Assad's Terrorist War Continues
No sooner had I finished my post below that I heard the breaking news from Lebanon. A new car bomb in Beirut has so far claimed 5 lives and a number of injured.
The bomb is said to have targeted Future Movement MP Walid Eido of the March 14 movement. It seems he was murdered. (Update: Indeed, Eido, his son and two bodyguards were all killed.)
This is a continuing pattern by the terrorist Assad of targeting the majority's MPs.
There were warnings about the resumption of assassinations by the terrorist Syrian regime. They were apparently right.
Update: Here's Assad's assassination math:
When the Syrian regime killed Pierre Gemayyel and tried to kill minister Michel Pharaon on the same day (and failed), their calculation was to kill enough ministers to automatically topple the government for lack of quorum. When that failed, they sought to get veto power within the cabinet.
There seems to be a similar calculation to strip March 14 of its parliamentary majority.
After the murder of Gemayyel, who was also an MP, Lahoud refused to sign the decree to hold new elections to fill his seat. Expect the same now. Gemayyel's seat is still vacant to this day. Prior to Gemayyel's assassination, a March 14 MP in Aleyh died of natural causes and was replaced by an independent MP. Now Eido was killed. Prior to his murder, the Syrians directly threatened an Alawite MP in Akkar who was aligned with March 14. He preferred not to be killed, and announced he was leaving the coalition.
So, where does that leave us? March 14 started with 72 MPs out of 128. They have now technically lost four, bringing their number to 68. If they lose 4 more, they will lose the simple (50+1) majority and thus the ability to elect a President (a top priority for Syria) or pass anything in parliament for that matter as long as Emile Lahoud remains in office.
This is not to mention that this assassination comes three days after the tribunal went into effect and one day after the UNSC condemned Syria's violation of UNSCR 1559. The message they wish to project? Syria will continue killing and terrorizing until it gets what it wants: full control over Lebanon and the termination of the tribunal. This is a war against the international community, not just Lebanon.
Expect four more attempts, at least, against March 14 MPs prior to Lahoud's departure.
In a related development, Syria's Islamist tool and al-Qaeda sympathizer Fathi Yakan threatened to take arms against the state. Given that Yakan is a tool of the Syrians (albeit politically insignificant), this is basically all but yet another open declaration of an all-out war by the Assad regime against Lebanon. In fact, as I hope to post later, I am now convinced that Yakan was and is an integral part of the plan the Syrians sought to achieve in the north through Fateh al-Islam. They were taken aback by the reaction of the state, but Yakan may just have tipped their hand.
The fact that the Syrians have to rely on nobodies like Yakan shows that they no longer have the ability to determine political outcome in Lebanon. They only possess terrorist violence that is still failing to affect political reality in Lebanon, and it's not going to make the Chapter VII tribunal or the investigation go away. It shows how weak, anxious and bankrupt this regime is in Lebanon.
Addendum: To add to my last graph, as well as recall a recent post of mine which makes many of the same points, read the following by Michael Young:
Tough times lie ahead, and Lebanon's crises are nowhere near their end. The Syrians are reinforcing the military positions of their Palestinian clients in the Bekaa Valley, inside Lebanese territory. However, the structures of Syrian power in the country have never been so brittle, with violence the only weapon Syria can deploy. And for once the Lebanese and their military and security forces are as one against such violence.
Update 2: President Bush issued a statement on today's assassination:
I strongly condemn today's assassination of Lebanese Member of Parliament Walid Eido, who was murdered along with his son, two bodyguards, and a number of others.
There has been a clear pattern of assassinations and attempted assassinations in Lebanon since October 2004. Those working for a sovereign and democratic Lebanon have always been the ones targeted. The victims have always been those who sought an end to Syrian President Asad's interference in Lebanon's internal affairs.
The United States will continue to stand up for Lebanon, its people, and its legitimate government as they face these attacks. The Special Tribunal for Lebanon must be allowed to do its work, so that those behind the assassination of former Prime Minister Hariri and related crimes can be brought to justice. The assault on Lebanese state institutions by terrorists and armed extremists, cross-border arms trafficking, and efforts by the regimes in Damascus and Tehran to foment instability in Lebanon must stop now.
We ask for the international community to support the Lebanese government as it investigates this latest assault on its democracy. The perpetrators of these political assassinations must be brought to justice, and we all have an obligation to help the Government of Lebanon identify, investigate, and prosecute these killers.
Earlier today, An-Nahar reported that Asst. Sec. Nicholas Burns held Damascus responsible for supporting Fateh al-Islam and of standing behind all attempts to destabilize Lebanon.