LCCC compiled reports and releases on the Pierre Gemayel Crime
November 22-23, 24/2006

Amin Gemayel has lost a son, but Lebanon has gained a father
Friday, November 24, 2006
Editorial-Daily Star
Former President Amin Gemayel lost a son, but he became a father of the country when he issued a call for calm just hours after Pierre Gemayel's assassination. His concern for his country and his people was again demonstrated during his son's funeral, when he announced that the "countdown for the election of a new president has begun." Gemayel came to the defense of an abused nation by making clear that Emile Lahoud is not accepted as president by the Lebanese people, not even among the Christians who he purportedly represents.
As this newspaper has repeatedly stated, the best thing that Lahoud could do for the sake of the country would be to engineer the peaceful termination of his presidency. His failure to do so - along with the parliamentary majority's failure to agree on a viable candidate to replace him - have in large part contributed to the current political crisis.
Fadi Abboud, head of the Lebanese Industrialists Association, expressed the gravity of the situation when he issued a warning to the political class that the country's businesses can no longer tolerate perennial instability. In a desperate and exhausted attempt to force politicians to take decisive action, Abboud announced that he would approve an open and total strike on the part of all businesses until the political crisis is resolved. Resolution means that the presidential issue must be addressed. Equally urgent is the need to create an international tribunal to hold the killers of former Premier Rafik Hariri and others, including Gemayel, accountable for their actions.
The spree of assassinations in Lebanon has drawn international condemnation. Two state-affiliated Iranian newspapers weighed in on the matter of the most recent killing in front-page articles which accused the United States and Israel of assassinating Gemayel in order to destabilize Lebanon. If that is indeed the case, then Iran ought to be willing to give its full public support to the UN tribunal. The perpetrators of Gemayel's murder - whether American, Israeli, Syrian, Lebanese or otherwise - should be forced to stand trial and be prosecuted just like any other suspected assassins.
The two Iranian papers are among many parties, internal and external, voicing their views on the pivotal issues being debated in Lebanon. What many of them - especially local leaders - fail to see is that the current crisis is more than just a power struggle over who will get to run the country. It is a crisis about Lebanon's very existence. Those who adamantly cling to their simple remedies are like inept doctors arguing around an operating table while their patient is hemorrhaging. This is not the time for posturing or bickering; we urgently need to stop the country's bleeding.
At his son's funeral, former President Gemayel again demonstrated the kind of care and wisdom that only a father can show, when he called for a reformed state with law and justice as its guiding principles. That ought to be a cause around which all parties who want the best for Lebanon can rally.

Cries of mourning, calls for justice
March 14 allies once again address hundreds of thousands in square where movement was born
Daily Star staff-Friday, November 24, 2006
BEIRUT: The leaders of the March 14 Forces addressed hundreds of thousands of mourners gathered in Beirut's Martyrs Square on Thursday during a massive demonstration held following the funeral of late Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel, gunned down in a suburb of the capital on Tuesday. Below are excerpts from the speeches made by each leader from behind a bulletproof screen.
MP Walid Jumblatt
The Progressive Socialist Party leader railed against what he said was continued Syrian meddling in Lebanese affairs.
"They will not take away our determination for life. They will not take away our determination to refuse the culture of sorrow and death," he said, referring to the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, blamed by the March 14 Forces for a string of killings of prominent anti-Syrian figures dating back almost two years. "They will not take away our love of joy, life and hope; they will not take away our rejection of foreign interference and the era of the Middle Ages," he added."They will not take away our determination to keep the arms in the hands of the state, and our demands for truth, justice and the international court," he said. The Druze leader was alluding to the ruling parties' insistence on an international tribunal to try former Premier Rafik Hariri's assassins, and to the refusal of Syrian ally Hizbullah to lay down its arms in accordance with UN resolutions after this past summer's war with Israel. Jumblatt said Gemayel had joined "the previous martyrs ... who had refused ... the regime of tutelage, killings and assassinations." But he added that the March 14 Forces were insisting on holding a dialogue with the country's opposition factions.
"We are with dialogue," he declared.
MP Saad Hariri
The parliamentary majority leader reminded the massive crowds of the events of the past two years, and thanked them for their continued resolve.
"Peace be with you my dear brothers," he said, addressing his fellow Lebanese. "You are here for a new revolution to show the entire world that the sons of Rafik Hariri and the supporters of Pierre Gemayel are the majority in Lebanon."
"They said that you are a virtual majority, but we are the reality and they are virtual," he added, in reference to claims by the opposition, namely Hizbullah and the Free Patriotic Movement, that the parliamentary majority is not representative of the country.
"National unity is stronger than their arms ... and their terrorism," he said. "For those people we say, forget about your illusions and return to the truth; return to sovereignty and freedom; return to Lebanon."
Hariri addressed the late Gemayel directly, saying: "Peace be with you my dear friend, martyr Pierre Gemayel. Convey my kisses and my love to my dear father, the martyr Rafik Hariri."
"Rafik Hariri, a Sunni Muslim, and Pierre Gemayel, a Maronite Christian, died for the sake of Lebanon," Hariri added. "Today their blood will unite for the sake of Lebanon's freedom, sovereignty and Arabism."
Hariri also thanked those gathered for attending the demonstration.
"For the third time in two years, you came from all Lebanese cities and towns to Martyrs Square to speak out against tutelage; to call for freedom and independence," he said.
Former President Amin Gemayel
The slain minister's father, who served as president between 1982 and 1988, took the podium to call for a renewed Lebanon - with a new president.
"Your presence here is more than a message; it is a warning; a warning for the urgent need to achieve Lebanon's sovereignty and independence," Gemayel said.
Hailing "the start of the second revolution for the independence of Lebanon, which should start at the top," Gemayel made fun of MP Michel Aoun's Reform and Change parliamentary bloc, saying: "This new 'Independence Intifada' will only be achieved through reform and change - but not just any reform and change."
"This is the start of the countdown for the election of a new president," the grieving father added.
Gemayel pledged that Lebanon's governing coalition would not waste the impetus of the huge outpouring of popular anger at persistent political violence dogging the country.
"We will soon adopt practical measures so that your voice does not wither away ... so that it covers the treacherous bullets and explosions," he told the crowd.
"We will not tire until we bring the killers to court," he vowed.
The Phalange Party leader also announced that the United Nations investigation panel probing Rafik Hariri's assassination would also look into his son's murder.
"I hope that Pierre's assassination will be the last sacrifice toward the achievement of true independence," the former president said.
Samir Geagea
The head of the Lebanese Forces spoke out against the demands of Hizbullah and its allies for a government of national unity that prompted six ministers to quit the Cabinet nearly two weeks ago.
"This government is our government, and it takes its legitimacy from our Parliament, our presence and the blood of our martyrs," Geagea said, alluding to the parliamentary majority won by the anti-Syrian coalition in summer 2005 elections.
"We will not accept its replacement with a government of [Syrian] tutelage, killings and crimes," he added.
Geagea reiterated the coalition's accusations that Hizbullah and its allies left the Cabinet at Syria's bidding in a bid to block approval of the proposed international tribunal that was approved by the United Nations Security Council just hours after Gemayel's assassination on Tuesday.
"They wanted a confrontation over the tribunal, but they did not dare declare it as such ... but the masks have fallen," he said. "We pledge to continue ... until we know the truth."
The Christian leader also called for the replacement of President Emile Lahoud, saying: "History will [bear] witness on Lahoud's immoral deeds and all that he did to Lebanon and the Lebanese. History waits but it never forgets."
Asaad Harmoush
The Al-Jamaa al-Islamiyya representative in Lebanon voiced his movement's support for the implementation of the Taif Accord and the formation of the Hariri tribunal.
"We are here today to voice our support to a free, Arab and sovereign country," Harmoush said. "We are against murder and political assassination."
He also lashed out at Lahoud, saying: "We tell the occupant of Baabda Palace to leave Lebanon." - The Daily Star

Bidding farewell to Pierre Gemayel
Daily Star Online edition staff
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Beirut 12h30pm - Former Lebanese President Amin Gemayel walks behind the coffin of his son, along with thousands of Lebanese mourners who carry the coffin of the assassinated Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel, in the Gemayels' hometown of Bikfaya, in the mountains northeast of Beirut, 23 November 2006. Lebanon prepared to lay to rest its latest murdered politician today with supporters of the beleaguered pro-Western government vowing to turn the funeral into a massive show of public outrage.
Angry cries rang out from the sea of mourners; Shots were fired in the air as a mark of respect as the cortege made its way slowly to the final resting place of Minister Pierre Gemayel.
After prayers at the Gemayel family home, pallbearers carried the coffin, draped in the Lebanese national flag and the banner of his Kataeb party, down the village's main street to the applause of the crowd.
Women threw rice and flower petals as the cortege struggled to make progress through the sea of people.
The coffin was placed in a black hearse for the road journey to the capital ahead of the 1 pm (1100 GMT) funeral at the Maronite St George Cathedral.
Tens of thousands of people were already gathering in the city centre three hours ahead of the service, waving red-and-white Lebanese flags.
Huge convoys of cars and buses full of flag-waving mourners jammed the main roads into the city.
Businesses across the country have been asked to remain closed as a mark of respect.
Lebanese troops, backed by armored vehicles, were out in force across the capital for the funeral.
Gemayel is the sixth outspoken opponent of Syria to be assassinated in the past two years.
The anti-Damascus government was quick to point the finger at Syria and called for a huge show of public determination to get rid of the meddling of its larger neighbor.-With Agencies

Hundreds of thousands bid Gemayel farewell
Siniora presses resigned ministers to rejoin Cabinet
By Leila Hatoum -Daily Star staff
Friday, November 24, 2006
BEIRUT: Lebanese Premier Fouad Siniora called on six resigned ministers to rejoin the Cabinet Thursday in a bid to defuse political tension paralyzing the country, hours after the country bid farewell to slain Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel. Addressing the nation after a meeting with several members of his Cabinet, Siniora said, "there is an opportunity for us today to unite our stand on many issues that bring us together, including the international tribunal ... which is the only path to revealing the truth behind the crimes that have targeted the Lebanese."
Siniora called on all parties to "resume the national dialogue ... to discuss the differences," hailing the "great role played by Speaker Nabih Berri."
The premier urged the speaker to "maintain the same role that contributed to bringing the Lebanese together in the past."
In a statement issued late Thursday, Hassan Sabaa, the interior minister who resigned in February, responded to Siniora's call, saying that he would return to the government and attend Saturday's Cabinet session.
Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) leader MP Michel Aoun also called for dialogue in an interview Thursday evening with Al-Jazeera television.
In a speech made before hundreds of thousands of mourners
Thursday, prominent March 14 Forces member MP Walid Jumblatt also called for a resumption of the national talks.
Earlier Thursday, international, regional and local dignitaries gathered at St. Georges Cathedral in Downtown Beirut to bid farewell to Gemayel.
French Foreign Minister Philip Douste-Blazy, UN envoy Geir Pedersen and Arab League chief Amr Moussa were among the notable attendees of the funeral for Gemayel and his bodyguard, Samir Chartouni.
The convoy carrying Gemayel's body had made its way through heavy traffic from his mountain hometown of Bikfaya toward the capital.
Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir flew by helicopter from Bkirki to the cathedral, where he led prayers for Gemayel's and Chartouni's souls.
Sfeir said the Lebanese must "preserve unity and utilize the empathy which the world has shown to Lebanon," to maintain the country's stability, safety and independence.
Pope Benedict XVI condemned Gemayel's assassination in a message read during the funeral. "We are all very moved by this unspeakable act," Benedict said.
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"I hope that all Lebanese remain united in these circumstances and that they renew their determination to rebuild an autonomous Lebanon ... where all communities are ensured active participation," he added.
After the funeral service, Gemayel's body was returned to Bikfaya to be buried alongside his ancestors.
As Gemayel's coffin made its way to Bikfaya, March 14 leaders addressed the throngs of supporters with fiery speeches denouncing Syria and its allies in Lebanon.
"They wanted it to be a confrontation, then so be it," Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea said, in a reference to Hizbullah and its allies.
"We will not rest until all the criminals are brought to justice," Gemayel's father, former President Amin Gemayel, told the crowds.
Gemayel was killed Tuesday in the Beirut suburb of Jdeideh. The assassins, believed to have used silencers to muffle their shots and a Honda sport-utility vehicle for their getaway, remain at large. The March 14 Forces blame Damascus for the killing.
A source within the Presidential Palace said President Emile Lahoud had no comment on the speeches made after the funeral, nearly all of which called for his resignation.
"The president has loads to say in response to the wrongful accusations, but he will not speak in honor of death and the late minister," the source said. "When the time is appropriate, the president will reply."
Sheikh Mohammad Yazbek, a member of Hizbullah's Shura Council, said that "the aim behind the assassination [of Gemayel] was to pressure the opposition ministers into retracting their resignations.
"The authority is handling [national] security, why don't they reveal the assassins or take precautions?" he asked.
Aoun said that Gemayel's assassination "was being utilized as a means" against his and other opposition parties
"We have nothing to fear and we demand a quick investigation to reveal the [identity of the] assassins," he added.
As The Daily Star went to press, Reuters quoted official sources as saying that Cabinet would convene on Saturday to approve the draft for the tribunal. - With agencies

Funeral for slain Lebanese leader turns into rally
By Dion Nissenbaum
McClatchy Newspapers
BEIRUT, Lebanon - Downtown Beirut was transformed into a river of red and white Lebanese flags Thursday as emotional demonstrators turned the funeral of assassinated anti-Syrian politician Pierre Gemayel into a show of support for the beleaguered pro-Western government.
At times angry, ebullient, dispirited and defiant, protesters converged on Martyrs' Square, where the slain man's father, former President Amin Gemayel, told the crowd that the turnout marked "the start of a second revolution for the independence of Lebanon."
The turnout provided an emotional boost for Prime Minister Fuad Saniora, the pro-Western leader who's trying to fend off a political coup by the country's Shiite Hezbollah militia and prevent neighboring Syria from reasserting unwanted influence on the tiny nation's fractious political system.
"We are not going to give up," said Abed Kassir, an 18-year-old college student who took part with hundreds of thousands of others in the rally. "We want a democracy free of Syrian influence."
Gemayel was gunned down Tuesday in a daylight attack that pushed the government one step closer to possible collapse and edged Lebanon toward a sectarian war.
The funeral for the 34-year-old son of a Maronite Christian political dynasty provided leaders of Lebanon's pro-Western forces with a forum to energize their supporters. Gemayel was the fifth prominent anti-Syrian figure to be assassinated in Lebanon since February 2005, when former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was killed by a car bomb.
Then, as now, many accused Syria of ordering the assassination in an attempt to undermine the Lebanese government. Hariri's death sparked the Cedar Revolution, a peaceful protest movement that drove Syrian forces from Lebanon after decades of political dominance.
Syria has denied playing any role in any of the assassination plots of the past year, but it has been highly critical of an ongoing United Nations investigation that has focused on allegations that high-level Syrian officials played a role in Hariri's death.
While Thursday's march ended peacefully as Gemayel's flag-draped coffin was returned to his family home in the mountains for burial, there's widespread concern about what will happen next.
While Hezbollah and its leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, have postponed plans for their own street protests, the group is still intent on bringing down Saniora's government.
The fall of the government would be a setback for U.S. efforts to spread democracy and would worry Sunni Muslim nations, including Jordan and Saudi Arabia, about growing Shiite power in the region.
Six Hezbollah allies in the Cabinet resigned nearly two weeks ago in a bid to topple the government just as it was preparing to approve a beefed up international investigation into Hariri's assassination.
Lahoud and Hezbollah said the Saniora government had no authority to authorize a United Nations tribunal without participation from Shiite Cabinet ministers, but the now-smaller Cabinet approved the plan nevertheless.
Hours after Gemayel's assassination, the United Nations Security Council endorsed the plan to set up a tribunal to try those suspected of involvement in Hariri's death and sent it back to the Lebanese government for ratification.
Hezbollah has been looking to boost its influence in Lebanon following its 34-day war with Israel this summer. While the war ravaged the Shiite-dominated area of southern Beirut and southern Lebanon, Hezbollah emerged from the battle with increased political stature because it was viewed as having fought Israel to a draw. Nasrallah has used his enhanced standing to demand a greater Shiite role in the government, where Christians and Muslims are allotted an equal number of seats in the parliament. Hezbollah and its Christian allies led by Maronite Michel Aoun have been demanding more than a third of the Cabinet seats, which would give them the power to veto government decisions. Saniora and his allies rejected the idea, sparking the Cabinet resignations and the political crisis.

Lebanese Pay Their Last Respects To Slain Gemayel
Slain Lebanese Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel was laid to rest Thursday at a cemetary in his home town of Bikfaya amid tears and shouts of anger against Syria and Lebanese President Emile Lahoud, regarded as a Syrian ally.
Fireworks and gunshots accompanied church bells in the burial as Gemayel's father and mother Amin and Joyce stood hand-in-hand near the grave, weeping. "I hope my son's death will be the last... and Lebanon will be independent and sovereign," Amin Gemayel said in a brief comment to Deutsche Presse-Aentur dpa. Pierre Gemayel, who was gunned down in Beirut Tuesday along with his bodyguard Samir Chartouni, was the sixth outspoken critic of Syria to be assassinated in the past two years. He received an official funeral in Beirut amid a sea of hundreds of thousands of supporters who took to the streets to pay their last respects, turning the event into a massive political rally. Downtown St George Cathedral was packed with mourners, including several Lebanese and foreign dignitaries who included French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy and Arab League chief Amr Moussa.
"My country France is working and will continue to work to secure an independent and sovereign Lebanon," Douste-Blazy said after meeting Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Seniora following the funeral. Amr Moussa, visiting Lahoud, concurred with the French official's statement, saying "Lebanon's stability is essential." In a letter of condolence read out during the funeral service by the Vatican embassy secretary in Beirut, Pope Benedict XVI condemned Gemayel's assassination, describing it as an "unspeakable act."
Schools, shops and businesses across the country were closed as a sign of respect and hundreds of troops were deployed in Beirut as tension between pro- and anti-Syrian factions ran high. Crowds waving Lebanese flags had swarmed the streets since the early morning, many taking advantage of the occasion to vent their rage at Syria and Lahoud. "Just pack and leave," read one banner.
After the services, the leaders of the anti-Syrian parliamentary majority took to the stage on Beirut's Martyrs' Square to address their followers.
"They will not get us. They will not take our independence," Druze leader Walid Jumblatt said.
Referring to the ruling parties' insistence on an international tribunal to try those involved in the February 2005 slaying of former premier Rafik Hariri, Jumblatt said: "Our demands are for the truth, justice and the international court."
Pierre Gemayel had joined "the previous martyrs who had refused the regime of tutelage, killings and assassinations," Jumblatt added.
The head of the anti-Syrian camp, Saad Hariri - son of Rafik Hariri who was assassinated in February 2005 - lashed out at the Hezbollah-led opposition. "We are the majority and not them," he said. "You are here for a new revolution to show the entire world that national unity is stronger than their arms and their terrorism." Christian leader Samir Geagea vowed "no surrender" until an international court to try the suspected killers of Rafik Hariri was established and those responsible convicted. Geagea reiterated his call for the resignation of President Lahoud to the crowd's chants of "Lahoud out." A tearful Amin Gemayel told the rally: "Your presence here is a message and a warning for Lebanon."
Hostility to Syria, which many Lebanese blame for the series of assassinations of anti-Syrian figures since 2005, was visible in the banners brandished by the rally participants, whose numbers were estimated by the organizers at one million.
Pro-Syrian Lebanese House Speaker Nabih Berri, a Shia Muslim, also attended the religious service inside the church.
Five Shiite ministers resigned from the government earlier this month after round-table talks failed to reach agreement on the formation of a national unity government. Hezbollah is leading calls for a new government with greater representation for its allies and has threatened to take to the streets to achieve its goal. The ministers' resignation was interpreted by the rest of the cabinet as designed to thwart the formation of the international Hariri tribunal.
The Gemayel assassination came on the same day the UN Security Council endorsed plans to establish the court.
The UN Security Council on Wednesday directed UN investigators probing the Hariri murder to provide Beirut with assistance in investigating the killing of Gemayel.By Weedah Hamzah, Dpa

Douste-Blazy vows French support for Lebanon
By Nada Bakri -Daily Star staff
Friday, November 24, 2006
BEIRUT: Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa and French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy led the contingent of foreign dignitaries at Thursday's funeral for slain Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel at Beirut's St. Georges Cathedral. Hundreds of thousands paid their respects, some by castigating Syria - blamed by many for the murder of Gemayel, the sixth Damascus critic to be killed in the past two years.
Douste-Blazy - whose country has been a strong opponent of Syrian influence in Lebanon - also made little secret of his own suspicions of Syrian involvement, even if he held back from apportioning blame.
"Obviously I will avoid designating the guilty party at this stage, even if after this new murder, following so many others, each of us has an opinion," he told France Info radio.
Syria has denied any role in the assassination.
Following a meeting with Prime Minister Fouad Siniora at the Grand Serail, Douste-Blazy reiterated his country's support for Siniora's Cabinet.
"President Jacques Chirac is the best defender on earth of Lebanon's sovereignty ... France is determined to support Lebanon and to stand by Siniora's government to help it now more than ever defend Lebanon's sovereignty and independence," Douste-Blazy said.
He added that there will be "no peace in Lebanon unless international justice is estab-
lished," in reference to the formation of an international tribunal to try suspects in the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
On Tuesday, hours after Gemayel was killed, the United Nations Security Council approved a draft law outlining the framework of the court.
The draft gives the tribunal jurisdiction to cover other assassinations and attempts that the investigation has linked to Hariri's murder. It must now be formally approved by the Lebanese government and President Emile Lahoud before being forwarded to Parliament for approval.
Douste-Blazy said Lahoud's refusal to sign it would not affect the Security Council's decision, but "it is now time for Parliament to show its determination and desire to establish justice."
The French minister later met with Speaker Nabih Berri, who is expected to convene Parliament to discuss and pass the tribunal law in the coming days.
Douste-Blazy said after his talks with Berri that he is urging Lebanese leaders to resume dialogue to find solutions that honor democratic norms. He also met with Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir and handed him a letter from Chirac.
Moussa also met with Lebanese officials, including , Siniora, Berri and Lahoud.
"Lebanon is passing through a very critical phase," the Arab League chief told reporters after meeting Siniora. "It is very important that national unity be protected because it is the foundation upon which everything is based, the government, common decisions and the protection of the country."

Aridi expresses 'deep sorrow'
Daily Star staff- Friday, November 24, 2006
BEIRUT: Information Minister Ghazi Aridi voiced the Cabinet's "deep sorrow" Thursday over the loss of the late Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel. Gemayel was gunned down on the streets of the capital on Tuesday by unknown assailants. "We have lost a great colleague and Lebanon has lost a great future political leader," he told Voice of Lebanon radio.Addressing the late Gemayel, Aridi added, "they killed you because they are against the establishment of an international tribunal [to try former Premier Rafik Hariri's killers]." But the information minister expressed dismay regarding accusations that members of the March 14 Forces may have had a hand in the latest political assassination in Lebanon.
"As if we are responsible for the assassinations ... as if [MP Walid] Jumblatt is the killer," Aridi said.
Former MP Nassib Lahoud also said the killing aimed to hamper the creation of the Hariri tribunal, adding that another goal was to weaken the government. Speaking to LBC on Thursday, Lahoud urged five resigned Hizbullah and Amal ministers to return to their posts.
"The return of resigned ministers to government will be a message to the killers that the Lebanese do not accept murder as a means to achieve political goals," the former MP said. Meanwhile, Reform and Change bloc MP Ghassan Mokheiber said Tuesday's bloodshed "will not frighten us," and reiterated the need to approve the international court. "The challenge will come the day following Gemayel's funeral ... The Lebanese, notably politicians, will have a huge responsibility to assume for the country is in dire need of acts, not words," Mokheiber said in a statement. "We have to agree on successful solutions [to the current political deadlock] and put this international tribunal into effect as soon as possible," he added. - The Daily Star

Minor clashes break out near Martyrs Square demonstration
No arrests in exchange of 'foul language,' stone-throwing
By Leila Hatoum and Nour Samaha -Daily Star staff
Friday, November 24, 2006
BEIRUT: Minor clashes erupted between supporters of the Amal Movement and Hizbullah on one side and Future Movement and Phalange Party backers on the other in Bashoura, in Downtown Beirut, during a rally connected to the funeral of assassinated Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel on Thursday. According to a resident of the neighborhood, which abuts UN House, the supporters of the "opposition" parties threw stones at a group of March 14 Forces backers who were cursing Hizbullah's leader, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, and the Amal Movement. Army and ISF personnel cleared the area almost immediately.
Amal's coordinator for the area, Ziad al-Zein, said the scuffle "has nothing to do with the Amal Movement or Hizbullah.
"All that happened is that a group of people were provoked by the foul language against religious and political Shiite figures and they responded by throwing stones at the protesters," he said.
There were no injuries, Zein said, adding that Amal was working on the ground with the security forces to calm the situation.
A Hizbullah official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the violence had not come from his group's side.
"We can easily control our people against taking part in clashes or creating chaos," he said, "but who can control the other side?"
A similar incident took place in the Basta neighborhood later in the afternoon.
Zein said there were no clashes or foul language on the main streets of Beirut, but that "when demonstrators entered tight streets they used provocative slogans and language that angered local residents, not parties like Amal or Hizbullah."
Several small clashes occurred throughout Beirut, he added, repeating that Amal was helping to calm any lingering tension.
The Internal Security Forces, in conjunction with the army, encircled the massive demonstration at Martyrs Square Thursday to police the hundreds of thousands of mourners from across the country who traveled to the capital for the Gemayel funeral.
Brigadier General Ashraf Rifi, head of the ISF, said that approximately 5,000 uniformed troopers were deployed across the country.
"I cannot give exact figures, but around 5,000 were used for the operation," he said in a telephone interview after the funeral. "Apart from Beirut, they were working in the areas of Tripoli, the Bekaa Valley and the South as the roads were full of people."
Rifi added that 2,000 troopers were deployed in the capital, 1,000 directly related to the demonstration and another 1,000 "indirectly related."
Plainclothes ISF members also infiltrated the crowds, but the ISF chief would not say in what numbers.
Rifi said there were only three security incidents Thursday in which the ISF had to get involved. "These were only minor incidents, none of them leading to any arrests," he said.
A meeting Wednesday night between Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, acting Interior Minister Ahmad Fatfat, Army Commander General Michel Suleiman and the heads of the country's main security bodies had outlined the measures to be employed Thursday.
Suleiman personally supervised all security operations between the army and other security forces, while army helicopters monitored the capital from the air until the end of the funeral, a security report said.
Helicopters also monitored the main highway leading from Beirut to Bikfaya, Gemayel's final resting place, the report said.
According to a high-ranking army official, speaking on condition of anonymity, the army was present in and around the demonstration. He refused to disclose exact figures.
"We took stringent security measures, and took all precautions necessary in order to allow people to freely demonstrate within the legal context, while at the same time to prevent any riots and clashes from occurring," he said. The military source confirmed the minor incident in Bashoura, but said it was resolved immediately with no arrests. Late Thursday, hundreds of Hizbullah supporters cut off the main road to Beirut's Rafik Hariri International Airport, witnesses said. The demonstrators took to the road near Beirut's southern suburbs to protest what they said were insults against Nasrallah at the funeral.

Minister 'asked for less security' ahead of fatal attack
By Therese Sfeir -Daily Star staff
Thursday, November 23, 2006
BEIRUT: In a bitter twist of fate, the late Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel, who usually made a habit of being accompanied by police protection at all times, had asked his security detail to stand down Tuesday, acting Interior Minister Ahmad Fatfat revealed Wednesday.
"Sheikh Pierre was always accompanied by a security convoy but he asked not to be escorted by police on his last tour," Fatfat told reporters following a security meeting at the Grand Serail. Prime Minister Fouad Siniora convened the security meeting to discuss ongoing investigations into the assassination. The meeting was attended by Fatfat, as well as Lebanese Army Commander General Michel Suleiman, State Prosecutor Said Mirza, and the heads of the Internal Security Forces, General Security, the Higher Defense Council, State Security and Army Intelligence.
Fatfat did not explain why Gemayel had told his security to stand down.
Asked about accusations made by members of the March 8 alliance that the parliamentary majority had a hand in the murder, he replied sarcastically, "yes, we are suicidal people." "I would not be surprised if they say [former Prime Minister] Rafik Hariri committed suicide," he added, in a reference to Syria's former intelligence czar in Lebanon, Ghazi Kenaan, who was reported to have committed suicide last year but is widely believed to have been killed by high-ranking members of the Assad regime. "The March 14 Forces have nothing to do but to kill themselves progressively ... We are killing the March 14 Forces one after another," Fatfat added. "Those who threw these accusations were so fast to comment on the assassination that it almost seems they knew it was going to happen."
Former Interior Minister Suleiman Franjieh said on Tuesday that the anti-Syrian coalition could have assassinated Gemayel in order to "gain people's affection."Fatfat said police were taking statements from witnesses to the shooting in Jdeideh as part of ongoing investigations into the killing.
Asked if there was any evidence as to who carried out the crime, Fatfat said: "It is very difficult to determine the parties right now, and I believe that we should not reveal details in order to preserve the integrity of the investigations."
Fatfat added that while new security measures have been adopted, in particular to protect prominent figures from being targeted with car bombs, "new forms of terrorism" were being developed.
Gemayel was shot by gunmen who rammed his car on a main street in the outskirts of the capital. Fatfat said preliminary investigations had determined that a car had followed Gemayel after he left his office on Tuesday. Reports said a sport-utility vehicle rammed the silver KIA sedan driven by Gemayel, at which point an unknown number of assailants jumped out of the SUV and opened fire on the driver's side window of the minister's car, killing Gemayel and one bodyguard and wounding at least two others. Unidentified assailants also shot at Minister of State Michel Pharaon's office in Beirut on Tuesday. Fatfat did not comment on the second shooting during his briefing Wednesday.Meanwhile, increased security measures were kept in place on Wednesday.Police units erected checkpoints across the capital and conducted individual inspections of vehicles.

 

 

Lebanon Bids Gemayel Farewell as Father Announces 'Countdown' for New President
Naharnet: Hundreds of thousands of mourners Thursday bid slain Christian politician Pierre Gemayel farewell as his father, former President Amine Gemayel, announced that the "countdown for the election of a new president has started."
"Independence can only be achieved through the election of new president," said Gemayel, father of Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel who was gunned down along with a bodyguard Tuesday. The young politician was the sixth outspoken opponent of Syria to be assassinated in the past two years.
Anti-Syrian leaders have been calling for the resignation of Syrian protégé President Emile Lahoud whose mandate was extended for three years through a controversial Syrian-inspired constitutional amendment in 2004.
Prominent Lebanese leaders and ambassadors packed the St. George Cathedral as the casket was placed on the altar along with the coffin of his bodyguard, Samir al-Shartouni. French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy and Arab League chief Amr Mussa were among the dignitaries attending the 1:00 p.m. funeral service in downtown Beirut. Speaker Nabih Berri, a Hizbullah ally, surprised the mourners by showing up unexpectedly at the funeral.In a message read at the funeral, Pope Benedict XVI condemned the "unspeakable" assassination of Gemayel.
"We are all very moved by this unspeakable act," he said in the message read by a Jesuit priest at the cathedral where Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir, head of the Maronite church to which Gemayel belonged, led the service in a rare move. "I hope that all Lebanese remain united in these circumstances and that they renew their determination to rebuild an autonomous Lebanon... where all communities are ensured active participation," he said.
In his sermon, Sfeir said that the "series of crimes continue in an attempt to prevent Lebanon from achieving stability."
Gemayel's casket, wrapped in flags of the Phalange party and Lebanon, was taken to Bikfaya for burial in the family graveyard at the end of the funeral.
From the family home in Bikfaya, through the village's main street to the entrance of the town, Gemayel's coffin was carried on shoulders by relatives and supporters before being placed in a cortege and driven to the Phalange party headquarters in Saifi from where it made the final trek to the cathedral.
Amid a sea of red and white flags in a show of patriotism for the funeral, hundreds of thousands assembled at nearby Martyrs Square in a show of force against opponents led by Hizbullah and their Syrian backers.
Young men stamped on Lahoud portraits and his Syrian and Iranian counterparts, Bashar Assad and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the principal backers of Hizbullah and its leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah. "Nasrallah, come and see who is the majority" in Lebanon, chanted the crowd.
"We want only the army to bear weapons," the mourners chanted, referring to Hizbullah's persistent refusal to lay down its weapons in accordance with U.N. Security Council resolutions following the devastating summer war with Israel. Others brandished anti-Syrian posters. One poster read "Get Bashar's agent out of Baabda," a reference to Lahoud. Another placard read: "Caesar of Baabda, Get Lost!" Baabda is the presidential headquarters.
Schools, shops and other businesses across Lebanon have been asked to remain closed Thursday as a mark of respect.
On the eve of the funeral, convoys of cars covered with portraits of Gemayel and Hariri criss-crossed the streets of Beirut playing patriotic music.
Security around the capital has been stepped up since the minister's murder, with extra roadblocks around the presidential palace and on the main highway to Damascus. On Thursday Lebanese troops, backed by armored vehicles, were out in force across Beirut for the funeral.
Army command sources told the pro-Syrian Al-Akhbar newspaper that the military "remains neutral" to the political disputes in Lebanon and will continue to protect all state institutions, including the presidential palace.
Before Gemayel's slaying, Hizbullah had threatened to hold its own mass protests in an attempt to bring down Prime Minister Fouad Saniora's government. Hizbullah officials said Wednesday the group would take no action in the coming days to allow emotions to cool.
Many feared Thursday's demonstration could be the first in a round of shows that could bring the political standoff into the volatile streets.
Gemayel's assassination introduced new tensions into the already dangerous power struggle in Lebanon. The polarization has become as sharp and exposed as it has been since the end of the 1975-90 civil war between Muslims and Christians.
The anti-Damascus politicians who run the government were quick to point the finger at Syria and called for a huge show of public determination to be rid of the meddling of its larger neighbor. The leader of the anti-Syrian majority in parliament, Saad Hariri, who himself lost his father to an assassin's bomb last year, called on people from across the nation to attend the Beirut funeral in a "show of support for freedom and independence".
Christian opposition leader and Hizbullah ally General Michel Aoun called on all Lebanese to attend the funeral, but indicated he would not be there himself. Aoun told the private television channel NBN Wednesday he regretted that the Gemayel family did not allow him to present his condolences. "They told me this was not the time. I regret that," he said. Damascus stressed that the timing of Gemayel's murder, on the day the United Nations endorsed a blueprint for a tribunal to try suspects in the 2005 murder of Hariri, was designed to cause it maximum damage.
The governing anti-Syrian camp in Beirut, faced with a growing challenge from Hizbullah since its war with Israel, is the only party which stands to gain from the minister's assassination, the official press in Damascus argued. Hizbullah and other the pro-Syrian Amal movement of Speaker Nabih Berri pulled their ministers out of the cabinet earlier this month after all-party talks failed to reach agreement on a government of national unity and has threatened a campaign of street protests to achieve their goal.(Naharnet-AP-AFP)(Outside photo shows Gemayel's coffin, and inside photo shows his mother, Joyce, comforting his widow, Patricia) Beirut, 23 Nov 06, 13:40

March 14 Leaders Lash Out at Syria, Lebanon Allies
Naharnet: Leaders of the anti-Syrian March 14 camp lashed out at Syria Thursday in fiery addresses to huge crowds gathered for the funeral of slain anti-Damascus minister Pierre Gemayel. After paying their respects to the latest victim of an assassin's bullet in Lebanon, Druze leader Walid Jumblat and then Sunni leader Saad Hariri, speaking from behind a bullet-proof glass screen, railed against Syrian meddling in Lebanese affairs.
"They will not nail down our determination for life. They will not nail down our determination to refuse the culture of sorrow and death," Jumblat told the hundreds of thousands massed in Martyrs Square near St. George Cathedral where the industry minister's funeral service was held.
"They will not nail down our determination to keep the arms in the hands of the state, and our demands for the truth, justice and the international court," he said. He was alluding to the ruling majority's insistence on an international tribunal to try the February 2005 assassins of five-time premier Rafik Hariri, and to the refusal of Syrian ally Hizbullah to lay down its arms in accordance with U.N. resolutions after its summer war with Israel. Jumblat said the slain minister joined "the previous martyrs... who had refused ... the regime of tutelage, killings and assassinations." Hariri told the crowd waving red-and-white Lebanese flags: "You are here for a new revolution to show the entire world that the sons of Rafik Hariri and the brothers of Pierre Gemayel are the majority in Lebanon."
"They said that you are a virtual majority, but we are the reality and they are virtual." "National unity is stronger than their arms ... and their terrorism."
The slain minister's father, Amine Gemayel then took the podium to call for a new Lebanon, without pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud.
He hailed "the start of the second revolution for the independence of Lebanon, which should start at the top.""This is the start of the countdown for the election of a new president," he said. Presidential elections are due next autumn. The anti-Syrian coalition has long challenged the legitimacy of Lahoud, whose mandate was extended for three years through a controversial Syrian-inspired constitutional amendment in 2004. The crowds gathered in Martyrs' Square had chanted slogans against the president and his Syrian counterpart, Bashar al-Assad, throughout the morning.
"Get Bashar's agent out of Baabda," they shouted in reference to the presidential palace. Gemayel pledged that the anti-Syrian ruling majority "will soon adopt practical measures so that your voice does not wither away ... so that it covers the treacherous bullets and explosions," he told the crowd.
"We will not tire until we bring the killers to court," he said.
Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea spoke out against the demands of Hizbullah and its allies for a government of national unity.
"This government is our government, and it takes its legitimacy from our parliament, our presence and the blood of our martyrs," he said.
"We will not accept its replacement with a government of tutelage, killings and crimes," he said. Geagea reiterated the coalition's accusations that Hizbullah and Amal ministers had resigned at Syria's bidding in a bid to block approval of the proposed international tribunal that was approved by the Security Council just hours after Gemayel's murder."They wanted a confrontation over the tribunal, but they did not dare declare it as such ... but the masks have fallen," he said. "We pledge to continue... until we know the truth."However on Thursday, Syria again strongly condemned Gemayel's murder and some people were "exploiting the crime for personal ends."
"(Syria) strongly denounces the odious crime which cost the life of Lebanese Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel and believes this attack is aimed at Lebanon's stability," the foreign ministry said in a statement. "Those who prejudge the inquiry into this crime and into the other murders, scarcely minutes after their execution and without having any proof, aim to exploit the blood of the martyr for personal ends, far from the true interests of Lebanon," said the statement.(AFP-Naharnet) (Photo shows Amine Gemayel addressing the crowd at Martyrs Square) Beirut, 23 Nov 06, 15:58

Gemayel Asked Police to 'Stay Behind' Ahead of Murder
Naharnet: Slain Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel has asked a police patrol which usually escorts him in his trips to 'stay behind' the day he was assassinated. The daily As Safir, citing sources close to the probe into the Gemayel's killing, said U.N. investigators probing the 2005 assassination of ex-Premier Rafik Hariri inspected on Wednesday the crime scene where Gemayel and his bodyguard were gunned down in the north Beirut suburb of Jdeideh on Tuesday. U.N. investigators have begun assisting the Lebanese inquiry into the murder of Gemayel after the Security Council agreed to a request for help.  But Ashraf Kamal, spokesman of the U.N. commission of the Hariri inquiry, declined to confirm As Safir's report, saying: "That's a matter for the investigation." "We confirm that the commission is complying with the request of the Security Council," Kamal told Agence France Presse.
On Wednesday, the Security Council directed the commission to provide technical help in the investigation, following a request from Prime Minister Fouad Saniora. As Safir quoted security sources as saying that the investigation was now focused on a fingerprint taken from one of the bullet shells found inside Gemayel's KIA automobile. It said witnesses' accounts showed that the perpetrators were three men in their 20's and 30's.
Gemayel received eight bullets in the head, As Safir reported.
The leading daily An Nahar said three to four men were believed involved in the shooting. It quoted probe sources as saying the assailants used two kinds of weapons – automatic rifles and silencer-equipped guns. An Nahar said the attackers rammed Gemayel's car from a Honda jeep, while a BMW covered up for them as they fled. It said preliminary investigation with ten witnesses lasted well through the night and resumed early Thursday morning.
The U.N. probe has already implicated several Syrian officials and their Lebanese allies in Hariri's killing in a huge bomb blast on the Beirut seafront.
The U.N. Security Council on Tuesday condemned the latest killing and endorsed plans for an international tribunal to try suspects in the Hariri murder pending final approval by Lebanese authorities.(Naharnet-AFP) Beirut, 23 Nov 06, 17:32

U.N. Investigators to Assist Lebanon Gemayel Probe
Naharnet: The U.N. Security Council has directed U.N. investigators to provide Beirut with technical help in investigating the murder of anti-Syrian Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel. It made the decision in answer to a letter from U.N. chief Kofi Annan relaying a request from Premier Fouad Saniora for U.N. assistance "to investigate the murder of Mr. Gemayel." Saniora specifically asked for help from the U.N. commission probing the 2005 assassination of former premier Rafik Hariri. The commission is headed by Belgian prosecutor Serge Brammertz.
The council, in a letter to Annan sent late Wednesday, said it was "determined to support the government of Lebanon in its efforts to bring to justice the perpetrators, organizers and sponsors of the assassination of Pierre Gemayel and other assassinations."
To that end, council members invited the Brammertz-led panel to "extend its technical assistance as appropriate to the Lebanese authorities in this investigation." Earlier Wednesday, U.S. Ambassador John Bolton told reporters that in his view there was no end date on the assistance that the Security Council authorized the U.N. inquiry panel to provide Lebanon in probing not only the Hariri slaying but 14 other attacks on anti-Syrian Lebanese politicians. nd nature" of links between the Hariri murder and the 14 other attacks on Lebanese foes of Syria.
The 14 cases, which Lebanese authorities have been probing with U.N. help, include assassinations and murder attempts targeting anti-Syria Lebanese figures, as well as attacks on commercial interests.  The Security Council on Tuesday condemned the murder of Gemayel and endorsed plans for an international tribunal to try suspects in the Hariri murder pending final approval by Lebanese authorities.
The tribunal blueprint now has to be formally approved by the Lebanese parliament and ratified by the president with the agreement of the prime minister.
A State Department official, said: "The first thing you look for in a criminal investigation is the motive, and I think it is pretty darn clear that the Syrians are the ones with the motive in this instance." Recalling that other Syria critics have been attacked in Lebanon, the official added: "It does not take a brain surgeon to figure out that all those acts of assassination or political intimidation are being conducted against those who have strong anti-Syrian credentials."(AFP) Beirut, 23 Nov 06, 07:26

Crushing a Flower of the Cedar Revolution
By Dr. Walid Phares
FrontPageMagazine.com | November 23, 2006
The assassination of Lebanese Christian politician Pierre Gemayel this Tuesday has revealed that the Tehran-Damascus axis remains busy with terror activities across the Fertile Crescent.
When UN Security Council resolution 1559 passed in 2004, reaffirming Lebanon's political independence and calling for the withdrawal of the Syrian occupation army and the disarming of Hezbollah, Syria's Ba'athist regime pledged heavy retribution against those Lebanese who would dare join the international campaign for freedom triggered by the U.S.-led War on Terror.
Damascus has kept its promise. In the fall of 2004, a former minister from the Druze community, Marwan Hamade, was targeted with a car bomb. While Hamade survived, Rafiq Hariri, the former Sunni Prime Minister of Lebanon, was not so fortunate. On February 14, 2005, he was killed in an explosion orchestrated by highly trained terrorists.
Dozens of Lebanese civilians were also killed and maimed in the blast. This prompted thousands, mostly students, to take to the streets and demand the withdrawal of Syrian forces and the end of the occupation of their country. In response, Syria ordered the Lebanese Army, via the pro-Syrian government headed by Prime Minister Omar Karami, to send in troops to shut down the "Lebanese intifada."
The Lebanese people refused to be intimidated. As the world watched on television, the youth of Lebanon, soon joined by the masses of the country, painted the colors of freedom on their faces and marched through the lines of Lebanese soldiers. Women first, boys behind, and the elderly following, they crossed into downtown Beirut in an inspiring illustration of national defiance. One and a half million people marched through the capital and the suburbs in what came to be known as the "Cedar Revolution."
Instead of authoritarianism and religious fundamentalism, the Lebanese longed for freedom and peace. Given political freedom, the Lebanese -- Sunnis, Druze and Christians, along with a growing number of Shiite moderates -- emerged as majorities in the country's government, including in municipalities, student unions, and parliament.
It was a powerful slap in the faces of Syria's Bashar Assad and Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Both disliked the emerging democratic forces. Hence, cooperation solidified between Tehran and Damascus. In partnership with their common client, Hezbollah, the two regimes launched a campaign to kill the idea of Middle Eastern freedom in its infancy.
In the summer of 2005, progressive Lebanese leaders George Hawi and Samir Qassir were assassinated. Journalist May Chidiac was maimed by a bomb. In December the bright, young and promising Jubran Tueni, a member of the Lebanese Parliament and publisher of the daily an Nahar, was killed. Hezbollah lured others, such as General Michel Aoun, into cooperation. During the winter and spring of 2005, Nabih Berri, the pro-Syrian speaker of the Parliament, played the role of Don Corleone, inviting the senior political leaders of the country to what the mafia calls a "sit down." After weeks of sterile talks, the "loaded dialogue" failed.
But the effects of the intimidation campaign were palpable. The government of Fouad Siniora hesitated to call for U.N. implementation of resolution 1559. Non-governmental organizations who appealed for action on this front were informed that the fear was too great. "Hezbollah is up to terrible things," Lebanese-Americans told the bipartisan committees in the U.S. Congress and the Bush administration. Lebanese memos to the United Nations stated: "The country has been taken hostage."
This prophecy was soon realized when Hezbollah chieftain Hassan Nasrallah, with Machiavellian success, dragged Lebanon and Israel into a surprise war this past July. For Nasrallah, the war was an opportunity, a chance to reassert himself as a "legitimate" player in Beirut and destroy the gains of the people's revolution. For Iran and Syria, it was a chance to undermine the newly independent Lebanese government. For the majority of Lebanese, it was a nightmare. They did not want a war, let alone a regional one.
By the end of October 2006, Hezbollah and its allies felt confident enough to launch a new bid for power. Nasrallah rallied his troops in the suburbs of Beirut, urging them to arm for the coming urban jihad. Thousands of militiamen, as well as the Syrian Mukhabarat intelligence service and possibly suicide bombers, were tasked to invade the capital.
Mukhabarat' operatives were readied to cut off water and electricity and to surround Lebanese police stations. Hezbollah also demanded that Prime Minister Siniora's government recant its decision to accept the UN Tribunal investigation of Rafik Hariri'z assassination. It was expected that the ensuing indictment would touch high-ranking officials in the Syrian regime, Hezbollah's patron. Also discernible was the influence of Iran. If the Syrian regime were to be weakened, so too would be the Iran-Syria axis, leaving the mullahs alone in the Middle East. The Lebanese democrats had to go.
If Iran and Syria had any doubts about their strategy of destabilization, the midterm elections in the United States dispelled them. On November 7, the opposition party in the United States grabbed both houses of Congress. Although an unremarkable feature of American and Western politics, this shift in power was read by Iranian and Syrian elites as a collapse of American determination to defend democracies in the region. Ayatollah Khamenei declared: "The defeat of Bush in Congress is a victory for us." He was echoed in Lebanon by Hassan Nasrallah: "America is being defeated and is leaving the region. Those who worked with the US will pay the price."
Further reinforcing suspicions in Tehran and Damascus, the Iraq Study Group, headed by presidential advisor James Baker, is slated to recommend next month that Washington backtrack from its policy of promoting democracy in order to cut deals with…Iran and Syria.
On the basis of these developments, Iran and Syria concluded that the time was ripe to strike a punishing blow against democratic forces. But Lebanese leaders moved first. They emphasized that they would go to the UN and lead the masses into the streets against foreign interference in Lebanese politics. Calculating the numbers of the opposition, the "axis" commanders in Lebanon shifted tactics. Instead of sending in troops, a decision was made to send in the death squad to "mollify" the resistance.
The warning signs came last week. The ministers of Hezbollah and the Shiite Amal Party resigned from the Lebanese council of ministers to shake the "legitimacy" of the cabinet. They failed. The Lebanese Constitution is clear: You need more than one third of the members to collapse a cabinet. Therefore, the "axis" needed to eliminate three members, one after the other. Thus the decision was made to kill the youngest, brightest and most vocal Lebanese minister, a true symbol of Lebanon's civic revolution: Pierre Gemayel.
Unlike the warlords and senior politicians, the 34-year-old MP acted like a head of a happy family, with a wife and children. He drove his own car in the middle of the most dangerous urban areas, and socialized with neighbors, partisans and friends. He was living the life he was struggling to defend: one of peace, freedom and democracy. It was abruptly ended on Tuesday. Two vehicles blocked Pierre Gemayel's car, while several assassins shot the young leader "execution style."
Gemayel is dead, but, as his younger brother Sami told his friends, "The march continues." On these shores, the question arises: What should be done?
The answer is clear. The United States and the new Congress must be implacable in resisting the onslaught of terror and fascism in the Middle East. When cynical politicians, interest groups and apologist academics call for the appeasement of Iran and Syria, resist them. When a population is endangered and its leadership is being eliminated, assist them. Will the new Washington rise to the occasion?
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Dr Walid Phares is the author of the newly released book Future Jihad. He is also a senior fellow with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies in Washington DC.

Lebanese crowds defy Syria at Gemayel's funeral
By Yara Bayoumy
Reuters
Thursday, November 23, 2006; 11:42 AM
BEIRUT (Reuters) - Tens of thousands of Lebanese paid tribute to assassinated Christian politician Pierre Gemayel on Thursday, turning his funeral in central Beirut into a display of defiance towards Syria and its Hezbollah allies.
Raucous crowds carrying Lebanese flags and those of Christian factions, including Gemayel's Phalange Party, swarmed around Beirut's St George Cathedral, where top Marionite cleric Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir conducted the rites.
Sunni Muslim, Druze and Christian leaders, standing together behind bullet-proof glass, called for solidarity in the struggle against the influence of Syria and its allies in Lebanon.
"National unity is stronger than their weapons, their crimes and their terrorism," said Saad al-Hariri, son of former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri who was assassinated in 2005.
The leaders had accused Syria of killing the industry minister, the 34-year-old scion of one of Lebanon's most prominent Maronite clans. Damascus condemned the assassination.
"We will not rest until all the criminals are brought to justice," Gemayel's 64-year-old father, Amin, told mourners.
Gemayel was shot dead on Tuesday in the sixth killing of an anti-Syrian figure in less than two years in Lebanon.
The government says its Syrian-backed opponents, led by Shi'ite party Hezbollah, want to weaken it and to scupper an international tribunal under U.N. auspices that is being set up to try suspects in the suicide truck bombing that killed Hariri.
"Our suspicions are big that Syria is behind this (killing) to destroy national unity, to destroy us living together and to fuel sectarianism," Sunni mourner Ghada Hakim, 63, told Reuters. Anger at Syria and resolve to support Lebanon's anti-Syrian majority coalition swept through the crowd. Inside the cathedral, family members wept and prayed over Gemayel's coffin. "Whatever they do to remove young men, there will always be more young men to raise the flag," said Marwan Haj, 25. "Syria doesn't want us to be free and make our own decisions."
Mourners turned out in force but not in the vast numbers of March 14 last year after Hariri's killing, when an outpouring of anti-Syrian anger coupled with international pressure forced Damascus to withdraw its troops from Lebanon after 29 years."They will not suppress our demands for the truth, justice and the international court," said Druze leader Walid Jumblatt. The week's events from around the world, captured in pictures.
Troops and police ringed the cathedral which is next to a huge mosque built by Hariri. His tomb abuts Martyrs' Square.
After the funeral, Gemayel's coffin was driven back to his home town of Bekfaya in the mountains above Beirut, where it was laid to rest in the family vault. Even before Gemayel's killing, Lebanon was in crisis over efforts by Hezbollah, which is backed by Syria and Iran, to clip the wings of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora's government, despised by the Shi'ite Muslim group as Washington's puppet. French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy, whose country has been a strong opponent of Syrian influence in Lebanon, was the most prominent foreign dignitary to attend the funeral along with Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa. Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, whose Amal faction is allied to Hezbollah, was the most senior pro-Syrian figure there. Maronite Christian leader Michel Aoun, who is aligned with Hezbollah, stayed away but said he shared the mourners' grief. Hezbollah leaders, who have said Gemayel's assassins sought to stir civil strife in Lebanon, were also absent. The cabinet has been depleted by the resignation of six ministers from Hezbollah and other pro-Syrian factions. They quit after all-party talks on a new government collapsed.
The government, keen to ensure the international tribunal is established, would fall if it lost two more ministers.
Hezbollah had pledged street protests aimed at toppling the government but Gemayel's killing has put those plans on hold. The U.N. Security Council approved on Wednesday a Lebanese government request to add Gemayel's killing to the string of previous attacks being investigated by a United Nations inquiry into Hariri's assassination. U.N. investigators met Lebanese prosecutors and visited the site of Gemayel's assassination where they began initial investigations, Lebanon's government news agency reported.
Early reports by the U.N. inquiry into Hariri's death implicated Syrian security officials and their Lebanese counterparts. Syria denies involvement.
Anti-Syrian leaders had called for a huge turnout for the funeral of Gemayel, the son of former President Amin Gemayel and the nephew of Bashir Gemayel, killed in 1982 when he was president-elect. Amin Gemayel called for change and reform in Lebanon, saying it must start with an early presidential poll to replace Syrian-backed President Emile Lahoud, whose term was extended in 2004 under Syrian pressure.(Additional reporting by Nadim Ladki, Tom Perry and Leila Bassam)

Mourners Pay Tribute to Lebanon Christian Leader
A large crowd gathered to mourn Lebanese Christian leader, Pierre Gemayel, Wednesday as supporters readied themselves for a huge show of force at the dead government minister’s funeral, which takes place on Thursday in Beirut.
by Daniel Blake
Posted: Thursday, November 23, 2006, 7:07 (GMT)Font Scale:A A A
A large crowd gathered to mourn Lebanese Christian leader, Pierre Gemayel, Wednesday as supporters readied themselves for a huge show of force at the dead government minister’s funeral, which takes place on Thursday in Beirut.
Relatives and friends of prominent anti-Syrian Christian politician Pierre Gemayel, mourn on his coffin draped in the flag of his Phalange Party, at his family home in Bikfaya, Lebanon Wednesday, Nov...(AP)The anti-Syrian Gemayel, one of the most powerful Christian leaders in the region, was laid to rest following his assassination. It is feared, however, that if a strong turnout is seen on Thursday the political crisis could deepen between anti-Syrian forces who back the Lebanese government and pro-Syrian groups led by the Shiite Muslim group Hezbollah, which wants to topple the Western-backed prime minister, Fuad Saniora. Hezbollah had already threatened to hold mass protests against the government just days before the assassination on Tuesday. However, in light of the current developments Hezbollah announced on Wednesday that it would not make any drastic moves in the next few days to allow emotions to calm Some, though, are still fearful that violence may break out in the highly tense atmosphere.
Tony Gemayel is a 35-year-old relative who will participate in mourning ceremonies held by the Maronite Christian family in their ancestral hometown of Bikfaya, in the mountains above Beirut. He said, “This is scary. If things continue this way, who knows where we are heading.”
Pierre Gemayel was killed after two cars blocked his vehicle at an intersection in a Beirut suburb as he left a church. Assassins shot him multiple times through a side window. The incident makes Gemayel the fifth anti-Syrian leader killed in Lebanon in two years.
Following Tuesday’s tragedy, Pierre Gemayel's father Amin, who is a former president, joined the Maronite Church in quickly urging calm, in the hope to avert an explosion of violence in the region amid the deepening political crisis.
Roman Catholic head, Pope Benedict XVI said on Wednesday: “In the face of the dark forces that try to destroy the country, I call on all Lebanese not to be overwhelmed by hatred, but to strengthen national unity, justice and reconciliation.”
Independence Day celebrations across Lebanon were cancelled on Wednesday, and in the Christian hubs in the north and northeast of Beirut, schools and shops were closed. Gemayel's coffin, draped in the flag of his Phalange Party, was driven from Beirut up to the town in Mount Lebanon's pine woods. Supporters were seen jolting the coffin in a traditional expression of extreme anguish as it passed through hundreds of weeping mourners, AP has reported. Women on apartment balconies showered rice on the coffin as it made its way. In the Gemayel family home, nuns and priests were led in prayer by a bishop relative around the closed coffin as relatives and thousands of villagers and supporters walked past and paid condolences to his father.  In the Beirut suburb where he was murdered, hundreds of supporters turned out Wednesday night for a candlelight vigil around the bullet-filled vehicle, which was guarded by troops. The head of the Maronite church expressed fears of more killings of Cabinet members aimed at undermining and weakening the government, to prevent it from approving the Hariri tribunal, which the UN Security Council approved hours after Gemayel's slaying.

Grieving in a more divided Lebanon
A slain Christian politician is mourned in his family's village. An uneasy silence pervades the country.
By Megan K. Stack, Times Staff Writer
November 23, 2006
BIKFAYA, LEBANON — The mourners stood for hours Wednesday in a creeping line, crushed together in this tiny village perched high above the Mediterranean Sea. Praying and weeping quietly, they doggedly awaited a chance to say farewell to Pierre Gemayel, the Christian Cabinet minister whose assassination has paralyzed a fragile nation.
The 34-year-old industry minister and heir to a Christian political dynasty was the latest critic of Syria to be killed in the streets of Beirut. He will be buried today, and his political allies have urged Lebanese to turn out en masse.
Outside Gemayel's ancestral home, nuns stood silent, shifting their weight in the thin winter sunlight. Pale-faced teenage girls shuffled along, shoulder to shoulder with aging men. Politicians in expensive suits, flanked by beefy guards, shoved their way through the crowd without apology.
Deepened differences
On the eve of Gemayel's funeral, an uneasy silence suffused the empty streets of the country. There was a sense of suspension, of a perilous political struggle shot in freeze-frame. The yawning crisis and refreshed communal hatreds seemed to pause only long enough to allow the burial of one of Lebanon's youngest politicians.
"This is traditional in Lebanon; it's some kind of respect," said Maroun Zeidan, a 28-year-old lawyer and member of Gemayel's Falangist Party who stood weeping in the courtyard of Gemayel's home. "First we bury the body, and then we look at our differences."
There is a Lebanese saying that translates, loosely, to: "They kill a man, then march in his funeral." If anything, Lebanon's differences have been deepened by Gemayel's death.
Wednesday was Lebanon's Independence Day, a holiday marking the break from French control. But instead of parties and military parades, daybreak illuminated a landscape of shuttered shops and people lurking inside their homes.
Before Gemayel was killed, Hezbollah and its allies had mounted a campaign to seize a greater share of power in the government. The Shiite Muslim ministers and their allies had resigned from the Cabinet. Hezbollah's charismatic leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, told his vast army of followers that the government was illegitimate. He repeatedly threatened to use massive demonstrations to attempt to force the anti-Syria bloc, which includes Christians, Sunni Muslims and Druze, out of power.
The street protests remain a strong threat; both sides fear that they could degenerate into street fights. But now it is the slain Gemayel's anti-Syria allies who will hold a massive demonstration. The funeral march is set for today.
Grief-stricken Amin Gemayel, former president and father of the slain minister, had wanted to bury his son the day after his death, members of his party said.  But Saad Hariri, the head of the ruling parliamentary bloc, argued that the younger Gemayel's death belonged to all of Lebanon and that he should be given a patriotic funeral. There were hints here Wednesday that Gemayel's allies might use his funeral to demand the resignation of Syria-backed Lebanese President Emile Lahoud.
Hezbollah and its allies quieted their criticism in the hours after Gemayel was gunned down. But a political aide to Nasrallah appeared to hint Wednesday that the Lebanese government, not Syria's, may have had a role in the minister's death.
"We were about to take to the streets. They were facing a crisis. They needed blood to get some oxygen," Hussein Khalil, a political aide to Nasrallah, told the party's Al Manar television channel. "This country is at the edge of an abyss. Some people are blowing fire in the air."
Threat of unrest Gemayel's assassination was expected to delay Hezbollah's street demonstrations.
But the threat of unrest from other quarters remained. Prominent government officials accused Syria of choreographing the slaying and issued warnings about continuing violence.

Jumblatt blames Syria for Gemayel's murder
Thursday, 23 November, 2006 @ 2:41 AM
Beirut - Anti-Syrian Druze leader Walid Jumblatt on Wednesday blamed Syria for the assassination of Lebanon's Industry Minister and said he expected more such killings aimed at undermining parliament's ruling majority. "I bluntly accuse the Syrian regime," Jumblatt said.
"We have to expect, and this is my impression unfortunately, more assassinations of ministers and parliamentarians," Jumblatt told a news conference. Lebanese Minister Pierre Gemayel, a member of the ruling bloc, was shot dead on Tuesday.
"It seems the Syrian regime will continue with the assassinations. I expect more assassinations but no matter what they do, we are here and we will be victorious," he said. Jumblatt said Syria was trying to derail an international court to try suspects in the killing of former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri.
He reiterated his accusation that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had ordered the assassinations of Hariri and other anti-Syrian politicians over the past two years. "Let the ruler of Damascus know that no matter how many he murders, every assassination or attempted assassination is a nail in the coffin of the Syrian regime," he said. "He (Assad) will not be able to shake the will of the Lebanese to live freely and in dignity."Jumblatt urges Berri to convene parliamentary session to approve tribunal Jumblatt called on Lebanon's Speaker Nabih Berri to convene a parliamentary session to approve a UN draft for the formation of the Hariri tribunal. "It will be for the sake of Lebanon, for the sake of Lebanon's unity and stability if Berri decided to make this historic step and hold a parliamentary session," the Druze leader said. Sources: Reuters, Ya Libnan

Lebanon: Latest Crisis Renews Spotlight On Syria’s Role
A man in Baghdad reading newspaper accounts of the events in Lebanon today
(epa) PRAGUE, November 22, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Today is Independence Day in Lebanon, normally a time for celebration.
But all festivities have been cancelled as Lebanon grapples with the fifth killing of an anti-Syrian politician in nearly two years.
Syria denies any role in these murders, and Damascus has strongly condemned Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel’s killing on November 21.
Looking At A Pattern  Yet the events are again highlighting the role Syria still appears to play in Lebanon, 18 months after its forces withdrew from the country. With Gemayel's death, the resignations or deaths of two more ministers would bring down Lebanon's government.U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton refused to directly accuse Syria of the latest assassination, but he made it clear on November 21 that Damascus is a key suspect for Washington.“I think we need to find out all of the facts, but you can take a look at the pattern of who gets assassinated in Lebanon," Bolton said. Bolton was speaking as the UN Security Council approved the Lebanese cabinet’s proposals for a special international tribunal to try suspects for the February 2005 murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri. The Security Council action means the plan can now go back to Lebanon for final government approval.
An International Tribunal?
But the tribunal has been a divisive issue. Six pro-Syrian opposition members -- most of them members of the Shi’ite Hizballah party -- resigned last week just before the cabinet voted to approve the tribunal plans. The resignations plunged the government into deep crisis.
“The Lebanese government is currently in a very precarious position," said Mona Yacoubian, an analyst with the Washington-based United States Institute of Peace. "And I think we need to understand what’s happening along the lines of some international events as well -- namely, the UN-proposed international tribunal, which last week the Lebanese government approved, to try those who may have been involved in the killing of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri.”The 34-year-old Gemayel was among those cabinet members who voted for the tribunal proposal.
Even before Gemayel was shot dead in a Christian district near Beirut, the pro-Syrian Hizballah and its Christian ally Michel Aoun, a former prime minister, were preparing street protests to topple anti-Syrian Prime Minister Fouad Siniora's government.
Hizballah Calls For Protests
The pro-Syrian Hizballah accuses the government of being allied with Washington and says it has lost its legitimacy since Shi'ite Muslims are no longer in the cabinet. Siniora warned this week that any antigovernment protests could turn violent. Analyst Yacoubian says there is a danger that Lebanon could again break down along sectarian lines. She says the specter of civil war -- such as the one that destroyed the country in the 1980s -- looms again on the horizon. "A poster in Damascus in July stresses close ties between Syria and Lebanon (epa)There was great hope with the Cedar Revolution [of March 14, 2005] that perhaps the Lebanese would leave some of their sectarian identities behind and identify more as Lebanese," Yacoubian said. "This latest attack, and some of the tensions that we're seeing between Hizballah and its allies -- and the Sunni Druze coalition allied against it -- does raise some concern that civil war [or] deeper sectarian violence may be on the far horizon for Lebanon.”
Anti-Syrian Druze leader Walid Jumblatt said on November 22 that he expected more assassinations of ministers and members of parliament, actions aimed at undermining the ruling majority. Maronite Christian Patriarch Cardinal Nasrallah Sfeir echoed these fears and urged restraint.
With Gemayel's death, the resignations or deaths of two more ministers would bring down Siniora's government. Gemayel's body today was driven from a hospital near Beirut to his hometown of Bekfaya, northeast of the capital. Hundreds of sympathizers walked behind the coffin, waving white-and-green flags of his Christian Phalange Party.Gemayel's funeral will take place on November 23. The anti-Syrian coalition has urged a large turnout.

ANALYSIS-Syria expects foes to tar it over Gemayel killing
Thu 23 Nov 2006 11:39:52 GMT
By Alistair Lyon, Special Correspondent
DAMASCUS, Nov 23 (Reuters) - Many in Lebanon have accused Syria of being behind the assassination of Christian politician Pierre Gemayel, but Damascus denies any hand in Tuesday's attack, which it says damaged its own interests.
Syria now expects its enemies to use the killing to blacken its image and dash its hopes of a thaw in ties with the West.
Many Lebanese politicians say the slaying of another anti-Syrian figure in Lebanon was a Syrian bid to block a U.N.-backed tribunal being set up to try the suspected killers of former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri. Syria, while clearly unhappy with the tribunal and with Lebanon's Western-backed government, argues that Gemayel's death plays into the hands of its Lebanese opponents and hurts its chances of dialogue with Europe and the United States. "Syria is outraged by this terrible act," the Syrian embassy in Washington said in a statement. "In a time when the international community is advocating more engagement with Syria, such an act only stands to undermine these initiatives."
Damascus had been heartened by mounting calls for U.S. President George W. Bush to talk to Syria and Iran, instead of punishing them, and to seek their help in stabilising Iraq. Gemayel's assassins struck just hours after Syria had taken a major symbolic step in restoring diplomatic ties with Iraq, without insisting on a prior timetable for a U.S. troop pullout. British Prime Minister Tony Blair welcomed that move. "The very thing we have been seeking is to ensure that Syria becomes a help to Iraq ... rather than a hindrance," he said. Blair, who eased Syria's isolation earlier this month by sending a senior envoy for talks with President Bashar al-Assad on Iraq, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Lebanon, has avoided blaming Syria directly for Gemayel's killing. Bush also stopped just short of accusing Damascus of killing the industry minister, but voiced support for the Lebanese people's "efforts to defend their democracy against attempts by Syria, Iran and allies to foment instability and violence".
CLOUD OF SUSPICION
So Syria finds itself again under the cloud of suspicion that has trailed it since Hariri's assassination last year and the killings of five other foes of its influence in Lebanon. "The impact is bad because it will be used by the Lebanese March 14 (anti-Syrian) bloc to point the finger at Syria," said political analyst Ayman Abdel Nour. "It has already been used to get consensus in the U.N. Security Council for the tribunal.
"And it will be used by hardliners in the U.S. administration to stop any dialogue with Syria," he said.
The U.N. Security Council swiftly endorsed plans for the Hariri court after Gemayel's death, which Prime Minister Fouad Siniora has asked the United Nations to add to the list of political murders it is already investigating.
Lebanon's final approval for the court -- from the cabinet, the pro-Syrian president and parliament -- is still needed.
Siniora's cabinet, badly weakened by the resignations of its Shi'ite Muslim members and Gemayel's killing, is desperate to get the tribunal approved while it can still resist demands from Hezbollah and its allies for a national unity government.
Hezbollah says its campaign, at least temporarily stalled by three days of national mourning for Gemayel, is not to torpedo the court, but to form a broader-based cabinet that would keep Lebanon out of Washington's orbit and deflect pressure for its fighters to disarm after this year's bitter war with Israel. The Syrian government Baath newspaper said Gemayel had been killed to prevent Hezbollah and its allies from launching planned street protests to topple Siniora's government. "The murderer wanted to impede the popular action called by Hezbollah and delay the inevitable downfall of the government," it said, suggesting that agents of Israel or another power could have killed the 34-year-old Gemayel.
Syria's withdrawal from Lebanon in April 2005 after Hariri's death left a security vacuum in a country previously controlled by Syrian troops, intelligence agencies and their local allies. Lebanese leaders say Syrian intelligence still has networks operating in the country.
Before Gemayel's killing, Syria had been in a relatively confident mood, buoyed by Western overtures and by Hezbollah's stout military performance against Israel, which it saw as a defeat for U.S. hardliners seeking to reshape the region. "The Lebanon war was the last hope for the neocons," said Syrian analyst Samir Altaqi, adding that Damascus felt it had emerged stronger, if not safe, from that test of force.
Gemayel's assassination has posed the next challenge. (Additional reporting by Khaled Yacoub Oweis) © Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved.

Siniora Calls on Ministers to Sleep in Parliament
17:17 Nov 23, '06 / 2 Kislev 5767
(IsraelNN.com) Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora has requested that his government ministers sleep in parliament, fearing for their lives. He feels if they travel, they will be targeted by assassins, the al-Quds al-Arabi, which is published in London reported.
According to an al-Jazeera report, Lebanese Interior Minister Ahmed Fatafat was threatened this week, possibly a target by assassins

Lebanon: The global lie
Written by Roger Akl
Thursday, 23 November 2006
It didn't start with the Lebanese resistance attack on Israeli troops but much time before, when 19 hijackers destroyed the Twin Towers. At that time, all flights were cancelled over the US, but not those that flew 140 Saudis out of the country, among them two dozens Ben Ladens. Craig Unger(1) finds the reason in the business association of the leaders of the two countries.
(cartoon by Jan Darasz) The GIs sent to Iraq thought they were fighting terrorists and liberating the country, but were actually regarded by the Iraqi as an occupying force and provoking a "constructive chaos", that killed hundreds of thousands of civilians in an ethnical and religious strife, mixed with an anti-American liberation war. These are numbers, but the reality is all the suffering of human beings, killed, maimed and oppressed, because of decisions taken by people sitting down in their luxurious castles.
Some history,
The Lebanese experience is the antithesis of the principles of sionism that support the Israeli state. Lebanon was built on powersharing among different religious and ethnic communities and thriving, while Israel refused and still refuses the Security Council resolutions on the excuse that diversity of race and religion would destroy its existence. One of these United Nations resolutions is the 194 which gives the right of return of the Palestinian refugees to their homes. This resolution is important for Lebanon, because the presence of the Palestinians in Lebanon is jeopardizing the delicate religious balance among the communities by giving more demographic, political and military clout to the Sunni Moslems.
For these reasons and because Israel has always been jealous of the Lebanese prosperity and covets the Lebanese waters, it has always tried to disrupt the Lebanese unity, cause a civil war and occupy the South of Lebanon when he has the opportunity. But with the control of the occidental medias and the alliance of the west, Israeli agressions against Lebanon were always described as defensive and anti-terrorist, while the Lebanese resistance was always qualified as terror. It is the same for the Palestinians who want to liberate their lands and homes.
Let's then try to distinguish the truth inside the smokescreen of the world propaganda campaign:
1 - When Israel attacked Lebanon, in 1982, the Shiites villagers of the South received the Israelis with flowers because they were oppressed by the Palestinian guerillas and they thought that the Israelis came to liberate them of the PLO fighters. But the Israeli occupation lasted and became unbearable. They started then a guerilla of their own, that was rapidly called terrorist. In the meantime the occidental countries sent troops to support the Phalangist government of President Amin Gemayel and force on Lebanon a unilateral peace with Israel. The Phalangist government was called a "liberal democratic government" while the majority of the population was against it, especially the Shiites and the Sunni Moslems. This resulted in the suicide attacks on the American and French barracks. Today, everybody accuses the Hezbollah of these crimes. But the Hezbollah didn't exist at that time. Furthermore, the attacks, whether suicidal or not. were attacks on soldiers seen as helping a government considered as dictatorial and traitor, wanting to betray the Arab and Lebanese cause by making peace with the enemy. It was then an act of war and not an act of terror and it was performed before the existence of the Hezbollah. Hezbollah and its resistance to Israel came from a savage Israeli occupation and to fight a foe that the Lebanese government was not able or willing to fight.
2 - No Lebanese government or Security Council resolution managed to force Israel to stop the occupation of the Southern Shiites villages and towns, until the Litani river, and to pump its water inside the Israeli territory. When you are occupied and your government is unable to defend you, you have the right and even the duty to fight back and liberate your country. This is what the Hezbollah did. It never attacked civilians but soldiers, unless as a retaliation against the attacks of Israeli planes, tanks and howitzers and their shelling of the Lebanese towns and villages, sometimes with forbidden ammunition.
3 - This continued until 1996, when Israel asked for an agreement sponsored by the Lebanese government, the US, France and ... Syria. The agreement, accepted by the parties, specified clearly that the fighting will continue between the Hezbollah and the Israeli army but the attacks on civilians will be forbidden.
Today, the Lebanese government is still unable to fight an Israeli army helped and furnished in armaments by the only superpower of the world, whereas the troops of the United Nations (Unifil) are unable to stop the continuing Israeli violations of the 1701 Security Council resolution.
So, when the Lebanese resistance attacked the Israeli soldiers on July 12, 2006 and made two prisoners (not two hostages as the western medias love to write), it was according to the 1996 agreement, but the Israeli reprisal on the Lebanese civilians and infrastructure was not. It was even forbidden by the general rules of war. Furthermore, the Lebanese operation was a reprisal for the thousands of the violations of the Lebanese space by the Israelis, the Israeli land mines killing civilians everyday, the assassination attempts on Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the assassination of two Shiites leaders (the Majzoub brothers) in the town of Saida and the Lebanese prisoners still in the Israeli jails since the end of the occupation in the year 2000. We have to add that the United Nations "Blue Line" left the Israeli occupying Lebanese territory until today.
In the meantime, news trickled about an Israeli plan to attack Lebanon prepared since they left the South in 2000. They prepared their war more thouroughly than any former war against the Arab countries and the San Francisco Chronicle wrote about an agreement, in June, between the US and Israel to allow and help the attack on Lebanon. The Americans furnished them all the armament and the ammunition they needed, worth billions of dollars. This attack was to be a rehearsal for an American air attack on Iran. For that the Israeli air attack on Lebanon was so destructive and deadly. They say that the bombs thrown on Lebanon by Israel, to fight a guerilla of 2000 fighters, in the July war, are more numerous and deadly than the ones used against 700.000 Syrian and Egyptians in the 1973 war and the double of those thrown on Iraq in the Gulf War in 1991. The Israeli prepared their war against Lebanon more thourouhly than any war against the Arab states, while the Americans furnished them with all the armament needed (more than 4.8 millon cluster bombs were thrown on Lebanon, as well as phosphorous and other forbidden ammunition). The Israelis killed more than 2000 civilians while they killed not more than 100 fighters, while the Lebanese resistance killed in total 100 Israelis, two thirds of them soldiers. But the medias in the world showed mainly the suffering of the Israeli population.
The Middle East in 2004.
Noam Shomsky (2) writes that, the American governments consider all those who disobey them or resist their allies, as dictators or terrorists, while their acts of terror and those of their allies are considered "defensive democratic and liberation" actions. For example, in the world medias, the Lebanese President Emile Lahoud and the general Michel Aoun are qualified as pro-syrians, while general Aoun is known to have fought the Syrians presence in Lebanon for decades. And President Lahoud has been much less obedient to the Syrians than those now in the govenment that are qualified as antisyrians. I can give names : the Hariris and Siniora have always been the puppets of Abdel Halim Khaddam and Ghazi Kanaan, when these people were in power (until 1994). The electoral law of the year 2000 has been concocted by Ghazi Kanaan because he wanted a Hariri victory against president Emile Lahoud that he considered disobedient. Joumblat and Marwan Hamade took profit of the Syrian backing, to kill and push the christians out of the Chouf and Saida areas, while destroying their homes and occupying their properties. Even docteur Geagea, the head of the Lebanese Forces, rebelled against the constitutionnal and legal State of the christian general Michel Aoun, who wanted to resist Syrian hegemony. When general Aoun was defeated, he thought he could put conditions on the Syrians, he had served, and was jailed, after being condemned for the murder of Toni Frangie and Dany Chamoun, who are Maronites and his former allies, and Prime Minister Rachid Karame (Sunni). These are the people who have formed the "democratic antisyrian governement" the West is supporting and defending.
Let's return to Iraq where the Americans, after a swift victory against Saddam, were bogged down and mainly attacked by Sunni fudamentalists and Saddam Hussein's partisans. The administration had to find a reason for its failure and put the blame on Iran and Syria called "rogue states" supporting terror. Nobody saw the contradiction : The attacks on their soldiers came from Al Qaeda and supporters of Saddam Hussein; they put the blame on the states that were enmies of Al Qaeda and the dictator, while they are in love with the Saudis who are financing Sunni fudamentalism all over the world and many of them are still financing terrorist Sunni groups.(1) This apparent contradiction comes from the difference between the secret interests and the propaganda. The idea was to put pressure on Iran and Syria, by pushing the Syrians out of Lebanon and destroying the Lebanese resistance, so that they be more helpful in Iraq. Their goals met with those of the Israelis who wanted to finish with the Lebanese President and the Hezbollah resistance to implant the Palestinians in Lebanon. They met also with those of President Chirac who wanted, in 2004, to strengthen his billionnaire friend Rafic Hariri,(3) supported first by king Fahd and, after the death of the latter, by king Abdallah of Saudi Arabia. Hariri was weakened by the disgrace in Syria of his sponsors, vice-president Abdel Halim Khaddam and general Ghazi Kanaan, then "High Commissionnar" of Lebanon (this is the appellation the Lebanese give to-day to the French ambassador Bernard Emie).
The Security Council Resolution 1559.
Rafic Hariri, after becoming the friend of King Fahd of Saudi Arabia and Jacques Chirac of France, played a predominant role in preparing the Taef agreement, that gave the power to the Sunni Prime minister of Lebanon and destroyed those of the Maronite President of the Republic, who refused to accept the implantation of the Palestinians in Lebanon. He was preparing himself to take charge of Lebanon, the same way his sovereign, the King of Saudi Arabia, controlled his country.
He was elected in 1992 Prime Minister, by a parliament under the orders of the Syrians, whose occupation of Lebanon was supported at that time by the Saudi and their French and US allies. His mission, given by his sponsors and indirectly by Israel, was to disarm the Hezbollah and implant the Palestinians in Lebanon.(4) For that goal, he could drown Lebanon in debts to exchange the acceptance of the implantation against the forgiveness of the Lebanese debts. In the meantime western companies could take advantage of the money of the reconstruction as well of the commissions for them and the secret operations of the governements implied. He was able to reach the first goal. The debts of the country reached the astronomic number of 41 billion dollars and the fortune of the Hariri family reached, in 2006, 16.7billion dollars, not counting the value of the center of Beirut, legally stolen to its Lebanese proprietors by Solidere, the company he created for that goal. He got all these advantages, but didn't keep his promise. When he was asked by his sponsors, he put the blame on Syria, the Hezbollah and President Lahoud. The sponsors concocted the 1559 resolution to get rid of the three : No prolongation of Lahoud's mandate, departure of the Syrians, disarmament of the Hezb.
But Hariri and his party voted for the prolongation of Lahoud's mandate. He was then assassinated. The world medias, President Chirac, the Americans and the Israelis accused the Lebanese and Syrian governements, created the revolution of the Cedars, on the model of the ones they created in East Europe, pushed the Syrians out of the country and used the same biased Ghazi Kanaan's electoral law to give the power to Saad Hariri, the subject of king Abdullah of Saudi Arabia the fundamentalist king, of the "islamo-fascist theocracy" (Craig Unger).
The first move of the new parliament was to free doctor Geagea from prison. He was condemned as said before for assassinating a A Sunni Prime minister, Dany Chamoun and Toni Frangie, his wife and their little girl (one year old), in internecine christian fighting. The price of his grace was to free also more than three dozens of fundmentalist Sunni terrorists who killed many Lebanese soldiers, some of them after they were kidnapped. This "democratically" elected parliament, according to the western governments and medias, brought about christian representatives representing, instead of the christians, the Sunni Moslems partisans of the wahhabi Saad Hariri and their first decision was to free terrorists. Their second decision was to nominate christian ministers elected by the Moslems or Dhimmis obeying the decisions of Saad Hariri who in turn have to obey the Saudi fudamentalist king, allied to the US which is allied with Israel and furnished it with the armaments that destroyed Lebanon and killed more than 1200 Lebanese civilians. The cluster bombs thrown by Israel in the south have left there more than one million small fragments that kill any person, child, peasant or woman that touch it.
I said our government is now illegal, because it is not anymore constitued by all communities in Lebanon after the resignation of the chiites ministers. It is illegal because it broke the constitution more than once, mainly because it sent an agreement on the international court without referring to the approval of the president of the republic, who is the only person entitled to sign and approve international agreements (article 52 of the constitution).
Moreover, the christian ministers of the Lebanese Forces (FL) have betrayed their community (the Maronites) by accepting to diminish the powers of the Maronite President of the republic. It is not acceptable to let this precedent pass, or else the only powers remaining in the hands of the Maronite community will become "junk" powers destabilyzing the power balance in Lebanon, more than it is now. This will harbinger the end of Lebanon and its message. I then pray that the christians ministers that still are in the government will obey their conscience and resign.
It's a pity that the Maronite church has accepted and even seemed to approve such weakening of the powers of the Maronite presidency. It reminds me of the remark of a prominent Occidental ambassador in Beirut who said: "There is no Maronite church, because if the church did its duty, it would have formed spiritually christian politicians who care much more for the state's interest than for their own pockets.
In a partial conclusion, a government that disobeys the constitution should be pushed out by any means, because it is working against the interests of the country. And it is working to give all the power to a small minority directed by a fundamentalist country, using its oil money and its international allies to force the Lebanese to accept slavery.
They are using the debts they forced us to do to blackmail us saying : you obey and accept being governed by pe0ople obeying a fundmentalist king and accept the implantation of the Palestinians, or you drown under the debts.
We have and will not obey, preferring death with honor to life in slavery.
**Roger Akl -General Secretary of the Institut Tchobanian & Editor in chief of Europe et Orient

Making sense of Lebanon mess
Who are Lebanon's leading politicians? Who harshly swore at Syrian President Assad, before turning into an avid supporter? Who shed tears when his government was in jeopardy? A moment before what could be another civil war, Ynetnews presents Beirut's key figures
Roee Nahmias Published: 11.23.06, 12:43
This is not how Lebanon imagined its 63rd independence day: Between a (Syrian) rock and an (Iranian) hard place, split and ruined on the inside, and threatened by external forces, with more and more European troops in the country's south – and high alert in Israel ahead of the possibility of another war. Following the assassination of another minister, facing unclear legitimacy by the government, and possibly ahead of another civil war, Ynetnews presents the key figures in Israel's northern neighbor.
The anti-Syrian camp
Fouad Siniora: A Sunni Muslim and current Lebanese prime minister. Siniora was born in Sidon in 1943 and was known for his ties with assassinated PM Rafik Hariri, first as his accountant. Similarly to his political patron, was known for his anti-Syrian views, yet his pleasant character and the prestige he accumulated over the years led 126 parliament members to back him for the post of prime minister. Siniora has become the darling of Presidents Bush and Chirac. During the war and after it he criticized Hizbullah , even if implicitly. He is especially remembered for his "speech of tears" during the war when he called on the world to intervene and save Lebanon from a disaster.
Saad Hariri: Sunni Muslim, 36 years old, the majority leader in the Lebanese parliament and chairman of the al-Mustaqbal (The Future) party. After his father, the former PM and business mogul Rafik Hariri, was assassinated, he promptly stepped into his shoes. He went from being a business management student to being thrown right into the political cauldron and assumed control of the giant empire left by his father. Naturally, for many of his supporters he has become Lebanon's new hope, following about 30 years of Syrian domination of the country. During the last war and after it he slammed Hizbullah and claimed the group executes Syrian and Iranian policies in Lebanon, and serves as an agent on their behalf. His political opponents in Lebanon as well as Syria's president slammed him and his people as "collaborators and Zionist agents."
Walid Jumblatt: A Druze, was born in August 1949. Heads the Progressive Socialist Party established by his father, Kamal, who was murdered in March 1977 by agents working on behalf of former Syrian President Hafez Assad. Currently serves as the most prominent Druze leader in the country. After his father's assassination, Jumblatt was invited to the palace in Damascus, where the Syrian president told him: "You so much resemble your father," hinting at Jumblatt's expected fate should he fail to adopt a pro-Syrian line. Despite this, Jumblatt has engaged in harsh anti-Syrian rhetoric.
Samir Geagea: A Maronite Christian, born near Beirut in 1952. Currently serves as leader of the right-pint party "The Lebanese Forces." Geagea, who was the operational chief of the Phalange militia and responsible for the Sabra and Shatlia massacres was sentenced to several life terms over civil war crimes, yet in July of last year, following a parliament decision, he was pardoned. Since his release he has entered Lebanon's political life and adopted a provocative line against Syria and Hizbullah.
Pro-Syria camp
Emile Lahoud: Maronite Christian, born in 1936 and the son of General Jamil Lahoud, who was among the leaders of the Lebanese independence movement. Emile joined the army in 1956 and by the end of the civil war served under the command of General Michel Aoun. Following the ceasefire, Lahoud moved to western Beirut, which was under Syrian control. In light of his close ties with Damscus, he assumed key posts in the Lebanese governmetn's army, and eventually commanded the arm. In October 15, 1998, he was elected as Lebanon's president for a period of six years. Due to Syrian pressure the parliament extended his term in office in 2004 by another three years. This move by the Lebanese parliament that was clearly influenced by Syria was one of the factors that led to UN Security Council Resolution 1559, which called for all foreign forces to withdraw from Lebanon. Lahoud is slated to complete his term in about a year, and General Michel Eon is highly interested in succeeding him.
Michel Aoun: Maronite Christian, born in 1935 in southern Beirut. Joined the army in 1956 and was appointed as the Lebanese Army's chief of staff in 1984. In 1988, outgoing president Amin Gemayel appointed him as prime minister until new elections are held. However, then-prime minister Salim al-Hoss, who enjoyed Syria's support, announced that the dismantlement of his government is invalid – leading to two governments working at the same time: Aoun's military government in east Beirut, and al-Hoss' civilian government in the west of the city. On March 14 1989, Aoun declared a "war of liberation" from Syria in order to unite the country and hold free presidential elections. His army fought the Syrian military in Beirut for months – a war that claimed the lives of many civilians and about 1,000 soldiers on both sides.
Investigation
In October 1990, Syrian fighter jets attacked the presidential palace in Baabda. Aoun, who wanted to avoid a high casualty toll, surrendered and fled to the French ambassador's residence. After 10 months he went into exile in France and acted from afar against Syria's hegemony in Lebanon. During his time in exile he was among the harshest critics of Syria's and Hizbullah's presence in Lebanon – his criticisms often included curses uttered at the Syrian regime and its leader. In May of last year, a few days following the withdrawal of Syrian forces from Lebanon, he returned to his homeland. In the parliamentary elections in May of this year he surprised everyone when his party joined forces with pro-Syrian factions. He explained that after Syria's withdrawal, the split between pro-Syrian and anti-Syria forces lost its meaning. He focused his election campaign on national values such as a war on corruption, national unity vis-à-vis the ethnic split, and the establishment of a modern country.
Nabih Berri: A Shiite Muslim, born in January 1938. Currently serves as parliament speaker and heads the Amal movement. In the 1970s, Berri served as a lawyer on behalf of the movement, established by Imam Musa al-Sadr. After the Imam disappeared under mysterious circumstances while touring Libya in 1978, Berri returned to Lebanon in order to compete for the movement's leadership. In April 1980, he became the general secretary. Since the mid-'70s, Amal maintained close ties with President Assad's regime in Syria, and these ties turned to a close alliance with Damascus under Berri's leadership. Recently, and particularly with regards to the Lebanon war, the parliament speaker attempted to convey a national image and speak on behalf of "all of Lebanon." He was even appointed as Hizbullah's representative for negotiating a prisoner swap, but he abandoned the post following the Qfar Qana incident.
Hassan Nasrallah: A Shiite Muslim, born in 1960 in eastern Beirut to a family hailing from the country's south. Although the family was not considered religious by Lebanese standards, Hassan, the eldest of nine brothers, started reading fundamentalist literature while most of his peers were playing soccer. After completing high school he went on to study at Shiite colleges in Najaf, Iraq, where he met his spiritual father and former Hizbullah Secretary General, Abbas Musawi. Initially, Nasrallah joined the Shiite Amal movement, but under Musawi's leadership he left, along with dozens of others, and joined a new organization established through the initiative of spiritual leader Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah – the group served as an umbrella organization for pro-Iranian militant officers and their soldiers. This group was later named Hizbullah.
Nasrallah continuously extended his control over religious and military matters. In February 1992, Musawi was assassinated by Israel, and Sheikh Nasrallah succeeded him. That year, the organization started expanding its activity into other areas, including social, economic, and political affairs. In 1992, Hizbullah for the first time took part in parliamentary elections and won 12 seats. Ever since then it has gained strength within Lebanon's political system. Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000 granted the organization and its leader great prestige; the last war turned him into an admired figure across the Arab world.
According to the Taif Agreement from October 22, 1989, which is based on a 1932 census, Lebanon's leading government posts are divided among the various ethnicities in accordance with a permanent arrangement: The Maronite Christian representative is always the president; the prime minister is a Sunny Muslim; the parliament speaker is a Shiite Muslim. Now, in addition to the fight against Israel, Nasrallah is eyeing a change in Lebanon's political map and is calling for toppling the government and the holding of new elections. In his view, the current representation does not accurately reflect the Shiites' power, and he also opposes the anti-Syria camp, which he views as too western. Many view Nasrallah as the most influential figure both within and outside Lebanon's political system.

Amin Gemayel: Independence intifada underway
(VIDEO) Former Lebanese president and father of slain minister says during mass funeral for his son, ‘death of Prime Minister Hariri is what triggered the current intifada, and today the second intifada was launched; it will not end until there is real and true change’
Roee Nahmias Published: 11.23.06, 16:38
VIDEO - The funeral ceremony and wake for the slain Industry Minster Pierre Gemayel were held Thursday afternoon with tens of thousand of Lebanese paying their last respects. Despite the intention to hold the funeral as an official event, the speakers turned the funeral into a political event with a clear anti-Syrian tone.
Amin Gemayel, the father of the slain minister and former president of Lebanon, addressed the crowd and said at the outset of his speech at the "Martyr's Square" near the St. Georges Church that the mass funeral was a warning for Lebanon to assert its true sovereignty over the land.
"Just like (slain former President Bashir Gemayel) is living among us, all the martyrs of this intifada of independence are living among us. The death of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri is what triggered the current intifada, and today the second intifada was launched. It will not end until there is real and true change. The change will come from the top, from the election of a new president for Lebanon. Whoever agrees to that - place your hands with ours."
'Powers of hell will not win'
In his speech, Gemayel spelled out his new vision in order to not allow extremists from taking control of Lebanon: "We demand reform and a new president for Lebanon. It is impossible that Lebanon will compromise without the truth. I promise you that the countdown towards achieving the truth and the establishment of the tribunal has begun. We will not rest until we will bring to justice everyone who has committed a crime against our sons, our loved ones, and our leaders and against Lebanon. Pierre's spirit is still among us and it will strengthen our wishes until we will reach all our goals for which all our heroes have died for."
During the funeral ceremony, the supporters of the Christian faction called out against Syria and blamed it for the assassination and torched the pictures of Syrian President Bashar Assad and his Lebanese counterpart Emile Lahoud.
Israel's place in the events was also mentioned, as one of the signs read, "We are hostages of Iran, Syria, and Israel." Another sign sent the message that there is a need to implement the decisions of the United Nations: "1559, 1680, 1701 – What don't you understand?!"
Christian Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea told mourners that only the international court could stop more killings. "That is why they (Syria and its allies) want a confrontation over the international trial," he declared. "We are not afraid, and nothing will frighten us or run us down. We will not give up until the crimes in Lebanon are stopped and the criminals are arrested. This can be done only through an international tribunal," said Geagea.
Geagea also referred to the decision of Hizbullah to quit the government last week because of the UN decision to create the international tribunal to investigate the Hariri murder. "They wanted a fight over the tribunal but they didn't have the guts to say it, so they justified it with a fight over political representation, but the masks were unveiled today. This is our government – it is the government of Lebanon, and it takes its power and legitimacy from the blood of our martyrs. We will not accept its replacement with another puppet government. The powers of hell will not win."
'Only solution - national unity government'
The cheers of the crowd grew louder when Geagea aimed the following sentence at the pro-Syrian President of Lebanon: "History will judge President Lahoud and his friends for their crimes against all Lebanese. We promise you today again that we will continue the struggle until the tribunal is established; until the truth and justice will be seen; until there will be one state with one gun."
Druze leader Walid Jumblatt also spoke with enthusiasm, saying acts such as the assassination of Gemayel would not shake Lebanon's aspirations to live as a free nation. "They (Syria) will not suppress our demands for the truth, justice and the international court," he told the crowd, speaking behind a bullet-proof screen. He stressed this was no time for strife. "At this moment, and above the pain and wounds, we are for dialogue," he said.
During his speech Jumblatt added more words aimed at Damascus: "For the third time in less than two years you (the crowd) arrive here from all parts of Lebanon to this square and tell the world that the national unity which was dedicated to the blood of Rafik Hariri and Pierre Gemayel and all the martyrs of independence - is established and completed. The national unity is stronger than terror, the weapons, and their crimes."
Amar al Mussawi, a member of Hizbullah's political wing, responded to the statements in an interview with al-Jazeera and said that "they (the anti-Syrian camp) did everything accept what they had to do. They threw out slogans that have no connection to reality. Of course they are demanding the tribunal like there is any disagreement between the Lebanese, but all Lebanese agreed to it around the discussion table.
“The only way out of this crisis is with a national unity government,” he added. “We do not demand portfolios in the government, but we are interested in the general interest. We think that this government cannot manage the country and the only solution is to create a national unity government."

Assassination timeline
22 November 2006
PM Fouad Siniora asks UN to help investigate Pierre Gemayel's death.
21 November
Gemayel is shot as his convoy drives through Beirut, raising fears of civil war.
11 November
Five pro-Syrian Shia ministers resign after collapse of talks on giving their camp more say in government.
31 October
Hizbollah's leader, Hassan Nasrallah, vows peaceful protests demanding elections unless there is a national unity government.
12 July ­ 14 August
Hizbollah captures two Israeli soldiers. At least 1,200 Lebanese and 157 Israelis are killed in conflict.
12 December 2005
Gebran Tueni, anti-Syrian MP and journalist, is killed.
12 October
Ghazi Kanaan, Syria's interior minister, "commits suicide" as UN investigates.
21 June
George Hawi, anti-Syrian ex-Communist leader, is killed.
19 June
Anti-Syrian alliance led by Hariri's son, Saad, wins poll.
June 2
Samir Kassir, anti-Syrian journalist, is killed.
26 April
Syrian troops leave Lebanon.
14 February
Rafik Hariri, former prime minister, and 22 others are killed by truck bomb.
In the house of mourning, an old Lebanese home of cut stone, they did not show Pierre Gemayel's body. They had sealed the lid - so terribly damaged was his face by the bullets which killed him - as if the nightmares of Lebanon might thus be kept away in the darkness of the grave.
But the Maronites and Greek Orthodox, the Druze and - yes - the Muslims who came to pay their condolences to Gemayel's wife, Patricia, and his broken father, Amin, wept copiously beside the flag-draped casket. They understood the horrors that could unfold in the coming days and their dignity was a refusal to accept that possibility.
Down in Beirut, I had been watching the Lebanese detectives - they who had never solved a single one of Lebanon's multitude of political murders - photographing the bullet holes in the pale blue Kia car which Gemayel had been driving, 13 rounds through the driver's window, six of which had broken out through the passenger door after tearing through the Lebanese Minister of Industry's head and that of his bodyguard. But in the family home town of Bikfaya, mountain cold with fir trees and off-season roses and new Phalangist banners of triangular cedars, the black huddle of mourners spoke of legal punishment rather than revenge for Gemayel's murder.
It was a heartening moment. And who would have imagined the day - back in the civil war that now haunts us all again - that the Druze could enter this holiest of holies in safety and in friendship to express their sorrow at the death of a man whose Uncle Bashir was the fiercest and most brutal enemy of the Druze?
Bashir's best friend Massoud Ashkar, a militia officer in those dark and terrible days, spoke movingly of the need for Lebanese unity and for justice. "We know the Syrians killed people during the war," he said to me. "We are waiting to find out who killed Sheikh Pierre. These people wanted to restart a civil war. We must know who these people are."
Ah, but there is perdition in such hopes. With the sadness of those who still expect recovery when all such possibility has been taken away, some of the local Christians gathered in the Beirut suburb of Jdeideh where the three killers had blasted away their MP on Tuesday afternoon. His car, Lebanese registration number 201881, the hood smashed upwards where it had been rammed by the gunmen's Honda CRV at 3.35pm and its rear still embedded in the van of a waterproofing company into which it rolled when Gemayel died at the wheel, was photographed a hundred times by the cops. They were watched silently by the men and women who, less than 24 hours before, had not heard the silenced pistol which killed him, and thought at first that the minister was the victim of a road accident. No one would give their name, of course. You don't do that in Lebanon now.
"I was asleep when I heard some very mild sounds, like gunshots but not loud enough," a white-haired man told me on the balcony of the old family home where he was born. "Then I heard a crash and several real gunshots. I got up, put on my clothes but didn't see any gunmen. A neighbour went over and came back and told me it was Sheikh Pierre and then I saw him carried from his car covered in blood and put in the back of a van."
Scarcely an hour earlier, Pierre Gemayel had been up in Bikfaya, only 200 metres from where his body lay yesterday, honouring the ominous statue of his grandfather - also Pierre - who had founded the Phalangist party which his grandson represented in parliament.
No one mentioned, of course, that this same old granddad Gemayel, a humble football coach, had created the Phalangists as a paramilitary organisation after being inspired - so he told me himself before he died in 1984 - by his visit to the 1936 Nazi Olympics in Hitler's Germany. As usual, such uneasy details had long ago been wiped from the narrative of Lebanese history - and from our journalistic accounts of the grandson's death this week.
Pierre Gemayel Jnr, however, had been an earnest MP as the witness to his death made clear. "You see that house over there with the awnings?" he asked me. "Well an old lady had died there and Sheikh Pierre was coming here to express his condolences to the family." The dead woman's home was scarcely 30 metres from where Gemayel's car had come to rest. He must have been slowing down to turn into the side road. Everyone here knew he was coming to the house on Tuesday morning, so the neighbours said, which meant - although they did not say this, of course - that he had been betrayed. The murderers were waiting for the good MP to pay his condolences, knowing that the man's own family would be receiving condolences themselves a day later. They didn't even wear face masks and coldly shot a shopkeeper who saw them.
The Lebanese have been responding to the international outcry over Gemayel's murder with somewhat less rhetoric than President George Bush, whose promise "to support the Siniora government and its democracy" was greeted with the scorn it deserved. This, after all, was the same George Bush who had watched in silence this summer as the Israelis abused Siniora's democratic government and bombed Lebanon for 34 days, killing more than a thousand of its civilians. And the Lebanese knew what to make of Tony Blair's remark - he who also delayed a ceasefire that would have saved countless lives here - when he said that "we need to do everything we can to protect democracy in Lebanon". It was a long-retired Christian militiaman, a rival of the Gemayel clan, who put it succinctly. "They don't care a damn about us," he said.
That little matter of the narrative - and who writes it - remained a problem yesterday, as the Western powers pointed their fingers at Syria. Yes, all five leading Lebanese men murdered in the past 20 months were anti-Syrian. And it's a bit like saying "the butler did it". Wouldn't a vengeful Syria strike at the independence of Lebanon by killing a minister? Yes. But then, what would be the best way of undermining the new and boastful power of the pro-Syrian Hizbollah, the Shia guerrilla army which has demanded the resignation of Siniora's cabinet? By killing a government minister, knowing that many Lebanese would blame the murder on Syria's Hizbollah allies?
Living in Lebanon, you learn these semantic tricks through a kind of looking glass. Nothing here ever happens by accident. But whatever does happen is never quite like what you first think it to be. So the Lebanese at Bikfaya understood yesterday as they gathered and talked of unity. For if only the Lebanese stopped putting their faith in foreigners - the Americans, the Israelis, the British, the Iranians, the French, the United Nations - and trusted each other instead, they would banish the nightmares of civil war sealed inside Pierre Gemayel's coffin.

 

The World Council of the Cedars Revolution

 The WCCR offers the Gemayel Family and the Worldwide Lebanese community our most sincere and heartfelt condolences at this occasion of the assassination of Minister Pierre Gemayel MP, one of Lebanon’s brightest, most loyal and productive political performers.

 This brutal assassination at such a time has been mercilessly executed as a blatant attack against the freedom of the people of Lebanon, to deliver a message of attempting to kill off Lebanon’s sacred Independence, from the control and hegemony of terrorist militias and tyrannical regimes who hunger for the destruction of this beautiful land and converting it into a dictatorial state.  

 How long can loyal Lebanese families continue to supply their nation’s struggle for liberation, with the blood and ultimate sacrifice of the young politicians who dedicate themselves to building a better future for their people? These ruthless assassins believe that they are driving a nail in the coffin of the nation of Lebanon by killing off their successful young ministers and parliamentarians, thus leaving a potential political leadership vacuum for the future. The Prime Minister and his government could ask themselves the question of the importance of an effective UNSC Resolution which would have empowered the UNIFIL to disarm everyone with the exception of the Lebanese Army.

 How long can the nation continue to remain calm in the face of continued assassinations and massacres, the intentions of which are the decimations of the custodians of Lebanon ’s sovereignty, independence and democratic freedoms? In the hearts and minds of all freedom loving Lebanese, this loss weighs heavy, yet, wisdom would dictate that patience and calm should be the order of the day.

 How long can the United Nations Security Council, who was established to protect smaller democracies from the savages of ruthless dictators, continue to procrastinate fulfilling their responsibilities towards the people of Lebanon ? Surely, the time has come. Surely, the time is NOW to inject Chapter 7 into the UNSCR 1701 mandate and give real bite to the security and protection to the government and the democratic people of Lebanon .

 When will the super powers of the world begin to realize that Lebanon is the first step in the domino principle of toppling over democracies in the grandiose plans of fundamentalist dictators who wish to rule the world by fear of the sword? The time has come for the US and Europe to take stock of these policies. The fact of the matter is that there is too much latitude being given to terrorist nations and their leadership, in negotiations, for these countries have no intention of coming to the party except on their own terms; and those terms are, complete domination of the free world.

 This is not a time for soft bellies. This is a time for leaders with conviction to take action accordingly and save the world from enormous destruction and devastation; as well as protection of a cherished way of life, democracy and freedom under the rule of law.


White House ramps up diplomacy across Middle East
POSTED: 0208 GMT (1008 HKT), November 22, 2006
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush called Lebanon's leader Wednesday to express his dismay at the assassination of a Cabinet minister -- a slaying that heightened anxiety in the Mideast and complicated Bush's meeting in the region next week with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.
The United States denounced the assassination of Pierre Gemayel, the minister of industry and a strong opponent of Syrian influence in Lebanon, as an act of terrorism. Bush accused Syria and Iran of trying to undermine the young, democratically elected government of Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, which is being challenged by the Islamic militant group Hezbollah."President Bush reiterated to Prime Minister Siniora the unwavering commitment of the United States to help build Lebanese democracy, and to support Lebanese independence from the encroachments of Iran and Syria," said Gordon Johndroe, a spokesman for the National Security Council at the White House.
Syria has denied involvement in the killing. "We're not making any direct accusations, but let me say that the trends and the record seem to be very clear," C. David Welch, assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs, said in an interview Wednesday with al-Arabiya Television. "The implication that Syria may be involved is, of course, a very heavy one, but the burden of responsibility that Syria bears not to interfere in the situation in Lebanon could not be more important than at this moment." As the situation in Lebanon worsened, the White House announced Bush would go to Jordan next week to talk to al-Maliki about how to speed up the transfer of security responsibilities to the Iraqis. National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley said the two leaders would hear from a joint commission they set up to identify ways to strengthen Iraqi security forces and to improve the Iraqi government's control over them.
Vice President Dick Cheney is also headed for the region. He is to meet on Saturday in Saudi Arabia with Saudi King Abdullah to discuss developments in the Middle East, then return to Washington with no other stops planned. Bush's visit with al-Maliki, an attempt to reassert U.S. influence in the region, could help the president show that he hasn't lost control of the situation in Iraq to neighboring Syria and Iran -- two countries the United States has accused of meddling in Baghdad's affairs. This week, Iraq and Syria restored diplomatic ties after nearly a quarter century.
Al-Maliki visited the United States in late July, a month after Bush made an unannounced trip to Baghdad. Amman, Jordan, was viewed as a less dangerous location than Baghdad for the upcoming meeting. Plans for the get-together on Wednesday and Thursday follow Iran's invitation to host the Iraqi and Syrian presidents this weekend in Tehran -- an invitation thought to be an attempt by Tehran to upstage expected U.S. moves to enlist Syria and Iran in dealing with the chaos in Iraq. Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said he would attend. Participation of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had not been confirmed, but Talabani's aides, speaking on condition of anonymity because of sensitive negotiations surrounding the meeting, said al-Assad would be there. Damascus denies involvement in the killing of Gemayel, but U.S. officials suspect a Syrian connection. Bush expressed his condolences in phone calls to both the Lebanese prime minister and to former Lebanese President Amin Gemayel, the father of the slain Cabinet minister.
The U.S. has accused Syria and Iran of plotting to topple Siniora's fragile government, which is dominated by politicians opposed to Syrian influence in Lebanon. The slaying of Gemayel was the fifth murder of an anti-Syrian figure in Lebanon in two years. Meanwhile, an independent panel led by former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, a Republican close to the Bush family, and former Democratic Rep. Lee Hamilton, is getting ready to release recommendations on U.S. options in Iraq. The proposals are expected to include openings to Syria and Iran in a bid to internationalize efforts to control the sectarian conflict. Shibley Telhami, a Mideast scholar at the University of Maryland, said the United States and Syria are engaged in a "delicate dance." "It's going to be very complicated because you're likely to have a real crisis in Lebanon intensifying over the next few weeks, and that's going to overshadow, I think, what the president was hoping Syria would do on Iraq," Telhami said.
He said the United States does not want Iranian-Syrian-Iraqi cooperation without U.S. involvement. Jon Alterman, a Mideast expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said he thought there was an outside chance the administration would step up contact with Syria, but that in the end it would decide against it, partly because of U.S. anger about Syria's role in Lebanon. "I think the administration was going to be under some pressure to open some sort of dialogue," Alterman said. "It seems to me that the assassination makes it less likely."
Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

The Required Lebanese Victory
Mohamed Ashab Al-Hayat - 23/11/06//
One of the most serious consequences of the Israeli war on Lebanon was that the war transformed the Lebanese arena into a crossroad of all possibilities. And while it appeared that the Lebanese faced the war with a great deal of tenacity and solidarity to foil Israel's plan to use Lebanon as a trump card; they have become divided over the assessment of the short and long-term implications of the war, to the extent that Israel's pain was quickly transferred to Lebanon, which was still licking its wounds.
Since the root causes of the war and the extent to which they were tied to sovereignty triggered a wide controversy that could not have been resolved amid the thundering sound of artillery rounds; the mere notion of returning to the pre-war status and domestic situation in Lebanon entangled with regional and international complexities gave everyone enough reason to fear the dreaded consequences, namely: going back to the policy of assassinations, the return to the shuffling of cards and entanglement of calculations, and giving a bundle of excuses for those seeking internationalization of the crisis.
Therefore, what could not be achieved through war became feasible in its absence. That is, through transforming the conflict from its Israeli-Lebanese version to the domains of internal alienation that awaits the spark that ignites the firewood.
The Israelis, due to internal considerations, were eager to open the book of war to learn the lessons for which the politicians and the military pay, as in any war that fails to achieve its goals.
Raising the issue of the aspects of the military scenarios' failure was only the tip of the iceberg of the debate, which could not be resolved, even by the deployment of international observers. For the true objectives of the war were much greater than the ranting about the freeing of the two Israeli captives and the destruction of missile launch sites that marked the demise of the Israeli security myth.
Therefore, the war continues through other means and in other arenas, upon which all Israelis, regardless of their political or ideological affiliations, converge, as long as it is an issue of a deep-rooted ideology and practice.
For their part, the Lebanese were supposed to collectively head in a direction other than that led to by the developments of the course of events. More likely, their steadfastness was a Lebanese decision that surpassed political disputes. Moreover, instead of capitalizing on the outcome of the war to become a gateway to establishing the principles of coexistence, harmony and strengthening consolidation; their evaluation of the war's outcomes, and their jumping ahead of developments led to deterioration.
Hence, it was no surprise that each side started resorting to whatever trump cards available, since, effectively, the war was still continuing in other ways. Their objective this time, however, is to dismantle the unity, which was like a rock on which the Israeli illusion was shattered to pieces.
No one is debating the principle of seeking the truth about the assassination of late Rafik Hariri and putting his murderers and accomplices to trial. No one can openly announce their opposition to the international tribunal's punishment of those guilty of this crime, since regardless of the time and place, the authority of the judiciary goes in parallel with the authority of the State's sovereignty and the rule of the law.
What makes the international tribunal different from the other kinds of illegitimate tribunals that allow the killing of the innocent and their elimination by assassination is that the latter indicates a lack in the fundamentals of sovereignty.
Assassinations take place in other parts of the world for vindictive and political reasons, but remain legally and morally unacceptable as they carry the threat of becoming some sort of established policy or a means to an end, and a regression to the law of the jungle, which is unacceptable under any pretext.
In Lebanon, however, the policy of assassinations seeks to destroy the very constituents and foundations of coexistence, and is surely the workings of those standing to gain from the turning back of the clock to an era of inter-fighting, catastrophes, sectarian strife, with the aim of permanently burying harmony and unity.
In the same vein, there is a principle that when you are approaching victory on any given issue, there must be another side on its way to defeat. It is ironic that while victory requires a great deal of wisdom and preparedness, willpower, and balance; only a miscalculated adventure is required for failure.
Whether Lebanon - the State, the unity, the legitimacy, and the Constitution - is on its way to eventually overcome its challenges, or other parties that do not want this picture to be completed, loss due to such adventures will not only impact a party, a movement or a group, but will violate the foundations of the State.
Furthermore, the more Lebanon appears to be set on becoming a paragon for coexistence, fraternity and openness, the more stray bullets will vandalize the signboards giving directions to that path.
Moreover, those who fear the international tribunal seek to bypass it using the logic of the law of traditions and killing. Those who do not want the unity of Lebanon to be realized, which surprised everyone in the war that it could be achieved on the bases of peace and dialogue, will risk more assassination attempts, wearing masks of different shapes and spectrums.
The assassination of Pierre Gemayel may have deferred liabilities by those who took to the street in a test of power. But the significance of such a delay shrinks in comparison to the significance of the unjustified killing of the innocent who devoted their lives to protecting the unity and future of Lebanon.
What is more significant and serious is the fact that what Israel failed to achieve is being executed by others. The intertwinement and interplay of national and regional considerations in deciphering the Lebanese crisis has only one meaning: this small country, with its far-reaching civil and cultural extensions, has been able to defeat Israel's arrogance and, accordingly, it should prevail over the arrogance of the war merchants, regardless of their allegiances, for the sake of one real benefit: the Lebanese reality in defying death and holding on to life
 

ALC statement on the Assassination of Lebanese Minister Pierre Gemayel
November 21, 2006
The American Lebanese Coalition is dismayed and grieved by the vicious act of terrorism that claimed the life of the late member of the Lebanese cabinet and of the Lebanese Parliament, Pierre Gemayel. The horrible crime is the latest in a series of state-sponsored acts of terrorism, which has targeted leaders of Lebanon’s advocates of sovereignty, independence, democracy and freedom.
While we condemn the heinous crime, we are determined to continue our relentless struggle to restore Lebanon’s independence and its role as a model for moderation and for co-existence in the region. Thanks to the resolve of the vast majority of the Lebanese people and to the staunch support of the international community, with leadership from the United States, Lebanon shall overcome the obstructionist, anarchic, destabilizing schemes of the Iranian-Syrian axis and its cronies and lackeys in Lebanon.
We offer our heartfelt condolences to former President Amin Gemayyel, to the Gemayel family and to the Lebanese people and we pledge to continue our unwavering efforts to realize the goals for which the martyr lost his productive, promising and dynamic life.
May his memory be eternal.

March 14 Forces Urge Massive Turnout at Gemayel's Funeral
The anti-Syrian camp has called for a massive turnout at the funeral of slain Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel on Thursday.
The service will first be held at the Maronite Cathedral of St. George in downtown Beirut at 1:00 pm (1100 GMT), said a statement from the "March 14" group that met at the Phalange party headquarters in Saifi on Tuesday. The body of Gemayel will then be taken to his home town of Bikfaya, in the mountains east of the capital, for burial. "The entire world will hear in the next few days the real voice of Lebanon, the voice of freedom, sovereignty and independence," said former MP Fares Soaid, reading the statement.
"The March 14 forces calls on their followers and friends ... to participate massively in the popular burial of the heroic martyr Pierre Gemayel," it said. They also called for a total shutdown of businesses across Lebanon. The group said "sadness has turned into anger" after Tuesday's assassination. "We will go after the criminals and all those who cover this crime ... the blood of Pierre Gemayel will not go in vain," it said. But "the March 14 forces also call on all their followers ... to stay away from any sign of discord which only serves the objectives of the evil criminals," it added.
Gemayel's Phalange party confirmed in a statement that the burial was postponed by 24 hours to Thursday, rather than originally announced.
Gunned down Tuesday in New Jdeideh, northern suburb of Beirut, Gemayel, 34, was the latest victim in a spate of attacks on Lebanese anti-Syrian politicians widely blamed on Damascus.A three-day period of national mourning was also officially announced in Lebanon, where Independence Day celebrations on Wednesday have been called off.On Tuesday night, mourners lit candles at a vigil held at the scene where Gemayel was assassinated.(AFP-Naharnet) Beirut, 22 Nov 06, 09:00  

Attacks in Lebanon Since the 1970s
By The Associated
Associated Press
Attacks that have targeted prominent Lebanese, most of them opponents of Syria:
_ Feb. 26, 1975: Maarouf Saad, 46, a Sunni former parliament member from Sidon, is shot to death while leading a fishermen's demonstration. His assassination was among the causes of the civil war that broke out April 13, 1975.
_ March 16, 1977: Kamal Jumblatt, 62, a leader of the Druse community, is killed by unidentified gunmen who attack his car in the Druse-controlled Chouf mountains. He was leader of the Nationalist Movement, an alliance of Palestinian, leftist and Muslim groups.
_ June 13, 1978: Tony Franjieh, 34, oldest son of former President Suleiman Franjieh, a Maronite Catholic, is slaughtered at his home in the Cedar Mountain resort of Ehden with his wife, their 3-year-old daughter and 30 aides.
_ Sept. 14, 1982: President-elect Bashir Gemayel, 34, is killed by a bomb that demolished Phalange Party headquarters in Christian east Beirut three weeks after his election.
_ Oct. 7, 1986: Sheikh Subhi Saleh, 60, deputy chairman of the Supreme Islamic Council, the highest Sunni Muslim authority in Lebanon, is shot in Beirut by two masked assassins who escape on motorcycle. The sheikh was an outspoken advocate of coexistence between Lebanon's Muslim and Christian communities.
_ June 1, 1987: Prime Minister Rashid Karami, 64, is killed in an explosion aboard an army helicopter. A Sunni, Karami was serving as prime minister for a 10th time in 32 years. He had been a member of parliament since 1951 and served as a minister in several Cabinets.
_ Aug. 20, 1987: Mohammed Shokair, 70, political adviser to former President Amin Gemayel, is killed by gunmen who storm his home.
_ May 16, 1989: Mufti Sheik Hassan Khalid is killed by a bomb placed in a parked car in Beirut.
_ Sept. 21, 1989: Nazim Kadri, a 74-year-old Sunni lawmaker, is killed by gunmen.
_ Nov. 22, 1989: President Rene Mouawad, 64, is assassinated after only 17 days in office. Mouawad had hoped to form government of national reconciliation.
_ Oct. 21, 1990: Dany Chamoun, a 56-year-old right-wing National Liberal Party leader and a prominent Maronite Christian clan member, is killed along with his wife and two sons at their east Beirut home.
_ Aug. 31, 1995: Sheik Nizar al-Halaby, 43, a founder of the fundamentalist Habashi group, is killed by gunmen.
_ Jan. 24, 2002: Former Lebanese militia leader Elie Hobeika, 45, is killed in a car bombing. Hobeika had offered to testify in a Belgian lawsuit seeking to hold Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon responsible for a massacre of Palestinian refugees.
_ Feb. 14, 2005: Former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, tilting toward the opposition, is assassinated in a massive bombing. Opposition blames Syrian and Lebanese governments, charges both deny.
_ June 2, 2005: Anti-Syrian journalist and activist Samir Kassir is killed by a bomb placed under his car.
_ June 21, 2005: Anti-Syrian politician George Hawi, former Communist Party leader, is killed by a bomb placed under his car.
_ July 12, 2005: Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Elias Murr survives a car bombing that targets his vehicle as he drives on a north Beirut suburban street. Although pro-Syrian, Murr later says he was threatened by Syrian intelligence chief in Lebanon.
_ Sept. 25, 2005: Prominent anchorwoman May Chidiac of the leading anti-Syrian TV station LBC loses an arm and a leg from a bomb placed under her car.
_ Dec. 12, 2005: Gibran Tueni, prominent anti-Syrian newspaper editor and lawmaker, is killed in a car bomb that destroys his vehicle.
_ Nov. 21, 2006: Pierre Gemayel, 34, the industry minister and a prominent Christian politician, is shot to death by gunmen in a Beirut suburb.
Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

Canada must take action against Syria, Iran, Hezbollah and Palestinians for terror in Lebanon
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Ottawa, Canada - Yesterday's assassination of Lebanese Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel is another example of foreign state terror being used to destabilize Lebanon. Canada must not stand by and allow these vicious criminal actions to succeed.
"Prime Minister Harper understands the importance of democracy to the people of Lebanon," said Francois Hachem, director of the Canadian Coalition for Democracies (CCD). "Today, we are calling on the Prime Minister to take strong action against Hezbollah and Palestinian terrorists within Lebanon as well as their sponsors in Syria and Iran. We must defeat those who use violence and murder, especially against the Christian minority, with the goal of making Lebanon yet another stage for global Islamist terror that threatens all nations including Canada."
"Syria has mocked United Nations Security Council Resolution 1559 and 1701 and the UN refuses to act," said Hachem. "It is time that Canada recognized this fact, and take the necessary steps to hold the regime and its proxies responsible."
"Iran and Syria will continue to ignore criticism and UN resolutions," said Alastair Gordon, president of CCD. "Canada must consider meaningful action such as cancelling our active trade partnership with Syria as we did with South Africa during the Apartheid regime, moving our Lebanese immigration office back to Lebanon from Syria, ending our funding of UNRWA for its incitement of Palestinians against Christians in Lebanon, and helping bring to justice the killers of President Hariri and Minister Gemayel and those who have murdered and maimed journalists, clerics and democracy activists who have spoken out against Syrian occupation."
As a first step, Canada must send a high-ranking cabinet minister to the funeral of Minister Gemayel scheduled for Thursday. "This gesture will signal support to the people of Lebanon and let the Syrians and their proxies know that the Christian and Muslim people they seek to destroy and the nation they seek to re-occupy are not without friends", added Hachem.

Pierre Gemayel Is another Martyr
Randa Takieddin Al-Hayat - 22/11/06//
Lebanon received another bloody message with the assassination of the young Minister of Industry, Pierre Gemayel, who struggled for the independence and sovereignty of his country. He worked with the majority to restore sovereignty and stop foreign interference.
How, then, can the Lebanese then refuse an international tribunal? Is it reasonable that these crimes against the honorable fighters for freedom and sovereignty continue at a time when there are some Arab countries that still have reservations about the International Tribunal?
Targeting minister Gemayel, who sacrificed his life for his country's sovereignty, is an intimidating message from the criminals who had assassinated former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, Minister Basil Fuleihan and their fellow companions, Gibran Tueini, Samir Kassir and George Hawi. They are also those who tried to assassinate Minister Marwan Hamadeh and my colleague Mai Chidiac.
The assassins want to intimidate the Lebanese and spread panic and instability at a time when the date of the International Tribunal is approaching and the truth will be revealed.
Does not Lebanon have the right to be a model for punishing the murderers of officials and young people? All those who are opposed to the International Tribunal should be aware today that the death of Minister Pierre Gemayel was aimed to carry out a coup on whoever wants to liberate Lebanon and restore its sovereignty. Any opposition to the implementation of the International Court resolution is a response to the will of the assassins, who want to eliminate the youth of Lebanon and all those who have a promising future in a sovereign, independent country.
It is noticeable that the assassins target the youth who have a role in the future of the country and in implementing the principles that had been maintained by Pierre Gemayel - independence, boldness and courage. Lebanon is being exposed to a process of destabilization. No country, foreign or Arab, has the right to reject the International Tribunal.
The opposition forces of Hezbollah and Michel Aoun should show a sense of responsibility, in light of such a dangerous circumstance in Lebanon. They should unite the ranks of the Lebanese and show patriotism in defending the cause of the martyrs of liberty and the freedom of speech.
General Aoun must show responsibility and work to avoid further disasters in the country and in the Christian street, and to forestall a seemingly imminent civil war. The objective of the murderers of Pierre Gemayel is to prevent the establishment of the International Tribunal by all possible means, whether murder, destruction, or civil war.
Is it accidental that all the liquidations were done by only one body, and that all the victims were advocates of freedom who struggled for the sovereignty of their country and were among the majority that opted for independence? Do the killers want to turn Lebanon into another Iraq? Do those criminals want to expel the Christians, without whom Lebanon will cease to exist?
Lebanon, the country of coexistence, future and peace, is unacceptable to the criminals, who want destruction and devastation. If they stand trial, the Tribunal will definitely reveal the truth!
The International Tribunal is an indispensable demand for the sake of Lebanon

Thousands pay respects to family of slain Gemayel
Grieving mother: 'they riddled him with bullets. they tore him apart'
By Nada Bakri -Daily Star staff
Thursday, November 23, 2006
BIKFAYA: Church bells tolled Wednesday morning as the body of Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel was brought home ahead of his funeral Thursday. The coffin was driven from the St. Joseph Hospital in Dora to his hometown of Bikfaya, northeast of the capital. Hundreds of weeping mourners led by former President Amin Gemayel, the slain minister's father, and his family, walked behind the coffin, waving the white-and-green flags of Gemayel's Phalange Party. "God be with you, groom," the crowd shouted. "God be with you, hero." "Pierre is alive inside us," others shouted.
"What can I say? They killed the hero of heroes. They are killing Lebanon's dream. The suspicion points toward Syria," said Rizkallah Gemayel, 45.
There was a heavy police and army presence in Bikfaya and many of the Christian neighborhoods of Beirut. "How long in this country are criminals going to force fathers to bury their own sons?" one mourner muttered after Gemayel's body was taken inside the family home.
Lebanon's former first lady, Joyce Gemayel, wept as she stood by her son's coffin. "They riddled him with bullets. They tore him apart," she sobbed.
The coffin of Gemayel was draped in the Phalange flag. Gunshots were fired into the air as the crowd marched behind the pallbearers along streets daubed with pictures of the slain minister. "Those who killed my father have struck again, but they will not succeed in killing Lebanon," said Gemayel's cousin Nadim, 24, son of President-elect Bashir Gemayel, killed in 1982.
Upstairs, Gemayel's bereaved father Amin, who served as president of Lebanon from 1982-88 after his brother's assassination, received well-wishers. In a televised interview with Lebanese Broadcasting Corp., Gemayel reviewed his son's brief career. The former president received condolence telephones calls from US President George W. Bush, French President Jacques Chirac, Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdel-Aziz and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. Among those paying their respects in Bikfaya were March 14 Forces figures, former premiers Salim Hoss and Rashid Solh and a parliamentary delegation from the Amal Movement. Gemayel said neither Hizbullah nor President Emile Lahoud had called or sent representatives to pay their respects. Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun, an ally of Hizbullah, said in a separate interview that Gemayel's family told him "circumstances were not appropriate for his visit."
However, Aoun urged his supporters to participate in Gemayel's funeral, which is expected to be followed by a massive demonstration organized by the March 14 Forces. A Hizbullah spokesperson said the party had issued a statement condemning the assassination, adding "paying condolences is a normal duty and it will take place if not today, tomorrow. Timing is a small detail."Resigned Agriculture Minister Talal Sahili, a member of the Amal delegation, said the latest murder of a national figure was aimed at "sabotaging Lebanon's internal situation and weakening national unity."
"The assassins want to drive Lebanon into the unknown and prevent officials from reaching solutions to the current political deadlock," Sahili added.
Arab and foreign diplomats were also among those to pay their respects Wednesday, including US Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman, who held a closed-door meeting with Gemayel and Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea in Bikfaya.
MP Ghassan Tueni, whose son Gebran was assassinated last December, and prominent TV presenter May Chidiac also traveled to the mountain town to pay their condolences. A massive portrait of the slain journalist has adorned the side of the Beirut headquarters of his An-Nahar newspaper since Tueni's killing. Gemayel's has now been raised alongside it, both bearing the words: "Martyr for Lebanese independence." - With agencies

Jumblatt singles out Damascus in murder
By Maher Zeineddine -Daily Star correspondent
Thursday, November 23, 2006
CHOUF: MP Walid Jumblatt said Wednesday that the assassination of Industy Minister Pierre Gemayel was aimed at reducing the number of anti-Syrian members in the Cabinet and undermining attempts to form an international court to try suspects in the 2005 killing of former Premier Rafik Hariri.
"Those who fear the implementation of justice will obstruct the creation of the tribunal, including [President Emile] Lahoud, who wants to protect himself or some of his officers," the March 14 Forces leader told reporters at his residence in Mukhtara.
"We represent legitimacy and they are illegitimate," he added, in reference to his political adversaries.
Jumblatt called on Speaker Nabih Berri to convene a parliamentary session to approve a UN draft for the formation of the Hariri tribunal.
"It will be for the sake of Lebanon, for the sake of Lebanon's unity and stability if Berri decided to make this historic step and hold a parliamentary session," the Druze leader said. Jumblatt accused Syria of ordering the murder of Gemayel and warned that more Lebanese politicians could be targeted in the near future. "I bluntly accuse the Syrian regime ... I expect more assassinations," Jumblatt said.
He further accused Syria of attempting to topple the Lebanese government and preventing it from forming the international court.
"The Cabinet will convene and will approve this tribunal," Jumblatt said.
With the Cabinet down to just 17 ministers from its original roster of 24 after the killing and the earlier resignation of six ministers, the loss of just one more minister would cause Premier Fouad Siniora's government to lose the quorum required by the Constitution.
"They might kill another minister, it is very possible, very plausible," Jumblatt said.
"They might of course kill other members of Parliament ... to reduce the majority in Parliament. They can do anything, because his only fear, Bashar's, is not to be indicted somewhere by the tribunal," Jumblatt said, referring to Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Jumblatt said Assad could not afford to allow the court to be formed "because he knows that if a single corporal, a single individual, in Syria is involved in the crimes ... The totalitarian system [in Syria] is all involved."
Jumblatt also called on the five Shiite ministers who resigned to return to their posts "for the sake of national unity."
The ministers, representing Hizbullah and Amal, walked out of the Cabinet on November 11 over a failure to form a national unity government at national talks. A sixth minister, Environment Minister Yaacoub Sarraf - a Christian considered an ally of Lahoud - stepped down two days later.
Jumblatt urged a swift resumption of the roundtable talks between the country's political factions.
"What is true independence?" he asked. "Independence is diversity and plurality; it is the respect of the human being, like what the distressed father, Amin Gemayel, said Tuesday.""Independence is facing fascist regimes," Jumblatt added.
In reference to Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, Jumblatt said: "Following the July-August war, the divine victor started to call for a national unity Cabinet just a few days after the end of war and because the issue of the international tribunal was witnessing a progress in international organizations with the support of powerful countries.""Beware of provocation because it represents a danger to all of us," Jumblatt said.

Assassination heightens tensions in political arena
Sfeir urges restraint as hariri calls on all lebanese to attend funeral
By Mira Borji -Daily Star staff
Thursday, November 23, 2006
BEIRUT: The assassination of Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel served as the latest point of contention among Lebanon's political elite on Wednesday. Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Butros Sfeir said Gemayel's murder was a "catastrophe," and urged the Lebanese to "restrain their emotions."
"Gemayel's assassination is a disaster ... It is not only the disaster of a family but also the disaster of a whole nation," the prelate said.
Sfeir's comments came during a meeting with a delegation from Gemayel's Phalange Party.
"I urge all the Lebanese to think deeply on the incident and restrain themselves ... Let them only think about the future of Lebanon," Sfeir added.
Phalange Party leader Karim Pakradouni said Gemayel "is the martyr of all Lebanon ... the martyr of Lebanon's youths."
Gemayel, the son of former President Amin Gemayel, was shot dead in a brazen daylight attack in the northern Beirut suburb of Jdeideh on Tuesday.
"They have not assassinated a person but a hope," Pakradouni said. "They want to sow strife and chaos ... If we want to honor Pierre, we should prevent strife and chaos" MP Saad Hariri called on all citizens to take part in Gemayel's funeral on Thursday to express support for Lebanon's freedom and independence. Speaking to Future Television Wednesday, the parliamentary majority leader called the late Gemayel "a brother who believed in revealing the truth [behind a series of assassinations ans attempts in Lebanon dating back to late 2004] and creating an international tribunal [to try former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri's killers]."
"I urge all who want to put the criminals in jail to participate in Gemayel's funeral," he added. Resigned Foreign Minister Fawzi Salloukh also condemned the assassination. "The catastrophe has struck the entire country and the loss was for all Lebanon," he said in a statement. "The best way to express our respect to Gemayel is through the maintenance of national unity and promotion of civil peace."
In a less veiled reiteration of the opposition's demands, Loyalty to the Resistance MP Hassan Fadlallah said the late minister's death was aimed at catapulting the country from a "democratic, peaceful choice to strife and mayhem." "Those who planned and executed the killing wanted to impose a new course in the country, which might aim at sowing [more] strife and distracting the Lebanese from calling for a governmental change," he said in a statement. "The current authority is responsible for the tense atmosphere plaguing the country," he added. "The opposition is the one who will insist on revealing the results of investigations [into the series of assassinations]."
For his part, President Emile Lahoud vowed Wednesday to closely monitor investigations into Gemayel's killing. "I will not accept that this crime has the fate of all other crimes in the country," Lahoud said in a statement. "I urge security and judicial bodies to assume their full responsibilities and identify the criminals as soon as possible."Separately, Social Affairs Minister Nayla Mouawad told BBC radio on Wednesday that Syria's involvement in the latest murder in Lebanon was "very obvious."Speaking on the 17th anniversary of the assassination of her late husband, President Rene Mouawad, she said that there had been "all sorts of threats" ahead of the Gemayel's killing Tuesday.
"I am not the judiciary, but to me, it's very obvious that Syria and its allies are behind this assassination because we have had all sorts of threats, first of all from Syrian President Bashar Assad," she said. Following a meeting with Prime Minister Fouad Siniora Wednesday, Mouawad stressed the need to cling to national unity and prevent "criminals" from igniting conflicts. "Resorting to such criminal behavior not only aims to silence people, but also to reduce the number of ministers," Mouawad added.
Mouawad's son, Michel, called for a massive show of support during Gemayel's funeral on Thursday. "We are keen, more than anytime before, on preserving national unity," he said. "We tell the killing regime, whether it likes it or not, Lebanon is no longer an arena for its interests ... The international tribunal will be established and it will pay the price of its crimes," he added, addressing the Syrian government. For his part, Egyptian Ambassador Hussein Darrar voiced shock at the assassination of a "prominent minister," urging the Lebanese to unify their ranks in the face of an uncertain future.
"This painful tragedy will leave imprints on Lebanon's march for national struggle," he told Cairo's Middle East News Agency Wednesday. - Additional reporting by Nafez Qawas


Pressure, both direct and indirect, mounts on Syria
Compiled by Daily Star staff
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Britain on Wednesday refused to point the finger at Syria for the killing of Lebanese Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel, while Western and Arab leaders voiced fears of further unrest in Lebanon and beyond. Amid Prime Minister Tony Blair's efforts to involve Damascus in the regional peace process, the British government pointedly adopted a wait and see approach to the assassination. "In terms of Syria, we have made it clear - and Sir Nigel Sheinwald made it clear during his visit - that Syria's conduct in Lebanon was one of the criteria by which we would judge whether they were playing a constructive role or not in the Middle East as a whole," said Blair's official spokesman. He was referring to a visit last month to Damascus by Blair's senior foreign policy adviser. "Reiterating that, however, should not be seen as pointing the finger at Syria," the spokesman added, "because what we shouldn't do at this stage is make assumptions. The prime minister strongly believes that it is still important that we do get a process going in the Middle East. You always have to push for progress and that's what he will do.
Blair denounced the killing Tuesday just hours after hailing the resumption of diplomatic relations between Iraq and Syria. Given Washington's considerably stronger language toward Damascus, it is unclear where a potential involvement of Syria in Gemayel's death will leave Blair's push for peace. Any rapprochement would likely see Damascus wanting the international community to drop its plans for a UN tribunal examining alleged Syrian involvement in the assassination, one analyst said. President George W. Bush also refrained from directly implicating Syria but accused Damascus and Tehran of "fomenting unrest" in Lebanon.
On Wednesday, Bush called Prime Minister Fouad Siniora to underscore US support for Lebanon's democracy and independence, the White House said. "President Bush reiterated to Prime Minister Siniora the unwavering commitment of the United States to help build Lebanese democracy, and to support Lebanese independence from the encroachments of Iran and Syria," National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said.
The spokesman said Bush also "pointed out that violence and unrest in Lebanon will not stop the international community from establishing the special tribunal for Lebanon." Within the region, the Syrian ambassador to Washington, Imad Mustafa, said the killing of Gemayel was an attempt by Syria's enemies to frustrate its desire for engagement with Washington over the deteriorating situation over Iraq.
"Isn't it strange that whenever the situation would become slightly, slightly toward engagement with Syria, every time this happens, immediately an assassination takes place?" he said on CNN on Wednesday.
Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa called the killing of Gemayel a "terrorist assassination," adding that he feared "it could lead to turmoil in the country." Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmad Abou al-Gheit said the assassination "did not target Minister Gemayel alone. It targeted the stability of all of Lebanon, at a time when Lebanon was seeking solutions to its problems. "These sensitive circumstances highlight the need for the truth to be unveiled," he told reporters, urging Lebanese leaders to remain united. German Chancellor Angela Merkel described the killing in a telephone conversation with Siniora as "an attempt to prevent Lebanon from pursuing its path toward national unity and an independent state," a view echoed in a statement Wednesday by French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy.
"What is urgent ... is for those who carried out and masterminded these murders to be made to answer for their crimes," he said. "What is happening is a destabilization of Lebanon, and we must respond with the greatest firmness." While saying he would "obviously avoid designating the guilty party," Douste-Blazy criticized Syria and Iran the day before the killing for "pushing for the destabilization" of the Siniora government.
In response, Iran accused France of exacerbating the political crisis in Lebanon. The French have "always aggravated the crisis in Lebanon," and the latest remarks show an "ignorance to the Lebanese will," Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Husseini was quoted as saying by the Iranian Student News Agency. Iran also condemned the killing of Gemayel, dubbing it a "cowardly" assassination.
Also Wednesday, Pope Benedict XVI condemned the slaying as "brutal," saying Lebanon was "faced with obscure forces seeking to destroy the country." "I call on all Lebanese not to let themselves be conquered by hate but instead to consolidate national unity, justice and reconciliation and work together to build a universal peace," the pope told followers in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican during his weekly audience.
Japan said it felt "extreme shock" and "strongly condemned this act," according to a statement released by the Foreign Ministry.
Israeli Premier Ehud Olmert, speaking late Tuesday by telephone with Italian Premier Romano Prodi, described the killing as an internal Lebanese matter, adding that he hoped it would not lead to national or regional unrest. - Agencies

Who did it?
Pierre Gemayel's murder is being blamed on Syria, but the dysfunctional politics of Lebanon mean there are a lot of suspects.
Dilip Hiro
About Webfeeds November 22, 2006 04:35 PM | Printable version
Since Pierre Gemayel, the assassinated Lebanese minister, belonged to the anti-Syrian coalition in the government, most commentators and politicians concluded that Syria was behind the murder.
But, according to James Steinberg, a deputy national security adviser to former United States president Bill Clinton, Syria was only "one possible suspect" in a region where politics amounts to "wheels within wheels within wheels." He added, "If you look at it rationally, the Syrians are on a semi-roll now, so why would they do something like that?"
Steinberg was obviously referring to the prospect of the Bush administration calling on Damascus to help stabilize the chaotic situation in Iraq. On the other hand, there is little doubt that the timing of Gemayel's killing is related to the appointment of a United Nations tribunal concerning the assassination of former prime minister Rafiq Hariri in February 2005.
The establishment of such a tribunal would require a Lebanese law to be passed by parliament and signed by president Emile Lahoud, a Maronite Christian who is pro-Syrian. Following the resignation of six ministers - five Shia and one Christian - out of 24 on 12th November, he declared that the cabinet became unconstitutional due to the absence of ministers from one of the leading religious groups.
When viewed in an international context, the latest event in Lebanon seems to be a continuation of the proxy war between America and Israel on one side and Syria and Iran on the other. Following the end of the 34-day fight between Israel and Hizbollah in July-August, the ongoing struggle between these adversarial powers has entered a passive phase.
During the Israeli-Hizbollah war, the US colluded with Israel by blocking ceasefire moves at the UN Security Council while airlifting weapons and ammunition to Israel, which wreaked havoc on the Lebanese infrastructure and caused hundreds of civilian deaths.
Washington's actions damaged the popularity of the Lebanese prime minister Fouad Siniora, a Sunni Muslim, whose government is hailed by the Bush administration as an example of "the emerging democracy in Lebanon". (Never mind the fact that since the promulgation of a republican constitution in 1926 by France, Lebanon has been a democracy, except during its two civil wars.) More specifically, Bush's White House stance weakened the anti-Syrian coalition majority in the Siniora cabinet.
By contrast, since Hizbollah withstood the relentless Israeli bombing and artillery salvos, and continued to fire its missiles at northern Israel, its standing rose sharply. And the speed with which it offered monetary help and free labour to those who had lost property during the war as part of its reconstruction crusade further bolstered its popularity.
This was the background against which Hizbollah demanded that a "national unity" government be formed with an enlarged role for it. When its call was rejected by the anti-Syrian majority in the government, ministerial resignations ensued.
In his television address on Al Manar channel on Sunday, Hizbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah called on his supporters to be "psychologically" ready to protest for "days, weeks, or however long it takes" to force the resignation of the Washington-controlled government as a prelude to fresh elections.
There is a basic flaw in Lebanon's political system dating back to 1943 when a compromise was reached between the feuding Christian and Muslim communities. The national pact provided a formula of six Christian to five Muslim parliamentarians based on the 1932 census. Thus Lebanon became a "confessional" democracy, the qualifying term denoting a social system that recognizes the principle of 16 recognised religious sects being vested with political authority.
The Christian-Muslim ratio held until 1989 when a change in the constitution, induced by a 14-year long civil war, provided for Christian-Muslim parity even though by then Christians were only about a third of the national population. During the 1975-90 civil war Christians emigrated in large numbers while the birth rate among resident Muslims, especially poor Shias, soared.
Today, in the absence of an official census since 1932, educated guesses abound. Most estimates put Shias at 35-38% of the population and Sunnis around 20%, with the rest of the Muslims being Alawis or Druze. Yet Shias have the same number of parliamentary seats as Sunnis - 27 - in a chamber of 128 deputies. While Sunnis are entitled to premiership, Shias have to be content with the office of the Speaker.
So long as the parliamentary representation remains out of synch with the demographic composition of the Lebanese society, Lebanon will remain prone to violent clashes - and a playground for regional and international powers.

Lebanese Leaders Urge Unity Despite Anger
Prime Minister Fouad Saniora and former President Amine Gemayel called on Tuesday for unity in the deeply divided country after Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel's assassination. "Assassinations will not terrorize us," Saniora told a press conference after an urgent cabinet meeting. "We will not let the criminal killers control our fate."Saniora said "it is time for all Lebanese to unite." "The government will take up all its responsibilities in order to protect the interests of the Lebanese," he pledged. Saniora said "this aggression increases our determination to see the creation of the international tribunal" to try suspects in the 2005 murder of five-time Premier Rafik Hariri. "It is time for all the Lebanese to rally around the international tribunal," he said.
"I call on the Lebanese…to be alert to the sedition planned for them," he said.
Gemayel, whose son was shot and killed in New Jdeideh, also appealed for calm and restraint from the supporters of the Phalange party.
"I call on you to remain calm. We do not want instinctive reactions or revenge," he told a crowd in tears at the Saint Joseph hospital where his son died of gunshot wounds. "We are thinking about how to protect ... Lebanon's freedom," said the anti-Syrian Christian leader.
As politicians from across the political spectrum called for calm in a country deeply divided between allies and opponents of Syria, angry young men burned tires and garbage containers in Ashrafieh.The mourning was also accompanied by blazing slogans against Syria, pro-Damascus President Emile Lahoud, and Free Patriotic Movement leader, General Michel Aoun who has allied himself with Syrian-backed Hizbullah.
"Michel Aoun, you are the ally of murderers," those outside the hospital screamed, telling Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah to "go to Iran."
Druze leader Walid Jumblat who was among several politicians who rushed to the hospital said: "We will emerge victorious."
"The tribunal is coming" he said, but warned against being dragged into an internal rift."We do not want to play the game of the assassins by spreading division and trouble," he said.Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea urged pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud to resign after fingers were pointed at Damascus over the assassination.He also urged calm, saying problems are not solved through chaos.
With tensions running high late Tuesday in Beirut, soldiers were out on the streets in force.(AFP-Naharnet-AP Beirut, 21 Nov 06, 19:50

Lebanese Press: Syria's Supporters Wrongfooted by Murder
There was broad condemnation in the Lebanese press Wednesday of the assassination of anti-Syrian minister Pierre Gemayel and most papers agreed that it had wrongfooted Syria's local supporters.
Hizbullah and its allies had planned to take to the streets to demand the toppling of Prime Minister Fouad Saniora's government and its replacement with a government of national unity.But after Gemayel's murder, it was the anti-Syrian parties which were calling out their supporters for a mass funeral for the slain Christian politician, an outspoken opponent of Damascus.
"The mass funeral on Thursday will allow the ruling majority to return to the streets and the opposition has been left in disarray," said the pro-Syrian Al-Akhbar daily."The opposition camp, which had been preparing for a showdown with the ruling majority, has been wrongfooted, and the crime has opened the door for complicated internal tensions," it said.
As-Safir daily agreed. "This assassination will force the opposition to put off its plan to bring down the government through mass demonstrations," the paper said."It's the (parliamentary) majority that supports the Saniora government that will now be bringing its supporters on to the streets."
The top-selling An-Nahar daily said Saniora's government had been left on a knife-edge by Gemayel's killing.
Down to just 17 ministers from its original complement of 24 after the killing and earlier resignations, it would take the departure, or killing, of just one more cabinet member for it to lose the statutory quorum of two-thirds plus one required by the constitution.
The assassination "constitutes a crisis for a government which counts on the number of ministers still alive in order to guarantee the constitutional quorum to press ahead with the procedures for the (proposed) international tribunal" to try Hariri's murder, An-Nahar said.
The Al-Mustaqbal daily owned by the Hariri family was in no doubt that that was precisely the intention of Gemayel's murderers.
"It is part of the war to bring down the government, by killing its members in order to make it lose its statutory quorum," it said.
And the paper was in no doubt that the culprit in both Hariri's killing and Gemayel's was the same -- Syria which was forced to end its 30-year hegemony on Lebanon by the popular anger over the former premier's murder."Instead of bombs, there were bullets, but the criminal is the same -- the killer and terrorist regime in Damascus. And the target is the same -- a free, democratic and stable Lebanon," the paper said.
The French-language L'Orient-Le Jour disagreed, arguing that if the killers' motives had been to sabotage the proposed international court, the plan had backfired."The brutal elimination of Pierre Gemayel... has only speeded up international approval of the planned joint (Lebanese and international) court," it said. For the English-language Daily Star, the big fear was a return to generalized political violence in a country still recovering from its 1975-90 civil war. "Don't let one family's latest tragedy become that of a whole country," it urged.(AFP) (AP photo shows furious Gemayel supporters raising aloft the slain minister's posters) Beirut, 22 Nov 06, 11:54

Mehlis Points Finger at 'Pro-Syrian Forces in Lebanon'
Former chief U.N. investigator Detlev Mehlis accused on Wednesday "pro-Syrian forces in Lebanon" of involvement in Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel's assassination. The German prosecutor who led the investigation into ex-Premier Rafik Hariri's murder before handing over the U.N.-backed probe to Belgian prosecutor Serge Brammertz in January also said Tuesday's killing was an attack on the United Nations.
"It is an attack on the Lebanese government and the planned international tribunal (to examine Hariri's murder) and it is also an attack on the U.N.," Mehlis told the Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily newspaper to be published on Thursday.
"It is apparent to anyone who is unbiased that all the clues after this attack clearly point to the forces who want to bring down the Lebanese government and get in the way of the tribunal. "These are the so-called pro-Syrian forces in Lebanon. They have an obvious motive."
Just hours after Gemayel's shooting, the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday endorsed plans for an international tribunal to try suspects in the Hariri murder case. Mehlis said it remained "in no way certain" that the tribunal would ever be set up. He said the Security Council's backing was only a quarter of the approval process. The idea of the tribunal now had to be given the green light by the Lebanese parliament and possibly also by the president or the prime minister, he said. Mehlis' investigation into the Hariri case pointed the finger at the Lebanese and Syrian secret services. In one report, Mehlis implicated Brig. Gen. Assaf Shawkat, Syria's military intelligence chief and the brother-in-law of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
His successor, Brammertz, has shied away naming anyone but has described it as a very complex operation. Four Lebanese generals — top pro-Syrian security chiefs under President Emile Lahoud including his presidential guard commander — have been under arrest for 14 months, accused of involvement in Hariri's killing. Syria has denied involvement in the murder and condemned the assassination of Gemayel as "a crime aimed at destabilizing" Lebanon.(Naharnet-AFP-AP) Beirut, 22 Nov 06, 18:58

Bush Committed to Lebanon Democracy, Blair Doesn't Accuse Syria
President George Bush called Premier Fouad Saniora to underscore U.S. support for Lebanon's democracy and independence, following the assassination of Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel, the White House said Wednesday.
"President Bush reiterated to Prime Minister Saniora the unwavering commitment of the United States to help build Lebanese democracy, and to support Lebanese independence from the encroachments of Iran and Syria," National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said.
The spokesman said Bush also "pointed out that violence and unrest in Lebanon will not stop the international community from establishing the special tribunal for Lebanon."The U.N. Security Council had endorsed plans Tuesday for an international tribunal to try suspects in the murder of former Premier Rafik Hariri after Gemayel was gunned down in New Jdeideh earlier in the day. Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Tony Blair's spokesman said Wednesday that Gemayel's killers were out to undermine the Saniora government. But stressed London was not "pointing the finger" at Syria.
The comment came as Blair sought to keep open a channel of dialogue with Damascus, which he has urged to make a "strategic choice" to help the West in the Middle East region. The spokesman said it was too early to speculate as to who was behind the murder but reiterated that Syria's prospects of becoming a partner for peace in the Middle East depended on Damascus keeping out of Lebanese affairs.
"We genuinely don't know who was responsible for this act but clearly what it is aimed at trying to do is undermine the authority of the Lebanese government and that is totally unacceptable," Blair's spokesman told reporters. "We fully support Prime Minister Saniora in his efforts to try to maintain the authority of the Lebanese government."(AFP-Naharnet) Beirut, 22 Nov 06,

Jumblat: Will Berri Convene Parliament to Approve Tribunal?
Druze leader Walid Jumblat accused Syria Wednesday of ordering the killing of Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel and questioned whether pro-Syrian Speaker Nabih Berri will hold a parliament session to approve a U.N.-backed international tribunal into the assassination of ex-Premier Rafik Hariri in which senior officials in Damascus have been implicated. Syria has strenuously denied any involvement in the 2005 assassination of five-time prime minister Hariri. "I accuse bluntly the Syrian regime... I expect more assassinations," Jumblat, a leader of the anti-Syrian majority in the Lebanese parliament, told a press conference at his Mukhtara hometown in the Chouf mountains. He accused Syria of seeking to bring down Prime Minister Fouad Saniora's government to prevent it from going ahead with plans for the international court, which has been approved by the 15 members of the U.N. Security Council late Tuesday. "They might kill another minister, it is very possible, very plausible," Jumblat said.
"They might of course kill other members of parliament... to reduce the majority in parliament. "Yesterday they assassinated Pierre Gemayel in order to reduce the number of cabinet ministers so as to diminish the (anti-Syrian ruling) majority." "They can do anything, because his only fear, Bashar's, is not to be indicted somewhere by the tribunal," he said, referring to Syrian President Bashar Assad. Down to just 17 ministers from its original complement of 24 after the killing and earlier resignations, it would take the departure, or killing, of just one more cabinet member for it to lose the statutory quorum required by the constitution. Jumblat said Assad could not afford to allow the court to be formed and press ahead with charges against Syrian officials "because he knows that if a single corporal, a single individual, in Syria is involved in the crimes ... the totalitarian system (in Syria) is all involved."
The Druze leader appealed to the six-pro-Syrian ministers who resigned from the cabinet some 10 days ago to return to their jobs for the sake of national unity. He also urged a swift resumption of roundtable talks between the country's rival political factions, which collapsed when Saniora called for a cabinet meeting to approve the draft text on the international tribunal.
Addressing Berri, a Hizbullah ally, Jumblat asked: "Are you going to call for a parliament session to endorse the establishment of the international court?" once Lebanon receives the document from the U.N. Security Council."For the sake of national unity and stability, parliament should convene," Jumblat urged. He also slammed Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, accusing him of seeking to annul Hariri's tribunal and U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701 which calls on both Israel and Hizbullah to respect an Aug. 14 cease-fire which brought an end to the summer war on Lebanon.
"They (Hizbullah) don't want security in the south," Jumblat said. "They want the south an open arena for all conspiracies."(Naharnet-AFP) Beirut, 22 Nov 06, 12:35

Syria Rejects Trial of its Citizens by International Tribunal
Daily Star:Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Fayssal Mekdad rejected any of his citizens be brought to justice by an international tribunal into ex-Premier Rafik Hariri's murder, al Hayat newspaper reported Wednesday. "Syria will not allow to turn in any of its citizens before an international judiciary because we are confident of our" judicial system, Mekdad was quoted as saying by the daily It said the official made his comments at a gathering organized Tuesday by Al-Qalamoun University few hours before the U.N. Security council approved a draft text for an international tribunal to try Hariri's suspected assassins. "Syria is 100 percent innocent from the crime and we don't need to assure that," he said, adding "if there were any Syrian who is involved in this crime, then he is a murderer and will be punished as criminals are penalized by the just Syrian judiciary."
Mekdad said the U.N. had previously established international courts in Sierra Leone and Yugoslavia because of weak judicial systems.
"But our judiciary is independent and impartial, that's why we won't accept any Syrian citizen be brought before an international court," he said.
The U.N. probe into the Hariri murder has implicated senior Syrian officials although Damascus has strenuously denied any involvement.
As another anti-Syrian Lebanese Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel was killed Tuesday, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton indicated that the tribunal might be called upon to tackle that case as well, although he stressed that this would require passage of another Security Council resolution.
Lebanese judge Shukri Sader, who was involved in negotiations on plans for the tribunal, said that the court would be able to try suspects in 14 other attacks if those were found to be linked to the Hariri case.
Those attacks occurred between October 2004 starting with the assassination attempt on Telecommunications Minister Marwan Hamadeh and December 2005 with the killing of anti-Syrian lawmaker and An Nahar General Manager Gebran Tueni.
Mekdad also announced Syria's support for the formation of a government of national unity, a key demand by Hizbullah, which is backed by Damascus and Iran.About the Israel-Hizbullah war in the summer, Mekdad said Syrian President Bashar Assad "was confident from the beginning that we will emerge victorious."The Israeli offensive on Lebanon was sparked by a deadly Hizbullah cross-border raid on July 12 and ended on August 14 by a U.N.-brokered ceasefire. Beirut, 22 Nov 06, 13:01

LCCC Release: Terrorism hits again and a new martyr falls in Lebanon
Toronto Canada November 21/06
The Lebanese Canadian Coordinating Council (LCCC), strongly denounces the evil assassination of Lebanese MP and cabinet minister Pierre Gemayel who was
cowardly shot by unidentified assassins today in Beirut. The LCCC calls on our Canadian government and people, as well as on all the free world countries, to
actively and firmly rally around the "Cedars Revolution" leadership and support them in both Lebanon and the Diaspora in their peaceful and civilized struggle against terrorism and terrorists.
This is a very sad day for our beloved homeland Lebanon, and for all the faithful and peace-loving Lebanese people all over the world. Meanwhile the criminals, no matter who they are, and no matter who protects and harbors them will not prevail or deter the Lebanese people from their pursuit of independence, sovereignty and freedom.
The evil terrorist powers, spearheaded by the Syrian Baathist regime and its militant militias in Lebanon, are still trying to destabilize the whole Middle East and hinder the emergence of a free, democratic, tolerant, multicultural and sovereign Lebanon. We call on the UN Security Council to create an international
tribunal to investigate this new crime and bring the criminals to justice.
From the LCCC we offer our heartfelt condolences to the Gemayel family, to the Phalanges Party and to the Lebanese people in both Lebanon and the Diaspora.
May Almighty God bless Pierre Gemayel's soul and receive in His Heaven this new Martyr of Lebanon.
For the LCCC
Chairman/Elias Bejjani
Political Adviser/Colonel Charbel Barakat

Profile: Pierre Gemayel
Agencies
Pierre Gemayel was first elected to parliament in 2005 and was believed to be the youngest legislator in the legislature.
He came from a prominent family of politicians.
His father, Amin, served as president between 1982 and 1988 and his grandfather, the late Pierre Gemayel, led the right-wing Christian Phalanage Party that fielded the largest Christian militia during the 1975-90 civil war between Christians and Muslims. Amin Gemayel is the current leader of the party. Pierre was a rising star in the party and expected to carry the mantle of the political family to the next generation

NICHOLAS BURNS, US UNDER-SECRETARY OF STATE
This is a very sad day for Lebanon. We were shocked by this assassination. We view it as an act of terrorism and we also view it as an act of intimidation.
We believe it is the responsibility of all countries to support the [Fouad] Siniora government. We will give full support to the Siniora government in the days and weeks ahead.
MARGARET BECKETT, UK FOREIGN SECRETARY
There are enough problems in Lebanon already, and we hope very much that whatever lies behind this it is a one-off, because what we are all anxious to do is to rebuild in Lebanon and not to see further death and destruction.
TZIPI LIVNI, ISRAELI FOREIGN MINISTER
The news from Lebanon is another example of the kind of region, the kind of neighbourhood we are living (in).
The negative role of Syria in Lebanon is not something new or top secret and only a few weeks ago the international community succeeded in taking Syrian forces and Syria out of Lebanon. But clearly they are trying to be involved even now, but it's too early to say something more concrete.

U.S. denounces murder of Lebanese leader
WASHINGTON - The State Department denounced Tuesday's assassination of Lebanese Christian leader Pierre Gemayel as an act of terrorism that was intended to intimidate. "We are shocked by this assassination," Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns told reporters.
Burns stopped short of casting blame for the assassination but took note of recent statements by Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah and others that he said are meant "to destabilize Lebanon and to divide the country." Nasrallah has urged his followers to prepare for mass demonstrations to topple the government of Prime Minister Faud Saniora if it ignores Hezbollah's demands to form a national unity Cabinet,
Burns praised Saniora's 20-month old government, seeing it as a step toward returning Lebanon "to a position of real sovereignty, freeing it from Syria's influence and from "the politics of violence and assassination." He said the United States views the assassination of Gemayel, a prominent anti-Syrian politician, as an act of intimidation against the coalition. "We believe it is the responsibility of all countries to support the Saniora government," Burns added.
Recalling past assassinations of members of the Gemayel family, Burns said the family has played a very important role in the history of Lebanon and "has suffered too much tragedy as a family."He said it is very important that those who would use violence to divide Lebanon not be allowed to succeed.
"We will give full support to the Siniora government in the days and weeks ahead," Burns said.

US says Lebanese minister's death is act of terror
Tue 21 Nov 2006 15:31:56 GMT
WASHINGTON, Nov 21 (Reuters) - The United States views the assassination of Lebanese Christian cabinet minister Pierre Gemayel as an "act of terrorism," a senior U.S. official said on Tuesday. "This is a very sad day for Lebanon. We were shocked by this assassination. We view it as an act of terrorism and we also view it as an act of intimidation," U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns said of the assassination. Burns said all nations should rally around the embattled government of Lebanon's Prime Minister Fouad Siniora to oppose those who were trying to divide Lebanon. "We think it is very, very important that those who would divide Lebanon and use violence to destabilize the political situation not be able to succeed," Burns said. "We will give full support to the Siniora government in the days and weeks ahead, to support that government, to support its continuation." Gemayel, an outspoken critic of Syria, was gunned down near Beirut on Tuesday as his convoy drove through a Christian neighborhood. The United States has in recent weeks raised the alarm over the increased threat of assassination of Lebanon's political leaders and called for international support for Siniora. Gemayel's killing is certain to deepen a political crisis pitting the Lebanese government's anti-Syrian majority against the pro-Damascus opposition led by Hezbollah, which fought a five-week war with Israel in July and August.

British PM condemns killing of Lebanese minister
21 November 2006
Tony Blair says the death of Pierre Gemayel underlines the "absolute and urgent" need for a strategy that supports democracy in the Middle East.
The minister, 34, was shot in his car in a Beirut suburb and rushed to hospital, where he died.
The PM condemned the killing as being "without justification", saying that the international community needed to do all it could to protect democracy in Lebanon. He went on:
"This underlines once again the absolute and urgent need for a strategy for the whole of the Middle East that supports those who favour democracy and a proper way of resolving disputes everywhere."
Mr Blair's comments came in a press conference following talks with the Greek PM.

William Hague condemns the assassination of Pierre Gemayel
Shadow Foreign Secretary, William Hague has today condemned the assassination of Lebanese government minister Pierre Gemayel in Beirut.He said: "We strongly condemn the assassination of Mr Gemayel. "This is a difficult time for the government of Prime Minster Siniora and the people of Lebanon. "The international community must support Prime Minster Siniora's government as it stands up to this act of intimidation and terrorism."
Rt Hon William Hague MP  21/11/2006

EU: Those behind Gemayel killing must be punished
By ASSOCIATED PRESS
BRUSSELS, Belgium
The European Union condemned the killing of Lebanese minister Pierre Gemayel on Tuesday, and said those behind the slaying of the prominent anti-Syrian politician must be brought to justice. "Those responsible for this cowardly assassination ... must be found and judged," EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said. "Once again, Lebanon has paid a heavy price for its determination to live in peace and independence," Solana said in a French-language statement. "In my name, and that of the European Union, I pay homage to the courage and determination of all those who are struggling for an independent, sovereign and united Lebanon," Solana said. Solana deplores 'cowardly' murder of Lebanese minister
BRUSSELS: EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana on Tuesday deplored the "cowardly" assassination of Lebanese Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel, saying that Lebanon was paying a high price for its wish for peace and independence.
"I learned with consternation of the assassination of Pierre Gemayel," Solana said in a statement.
"Those responsible for this cowardly assassination from another era must be brought to justice," he added.
"Lebanon has once again paid a high price for its wish to live in peace and independence.
In its name and in the name of the European Union, I pay my respects to the courage and determination of all those trying to build an independent, sovereign and unified Lebanon," Solana added.  Gemayel, a 34-year-old Christian Maronite politician opposed to Syria, was critically wounded in an attack in a northern Beirut suburb Tuesday in the latest in a spate of attacks to target anti-Syrian politicians.

Industry minister Pierre Gemayel quick biography
Daily Star Online edition staff
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Pierre Gemayel Jr is a Lebanese politician, son of former president of the republic Amine Gemayel, nephew of former president of the republic Bachir Gemayel and son of the founder of the Kataeb party Pierre Gemayel.
He started his Lebanese political life in the year 2000, during the logistic elections of el-Metn. An active member of the Kataeb movement (which is against the official Kataeb party which has been directed by people who condone the Syria rule since the war), he rejoins his father in the political gathering of Kornet Chehwane.
He was against the mandate ruling of President Emile Lahoud and has taken part in the Cedar Revolution after the assassination of Rafiq Hariri.
During the elections of 2005 , he was the only member of the 14th of mars alliance to win a seat in the parliament in the Metn region , taking advantage that the opposing list, an alliance between Michel Aoun and Michel Murr had a vacant seat.
On July 2005, he was named the minister of industry under the ruling of Fouad Siniora’s government, he had presented a plan for the development of the Lebanese industry at the end of 2005 that will be done for the Lebanese youth to savor by the year 2010, and he was assassinated on the 21st of November 2006.

Pierre Gemayel's assasination
Daily Star Online edition staff
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Prominent Christian politician Pierre Gemayel was assassinated in a suburb of Beirut on Tuesday his death will heighten the political tension in Lebanon, where Hezbollah has threatened to topple the government if it does not get a bigger say in Cabinet decision making. Witnesses said Gemayel was shot in his car in Jdeideh. The witnesses said a car rammed Gemayel's car from behind and then an assassin stepped out and shot him at point blank range. Gemayel was rushed to a nearby hospital seriously wounded he was later confirmed as dead. Gemayel, the minister of industry and son of former President Amin Gemayel, was a member of the Kataeb party and supporter of parliamentary majority, which is locked in a power struggle with different parties led by Hezbollah. Gemayel is the fifth figure to be assassinated in the past two years in Lebanon. Former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was killed in a massive car bombing in February 2005. The journalist and activist Samir Kassir and former Communist Party leader George Hawi were killed in separate car bombings in June last year in addition to lawmaker and newspaper manager Gibran Tueni was killed in a car bombing in December. Saad Hariri, leader of the anti-Syrian parliamentary majority, broke off a televised news conference after hearing that Gemayel had been shot. In an interview with CNN later, Hariri hailed Gemayel as "a friend, a brother to all of us" and appeared to break down after saying: "we will bring justice to all those who killed him." Gemayel was first elected to parliament in 2005 and was believed to be the youngest legislator in the legislature, where anti-Syrian groups dominate. He came from a prominent family of politicians. His father, Amin, served as president between 1982 and 1988 and his grandfather, the late Pierre Gemayel, led the right-wing Christian Kataeb Party that fielded the largest Christian militia during the 1975-90 civil war between Christians and Muslims.
The father of Pierre Gemayel a Lebanese anti-Syrian minister who was killed today urged supporters to remain calm and avoid retribution. "I have one wish, that tonight be a night of prayer to contemplate the meaning of this martyrdom and how to protect this country," Former President Amin Gemayel told reporters outside a hospital where the body of his son Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel was taken.
"I call on all those who appreciate Pierre's martyrdom to preserve his cause and for all of us to remain at the service of Lebanon. We don't want reactions and revenge," he said.

Pierre Gemayel death shakes UN as it seeks justice for previous murders
Nov 21, 2006, 18:14 GMT
Lebanese inspectors take evidences from the damaged vehicle at the site where prominent anti-Syrian Christian Minister Pierre Gemayel was assassinated, in Jdeideh suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, on Tuesday, 21 November 2006. Gemayel, 34, was assassinated today in the latest in a spate of attacks to target anti-Syrian politicians. EPA/WAEL HAMZEH
New York - The murder of anti-Syrian Lebanese politician Pierre Gemayel in Beirut on Tuesday shook the United Nations as it was seeking to bring to justice those responsible for other murders in the war-torn country, including the death of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005.
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan called it a 'cold-blooded murder.' US Ambassador John Bolton called the shooting death of Gemayel, the minister of industry, a 'political assassination' that should be investigated.
'We have to support the democratic forces in Lebanon against this politically motivated assassination, this is not a way to change a government,' Bolton told reporters. 'This is why we need the tribunal established as soon as possible and why it's correct to expand the mandate of the Serge Brammertz investigation and why the tribunal needs the flexibility (for) the perpetrators of the other political assassinations,' he said.
Annan noted that the 'cold-blooded murder was carried out one day after the Security Council considered a report on the establishment of the special tribunal for Lebanon.' 'Such acts of terrorism are unacceptable and have no place in a democratic and open society,' Annan said. He said Gemayel believed 'strongly in an independent, democratic and united Lebanon.'
While UN diplomats preferred not to link the death of Gemayel with previous assassinations that many Lebanese said were plotted by Syria, an agitated Bolton hinted to a connection with Damascus.
'If you look at evidence of past political assassinations (in Lebanon), people can draw their own conclusions,' Bolton said.
He strongly rejected charges that US interference in the Middle East caused instability.
'How incredibly wrong that could be,' Bolton said, urging the UN to seek justice for the murders. 'They're killing people in Lebanon and they are assassinating political leaders.'
The UN Security Council was expected to approve the creation of a UN tribunal to try those responsible for the murder of Hariri and at least 14 murders of people known for their anti-Syrian views.
The Hariri murder has been under investigation by a UN commission headed by Belgian prosecutor Brammertz, and initial findings have shown .
Gemayel was shot and killed Tuesday in a Christian neighbourhood of Beirut, Lebanese police said. Gemayel died on his way to the hospital.
Bolton said the shooting death of Gemayel was a 'turning point' in the history of Lebanon and the UN should urged Middle East countries to support democracy in Lebanon and the government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora.
The tribunal would also have jurisdiction over murders of Lebanese journalists and politicians who opposed Syria's military presence in Lebanon, which ended in May, 2005.
The UN and the Lebanese government negotiated and agreed on the terms for the tribunal, which will have between 11 and 14 independent judges who will serve in trial and appeals chambers. A single international judge will serve as a pre-trial judge. The Lebanese government and the UN secretary general will discuss the judges' appointments.
A prosecutor will be appointed by the UN secretary general for a three-year period.
The headquarters of the tribunal will be situated outside of Lebanon in consideration of 'justice and fairness, administrative efficiency, the rights of the victims and proximity to witnesses ... security arrangements and affordable costs,' the UN said. © 2006 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur

Nasr: Killing to create chaos for Lebanese government
POSTED: 1545 GMT (2345 HKT), November 21, 2006
Adjust font size:
(CNN) -- Lebanon's Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel was shot and killed by apparent assassins Tuesday in Beirut, senior Lebanese government officials said.
Octavia Nasr, CNN's senior editor for Arab affairs, discussed the shooting, its impact and the significance of Gemayel being part of a prominent family of Christian politicians, with CNN's Heidi Collins.
COLLINS: Tell us what all of this means.
NASR: This is huge for Lebanon, very important to put things in perspective. This is not just any minister that was shot. Basically it is an assassination. He was shot in the head. Arab media this morning, especially Lebanese media, are confirming that he was killed, and also the head of the -- what they call the independence bloc in Lebanon just announced in his press conference that Pierre is indeed dead.
What this means is really chaos for Lebanon, at least for the short term because this is a government that was struggling with a lot of opposition from Hezbollah and the other pro-Syrian groups in Lebanon. Already, the finger has been pointed at Syria, saying Syria is behind the assassination. This is what the majority in government will be saying.
The only people being cautious about pointing fingers are the -- those that support Syria, and basically what is going to happen now is that there will be chaos. This is one minister missing from the government.
The government that had approved only last week an international tribunal to look into the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri which took place last year, February of 2005, which started a whole new era for Lebanon, with Syria pulling out its troops, with the government -- a new government taking hold.
And now ... this very government that took over last year is facing a lot of opposition. And with losing one Christian member of it, this is going to create chaos for this government. The more likely scenario at this point is that this government is not going to be able to work effectively. There will be calls for a new government or an immediate replacement of this one minister.
So, while the country is going to be mourning this one huge personality, 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.
So, expect reaction from the U.S., from the -- expect reaction from Europe, expect reaction from the whole world. But at the same time, there will be groups that will be very cautious as to pointing fingers toward Syria at this point.
COLLINS: You talk about this particular person being someone who really resonated with a big personality. Is that true as well with the people of Lebanon? You talk about chaos within the government and someone who will certainly have to replace this minister. What about the people and their relationship with him?
NASR: Right. Pierre Gemayel is a young man who comes from a family of politicians in Lebanon, a very prominent family, Christian Maronite, basically his -- his grandfather is the person who started the political group in Lebanon. And, you know, his grandfather was a very prominent figure; later on his father and his uncle were also prominent figures.
As a matter of fact, his uncle was assassinated himself as a president-elect of Lebanon. So basically this is a family that paid a high price in the -- during the civil war of Lebanon, and now with this assassination ... this will definitely resonate with the people.
Many people stand behind the family and also the group itself. Remember last year, 2005, February of 2005, Rafik Hariri, the former prime minister of Lebanon, was assassinated. And that drove people to the streets, demonstrating in the streets, and basically calling for Syria to pull out of Lebanon and calling for the pro-Syrian government to just go home. That's exactly what happened.
But since then, many people, many observers, many experts who are very aware of what's going on in Lebanon have said that Syria is not going to be letting this happen just so easily, that Syria continues to meddle in Lebanon's business.
As a matter of fact, you heard President Bush several times, Condoleezza Rice, many people in this -- in the U.S. administration calling on Syria to stop meddling in Lebanon's business for this very reason.

Lebanese Christian politician killed
November 21, 2006
BEIRUT, Lebanon (CNN) -- Lebanese Cabinet minister Pierre Gemayel has been shot dead in Beirut, senior Lebanese government officials said. The killing adds to political tensions in the country. Industry minister Gemayel, who was in his 30s, was a member of the Christian Phalange party and supporter of the anti-Syrian parliamentary majority. Tuesday's killing is set to deepen the political crisis in which the Lebanese government is currently locked in a power struggle with pro-Syrian factions led by Hezbollah. (Watch aftermath of shooting -- 2:10) Saad Hariri, the majority leader in parliament, blamed Syria for the killing, saying Damascus wanted to stop the Lebanese government from backing a U.N. international tribunal into alleged Syrian participation in the 2005 assassination of his father, former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. "Pierre Gemayel was one of the people who was one of the founders also of the revolution, and today, as we have warned the international community that our revolution is under attack," Hariri said. "Today one of our main people, main believers in a free, democratic Lebanon, has been killed.
"And we believe that the hands of Syria are all over the place because today, in a few days it will have been the second vote on the international tribunal that Syria has always been trying to avoid."In a statement released from Syria's state-run news agency, Syria "strongly" condemned Gemayel's assassination.
U.S. slams killing
Gemayel was considered a crucial member of the Lebanese Cabinet and his death weakens Prime Minister Fouad Siniora's grip on power.
Authorities said a gunman ran up to the car Gemayel was riding in and opened fire. Gemayel was said to have been hit at least twice in the head and neck.
Lebanese television broadcast video of the bullet-riddled car that had been carrying Gemayel.
Lebanese television showed angry and distraught supporters gathering outside the hospital, Reuters news agency said.
The United States was quick to condemn the killing. State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said the United States was "shocked by this assassination," calling the attack "an act of terrorism."
"It's unfortunately part of an all-too-often pattern of violence and assassination in Lebanon's recent political history over the last 30 to 40 years," Burns said.
He said the United States will "redouble" its efforts to support the Siniora's government.
"It's a very sad day to see someone, a young leader like this who was devoted to public service, to be gunned down."
In the ongoing political crisis, all five Shiite Muslim ministers and one Christian in Siniora's 24-member Cabinet resigned last week over the creation of the international tribunal to probe the assassination of Hariri.. U.N. investigators linked Syria to the death of Hariri and 22 other people on February, 14, 2005, when an explosion was set off near his motorcade. Damascus denies any involvement, and Hezbollah says Syria's accusers have no evidence to back up their claims.
Hariri's assassination led to a wave of anti-Syrian protests, dubbed the "Cedar Revolution," and the withdrawal of Syria's military from Lebanon. Syria had dominated Lebanon since 1976, when Syrian troops entered in the early days of Lebanon's civil war.

In quotes: Gemayel murder reaction
Pierre Gemayel was shot dead while driving through Beirut

The Lebanese anti-Syrian politician Pierre Gemayel has been shot and killed while driving through Beirut.
Mr Gemayel was a member of the Phalange Party and the son of former President Gemayel Amin.
Below is a selection of reactions from around the world.
SAAD HARIRI, SON OF MURDERED LEBANESE PM RAFIK HARIRI
The Cedar Revolution is under attack. Today one of our main believers in a free democratic Lebanon has been killed. We believe the hands of Syria are all over the place.
The people of Lebanon will not give up on the international tribunal. This will make them even more determined. We will bring justice to those who killed Pierre Gemayel.
SYRIAN OFFICIAL NEWS AGENCY
Syria strongly condemns the killing. This is a crime aimed at destabilising Lebanon. Syria is careful about preserving Lebanon's security, unity and civil peace.
HASSAN FADLALLAH, HEZBOLLAH MP, LEBANON
First of all we condemn this crime. It aims at stirring up trouble and deepening the crisis in Lebanon.
However, before we start issuing accusations or name the names of the criminals who have committed this crime, it is the responsibility of the Lebanese security authorities to immediately launch an investigation.

Lebanese minister assassinated in attack on convoy
By Nadim Ladki
BEIRUT, Nov 21 (Reuters) - Lebanese Christian cabinet minister Pierre Gemayel, an outspoken critic of Syria, was assassinated near Beirut on Tuesday, security sources said.
Gunmen opened fire as his convoy drove through the Christian Sin el-Fil neighbourhood, they said. Gemayel, who was in his 30s, was rushed to hospital where he later died of his wounds.
Local television footage showed angry and weeping supporters gathering at the hospital.
The killing is certain to deepen a political crisis pitting the anti-Syrian majority against the pro-Damascus opposition led by Hezbollah.
"We believe the hand of Syria is all over the place," Saad al-Hariri, son of assassinated former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri, said from Beirut shortly after Gemayel was shot dead.
Gemayel, a member of the Christian Phalange Party and industry minister, was the son of former President Amin Gemayel. His uncle Bashir Gemayel was killed in September 1982 after he was elected as president during Israel's invasion of Lebanon.
Pierre, like his father and late uncle, was an opponent of the influence in Lebanon of Syria, who many Lebanese blame for the February 2005 assassination of former prime minister Hariri.
Hariri's son Saad, who is parliamentary majority leader, interrupted a news conference to announce the shooting of Gemayel.
"They want to kill every free person," Hariri said, hinting that Syria was behind the latest killing.
Anti-Syrian Christian leader Samir Geagea said on Friday efforts to topple the government could lead to assassination attempts on cabinet ministers.
GOVERNMENT TOTTERING
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.
With Gemayel's death, the resignation or death of two more ministers would bring down Siniora's government.
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.
The depleted cabinet last week approved draft U.N. statutes for a tribunal to try the killers of Hariri despite the resignations of the pro-Syrian ministers.
Many Lebanese blame Syria for the killing of Hariri in a suicide truck bombing last year. Damascus denies involvement. A U.N. commission investigating the assassination has implicated senior Lebanese and Syrian security officials.
Gemayel, elected to parliament in 2000 and again in 2005, is the first anti-Syrian politician to be killed since Gebran Tueni, who was assassinated in a car bomb blast on December 12, 2005.(Additional reporting by Tom Perry and Yara Bayoumy)

Lebanese Cabinet minister is killed By SAM F. GHATTAS, Associated Press Writer
BEIRUT, Lebanon - Pierre Gemayel, an anti-Syrian politician and scion of Lebanon's most prominent Christian family, was gunned down Tuesday in an assassination that heightened tensions amid a showdown between opponents and allies of Syria that threatens to topple the U.S.-backed government.
Gemayel, 34, was the fifth anti-Syrian figure to be killed in the past two years and the first member of the government of Prime Minister Fuad Saniora to be slain. A car rammed his vehicle from behind and then a gunman stepped out and shot him at point-blank range, his Phalange Party radio station and Lebanon's official news agency reported.
Footage from the scene showed Gemayel's car, the driver's-side window dotted by about a dozen bullet holes, and the second car behind it with a crumpled hood.
The assassination, in an afternoon shooting in Gemayel's mainly Christian constituency of Jdeideh, threatens further instability in Lebanon at a time when Hezbollah and other parties allied with Syria are planning a massing wave of street protests unless Saniora reforms his government to give them more power.
In Washington, the State Department denounced the assassination as terrorism and an attempt to intimidate Saniora's government. The United States has accused Syria and Iran of plotting to overthrow the government, which is dominated by anti-Syrian politicians.
"We are shocked by this assassination," Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns told reporters. He said it is very important that those who would use violence to divide Lebanon not be allowed to succeed. "We will give full support to the Saniora government in the days and weeks ahead," Burns said.
Syria also condemned the killing. "This despicable crime aims to destroy stability and peace in Lebanon," the state news agency said, affirming Syria's support for stability, security and unity.
Damascus' opponents in Lebanon have accused Syria of being behind previous assassinations, particularly that of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, who was killed in a massive explosion in downtown Beirut in February 2005. Syria has denied any role.
Saad Hariri, Rafik's son and leader of the anti-Syrian parliamentary majority, broke off a televised news conference after hearing Gemayel had been shot.
In an interview with CNN, Hariri praised him as "a friend, a brother to all of us" and appeared to break down after saying: "We will bring justice to all those who killed him."Hariri implicitly blamed Damascus for the assassination, saying, "We believe the hand of Syria is all over the place."
Pierre Gemayel was a rising star in the party and expected to carry the mantle of the political family. His father, Amin, served as president between 1982 and 1988. His grandfather, the late Pierre Gemayel, led the right-wing Christian Phalange Party that fielded the largest Christian militia during the 1975-90 civil war between Christians and Muslims.
Amin Gemayel was elected by parliament after the assassination of his brother, Bashir, who was chosen president but was killed a few days before he was to take office. The younger Pierre Gemayel was a prominent figure in Lebanon's anti-Syrian bloc, which dominates Saniora's Cabinet and the parliament — and which is now locked in a power struggle with the Muslim Shiite Hezbollah and its allies.
On Sunday, Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah threatened a wave of street protests aimed at bringing down the government if it ignores the group's demand to form a national unity Cabinet, in which Hezbollah and its allies would have considerable influence and would be able to block major decisions.
Nasrallah accused Saniora's government of falling under the influence of the President Bush's administration and called it "illegitimate" and "unconstitutional."
Gemayel's assassination was the first since Gibran Tueni, prominent anti-Syrian newspaper editor and lawmaker, was killed in a car bomb in December. In June 2005, the journalist and activist Samir Kassir and former Communist Party leader George Hawi were killed in separate car bombings in June last year.

Britain 'dismayed' at murder of anti-Syrian minister in Lebanon by Robin Millard
LONDON (AFP) - Britain is dismayed at the assassination of Lebanon's anti-Syrian minister Pierre Gemayel, Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett has said, claiming it will only increase regional tensions.
"Clearly we condemn it. We are dismayed. There are enough problems in Lebanon already," Beckett told a London news conference Tuesday with her Israeli counterpart Tzipi Livni. Industry Minister Gemayel was assassinated in a northern Beirut suburb in the latest in a spate of attacks to target anti-Syrian politicians. His car was sprayed with gunfire.Beckett said she hoped it was a one-off incident, saying the international community was looking to see rebuilding in Lebanon rather than further "death and destruction"."Certainly this is the kind of step that can only increase tension in the region rather than lead to greater peace," she said.
Beckett said that if it proved to be a targeted assassination, it "is deeply damaging and cannot be of help and assistance to anyone" in the region.
"Whatever the motives are of the people who carried out this attack, they are not acting in their own interests, let alone anyone else."Beckett said it was too early to comment on suspicions that Syria might be involved in the industry minister's assassination. Livni said: "Also for me, it's too early to say ... of course the negative role of Syria in Lebanon is not something new or top secret. "The news from Lebanon is another example of the kind of region, the kind of neighbourhood we are living in."She described the conflicts in the Middle East as being between moderates and extremists and said the assassination was "just an example of something that we know we are facing".

Syria condemned the assassination, calling it "a crime aimed at destabilising" its neighbour.
Damascus was forced to end nearly three decades of military and political domination of Lebanon in April 2005 after the murder of popular former prime minister Rafiq Hariri, widely blamed on Syrian officials and their Lebanese allies.
Earlier Tuesday however, British Prime Minister Tony Blair welcomed Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem's visit to Iraq as a sign that Damascus was becoming a force for peace and progress in the Middle East. Washington has accused Damascus of turning a blind eye to Sunni Arab insurgents crossing from Syria into Iraq, where US, British and other allied occupation troops are trying to prevent Iraq from sliding into civil war.
The United States, backed by Britain, has condemned Syria for supporting the Islamist radical movement Hamas in the Palestinian territories as well as Shiite Muslim Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon.

Lebanon minister shot dead, Hariri son blames Syria By Nadim Ladki
BEIRUT (Reuters) - Lebanese Christian cabinet minister Pierre Gemayel, an outspoken critic of Syria, was assassinated near Beirut on Tuesday, plunging Lebanon deeper into a crisis that threatens to destabilize the country.
At least three gunmen rammed their car into Gemayel's vehicle, then leapt out and riddled it with bullets, firing at Gemayel with silencer-equipped automatic weapons at point-blank range in the Christian Sin el-Fil neighborhood, witnesses said.
Ten bullet holes were seen around the window of the driver's seat of his grey car. The two front seats were soaked in blood.
The son of assassinated former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri blamed Syria for the killing, but Damascus denied it.
Gemayel, 34, was rushed to hospital where he later died of his wounds. Television footage showed hundreds of angry and weeping family members and supporters gathering at the hospital. Angry protesters in the Christian town of Zahle in eastern Lebanon blocked off streets and shouted slogans against Hezbollah and Christian opposition leader Michel Aoun.
The killing is certain to heighten tensions in Lebanon amid a deep political crisis pitting the anti-Syrian majority against the pro-Damascus opposition led by Hezbollah, which is determined to topple what it sees as a pro-U.S. government.
"We believe the hand of Syria is all over the place," Saad al-Hariri, whose father Rafik al-Hariri was killed in a suicide truck bombing last year, said from Beirut shortly after Gemayel was shot dead.
"Syria strongly condemns the killing," the official Syrian news agency SANA said. The Shi'ite group Hezbollah also condemned the "low criminal act" and urged an investigation. Gemayel, elected to parliament in 2000 and again in 2005, is the third Lebanese anti-Syrian figure to be assassinated since former prime minister Hariri's killing in February 2005. Gemayel, industry minister, was a member of the Christian Phalange Party founded by his grandfather and the son of former President Amin Gemayel. His uncle Bashir Gemayel was killed in September 1982 after he was elected president during Israel's invasion of Lebanon.
The Christian Phalange party controlled one of the largest militias fighting in the 1975-1990 Lebanese civil war.
SELF-RESTRAINT
Pierre, like his father and late uncle, was a strong opponent of the influence of Syria, who many Lebanese blame for the assassination of Rafik al-Hariri.
The Phalange Party called on supporters to show self-restraint and foil "attempts to destabilize Lebanon."
Hariri's son Saad, who is parliamentary majority leader, interrupted a news conference to announce the shooting of Gemayel. "They want to kill every free person," he said.U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns said it was a "very sad day for Lebanon." "We were shocked by this assassination. We view it as an act of terrorism and we also view it as an act of intimidation," he said.
Anti-Syrian Christian leader Samir Geagea said on Friday efforts to topple the government could lead to assassination attempts on cabinet ministers.
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.
With Gemayel's death, the resignation or death of two more ministers would bring down Siniora's government.
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.
The depleted cabinet last week approved draft U.N. statutes for a tribunal to try the killers of Hariri despite the resignations of the pro-Syrian ministers.
Many Lebanese blame Syria for the killing of Hariri in a suicide truck bombing last year. Damascus denies involvement. A U.N. commission investigating the assassination has implicated senior Lebanese and Syrian security officials. (Additional reporting by Tom Perry and Yara Bayoumy)


Gunmen Target Michel Pharaon's Beirut Office
Gunmen opened fire Tuesday on the office of a minister of state, his office announced, just hours after the assassination of anti-Syrian minister Pierre Gemayel.
"The office of the state minister for parliamentary affairs, Michel Pharaon, in the Ashrafieh neighborhood was the target of gunshots today from gunmen in a white Suzuki car," it said. "The security forces cordoned off the area and is carrying out the necessary measures to identify the culprits," who fled the scene, it said.
Pharaon is a Greek-Catholic Christian MP from the bloc of anti-Syrian parliamentary majority leader Saad Hariri.(AFP)
Beirut, 21 Nov 06, 18:49


Instability in Lebanon
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Published: November 21, 2006
Following is a timeline of Syrian power in Lebanon, with reporting from The New York Times and Reuters.
APRIL 1975 -- Clashes that are later seen as the start of Lebanon's 15-year civil war erupt in Beirut.
JUNE 1976 -- Syrian troops enter Lebanon to restore peace.
OCTOBER 1976 -- Arab conferences establish a predominantly Syrian peacekeeping force.
JUNE 1982 -- After repeated Palestinian incursions from southern Lebanon, Israel begins a full-scale invasion. The Syrian Army is ousted from Beirut.
SEPTEMBER 1982 -- President-elect Bashir Gemayel was killed when a bomb shattered the headquarters of his Lebanese Christian Phalangist Party in east Beirut. (Go to Article)
MAY 1983 -- Israel and Lebanon sign a peace accord detailing the withdrawal of Israeli troops.
MARCH 1984 -- Under intense pressure from Syria, the Lebanese government cancels its peace agreement with Israel.
MARCH 1989 -- The Maronite Christian leader in Lebanon, Gen. Michel Aoun, declares a ''war of liberation'' against the Syrian presence.
OCTOBER 1989 -- The Lebanese National Assembly takes a step toward ending the civil war by endorsing the so-called Taif Accord, which calls for Syria to pull its troops back to the eastern Bekaa region but does not set a date for a full pullout.
OCTOBER 1990 -- In one of the last moves of the civil war, Syria's Air Force attacks the Lebanese presidential palace, and General Aoun takes refuge in the French Embassy. Through the early 90's, Syrian dominance in the country becomes less overt.
OCTOBER 1998 -- Emile Lahoud, a general who is backed by Syria, is elected president by Parliament.
MAY 2000 -- Israel ends its occupation of southern Lebanon.
DECEMBER 2000 -- In a surprise move, hundreds of Syrian soldiers leave Beirut and settle in the Bekaa region near the border, though thousands still remain in the country.
2003 -- Syria carries out two partial troop withdrawals, in February and July, bringing its force in Lebanon to about 16,000 soldiers, down from about 30,000 troops in mid-2000.
SEPTEMBER 2004 -- Despite criticism from the U.N. Security Council, Parliament bows to Syrian pressure and extends Mr. Lahoud's presidential term by three years.
OCTOBER 2004 -- Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and his cabinet resign in protest over Syria's dominant role in Lebanese government.
DECEMBER 2004 -- A united Lebanese opposition denounces the Syrian presence and calls for a new government. Later, Syria for the first time admits the presence of its secret service in Lebanon and says it will dismantle the operation.
FEBRUARY 2005 -- Mr. Hariri and 14 others are killed in a car bombing in Beirut.
JUNE 2 -- Samir Kassir, journalist opposed to Syria's role in Lebanon, is killed in Beirut by bomb in his car.
JUNE 21 -- George Hawi, a former Communist Party leader and critic of Syria, is killed in Beirut by bomb in his car.
DECEMBER 12 -- Gebran Tueni, a staunchly anti-Syrian member of parliament and Lebanese newspaper magnate, is killed by a car bomb in Beirut.
NOVEMBER 21 -- Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel is killed by gunmen as his convoy drives through the Christian Sin el-Fil neighbourhood of Beirut.
 

Response to the Terrorist assassination of Gemayel
REMOVAL OF LAHOUD AND UN CHAPTER 7
*By: Dr. Walid Phares
November 22/06
The Terrorist assassination of Minister Pierre Gemayel in Beirut is another war crime against the democratically elected Government and Parliament of Lebanon, and another strike in the Terror War waged by the Syrian regime and its allies against the Cedars Revolution and Lebanon's targeted democracy. Hence, the response should be at the hands of the international community, starting from the United Nations' Security Council to the various countries worldwide concerned with democracy and human rights.
Pierre Amin Gemayel was an elected member of parliament in June 2005 after the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon in April of the same year. He was one of the leaders of the Cedars Revolution and the minister of industry in the Seniora Government. Gemayel was an active advocate against the Syrian occupation of Lebanon, for the implementation of UNSCR 1559 and calling for the disarming of all militias, including Hezbollah. The young leader has been calling for the resignation of pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud and for the prosecution of the assassins of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri. In short, Pierre A. Gemayel was one of the pillars of the political resistance to the Syrian and Iranian regimes in Lebanon. He, and his colleagues were calling for the disarming of Hezbollah and the inclusion of moderate Shiite leaders in the political process.
Hezbollah and the Syrian-Iranian axis have considered the last legislative elections in the US and the formation of the Baker Commission as a signal to wage terror campaigns to crumble the political process in Iraq and the cabinet in Lebanon. This week, secretary general of Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah and his allies were preparing to wage urban uprising against the Government. But the supporters of the Cedars Revolution said they will take the streets again. Hence, as we witnessed today in Beirut, the "Terror arm" of the Syro-Iranian camp moved forward to strike the Government instead.
1) Killing three ministers would paralyze the functioning of the cabinet per internal regulations. The assassination of Pierre Gemayel is a step in the campaign to "empty the cabinet" from its members.
2) This assassination aims at intimidating civil society from mobilizing against the pro-Syrian campaign.
And in response to the assassination and the terror campaign, the international community should act swiftly in defense of Lebanon's population under the UN chapter 7, by voting a new resolution to reinforce the UNIFIL in Lebanon and endow it with a deterrence and security mandate to protect civil society from violence as was the case in East Timor and Kosovo.
The Cedars Revolution real and strategic response to the Terror War waged against Lebanon's civil society should be to press for the removal of Emile Lahoud from the Presidency and disband his security operatives.
*Dr Walid Phares is a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and one of the architects of the UNSCR 1559

LCCC Release: Terrorism hits again and a new martyr falls in Lebanon
Toronto Canada November 21/06
The Lebanese Canadian Coordinating Council (LCCC), strongly denounces the evil assassination of Lebanese MP and cabinet minister Pierre Gemayel who was cowardly shot by unidentified assassins today in Beirut. The LCCC calls on our Canadian government and people, as well as on all the free world countries, to actively and firmly rally around the "Cedars Revolution" leadership and support them in both Lebanon and the Diaspora in their peaceful and civilized struggle against terrorism and terrorists. This is a very sad day for our beloved homeland Lebanon, and for all the faithful and peace-loving Lebanese people all over the world. Meanwhile the criminals, no matter who they are, and no matter who protects and harbors them will not prevail or deter the Lebanese people from their pursuit of independence, sovereignty and freedom. The evil terrorist powers, spearheaded by the Syrian Baathist regime and its militant militias in Lebanon, are still trying to destabilize the whole Middle East and hinder the emergence of a free, democratic, tolerant, multicultural and sovereign Lebanon. We call on the UN Security Council to create an international tribunal to investigate this new crime and bring the criminals to justice. From the LCCC we offer our heartfelt condolences to the Gemayel family, to the Phalanges Party and to the Lebanese people in both Lebanon and the Diaspora.  May Almighty God bless Pierre Gemayel's soul and receive in His Heaven this new Martyr of Lebanon.
For the LCCC
Chairman/Elias Bejjani
Political Adviser/Colonel Charbel Barakat

Assassins claim Pierre Gemayel in broad daylight
Gunmen also kill 1 bodyguard, wound another and at least 1 bystander
By Leila Hatoum -Daily Star staff
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
BEIRUT: Pierre Gemayel, Lebanon's industry minister and the son of former Lebanese President Amin Gemayel, was shot dead in a brazen daylight attack in the northern Beirut suburb of Jdeideh on Tuesday. Conflicting reports emerged on the details of the attack, in which a sport-utility vehicle either rammed or pulled alongside a silver KIA sedan driven by Gemayel. An unknown number of assailants then fired through the driver's side window of the vehicle, hitting the minister and at least two others.The anti-Syrian minister was pronounced dead on arrival at St. Joseph Hospital in Dora, according to hospital sources. One of Gemayel's bodyguards, Samir Chartouni, died a few hours later from his wounds. The condition of a second bodyguard wounded in the attack was unknown. Internal Security Forces, a forensics team and the Lebanese Army arrived at the crime scene shortly after the shooting to collect evidence.
Television footage showed damage to the front of the victims' vehicle and multiple holes in the driver's-side window.
Several Jdeideh residents told The Daily Star late on Tuesday that they had heard "muffled sounds of shooting." Witnesses alternately said that a "Range Rover" or a "Honda MRV" had been used in the attack. A witness was "being treated for serious injuries at the St. Joseph Hospital as well," according to a report by local satellite television station LBC. Acting Interior Minister Ahmed Fatfat and State Prosecutor Said Mirza went to the hospital after the incident. "Several witnesses are being questioned and some detained pending further questioning," a security source said.
Military Investigating Magistrate Jean Fahd, Chief Investigating Magistrate Rashid Mizher and Mirza met late Tuesday at Mirza's office in order "to exchange information on the incident," another security source said. "Twenty-four bullet casings picked up from the crime scene are being inspected to determine their serial numbers to know the kind of arms used," the second source said, adding that "the guns apparently had silencers which muffled the shots."Gemayel was a main leader of the Christian Phalange Party, which was founded by his grandfather, also Pierre Gemayel.
The minister's assassination comes amid increasing political tensions in Lebanon. The elimination of a member of a Cabinet controlled by the parliamentary majority March 14 Forces had been anticipated by key members of the anti-Syrian coalition such as Samir Geagea, the head of the Lebanese Forces, who said explicitly on Friday that a minister could be assassinated in an attempt by the opposition to "topple" the government.
Hizbullah and the Amal Movement withdrew their five ministers from the Cabinet on November 11. The March 14 Forces accuse the Shiite bloc and its allies of trying to prevent the formation of an international tribunal to try suspects in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
With Gemayel's death and the resignation of Environment Minister Yaacoub Sarraf on November 13, the Cabinet has lost a total of seven ministers in the last two weeks.The removal of nine ministers would render the 24-member Cabinet incapable of assembling a quorum.
MP Saad Hariri, the head of the Future Movement and son of the slain former premier, was interrupted at a live news conference by news of Gemayel's death at 3:30 p.m. Gemayel is the fifth anti-Syrian figure to be killed in the past two years and the first member of Premier Fouad Siniora's Cabinet to be assassinated. Gemayel's death sparked anger throughout predominantly Christian communities in Lebanon, with supporters of his Phalange Party vowing revenge against the March 8 coalition and pro-Syrian Lebanese President Emile Lahoud. Gemayel's funeral will be held Wednesday at St. Georges Church in Downtown Beirut at 1 p.m. French Foreign Minister Phillip Douste-Blazy was said to have committed to attending the service.

Siniora promises legislation to speed up rebuilding process
PM answers critics with details of progress
By Lysandra Ohrstrom -Daily Star staff
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
BEIRUT: Legislation to expedite Lebanon's recontruction and support institutions that suffered losses during the July-August war with Israel will be presented to Parliament soon, Premier Fouad Siniora said Tuesday. The government has received more than $813 million of the $2 billion worth of financial assistance pledged by private donors and the international community at the Stockholm conference.
Addressing the diplomatic corps at the Grand Serail about the progress that has been made rebuilding the country during the first 100 days since the August 14 cease-fire, Siniora defended his administration's postwar performance and asked donors to continue their support.
"Despite some unjustified and unfair criticism, we are determined to perform our duty and address all postwar economic, social, and humanitarian issues which face us," the prime minister said. Though the government remains fully committed to economic reforms, he added, the five-year plan presented before the war has been modified to accommodate Lebanon's recovery needs.
The existing plan "will fail to achieve sustained and equitable growth and debt sustainability in the absence of a sizeable frontloaded program of external support," he said. The government has successfully repaired water facilities, bridges, schools, roads, hospitals, electricity and telecommunications networks, airport runways and fuel tanks, cleared 1.7 million cubic meters of debris, and made progress cleaning up the oil spill from the bombing of the Jiyyeh power plant, he said. Compensation has been distributed to residents of 64 villages in the South Lebanon, the Western Bekaa, and the Dahiyeh whose homes were destroyed, said Siniora, and assistance to fishermen and families of the deceased has also begun.
After outlining the government's accomplishments, Siniora shifted to the political impasse facing the ruling March 14th coalition, urging politicians to present a unified front to preserve Lebanon's stability. "Do we want a progressive and growing economy able to raise the living standards of the Lebanese people and stem poverty?" he asked. "Do we want to drive our youth away, or rather make them feel like they have a role and future in their own country? Do we want to create opportunities and hope for future generations, or offer them the prospect of unemployment, despair and emigration?"
Without significant additonal contributions from Western and Arab donors at the upcoming Paris III conference, the government is powerless to "kickstart Lebanon's shell-shocked economy," Siniora warned. According to a new joint study by InfoPro and the Finance Ministry, total annual public revenues for 2006 will be $920 million lower than had been expected before the war erupted. Combined with a sharp increase in government expenditures necessitated by the conflict, the revenue shorftall is expect to boost the deficit from 30 percent of spending to 40 percent.

Suleiman exhorts army to stay 'unified' but assassination forces cancellation of Independence Day celebrations
Daily Star staff-Wednesday, November 22, 2006
BEIRUT: President Emile Lahoud has cancelled a ceremony to mark Independence Day due to the assassination of Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel on Tuesday, a statement from the president's office said. The ceremony was to be held at the Presidential Palace in Baabda. A Lebanese Army celebration to be held at the Shukri Ghanem barracks in Fiyadieh also was cancelled, according to a statement issued Tuesday by the Lebanese Army Command.
Earlier Tuesday, Lebanese Army Commander General Michel Suleiman urged soldiers to remain "unified" in order to preserve the country's security and stability. "Your deployment along the Lebanese border is aimed at preventing wars, which the Lebanese people have been suffering from," Suleiman said in an address to his troops.  "Your deployment constitutes an incentive to liberate the remaining occupied territories in the Shebaa farms, the Kfar Shuba Hills and Ghajar," Suleiman said. Highlighting the need to remain united, Suleiman called on all soldiers to act in accord with the "higher national interest."
Prime Minister Fouad Siniora said the meaning of independence "lies in the fact that we do not oppress anyone and do not let anyone to oppress us."
During a news conference Tuesday morning held at the Grand Serail, Siniora stressed the importance of dialogue, calling on the Lebanese to unite.
"We have to gather our power to defeat our weak points and protect our country's interests," he said. Meanwhile, the Democratic Renewal Movement said the current government could not be toppled by proposed demonstrations by the opposition "because [the government] represents the Lebanese people' aspirations to independence and sovereignty." "Despite the fact that holding demonstrations is a democratic right, it cannot overthrow the current government," a statement from the movement said. "In spite of some mistakes, the government is still supported by the great majority of the Lebanese people.""The only democratic and rational way to change the government is to reach an agreement over a comprehensive solution [to the current political deadlock], including the election of a new president and the creation of a new electoral law," the statement added.
The movement said the year had been marked by "a remarkable divergence between two parties.""The first represents the keenness of government and the March 14 Forces to provide Lebanon with diplomatic, economic and political steadfastness, while the second is keen on exposing the country to international and regional conflicts," the statement said. In other developments, Grand Mufti Sheikh Mohammad Rashid Qabbani urged the Lebanese to put an end to "street challenges which might plunge the country into conflicts that threaten its independence."In a statement, Qabbani called on the Lebanese to protect their independence. He said that the country needed to promote unity and solidarity.
"Challenges only lead to more tension ... to the loss of Lebanon," he said. Meanwhile Druze spiritual leader Sheikh Naim Hassan wished the Lebanese "tranquility, peace and stability." "I hope the Lebanese try, through dialogue, to find common points so the current crisis ends as good as it can be," Hassan said in a statement. For its part, the Third Force expressed concern about mounting tensions between political adversaries and called for the establishment of a national unity government. In a statement issued after a meeting Tuesday, the party said current political divisions "have become intense, which threatens the society's unity and stability and endangers civil peace."
"In the absence of any solution to get out of the current crisis, we are now convinced that Lebanese officials are not the country's decision-makers," the statement said. "The formation of a national unity government is the only solution ... otherwise, the crisis might remain open," it added.
Separately, ministers and MPs laid wreaths on the tombs of political leaders who played a major role in the country's independence. - The Daily Star

World unites in condemnation
Compiled by Daily Star staff
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
The international community voiced shock at the assassination on Tuesday of Lebanese Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel and the United States accused Syria and Iran of fomenting violence and instability in Lebanon. Russia, the European Union, Britain, Germany and France all voiced shock, without apportioning blame. Egypt, Jordan, Syria, the Gulf states and Iran were united in condemning the murder and urging the Lebanese to seek dialogue.
Speaking to US troops stationed in Hawaii, US President George W. Bush said: "We support [Prime Minister Fouad Siniora's] government and its democracy and we support the Lebanese people's desire to live in peace and we support their efforts to defend their democracy against attempts by Syria, Iran and allies to foment instability and violence in that important country."
Bush did not specifically blame Iran or Syria.
"I call for a full investigation of the murder to identify those people and those forces behind the killing. We call on the international community to support Prime Minister Siniora's government," he said.
But Bush's tone, further bolstered in a written statement on the killing, appeared to cast further doubt on already slim chances of a diplomatic opening with Iran and Syria over Iraq.
"Syria's refusal to cease and desist from its continuing efforts to destabilize Lebanon's democratically elected government" was a violation of UN Security Council resolutions, Bush said.
"We also demand that Syria treat Lebanon as a genuinely sovereign neighbor, establishing full diplomatic relations with Lebanon," he added.
The president said the assassination made it even more important for the United Nations Security Council to make a decision on a tribunal to investigate the killing of former Lebanese Premier Rafik Hariri in 2005.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, traveling with Bush, telephoned Siniora with condolences and to reiterate US support for democracy in Lebanon, said Tom Casey, a State Department spokesman.
Earlier, the acting US ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, raised the possibility of Syrian involvement in the slaying of Gemayel.
Referring also to the Hariri investigation, Bolton told reporters: "I think people can draw their own conclusions."
Syria issued a complete denial of involvement in the killing through its embassy in Washington. It condemned the murder as "an odious crime ... aimed at destabilizing Lebanon and disturbing the civil peace."
"This charade of blaming Syria for every malicious event in Lebanon has been exposed a long time ago and is, simply, losing all credibility," the embassy statement said. "Syria is outraged by this terrible act. In a time when the international community is advocating more engagement with Syria, such an act only stands to undermine these initiatives."
The embassy suggested the killing was timed by unnamed elements to discredit Syria ahead of the Security Council decision expected imminently on the Hariri tribunal.
"It's no coincidence that Pierre Gemayel was assassinated on the day the Security Council is discussing a Lebanese issue," the statement said.
The slaying came just as the 15-member Security Council was set to reach a decision on whether to give its green light for creation of the tribunal.
The council endorsement would come in the form of a letter to UN chief Kofi Annan, if no member raises objections by 6 p.m. (2300 GMT). The Daily Star had already gone to press by the time the meeting convened.
Bolton said Gemayel's death highlighted the need to set up the tribunal.
"We are confronted with what appears to be yet another terrorist assassination in Beirut," he said. "It shows why we need the tribunal established as soon as possible."
Iran also condemned what it termed the "cowardly" assassination, the Iranian Student News Agency (ISNA) reported.
"The Islamic Republic of Iran condemns this cowardly act and expresses its solidarity with the family," ISNA quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini as saying. "Without any doubt, this act was carried out by enemies of Lebanon who do not want the country to be a symbol of national unity and of the victory of the resistance" against Israel."
The killing came as "all Lebanese parties were showing political maturity to avoid any confrontation," he added.
Both French President Jacques Chirac and the EU's foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, said the killers must be brought to justice.
France "stands alongside Lebanon in support of the full implementation of Security Council resolutions, notably for the creation of an international court [to try Hariri's killers]," a presidential statement said.
Jordanian King Abdullah II denounced what he called a "cowardly crime that is targeting the security and stability of brother Lebanon," the official Petra news agency said.
He pointed to the need "for the Lebanese people to close ranks at this time and not to allow [efforts] aimed at provoking divisions at the heart of the Lebanese people to succeed."
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak urged the Lebanese to and put aside differences "in order not to lose Lebanon."
"We are for any initiative that leads to peace in Lebanon," Mubarak added.
In Riyadh, the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) denounced the killing.
"The political crisis in Lebanon has led to the assassination," GCC Secretary General Abdel-Rahman al-Atiyya said, saying members Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman "reject such terrorist acts designed to propagate disorder."
UN chief Kofi Annan condemned "the cold-blooded murder," saying through his spokesman that such acts "undermine Lebanon's stability and have no place in a democratic and open society."
British Prime Minister Tony Blair demanded a detailed inquiry and said Siniora must be protected. Blair's foreign minister, Margaret Beckett, said the assassination would only increase regional tension.
"Clearly we condemn it ... There are enough problems in Lebanon already," she told a news conference with her Israeli counterpart, Tzipi Livni.
Livni said it was too soon to comment on accusations against Syria, but she added that "the negative role of Syria in Lebanon is not something new or top secret." German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier described the assassination as "clearly another attempt to sabotage the development of an independent, sovereign and democratic Lebanon." - Agencies

Businesses heed request to show respect by closing
By Lysandra Ohrstrom -Daily Star staff
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
BEIRUT: Hours after the assassination of Pierre Gemayel in Sin al-Fil on Tuesday, businesses in the Gemmayzeh neighborhood closed to honor the slain industry minister and comply with a request from the Phalange Party. At least two members of the Phalange patrolled the main drag of Gemmayzeh - one of Beirut's most popular nightspots - almost immediately after news of the assassination broke and asked bars and restaurants to remain shut until Thursday. Every business on the strip closed at their request.
For the first time since July, the usually congested Gouraud Street emptied of all cars and pedestrians as shopkeepers moved their wares inside.
An employee at Cocktail Maklouf said the juice stand was closing because it supported the Christian Kataeb movement and planned to remain closed for Independence Day on Wednesday.
"We wanted to close because we belong to the Kataeb, but I don't know what would happen if we wanted to stay open," he said of what the consequences might be for refusing to close shop. "Maybe Kataeb supporters would not come to us anymore, maybe we would get a stone through our window," he added with a shrug. Even Gemmayzeh mainstay Torino Express, one of the only bars to remain open throughout the entire war, closed its doors. Soldiers standing outside the Gouraud Street police station confirmed that Phalange representatives had approached each individual merchant, but said the army was not enforcing closures. Most businesses elsewhere in town remained open.

Lebanon braces for power struggle after killing
By Nadim Ladki
BEIRUT (Reuters) - Lebanon braced on Wednesday for a bitter power struggle after the assassination of an anti-Syrian Christian cabinet minister which his allies blamed on Syria. Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel was gunned down on Tuesday as he drove in a Christian suburb of Beirut, becoming the sixth anti-Syria politician to be killed in nearly two years. Hours later, the U.N. Security Council approved plans for a special international court to try suspects in the February 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri. The action by the 15-nation council, in the form of a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, will enable the plans to be submitted to the Lebanese government for its formal approval. Hariri's son Saad and his allies quickly accused Damascus of killing Gemayel in an attempt to derail the tribunal. Many Lebanese blame Syria for killing Hariri.
A U.N. investigation has implicated Lebanese and Syrian security officials in Hariri's murder. Damascus denies any links. It also strongly condemned Gemayel's killing. The assassination is certain to heighten tensions in Lebanon amid a deep political crisis pitting the anti-Syrian majority against the pro-Damascus opposition led by Hezbollah, which is determined to topple what it sees as a pro-U.S. government. "We believe the hand of Syria is all over the place," Saad al-Hariri, whose father Rafik was killed in a suicide bombing, said shortly after Gemayel was shot dead. Anti-Syrian Druze leader Walid Jumblatt openly accused Syrian President Bashar al-Assad regarding the Gemayel shooting. "Only the tribunal will deter the killer in Damascus. Bashar is scared. That is why he opted for killing to avoid punishment," he said.
"NO CREDIBILITY"
Syrian Information Minister Muhsen Bilal denied any Syrian link to the latest murder. "Those who accuse Syria in this narrow and defeated manner do not have a grain of truth or credibility... How can they make an accusation at the very first minute?" he said.
Saad later called for a large turnout at Gemayel's funeral on Thursday. "The day we bid farewell to Pierre Gemayel, is the day to defend the international court and justice," he said. Large demonstrations after Hariri's killing forced Syria to end 29 years of military presence in Lebanon in April 2005.
The assassination came after a devastating July-August conflict in south Lebanon between Israeli forces and Hezbollah, which accused the pro-U.S. government of backing its opponents in order to weaken it as a political and military force.
U.S. President George W. Bush led world leaders in condemning Gemayel's murder and he urged an investigation to "identify those people and those forces behind the killing."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.
Hezbollah and its allies had been preparing to take to the streets to topple Siniora's government, arguing it has lost its legitimacy since Shi'ite Muslims are no longer represented. A political source close to Hezbollah said Tuesday's murder would force it to revise its plans. A Hezbollah official said the timeline of the protests would now have to be pushed back. The anti-Syrian coalition told supporters to prepare to take to the streets peacefully. Any protests and counter-protests would raise the spectre of confrontations. "I have one wish, that tonight be a night of prayer to contemplate the meaning of this martyrdom and how to protect this country," former President Amin Gemayel told reporters outside the hospital where his son's body was taken. Pierre Gemayel, elected to parliament in 2000 and in 2005, was a member of the Phalange Party founded by his grandfather. His uncle Bashir Gemayel was killed in September 1982 after he was elected president during Israel's invasion of Lebanon. The Christian Phalange party controlled one of the largest militias fighting in the 1975-1990 Lebanese civil war.

Assassinated Lebanon politician was star
By ZEINA KARAM, Associated Press Writer
BEIRUT, Lebanon - Pierre Gemayel, assassinated on Tuesday, was a rising star in one of Lebanon's most prominent Christian political families, widely expected to carry its mantle into the next generation. He was the fifth member of his family to die violently.
With his boyish looks and often blunt comments, the 34-year-old industry minister was not always taken seriously by Lebanese politicians, some of whom considered him the spoiled son of an influential dynasty.
But Gemayel gained more solid following during six years in parliament. He played a prominent role in rallying Lebanon's youth during the so-called "independence uprising" — a wave of massive anti-Syrian protests that followed the February 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. He became a vocal critic of Syria and its top allies in Lebanon, including President Emile Lahoud and the Shiite Muslim guerrilla group Hezbollah. Born on Sept. 23, 1972, Gemayel is the eldest son of Amin Gemayel, who served as Lebanon's president from 1982 to 1988. He was named after his grandfather, the late Pierre Gemayel, who founded the right-wing Phalange party. The Phalangists brought Lebanon's Maronite Christian community to political prominence in Lebanon. They fielded the largest Christian militia during the 1975-90 civil war between Christians and Muslims, allying themselves first with Syria, then with Israel.
The Gemayel family has been deeply enmeshed in the past three decades of bloodshed between Lebanon's deeply divided communities.
A 1975 assassination attempt against the grandfather prompted Phalangists to attack a busload of Palestinian refugees in what sparked the civil war.
In 1982, Amin Gemayel's brother, Bashir, was elected president, but days before he was to be sworn in, he was killed in a bomb blast — also at age 34. In response, his militiamen stormed Palestinian refugee camps in Beirut, killing hundreds of unarmed civilians in one of the worst atrocities of the Lebanon conflict. Several years earlier, Bashir's 18-month-old daughter was killed in an attack targeting him. Two nephews of Bashir and Amin were also killed during fighting in the 1980s. The younger Pierre Gemayel was first elected to parliament in 2000, and then again in the 2005 parliamentary elections that brought an anti-Syrian majority to the legislature.
He became a prominent figure in Lebanon's anti-Syrian bloc, which dominates Prime Minister Fuad Saniora's Cabinet and the parliament. Last year, he earned the wrath of critics — particularly Shiite Muslims — when he said Shiites in Lebanon "may be the quantity, but we are the quality."
Christians constitute an estimated 35 percent of Lebanon's population of about 4 million, down from estimated 55-60 percent before the 1975-90 civil war. The decline is attributed to emigration of Christians and higher birth rates among Muslims. Shiites are believed to be the largest community now with 1.2 million people, and Sunni Muslims are slightly less. Gemayel, often seen wearing sharp suits or stylish checkered shirts, had lately been traveling without a convoy, using ordinary cars as a decoy. He was assassinated by a gunman Tuesday who sprayed his unarmored car with bullets.
Gemayel will be buried Thursday at St. George's Church in downtown Beirut. He is survived by his wife, Patricia Al-Da'if, and two sons.


LCCC Release: Terrorism hits again and a new martyr falls in Lebanon
Toronto Canada November 21/06
The Lebanese Canadian Coordinating Council (LCCC), strongly denounces the evil assassination of Lebanese MP and cabinet minister Pierre Gemayel who was
cowardly shot by unidentified assassins today in Beirut. The LCCC calls on our Canadian government and people, as well as on all the free world countries, to
actively and firmly rally around the "Cedars Revolution" leadership and support them in both Lebanon and the Diaspora in their peaceful and civilized struggle against terrorism and terrorists.
This is a very sad day for our beloved homeland Lebanon, and for all the faithful and peace-loving Lebanese people all over the world. Meanwhile the criminals, no matter who they are, and no matter who protects and harbors them will not prevail or deter the Lebanese people from their pursuit of independence, sovereignty and freedom.
The evil terrorist powers, spearheaded by the Syrian Baathist regime and its militant militias in Lebanon, are still trying to destabilize the whole Middle East and hinder the emergence of a free, democratic, tolerant, multicultural and sovereign Lebanon. We call on the UN Security Council to create an international
tribunal to investigate this new crime and bring the criminals to justice.
From the LCCC we offer our heartfelt condolences to the Gemayel family, to the Phalanges Party and to the Lebanese people in both Lebanon and the Diaspora.
May Almighty God bless Pierre Gemayel's soul and receive in His Heaven this new Martyr of Lebanon.
For the LCCC
Chairman/Elias Bejjani
Political Adviser/Colonel Charbel Barakat

Profile: Pierre Gemayel
Agencies
Pierre Gemayel was first elected to parliament in 2005 and was believed to be the youngest legislator in the legislature.
He came from a prominent family of politicians.
His father, Amin, served as president between 1982 and 1988 and his grandfather, the late Pierre Gemayel, led the right-wing Christian Phalanage Party that fielded the largest Christian militia during the 1975-90 civil war between Christians and Muslims. Amin Gemayel is the current leader of the party. Pierre was a rising star in the party and expected to carry the mantle of the political family to the next generation

NICHOLAS BURNS, US UNDER-SECRETARY OF STATE
This is a very sad day for Lebanon. We were shocked by this assassination. We view it as an act of terrorism and we also view it as an act of intimidation.
We believe it is the responsibility of all countries to support the [Fouad] Siniora government. We will give full support to the Siniora government in the days and weeks ahead.
MARGARET BECKETT, UK FOREIGN SECRETARY
There are enough problems in Lebanon already, and we hope very much that whatever lies behind this it is a one-off, because what we are all anxious to do is to rebuild in Lebanon and not to see further death and destruction.
TZIPI LIVNI, ISRAELI FOREIGN MINISTER
The news from Lebanon is another example of the kind of region, the kind of neighbourhood we are living (in).
The negative role of Syria in Lebanon is not something new or top secret and only a few weeks ago the international community succeeded in taking Syrian forces and Syria out of Lebanon. But clearly they are trying to be involved even now, but it's too early to say something more concrete.

U.S. denounces murder of Lebanese leader
WASHINGTON - The State Department denounced Tuesday's assassination of Lebanese Christian leader Pierre Gemayel as an act of terrorism that was intended to intimidate. "We are shocked by this assassination," Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns told reporters.
Burns stopped short of casting blame for the assassination but took note of recent statements by Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah and others that he said are meant "to destabilize Lebanon and to divide the country." Nasrallah has urged his followers to prepare for mass demonstrations to topple the government of Prime Minister Faud Saniora if it ignores Hezbollah's demands to form a national unity Cabinet,
Burns praised Saniora's 20-month old government, seeing it as a step toward returning Lebanon "to a position of real sovereignty, freeing it from Syria's influence and from "the politics of violence and assassination." He said the United States views the assassination of Gemayel, a prominent anti-Syrian politician, as an act of intimidation against the coalition. "We believe it is the responsibility of all countries to support the Saniora government," Burns added.
Recalling past assassinations of members of the Gemayel family, Burns said the family has played a very important role in the history of Lebanon and "has suffered too much tragedy as a family."He said it is very important that those who would use violence to divide Lebanon not be allowed to succeed.
"We will give full support to the Siniora government in the days and weeks ahead," Burns said.

US says Lebanese minister's death is act of terror
Tue 21 Nov 2006 15:31:56 GMT
WASHINGTON, Nov 21 (Reuters) - The United States views the assassination of Lebanese Christian cabinet minister Pierre Gemayel as an "act of terrorism," a senior U.S. official said on Tuesday. "This is a very sad day for Lebanon. We were shocked by this assassination. We view it as an act of terrorism and we also view it as an act of intimidation," U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns said of the assassination. Burns said all nations should rally around the embattled government of Lebanon's Prime Minister Fouad Siniora to oppose those who were trying to divide Lebanon. "We think it is very, very important that those who would divide Lebanon and use violence to destabilize the political situation not be able to succeed," Burns said. "We will give full support to the Siniora government in the days and weeks ahead, to support that government, to support its continuation." Gemayel, an outspoken critic of Syria, was gunned down near Beirut on Tuesday as his convoy drove through a Christian neighborhood. The United States has in recent weeks raised the alarm over the increased threat of assassination of Lebanon's political leaders and called for international support for Siniora. Gemayel's killing is certain to deepen a political crisis pitting the Lebanese government's anti-Syrian majority against the pro-Damascus opposition led by Hezbollah, which fought a five-week war with Israel in July and August.

British PM condemns killing of Lebanese minister
21 November 2006
Tony Blair says the death of Pierre Gemayel underlines the "absolute and urgent" need for a strategy that supports democracy in the Middle East.
The minister, 34, was shot in his car in a Beirut suburb and rushed to hospital, where he died.
The PM condemned the killing as being "without justification", saying that the international community needed to do all it could to protect democracy in Lebanon. He went on:
"This underlines once again the absolute and urgent need for a strategy for the whole of the Middle East that supports those who favour democracy and a proper way of resolving disputes everywhere."
Mr Blair's comments came in a press conference following talks with the Greek PM.

William Hague condemns the assassination of Pierre Gemayel
Shadow Foreign Secretary, William Hague has today condemned the assassination of Lebanese government minister Pierre Gemayel in Beirut.He said: "We strongly condemn the assassination of Mr Gemayel. "This is a difficult time for the government of Prime Minster Siniora and the people of Lebanon. "The international community must support Prime Minster Siniora's government as it stands up to this act of intimidation and terrorism."
Rt Hon William Hague MP  21/11/2006

EU: Those behind Gemayel killing must be punished
By ASSOCIATED PRESS
BRUSSELS, Belgium
The European Union condemned the killing of Lebanese minister Pierre Gemayel on Tuesday, and said those behind the slaying of the prominent anti-Syrian politician must be brought to justice. "Those responsible for this cowardly assassination ... must be found and judged," EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said. "Once again, Lebanon has paid a heavy price for its determination to live in peace and independence," Solana said in a French-language statement. "In my name, and that of the European Union, I pay homage to the courage and determination of all those who are struggling for an independent, sovereign and united Lebanon," Solana said. Solana deplores 'cowardly' murder of Lebanese minister
BRUSSELS: EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana on Tuesday deplored the "cowardly" assassination of Lebanese Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel, saying that Lebanon was paying a high price for its wish for peace and independence.
"I learned with consternation of the assassination of Pierre Gemayel," Solana said in a statement.
"Those responsible for this cowardly assassination from another era must be brought to justice," he added.
"Lebanon has once again paid a high price for its wish to live in peace and independence.
In its name and in the name of the European Union, I pay my respects to the courage and determination of all those trying to build an independent, sovereign and unified Lebanon," Solana added.  Gemayel, a 34-year-old Christian Maronite politician opposed to Syria, was critically wounded in an attack in a northern Beirut suburb Tuesday in the latest in a spate of attacks to target anti-Syrian politicians.

Industry minister Pierre Gemayel quick biography
Daily Star Online edition staff
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Pierre Gemayel Jr is a Lebanese politician, son of former president of the republic Amine Gemayel, nephew of former president of the republic Bachir Gemayel and son of the founder of the Kataeb party Pierre Gemayel.
He started his Lebanese political life in the year 2000, during the logistic elections of el-Metn. An active member of the Kataeb movement (which is against the official Kataeb party which has been directed by people who condone the Syria rule since the war), he rejoins his father in the political gathering of Kornet Chehwane.
He was against the mandate ruling of President Emile Lahoud and has taken part in the Cedar Revolution after the assassination of Rafiq Hariri.
During the elections of 2005 , he was the only member of the 14th of mars alliance to win a seat in the parliament in the Metn region , taking advantage that the opposing list, an alliance between Michel Aoun and Michel Murr had a vacant seat.
On July 2005, he was named the minister of industry under the ruling of Fouad Siniora’s government, he had presented a plan for the development of the Lebanese industry at the end of 2005 that will be done for the Lebanese youth to savor by the year 2010, and he was assassinated on the 21st of November 2006.

Pierre Gemayel's assasination
Daily Star Online edition staff
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Prominent Christian politician Pierre Gemayel was assassinated in a suburb of Beirut on Tuesday his death will heighten the political tension in Lebanon, where Hezbollah has threatened to topple the government if it does not get a bigger say in Cabinet decision making. Witnesses said Gemayel was shot in his car in Jdeideh. The witnesses said a car rammed Gemayel's car from behind and then an assassin stepped out and shot him at point blank range. Gemayel was rushed to a nearby hospital seriously wounded he was later confirmed as dead. Gemayel, the minister of industry and son of former President Amin Gemayel, was a member of the Kataeb party and supporter of parliamentary majority, which is locked in a power struggle with different parties led by Hezbollah. Gemayel is the fifth figure to be assassinated in the past two years in Lebanon. Former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was killed in a massive car bombing in February 2005. The journalist and activist Samir Kassir and former Communist Party leader George Hawi were killed in separate car bombings in June last year in addition to lawmaker and newspaper manager Gibran Tueni was killed in a car bombing in December. Saad Hariri, leader of the anti-Syrian parliamentary majority, broke off a televised news conference after hearing that Gemayel had been shot. In an interview with CNN later, Hariri hailed Gemayel as "a friend, a brother to all of us" and appeared to break down after saying: "we will bring justice to all those who killed him." Gemayel was first elected to parliament in 2005 and was believed to be the youngest legislator in the legislature, where anti-Syrian groups dominate. He came from a prominent family of politicians. His father, Amin, served as president between 1982 and 1988 and his grandfather, the late Pierre Gemayel, led the right-wing Christian Kataeb Party that fielded the largest Christian militia during the 1975-90 civil war between Christians and Muslims.
The father of Pierre Gemayel a Lebanese anti-Syrian minister who was killed today urged supporters to remain calm and avoid retribution. "I have one wish, that tonight be a night of prayer to contemplate the meaning of this martyrdom and how to protect this country," Former President Amin Gemayel told reporters outside a hospital where the body of his son Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel was taken.
"I call on all those who appreciate Pierre's martyrdom to preserve his cause and for all of us to remain at the service of Lebanon. We don't want reactions and revenge," he said.

Pierre Gemayel death shakes UN as it seeks justice for previous murders
Nov 21, 2006, 18:14 GMT
Lebanese inspectors take evidences from the damaged vehicle at the site where prominent anti-Syrian Christian Minister Pierre Gemayel was assassinated, in Jdeideh suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, on Tuesday, 21 November 2006. Gemayel, 34, was assassinated today in the latest in a spate of attacks to target anti-Syrian politicians. EPA/WAEL HAMZEH
New York - The murder of anti-Syrian Lebanese politician Pierre Gemayel in Beirut on Tuesday shook the United Nations as it was seeking to bring to justice those responsible for other murders in the war-torn country, including the death of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005.
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan called it a 'cold-blooded murder.' US Ambassador John Bolton called the shooting death of Gemayel, the minister of industry, a 'political assassination' that should be investigated.
'We have to support the democratic forces in Lebanon against this politically motivated assassination, this is not a way to change a government,' Bolton told reporters. 'This is why we need the tribunal established as soon as possible and why it's correct to expand the mandate of the Serge Brammertz investigation and why the tribunal needs the flexibility (for) the perpetrators of the other political assassinations,' he said.
Annan noted that the 'cold-blooded murder was carried out one day after the Security Council considered a report on the establishment of the special tribunal for Lebanon.' 'Such acts of terrorism are unacceptable and have no place in a democratic and open society,' Annan said. He said Gemayel believed 'strongly in an independent, democratic and united Lebanon.'
While UN diplomats preferred not to link the death of Gemayel with previous assassinations that many Lebanese said were plotted by Syria, an agitated Bolton hinted to a connection with Damascus.
'If you look at evidence of past political assassinations (in Lebanon), people can draw their own conclusions,' Bolton said.
He strongly rejected charges that US interference in the Middle East caused instability.
'How incredibly wrong that could be,' Bolton said, urging the UN to seek justice for the murders. 'They're killing people in Lebanon and they are assassinating political leaders.'
The UN Security Council was expected to approve the creation of a UN tribunal to try those responsible for the murder of Hariri and at least 14 murders of people known for their anti-Syrian views.
The Hariri murder has been under investigation by a UN commission headed by Belgian prosecutor Brammertz, and initial findings have shown .
Gemayel was shot and killed Tuesday in a Christian neighbourhood of Beirut, Lebanese police said. Gemayel died on his way to the hospital.
Bolton said the shooting death of Gemayel was a 'turning point' in the history of Lebanon and the UN should urged Middle East countries to support democracy in Lebanon and the government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora.
The tribunal would also have jurisdiction over murders of Lebanese journalists and politicians who opposed Syria's military presence in Lebanon, which ended in May, 2005.
The UN and the Lebanese government negotiated and agreed on the terms for the tribunal, which will have between 11 and 14 independent judges who will serve in trial and appeals chambers. A single international judge will serve as a pre-trial judge. The Lebanese government and the UN secretary general will discuss the judges' appointments.
A prosecutor will be appointed by the UN secretary general for a three-year period.
The headquarters of the tribunal will be situated outside of Lebanon in consideration of 'justice and fairness, administrative efficiency, the rights of the victims and proximity to witnesses ... security arrangements and affordable costs,' the UN said. © 2006 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur

Nasr: Killing to create chaos for Lebanese government
POSTED: 1545 GMT (2345 HKT), November 21, 2006
Adjust font size:
(CNN) -- Lebanon's Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel was shot and killed by apparent assassins Tuesday in Beirut, senior Lebanese government officials said.
Octavia Nasr, CNN's senior editor for Arab affairs, discussed the shooting, its impact and the significance of Gemayel being part of a prominent family of Christian politicians, with CNN's Heidi Collins.
COLLINS: Tell us what all of this means.
NASR: This is huge for Lebanon, very important to put things in perspective. This is not just any minister that was shot. Basically it is an assassination. He was shot in the head. Arab media this morning, especially Lebanese media, are confirming that he was killed, and also the head of the -- what they call the independence bloc in Lebanon just announced in his press conference that Pierre is indeed dead.
What this means is really chaos for Lebanon, at least for the short term because this is a government that was struggling with a lot of opposition from Hezbollah and the other pro-Syrian groups in Lebanon. Already, the finger has been pointed at Syria, saying Syria is behind the assassination. This is what the majority in government will be saying.
The only people being cautious about pointing fingers are the -- those that support Syria, and basically what is going to happen now is that there will be chaos. This is one minister missing from the government.
The government that had approved only last week an international tribunal to look into the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri which took place last year, February of 2005, which started a whole new era for Lebanon, with Syria pulling out its troops, with the government -- a new government taking hold.
And now ... this very government that took over last year is facing a lot of opposition. And with losing one Christian member of it, this is going to create chaos for this government. The more likely scenario at this point is that this government is not going to be able to work effectively. There will be calls for a new government or an immediate replacement of this one minister.
So, while the country is going to be mourning this one huge personality, 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.
So, expect reaction from the U.S., from the -- expect reaction from Europe, expect reaction from the whole world. But at the same time, there will be groups that will be very cautious as to pointing fingers toward Syria at this point.
COLLINS: You talk about this particular person being someone who really resonated with a big personality. Is that true as well with the people of Lebanon? You talk about chaos within the government and someone who will certainly have to replace this minister. What about the people and their relationship with him?
NASR: Right. Pierre Gemayel is a young man who comes from a family of politicians in Lebanon, a very prominent family, Christian Maronite, basically his -- his grandfather is the person who started the political group in Lebanon. And, you know, his grandfather was a very prominent figure; later on his father and his uncle were also prominent figures.
As a matter of fact, his uncle was assassinated himself as a president-elect of Lebanon. So basically this is a family that paid a high price in the -- during the civil war of Lebanon, and now with this assassination ... this will definitely resonate with the people.
Many people stand behind the family and also the group itself. Remember last year, 2005, February of 2005, Rafik Hariri, the former prime minister of Lebanon, was assassinated. And that drove people to the streets, demonstrating in the streets, and basically calling for Syria to pull out of Lebanon and calling for the pro-Syrian government to just go home. That's exactly what happened.
But since then, many people, many observers, many experts who are very aware of what's going on in Lebanon have said that Syria is not going to be letting this happen just so easily, that Syria continues to meddle in Lebanon's business.
As a matter of fact, you heard President Bush several times, Condoleezza Rice, many people in this -- in the U.S. administration calling on Syria to stop meddling in Lebanon's business for this very reason.

Lebanese Christian politician killed
November 21, 2006
BEIRUT, Lebanon (CNN) -- Lebanese Cabinet minister Pierre Gemayel has been shot dead in Beirut, senior Lebanese government officials said. The killing adds to political tensions in the country. Industry minister Gemayel, who was in his 30s, was a member of the Christian Phalange party and supporter of the anti-Syrian parliamentary majority. Tuesday's killing is set to deepen the political crisis in which the Lebanese government is currently locked in a power struggle with pro-Syrian factions led by Hezbollah. (Watch aftermath of shooting -- 2:10) Saad Hariri, the majority leader in parliament, blamed Syria for the killing, saying Damascus wanted to stop the Lebanese government from backing a U.N. international tribunal into alleged Syrian participation in the 2005 assassination of his father, former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. "Pierre Gemayel was one of the people who was one of the founders also of the revolution, and today, as we have warned the international community that our revolution is under attack," Hariri said. "Today one of our main people, main believers in a free, democratic Lebanon, has been killed.
"And we believe that the hands of Syria are all over the place because today, in a few days it will have been the second vote on the international tribunal that Syria has always been trying to avoid."In a statement released from Syria's state-run news agency, Syria "strongly" condemned Gemayel's assassination.
U.S. slams killing
Gemayel was considered a crucial member of the Lebanese Cabinet and his death weakens Prime Minister Fouad Siniora's grip on power.
Authorities said a gunman ran up to the car Gemayel was riding in and opened fire. Gemayel was said to have been hit at least twice in the head and neck.
Lebanese television broadcast video of the bullet-riddled car that had been carrying Gemayel.
Lebanese television showed angry and distraught supporters gathering outside the hospital, Reuters news agency said.
The United States was quick to condemn the killing. State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said the United States was "shocked by this assassination," calling the attack "an act of terrorism."
"It's unfortunately part of an all-too-often pattern of violence and assassination in Lebanon's recent political history over the last 30 to 40 years," Burns said.
He said the United States will "redouble" its efforts to support the Siniora's government.
"It's a very sad day to see someone, a young leader like this who was devoted to public service, to be gunned down."
In the ongoing political crisis, all five Shiite Muslim ministers and one Christian in Siniora's 24-member Cabinet resigned last week over the creation of the international tribunal to probe the assassination of Hariri.. U.N. investigators linked Syria to the death of Hariri and 22 other people on February, 14, 2005, when an explosion was set off near his motorcade. Damascus denies any involvement, and Hezbollah says Syria's accusers have no evidence to back up their claims.
Hariri's assassination led to a wave of anti-Syrian protests, dubbed the "Cedar Revolution," and the withdrawal of Syria's military from Lebanon. Syria had dominated Lebanon since 1976, when Syrian troops entered in the early days of Lebanon's civil war.

In quotes: Gemayel murder reaction
Pierre Gemayel was shot dead while driving through Beirut

The Lebanese anti-Syrian politician Pierre Gemayel has been shot and killed while driving through Beirut.
Mr Gemayel was a member of the Phalange Party and the son of former President Gemayel Amin.
Below is a selection of reactions from around the world.
SAAD HARIRI, SON OF MURDERED LEBANESE PM RAFIK HARIRI
The Cedar Revolution is under attack. Today one of our main believers in a free democratic Lebanon has been killed. We believe the hands of Syria are all over the place.
The people of Lebanon will not give up on the international tribunal. This will make them even more determined. We will bring justice to those who killed Pierre Gemayel.
SYRIAN OFFICIAL NEWS AGENCY
Syria strongly condemns the killing. This is a crime aimed at destabilising Lebanon. Syria is careful about preserving Lebanon's security, unity and civil peace.
HASSAN FADLALLAH, HEZBOLLAH MP, LEBANON
First of all we condemn this crime. It aims at stirring up trouble and deepening the crisis in Lebanon.
However, before we start issuing accusations or name the names of the criminals who have committed this crime, it is the responsibility of the Lebanese security authorities to immediately launch an investigation.

Lebanese minister assassinated in attack on convoy
By Nadim Ladki
BEIRUT, Nov 21 (Reuters) - Lebanese Christian cabinet minister Pierre Gemayel, an outspoken critic of Syria, was assassinated near Beirut on Tuesday, security sources said.
Gunmen opened fire as his convoy drove through the Christian Sin el-Fil neighbourhood, they said. Gemayel, who was in his 30s, was rushed to hospital where he later died of his wounds.
Local television footage showed angry and weeping supporters gathering at the hospital.
The killing is certain to deepen a political crisis pitting the anti-Syrian majority against the pro-Damascus opposition led by Hezbollah.
"We believe the hand of Syria is all over the place," Saad al-Hariri, son of assassinated former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri, said from Beirut shortly after Gemayel was shot dead.
Gemayel, a member of the Christian Phalange Party and industry minister, was the son of former President Amin Gemayel. His uncle Bashir Gemayel was killed in September 1982 after he was elected as president during Israel's invasion of Lebanon.
Pierre, like his father and late uncle, was an opponent of the influence in Lebanon of Syria, who many Lebanese blame for the February 2005 assassination of former prime minister Hariri.
Hariri's son Saad, who is parliamentary majority leader, interrupted a news conference to announce the shooting of Gemayel.
"They want to kill every free person," Hariri said, hinting that Syria was behind the latest killing.
Anti-Syrian Christian leader Samir Geagea said on Friday efforts to topple the government could lead to assassination attempts on cabinet ministers.
GOVERNMENT TOTTERING
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.
With Gemayel's death, the resignation or death of two more ministers would bring down Siniora's government.
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.
The depleted cabinet last week approved draft U.N. statutes for a tribunal to try the killers of Hariri despite the resignations of the pro-Syrian ministers.
Many Lebanese blame Syria for the killing of Hariri in a suicide truck bombing last year. Damascus denies involvement. A U.N. commission investigating the assassination has implicated senior Lebanese and Syrian security officials.
Gemayel, elected to parliament in 2000 and again in 2005, is the first anti-Syrian politician to be killed since Gebran Tueni, who was assassinated in a car bomb blast on December 12, 2005.(Additional reporting by Tom Perry and Yara Bayoumy)

Lebanese Cabinet minister is killed By SAM F. GHATTAS, Associated Press Writer
BEIRUT, Lebanon - Pierre Gemayel, an anti-Syrian politician and scion of Lebanon's most prominent Christian family, was gunned down Tuesday in an assassination that heightened tensions amid a showdown between opponents and allies of Syria that threatens to topple the U.S.-backed government.
Gemayel, 34, was the fifth anti-Syrian figure to be killed in the past two years and the first member of the government of Prime Minister Fuad Saniora to be slain. A car rammed his vehicle from behind and then a gunman stepped out and shot him at point-blank range, his Phalange Party radio station and Lebanon's official news agency reported.
Footage from the scene showed Gemayel's car, the driver's-side window dotted by about a dozen bullet holes, and the second car behind it with a crumpled hood.
The assassination, in an afternoon shooting in Gemayel's mainly Christian constituency of Jdeideh, threatens further instability in Lebanon at a time when Hezbollah and other parties allied with Syria are planning a massing wave of street protests unless Saniora reforms his government to give them more power.
In Washington, the State Department denounced the assassination as terrorism and an attempt to intimidate Saniora's government. The United States has accused Syria and Iran of plotting to overthrow the government, which is dominated by anti-Syrian politicians.
"We are shocked by this assassination," Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns told reporters. He said it is very important that those who would use violence to divide Lebanon not be allowed to succeed. "We will give full support to the Saniora government in the days and weeks ahead," Burns said.
Syria also condemned the killing. "This despicable crime aims to destroy stability and peace in Lebanon," the state news agency said, affirming Syria's support for stability, security and unity.
Damascus' opponents in Lebanon have accused Syria of being behind previous assassinations, particularly that of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, who was killed in a massive explosion in downtown Beirut in February 2005. Syria has denied any role.
Saad Hariri, Rafik's son and leader of the anti-Syrian parliamentary majority, broke off a televised news conference after hearing Gemayel had been shot.
In an interview with CNN, Hariri praised him as "a friend, a brother to all of us" and appeared to break down after saying: "We will bring justice to all those who killed him."Hariri implicitly blamed Damascus for the assassination, saying, "We believe the hand of Syria is all over the place."
Pierre Gemayel was a rising star in the party and expected to carry the mantle of the political family. His father, Amin, served as president between 1982 and 1988. His grandfather, the late Pierre Gemayel, led the right-wing Christian Phalange Party that fielded the largest Christian militia during the 1975-90 civil war between Christians and Muslims.
Amin Gemayel was elected by parliament after the assassination of his brother, Bashir, who was chosen president but was killed a few days before he was to take office. The younger Pierre Gemayel was a prominent figure in Lebanon's anti-Syrian bloc, which dominates Saniora's Cabinet and the parliament — and which is now locked in a power struggle with the Muslim Shiite Hezbollah and its allies.
On Sunday, Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah threatened a wave of street protests aimed at bringing down the government if it ignores the group's demand to form a national unity Cabinet, in which Hezbollah and its allies would have considerable influence and would be able to block major decisions.
Nasrallah accused Saniora's government of falling under the influence of the President Bush's administration and called it "illegitimate" and "unconstitutional."
Gemayel's assassination was the first since Gibran Tueni, prominent anti-Syrian newspaper editor and lawmaker, was killed in a car bomb in December. In June 2005, the journalist and activist Samir Kassir and former Communist Party leader George Hawi were killed in separate car bombings in June last year.

Britain 'dismayed' at murder of anti-Syrian minister in Lebanon by Robin Millard
LONDON (AFP) - Britain is dismayed at the assassination of Lebanon's anti-Syrian minister Pierre Gemayel, Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett has said, claiming it will only increase regional tensions.
"Clearly we condemn it. We are dismayed. There are enough problems in Lebanon already," Beckett told a London news conference Tuesday with her Israeli counterpart Tzipi Livni. Industry Minister Gemayel was assassinated in a northern Beirut suburb in the latest in a spate of attacks to target anti-Syrian politicians. His car was sprayed with gunfire.Beckett said she hoped it was a one-off incident, saying the international community was looking to see rebuilding in Lebanon rather than further "death and destruction"."Certainly this is the kind of step that can only increase tension in the region rather than lead to greater peace," she said.
Beckett said that if it proved to be a targeted assassination, it "is deeply damaging and cannot be of help and assistance to anyone" in the region.
"Whatever the motives are of the people who carried out this attack, they are not acting in their own interests, let alone anyone else."Beckett said it was too early to comment on suspicions that Syria might be involved in the industry minister's assassination. Livni said: "Also for me, it's too early to say ... of course the negative role of Syria in Lebanon is not something new or top secret. "The news from Lebanon is another example of the kind of region, the kind of neighbourhood we are living in."She described the conflicts in the Middle East as being between moderates and extremists and said the assassination was "just an example of something that we know we are facing".

Syria condemned the assassination, calling it "a crime aimed at destabilising" its neighbour.
Damascus was forced to end nearly three decades of military and political domination of Lebanon in April 2005 after the murder of popular former prime minister Rafiq Hariri, widely blamed on Syrian officials and their Lebanese allies.
Earlier Tuesday however, British Prime Minister Tony Blair welcomed Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem's visit to Iraq as a sign that Damascus was becoming a force for peace and progress in the Middle East. Washington has accused Damascus of turning a blind eye to Sunni Arab insurgents crossing from Syria into Iraq, where US, British and other allied occupation troops are trying to prevent Iraq from sliding into civil war.
The United States, backed by Britain, has condemned Syria for supporting the Islamist radical movement Hamas in the Palestinian territories as well as Shiite Muslim Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon.

Lebanon minister shot dead, Hariri son blames Syria By Nadim Ladki
BEIRUT (Reuters) - Lebanese Christian cabinet minister Pierre Gemayel, an outspoken critic of Syria, was assassinated near Beirut on Tuesday, plunging Lebanon deeper into a crisis that threatens to destabilize the country.
At least three gunmen rammed their car into Gemayel's vehicle, then leapt out and riddled it with bullets, firing at Gemayel with silencer-equipped automatic weapons at point-blank range in the Christian Sin el-Fil neighborhood, witnesses said.
Ten bullet holes were seen around the window of the driver's seat of his grey car. The two front seats were soaked in blood.
The son of assassinated former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri blamed Syria for the killing, but Damascus denied it.
Gemayel, 34, was rushed to hospital where he later died of his wounds. Television footage showed hundreds of angry and weeping family members and supporters gathering at the hospital. Angry protesters in the Christian town of Zahle in eastern Lebanon blocked off streets and shouted slogans against Hezbollah and Christian opposition leader Michel Aoun.
The killing is certain to heighten tensions in Lebanon amid a deep political crisis pitting the anti-Syrian majority against the pro-Damascus opposition led by Hezbollah, which is determined to topple what it sees as a pro-U.S. government.
"We believe the hand of Syria is all over the place," Saad al-Hariri, whose father Rafik al-Hariri was killed in a suicide truck bombing last year, said from Beirut shortly after Gemayel was shot dead.
"Syria strongly condemns the killing," the official Syrian news agency SANA said. The Shi'ite group Hezbollah also condemned the "low criminal act" and urged an investigation. Gemayel, elected to parliament in 2000 and again in 2005, is the third Lebanese anti-Syrian figure to be assassinated since former prime minister Hariri's killing in February 2005. Gemayel, industry minister, was a member of the Christian Phalange Party founded by his grandfather and the son of former President Amin Gemayel. His uncle Bashir Gemayel was killed in September 1982 after he was elected president during Israel's invasion of Lebanon.
The Christian Phalange party controlled one of the largest militias fighting in the 1975-1990 Lebanese civil war.
SELF-RESTRAINT
Pierre, like his father and late uncle, was a strong opponent of the influence of Syria, who many Lebanese blame for the assassination of Rafik al-Hariri.
The Phalange Party called on supporters to show self-restraint and foil "attempts to destabilize Lebanon."
Hariri's son Saad, who is parliamentary majority leader, interrupted a news conference to announce the shooting of Gemayel. "They want to kill every free person," he said.U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns said it was a "very sad day for Lebanon." "We were shocked by this assassination. We view it as an act of terrorism and we also view it as an act of intimidation," he said.
Anti-Syrian Christian leader Samir Geagea said on Friday efforts to topple the government could lead to assassination attempts on cabinet ministers.
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.
With Gemayel's death, the resignation or death of two more ministers would bring down Siniora's government.
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.
The depleted cabinet last week approved draft U.N. statutes for a tribunal to try the killers of Hariri despite the resignations of the pro-Syrian ministers.
Many Lebanese blame Syria for the killing of Hariri in a suicide truck bombing last year. Damascus denies involvement. A U.N. commission investigating the assassination has implicated senior Lebanese and Syrian security officials. (Additional reporting by Tom Perry and Yara Bayoumy)


Gunmen Target Michel Pharaon's Beirut Office
Gunmen opened fire Tuesday on the office of a minister of state, his office announced, just hours after the assassination of anti-Syrian minister Pierre Gemayel.
"The office of the state minister for parliamentary affairs, Michel Pharaon, in the Ashrafieh neighborhood was the target of gunshots today from gunmen in a white Suzuki car," it said. "The security forces cordoned off the area and is carrying out the necessary measures to identify the culprits," who fled the scene, it said.
Pharaon is a Greek-Catholic Christian MP from the bloc of anti-Syrian parliamentary majority leader Saad Hariri.(AFP)
Beirut, 21 Nov 06, 18:49


Instability in Lebanon
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Published: November 21, 2006
Following is a timeline of Syrian power in Lebanon, with reporting from The New York Times and Reuters.
APRIL 1975 -- Clashes that are later seen as the start of Lebanon's 15-year civil war erupt in Beirut.
JUNE 1976 -- Syrian troops enter Lebanon to restore peace.
OCTOBER 1976 -- Arab conferences establish a predominantly Syrian peacekeeping force.
JUNE 1982 -- After repeated Palestinian incursions from southern Lebanon, Israel begins a full-scale invasion. The Syrian Army is ousted from Beirut.
SEPTEMBER 1982 -- President-elect Bashir Gemayel was killed when a bomb shattered the headquarters of his Lebanese Christian Phalangist Party in east Beirut. (Go to Article)
MAY 1983 -- Israel and Lebanon sign a peace accord detailing the withdrawal of Israeli troops.
MARCH 1984 -- Under intense pressure from Syria, the Lebanese government cancels its peace agreement with Israel.
MARCH 1989 -- The Maronite Christian leader in Lebanon, Gen. Michel Aoun, declares a ''war of liberation'' against the Syrian presence.
OCTOBER 1989 -- The Lebanese National Assembly takes a step toward ending the civil war by endorsing the so-called Taif Accord, which calls for Syria to pull its troops back to the eastern Bekaa region but does not set a date for a full pullout.
OCTOBER 1990 -- In one of the last moves of the civil war, Syria's Air Force attacks the Lebanese presidential palace, and General Aoun takes refuge in the French Embassy. Through the early 90's, Syrian dominance in the country becomes less overt.
OCTOBER 1998 -- Emile Lahoud, a general who is backed by Syria, is elected president by Parliament.
MAY 2000 -- Israel ends its occupation of southern Lebanon.
DECEMBER 2000 -- In a surprise move, hundreds of Syrian soldiers leave Beirut and settle in the Bekaa region near the border, though thousands still remain in the country.
2003 -- Syria carries out two partial troop withdrawals, in February and July, bringing its force in Lebanon to about 16,000 soldiers, down from about 30,000 troops in mid-2000.
SEPTEMBER 2004 -- Despite criticism from the U.N. Security Council, Parliament bows to Syrian pressure and extends Mr. Lahoud's presidential term by three years.
OCTOBER 2004 -- Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and his cabinet resign in protest over Syria's dominant role in Lebanese government.
DECEMBER 2004 -- A united Lebanese opposition denounces the Syrian presence and calls for a new government. Later, Syria for the first time admits the presence of its secret service in Lebanon and says it will dismantle the operation.
FEBRUARY 2005 -- Mr. Hariri and 14 others are killed in a car bombing in Beirut.
JUNE 2 -- Samir Kassir, journalist opposed to Syria's role in Lebanon, is killed in Beirut by bomb in his car.
JUNE 21 -- George Hawi, a former Communist Party leader and critic of Syria, is killed in Beirut by bomb in his car.
DECEMBER 12 -- Gebran Tueni, a staunchly anti-Syrian member of parliament and Lebanese newspaper magnate, is killed by a car bomb in Beirut.
NOVEMBER 21 -- Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel is killed by gunmen as his convoy drives through the Christian Sin el-Fil neighbourhood of Beirut.

Shia protests rattle nervous Beirut
Tens of thousands of people gathered to protest against Syrian interference in Lebanon
Hundreds of Shia Lebanese have begun demonstrating in Beirut after clerics told their followers that Hasan Nasrallah, the Hezbollah leader, had been 'insulted'. Earlier on Thursday, tens of thousands of Lebanese had demonstrated against Syrian interference following the burial of Pierre Gemayel, the assassinated Christian minister of industry. "Nasrallah don't worry, your Shi'ites can drink blood," the Hezbollah supporters chanted as they marched to block the road leading to Beirut's only airport.  The earlier anti-Syrian protests had infuriated Damascus, a key backer of Beirut.
Hezbollah urges end to protests However the evening's protest did not appear to have been ordered by Hezbollah's leadership.
Speaking to Hezbollah's television station late on Thursday night, Nasrallah appealed to his supporters to immediately their demonstrations.
"I urge them to leave the streets, more than urge, I beg them to leave the streets. We don't want anyone on the streets at all," he said.
"I urge them to leave the streets, more than urge, I beg them to leave the streets"Hasan Nasrallah Leader of Hezbollah
Witnesses reported that Hezbollah cars with loudspeakers had urged the protesters to disperse and go home. Hezbollah members were also reported to have blocked off nearby streets to stop the protests from spreading. Protestors interviewed by Al Jazeera described the demonstrations as a "spontaneous public expression" of anger at "insults" they said had been directed at Nasrallah earlier in the day.
It was unclear precise what had sparked their anger. Earlier in the day Nasrallah did not join leading Sunni, Christian and Druze politicans in calling for an end to foreign - and specifically Syrian - interference in Lebanon. Some have speculated that he was deliberately excluded from the gathering.
The road to the airport passes close to Beirut's mainly Shia southern suburbs, the stronghold of Hezbollah which is Lebanon's largest Shia political movement. Hezbollah threatens new protests Hezbollah, backed by Syria and Iran, had previously threatened to take to the streets to topple the Western-backed government of Fouad Siniora, the prime minister. Ali al-Moqdad, a Hezbollah MP, told Al Jazeera that Hezbollah's protests might continue as early as Sunday when the official three days of mourning for Gemayal ends. "After two days we will go again with our demonstrations," he said on Thursday night.

UN wastes no time adding latest assassination to probe
Compiled by Daily Star staff
Friday, November 24, 2006
UN investigators on Thursday began assisting the Lebanese inquiry into the murder of Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel after the Security Council agreed to a request for help. "We confirm that the commission is complying with the request of the Security Council," said Ashraf Kamal, spokesman for the official UN commission of inquiry into the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
State Prosecutor Said Mirza held a judicial meeting on Thursday attended by Lebanese magistrates and four judges and senior officials from the investigation committee. Internal Security Forces officers from the forensic department also took part in the meeting.
Following the three-hour meeting, participants inspected the crime scene.
The Security Council quickly approved on Wednesday a request from Premier Fouad Siniora for UN help in investigating the assassination.
The council acted just hours after Secretary General Kofi Annan sent a letter informing members of Siniora's request.
"We have decided to respond swiftly," Peruvian UN Ambassador Jorge Voto-Bernales, the current council president, told reporters minutes after signing a letter to Annan approving the assistance. "There was no discussion on this issue. Actually all members agreed on this very quickly."
Argentina's UN ambassador, Cesar Mayoral, said it was very important to start the investigation quickly.
"If you send the letter today, the investigation could start tomorrow," he said.
The UN inquiry led by Belgian Serge Brammertz is already looking into 14 other apparently politically motivated attacks in Lebanon since Hariri's killing, and Brammertz has reported evidence that all 15 cases were linked in some ways.
John Bolton, the acting US ambassador to the United Nations, said Washington hoped the Brammertz investigators could begin helping out on the Gemayel murder "as rapidly as
possible, while the crime scene evidence is still fresh and before obstruction of justice can take place.
"The situation is delicate, it is very fragile, and we should all do whatever we can to support the Lebanese people and the government and encourage them to stand united," Annan told reporters.
In its letter of reply to Annan, the council said it was "determined to support the government of Lebanon in its efforts to bring to justice the perpetrators, organizers, and sponsors of the assassination of Pierre Gemayel and other assassinations."
The council referred to several past resolutions, including one adopted in June that extended the Brammertz commission's mandate for a year and supported technical assistance by the UN commission to the Lebanese government, "as it deems appropriate," in other terrorist attacks.
Council members "therefore invite the commission to extend its technical assistance as appropriate to the Lebanese authorities in this investigation and invite the secretary general to so inform the government of Lebanon" and Brammertz, said the letter, which diplomats said was drafted by the United States and France. - The Daily Star, agencies