Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Lebanon Pleads for Help

Desperate times, and all that.

Two ministers go, the government falls. Meanwhile, the UN "Special Tribunal" looms--if Lebanon approves.

Which She can't do if her government loses quorum, which it holds by two ministers.

The Times of London has more:

The Lebanese Prime Minister asked the UN yesterday to help to find the killer of Pierre Gemayel, as the Christian minority prepared to bury the latest prominent anti-Syrian figure to be assassinated in the country.

Fouad Siniora, the embattled Western-backed leader, made the request as his Government fought off collapse and the country’s 20-month political troubles moved towards a possible climax. His call came a day after the UN Security Council endorsed the creation of an international court to try political assassins in Lebanon.

The court will also handle 14 related assassinations and terrorist attacks aimed at prominent critics of Syrian influence in Lebanon, and could extend its jurisdiction to Mr Gemayel’s murder as well.

Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary-General, told the Security Council that Mr Siniora had “requested technical assistance for the Government of Lebanon’s efforts to investigate the murder of Mr Gemayel” and asked for UN investigators to “be in touch with the relevant Lebanese authorities”. Diplomats said, however, that Russia might try to block a UN role.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish Prime Minister, used Mr Gemayel’s assassination to issue an impassioned plea to Arab states to send peacekeepers to the UN force in south Lebanon. “The Middle East is simmering. There are calls to do something about it but are you going to just sit on the sidelines like a spectator? Are you going to just give out advice?” In Beirut, the Government cancelled Independence Day celebrations and streets in the city were deserted as anxious Lebanese observed three days of mourning for Mr Gemayel.

Why do I get the feeling that the SC will drag its feet?

Oh, that's right: because Iran will want Russia and China to do so.

Perhaps they'll abstain. Perhaps. But don't color me hopeful on that score. Iran's alliance with Syria ensures that they want Lebanon's government to fall. A UN Special Tribunal will prove Syrian involvement in assassination of anti-Syrian politicians. That finding will nail the coffin of Syria's dominance over Lebanon shut for good. The Mullahcracy won't let that happen.

The US and the Europeans on the SC had better find a way to get Russia and China to behave. The tribunal must proceed. That means Lebanon's government must stand.

How seriously will the West fight for Lebanon? The time of decision looms.