Update:
AllahPundit is reporting that Pierre was one of the Cabinet members
in support of setting up a tribunal to investigate al-Hariri's assassination. That seems to be a plausible explanation for this latest hit, but can one ever be absolutely certain in middle-eastern affairs?
It's comforting to note that the United Nations, as mentioned on the second page of the above-linked article, is up to doing its usual round of nothing
At the United Nations, U.S. Ambassador John R. Bolton angrily rejected the idea that the U.N. Security Council should postpone final approval of the international tribunal in the Hariri case because of Lebanon's instability. The council was considering such approval when the news of Gemayel's assassination broke. [ed.: in other words, the TERRORIST members of the United Nations used this as an excuse to try and sidetrack the tribunal!]
"How incredibly wrong that would be," Bolton said, his voice rising in anger. "Instability? They're killing people in Lebanon. They're assassinating political leaders. Not the time to seek justice? There may be those on the Security Council who say it. Let them step forward and say it."
Kudos to Mr. Bolton for speaking the truth to thugs
.Update: From Beirut to the Beltway
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.
Quick: Someone find me the last time Hezbullah
(or any other
Muslim terrorist group!) has called for its people to exercise self-restraint
. Thanks to B2B for illustrating the difference between the two factions so succinctly.Update:
Yahoo! News has opened up a Pierre Gemayel slideshow
covering these events. I'll scrape any interesting photos to the extended article, if necessary.Update:
Reuters is initiating a body count
Six pro-Syrian ministers resigned from Siniora's cabinet this month and with Gemayel's death, the deaths or resignations of two more ministers would bring down the government.Update:
Bring on the obituaries: The Financial Times
, The Guardian
, The Beeb
. I suppose that the following passage means that the BBC disapproves
of the Marionite Christian Lebanese? After all, all Muslims must
be "leftwing," right?
The name Gemayel is inextricably linked to the rightwing Maronite Christian party, the Phalange, founded by his grandfather (also named Pierre) in 1936 and one of the main players in the bloody civil war that gripped Lebanon through the 1970s and 1980s.Update: From CNN
, "I have to tell you, this is not just any person that was assassinated
. ... This is going to create a lot of anger on the streets of Lebanon because this is going to be seen as Syria and its supporters inside Lebanon really meddling with the business, with the democracy, with the constitution, with everything that really makes up Lebanon at this point."
(Anyone want to digg this story up
Ah, the nutroots: It was da JOOS!Update:
The Associated Press has posted a convenient timeline
of assassinations in Lebanon over the past 30 years. By my count, that makes 12 Christians
, 4 "Coexistians", 2 Muslims, and 2 "undetermined's" killed. Anyone notice anything odd about those statistics? (You can also interpret this as roughly "12 anti-Syrians
vs. 4 pro-Syrians" killed, but the same oddity makes itself manifest...)Update:
Israeli experts on the region are suggesting that we're not likely to see a civil war
--because the Muslims are too strongly armed, and the Christians are not armed enough. Not sure there's anything to argue about that!
"The assassination of Pierre Gemayel will undoubtedly lead to a major confrontation, though probably not a civil war in Lebanon. Hizbullah has more arms and its soldiers are better trained and more professional. A full-blown civil war is therefore not in Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora's best interest," Dr. Boaz Ganor, founder and the Executive Director of the International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, predicted after news out of Lebanon emerged.
"After the war in Lebanon," Ganor noted, "I estimated that Hizbullah would be in power within five years. The Christian side has come to realize that it has little cards left for them to play. The main reason for this is that the Ta'if agreement is no longer relevant [ed.: An example of Hudna in practice?] because of demographic changes in Lebanon that favor the Shi'ites. Hizbullah is openly saying that it wishes to take advantage of these changes to take control of the government."
You can thank your buddies at UNIFIL for allowing this atrocity
to happen. Supporting terrorists is what they do best
.Update: Jules Crittenden speaks.