November 21, 2006 | Counterterrorism Blog

Response to the Terrorist Assassination of Pierre Gemayel

The 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 produced by 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 implemetation 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 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 an 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” of its members.

2) This assassination aims at intimidating civil society from mobilizing against the pro-Syrian campaign.

In response, 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.

[Adapted from comments to al Hurra TV.]

Dr Walid Phares is a senior fellow with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.



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