Michael Totten provides some insightful analysis of the recent assassination of Lebanese Christian politician Pierre Gemayel. Gemayel was gunned down in Beirut earlier today, in what Totten describes as an attempt to destabilize the Lebanese government. The Foreign Policy blog states that this assassination will prevent the cabinet from achieving a quorum and it appears that another Cabinet member has been targeted today already.
Someone wants the current Lebanese government to fall. Gemayel’s party was against Hizballah, so it could have been them. Certainly Syria has been manipulating Lebanese politics via assassination for some time — their fingerprints are all over the murder of Rafik Hariri.
Sooner or later the tensions will become unbearable and Lebanon will likely fall back into civil war. It’s a tragedy, as the country was just getting over their last devastating war. So long as Syria remains with their claws dug in to the back of the Lebanese state, the situation isn’t going to get much better.
I like Totten’s approach — we should send a high-explosive notice to Bashar Assad and ensure that the Syrians understand very well the price of their actions in Lebanon. Syria is presenting a problem on two fronts: they’re funding the terrorism plaguing Iraq and they are manipulating the situation in Lebanon to their benefit. So long as the world remains unwilling to confront Syria over these actions, the situation in both countries is likely to only get worse.