The latest update from Lebanon, it would seem the people of Lebanon are ready to fight the terrorist that invaded their country "Hezbollah" may you be toast in short order. Syria find another hobby.
Fears of Civil Strife Rise in Lebanon
Christian Cabinet Member Pierre Gemayel, Killed by Gunmen, Was Critic of Syria
By Anthony Shadid (external - login to view)
Washington Post Foreign Service
Wednesday, November 22, 2006; Page A01
BEIRUT, Nov. 21 -- One of Lebanon's (external - login to view)
most pronounced political crises in a generation slid into bloodshed Tuesday when assailants showered gunfire on a car carrying an anti-Syrian politician and scion of the country's most prominent Christian family, killing him and a bodyguard and pushing Lebanon a step closer to civil strife.
The assassination of Pierre Gemayel, a divisive figure in a country riven by sectarian tension, underlined the lack of red lines in the escalating struggle over Lebanon's political future that has followed this summer's war between Hezbollah and Israel (external - login to view)
. The struggle is crucial not only to the often zero-sum calculations of Lebanese politics but also to the regional ambitions of the United States, Iran (external - login to view)
, Syria and Israel.
"We will not allow assassins to control Lebanon's destiny and its people's future," Prime Minister Fouad Siniora said.
The shots along a busy street that killed Gemayel, the industry minister, reverberated across Beirut as dusk fell. In the city's Shiite Muslim south, where Gemayel was among the most reviled of Christian politicians, occasional gunfire erupted in celebration and some residents expressed satisfaction at his death. Across town, in Christian East Beirut, his supporters set fires in protest along usually busy intersections, sending smoke eddying over emptied streets. At the hospital where he was taken, scores gathered in the lobby and parking lot. Some hurriedly spoke into phones. Their eyes red, women sobbed and men wailed with grief.
"We want revenge!" a few shouted. "We want revenge!"
"I have one wish," Gemayel's father, former president Amin Gemayel, told them after nightfall, "that tonight be a night of prayer to contemplate the meaning of this martyrdom and how to protect this country. I call on all those who appreciate Pierre's martyrdom to preserve his cause and for all of us to remain in the service of Lebanon. We don't want reactions and revenge."
As he left, the crowd shouted, "Amin, don't frown! If you want soldiers, we'll don their uniforms."
Gemayel, a 34-year-old father of two and an up-and-coming politician, was killed when his car was ambushed by men from one or two cars that collided with it in the suburban neighborhood of Jdeideh. At least three gunmen opened fire with automatic weapons equipped with silencers, hitting him in the head and chest, officials said. Television footage showed the tinted driver's-side window pocked with at least eight shots and the glass on the passenger's side shattered. The silver sedan's hood was crumpled from the collision.
Doctors said Gemayel was dead when he arrived at the hospital, and his bodyguard later succumbed to his wounds.
Foreign leaders and officials across the Lebanese divide were unanimous in condemning the assassination. President Bush called for an international investigation to "identity those people and those forces behind the killing."
Gemayel's allies were quick to put his killing in the context of a series of assassinations that followed the death of former prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri in a car bombing in February 2005, a turning point in Lebanese politics that led to the departure of Syrian troops from the country. Gemayel's supporters blamed Syria for his death, as they did with Hariri's and the subsequent assassinations of three other anti-Syrian figures. Gemayel, though, was the first killed since Hariri to have an organized and fervent following.
The Syrian government, in a statement carried by its news agency, denied any role in Gemayel's death, as it has in the previous killings.