Monday, December 12, 2005

Another Anti-Syria MP Assassinated

He arrived in Beirut after years of exile in Paris. Less than twenty-four hours in the nation of his birth--and his heart, Lebanese newspaper magnate and anti-Syrian legislator Gebran Tueni is murdered. Any guesses who put out the hit? Didn't think so! Reuters has the story here.
Several politicians blamed Syria and Prime Minister Fouad Siniora said he would ask the U.N. Security Council to investigate a series of attacks that have rocked Lebanon since the February 14 killing of former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri.

A United Nations report said Syria had hindered an international investigation into Hariri's murder and that five Syrian officials questioned by the U.N. in Vienna were suspects.

Syria denies any role in the attacks and said the latest killing was timed to smear it.

Police said Tueni, publisher of the An-Nahar daily newspaper, was among four people killed in the explosion that destroyed his armoured vehicle in the Mekalis area of mainly Christian east Beirut. More than 30 people were wounded.

The bodies of Tueni, 48, his driver and a bodyguard were found in the vehicle, charred beyond recognition. Assault rifles and military bags lay beside them.

Security sources said a parked car packed with up to 100 kg (220 lb) of dynamite was detonated remotely as Tueni's car passed, hurling it into another street.

The United States condemned the murder and demanded Damascus stop interfering in the neighbor it had dominated until April.

"Syrian interference in Lebanon continues, and it must end completely," said U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. "His death is a vicious act of terror against a Lebanese patriot and a voice of freedom. That voice will not be silenced."
Captain Ed says what I'd like to say far better than I can manage:
The Syrians must pay for their transgressions in Lebanon. Clearly, the threat of further UN investigations has not terrified them into stopping their assassinations of hostile Lebanese politicians. The Americans and the French must demand a complete withdrawal by the Assad regime of both Lebanon and Iraq of Syrian intelligence personnel immediately. Any failure to comply should be met with a couple of shots across the bow -- perhaps a nighttime air raid that takes out the Syrian air force as a starting point, just to get Assad's attention. It's time to start looking at the next state sponsor of Islamist terrorism and clearly a direct actor in international terror themselves.
If the powers of the West allow Syria to continue terrorizing the Lebanese with impunity, they will undermine any effort they make to oppose terrorism anywhere. How long will it be before Syria then reasserts open domination of Lebanon? Or for Hezbollah to instigate atrocities in Israel? Or for Syrian-supported murderers to open a new front of bloodshed in Iraq?

The world can't afford to stand for Bassad's recklessness. It's time to send the last Baathist a message: his time has passed. If he refuses to cease his murderous sponsership of regional terrorism, then the world had better make certain he can no longer do so. Period!