BREAKING NEWS: Lebanese Christian Leader Pierre Gemayel Assassinated; Syria Suspected; Civil War Looms
Lebanese Christian leader Pierre Gemayel was assassinated today in Beirut. Syria is suspected of being behind the carefully orchestrated attack by gunmen that took the life of the popular anti-Syrian politician. The son of former Lebanese President Amir Gemayel, Pierre Gemayel is the fifth anti-Syrian politician to be killed in the past two years, and the fifth member of his prominent Phalangist family to be murdered.
His uncle, Bashir Gemayel, Bashir, was elected president in 1982, following the Israeli invasion of Lebanon and the expulsion of Yassir Arafat and the Palestinian Liberation Organization. Bashir was expected to advance peace and normal relations between Lebanon and Israel, which have been technically at war since the birth of Israel in May 1948. However, Bashir was assassinated just days before taking office. Two of Amin Gemayel's nephews and Bashir's daughter were killed in the 1970s and 1980s.
Although both Syria and Hezbollah condemned the assassination, many anti-Syrian politicians pointed at Syria as the culprit. Gemayel's death is expected to heighten the already serious confrontation between Hezbollah and the Lebanese government of Prime Minister Fuad Sanoira, in which Pierre Gemayel was a minister. 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.
On November 13, the Hedgehog Blog noted the looming threat from Hezbollah against the Sanoira government. This assassination could be the first move by Hezbollah and its patron Syria to take power in Lebanon. Further analysis of the crisis may be found in the Jerusalem Post online.