Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Pierre Gemayel

Pierre Gemayel was anti-Syrian and pro-Western. He paid for that with his life. This is the fifth murder of an anti-Syrian figure in Lebanon in two years and immediately drew condemnation from all quarters. The United States denounced it as an act of terrorism. President George W. Bush accused Syria and Iran of trying to undermine Lebanon's government but stopped short of blaming them. Syria, too, condemned the assassination and denied any role in it.

In his TV address, Saniora linked Gemayel's slaying to the issue that sparked the crisis with Hezbollah: a plan for an international court, just approved by the UN Security Council, to try suspects in the Hariri assassination. He said Lebanese should rally behind the government's backing for such a court. Anti-Syrian factions allied with the Phalange party have planned a huge turnout for Thursday's funeral in central Beirut, intending to show their strength as they wage a power struggle against Hezbollah and other pro-Syrian parties.
Hezbollah and its Shiite Muslim allies have threatened to call mass demonstrations to topple the government, unless they receive effective veto powers in the cabinet. Saniora's government is dominated by opponents of Syria.

+ Assassins claim Pierre Gemayel in broad daylight. Gunmen also kill 1 bodyguard, wound another and at least 1 bystander +++ The official site of the Authentic Lebanese Forces

"The name Gemayel is inextricably linked to the rightwing Maronite Christian party, the Phalange, founded by his grandfather (also named Pierre) in 1936 and one of the main players in the bloody civil war that gripped Lebanon through the 1970s and 1980s. The Phalange has a controversial legacy from the war, during which it was allied to Israel and struggled to maintain the Maronite Christians' domination of the Lebanese political scene." More

+ Lebanon's Kataeb Party (The Phalange) +++ Christian Falangist Party of America

Attacks in Lebanon Since the 1970s ~ By The Associated Press 11.21.06
Attacks that have targeted prominent Lebanese, most of them opponents of Syria:

_ Feb. 26, 1975: Maarouf Saad, 46, a Sunni former parliament member from Sidon, is shot to death while leading a fishermen's demonstration. His assassination was among the causes of the civil war that broke out April 13, 1975.
_ March 16, 1977: Kamal Jumblatt, 62, a leader of the Druse community, is killed by unidentified gunmen who attack his car in the Druse-controlled Chouf mountains. He was leader of the Nationalist Movement, an alliance of Palestinian, leftist and Muslim groups.
_ June 13, 1978: Tony Franjieh, 34, oldest son of former President Suleiman Franjieh, a Maronite Catholic, is slaughtered at his home in the Cedar Mountain resort of Ehden with his wife, their 3-year-old daughter and 30 aides.
_ Sept. 14, 1982: President-elect Bashir Gemayel, 34, is killed by a bomb that demolished Phalange Party headquarters in Christian east Beirut three weeks after his election.
_ Oct. 7, 1986: Sheikh Subhi Saleh, 60, deputy chairman of the Supreme Islamic Council, the highest Sunni Muslim authority in Lebanon, is shot in Beirut by two masked assassins who escape on motorcycle. The sheikh was an outspoken advocate of coexistence between Lebanon's Muslim and Christian communities.
_ June 1, 1987: Prime Minister Rashid Karami, 64, is killed in an explosion aboard an army helicopter. A Sunni, Karami was serving as prime minister for a 10th time in 32 years. He had been a member of parliament since 1951 and served as a minister in several Cabinets.
_ Aug. 20, 1987: Mohammed Shokair, 70, political adviser to former President Amin Gemayel, is killed by gunmen who storm his home.
_ May 16, 1989: Mufti Sheik Hassan Khalid is killed by a bomb placed in a parked car in Beirut.
_ Sept. 21, 1989: Nazim Kadri, a 74-year-old Sunni lawmaker, is killed by gunmen.
_ Nov. 22, 1989: President Rene Mouawad, 64, is assassinated after only 17 days in office. Mouawad had hoped to form government of national reconciliation.
_ Oct. 21, 1990: Dany Chamoun, a 56-year-old right-wing National Liberal Party leader and a prominent Maronite Christian clan member, is killed along with his wife and two sons at their east Beirut home.
_ Aug. 31, 1995: Sheik Nizar al-Halaby, 43, a founder of the fundamentalist Habashi group, is killed by gunmen.
_ Jan. 24, 2002: Former Lebanese militia leader Elie Hobeika, 45, is killed in a car bombing. Hobeika had offered to testify in a Belgian lawsuit seeking to hold Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon responsible for a massacre of Palestinian refugees.
_ Feb. 14, 2005: Former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, tilting toward the opposition, is assassinated in a massive bombing. Opposition blames Syrian and Lebanese governments, charges both deny.
_ June 2, 2005: Anti-Syrian journalist and activist Samir Kassir is killed by a bomb placed under his car.
_ June 21, 2005: Anti-Syrian politician George Hawi, former Communist Party leader, is killed by a bomb placed under his car.
_ July 12, 2005: Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Elias Murr survives a car bombing that targets his vehicle as he drives on a north Beirut suburban street. Although pro-Syrian, Murr later says he was threatened by Syrian intelligence chief in Lebanon.
_ Sept. 25, 2005: Prominent anchorwoman May Chidiac of the leading anti-Syrian TV station LBC loses an arm and a leg from a bomb placed under her car.
_ Dec. 12, 2005: Gibran Tueni, prominent anti-Syrian newspaper editor and lawmaker, is killed in a car bomb that destroys his vehicle.
_ Nov. 21, 2006: Pierre Gemayel, 34, the industry minister and a prominent Christian politician, is shot to death by gunmen in a Beirut suburb.


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