Change of Pattern in Political Assassinations in Lebanon related to Brammertz's Progress on the Initial Ones

Brian Whitaker from The Guardian is to my knowledge the only one who pointed out in his article 'The Smoking Gun' the relevance of the recent change in the method of political assassinations in Lebanon to the 'Who Did It' question:

''Spot the odd one out. Gemayel's killing was the only one that involved a gun. All the other attacks used explosives. In a report to the UN on June 10, Brammertz explained why, in his view, the first 15 cases were connected: there was linkage by motive and linkage by modus operandi.''
...''The modus operandi is much more problematic. Gemayel was followed, his car was rammed, then he and his bodyguard were shot at close range, apparently with silenced guns. The killer, or killers, then vanished. In most countries we would assume it was a professional hit job."

Then Whitaker examines under this perspective the links between the change of method and the progress UN commissioner Serge Brammertz has been making in the Hariri investigation recently" See Brammertz June and September reports.

The reports were not much publicised, contrary to the previous commissioner Mehlis reports, because they are based mostly on technical progress in the investigation rather than on empty accusations as Mehlis used to do when releasing his reports. Brammertz has been conducting his investigation like a maestro, in an real independant manner, unhampered by paid for lies, pressures, passions, attempts of blockades and acquaintances with high profile people from the March 14th movement. Is it because Brammertz comes from the country of Hercule Poirot ? Reading the reports one senses immediately that the man is into something.

''On reading the report, anyone involved in the earlier attacks might easily have concluded they were too complex for safety, giving far too many clues away in the planning stages. A straightforward shooting (almost impossible in the case of a highly protected figure like Hariri but practicable in the case of Gemayel) might therefore be a wiser option.''

And Whitaker concludes...nothing, merely that even if we should not exclude Syria we should also look at other possibilities.

I conclude that self protection might not have been the sole motive for a change of strategy. The other motive for a change of strategy might have been to confuse in two main ways, one internal, and the other external. Indeed by including in the mandate of the UN commission an additional assassination different in its planning and execution from the others , and the March 14th movement was quick in asking to inlcude the latest one, one can produce two or more intended or non intended effects on the Lebanese and international political scenes:

1- The change in the pattern of the killings, from planned bombings involving a group to what appears to be a hit job, signals a desire to continue to kill without giving further evidence to the continuing UN investigation by ending the initial trail followed by Brammertz , at least for this new assassination. Also, as Brammertz was pursuing two hypothseses, the group hypothesis and the isolated individuals hypothesis, the killers this time appear as if trying to avoid consolidating the group hypothesis. The group hypothesis means ramifications not only horizontal but also vertical in the planning of the assassinations.

2-Another effect of the new method used to assassinate Pierre Gemmayel is to point the accusation this time to parties inside Lebanon within the Christian camp. Indeed, this time the assassination took place in the heart of the Christian area. The fact that all the pressure was this time on Aoun confirms some shift of focus inside the March 14th movement from the outside, us against them, to the inside, 'Are you with them or with us ?'. People from March 14th are angry about Aoun because they feel that without him Hezbollah would be weaker.

3- By adding other paths of investigation to the initial one in which all assassinations were connected and the connections producing valuable informations like in a serial killer case, the other effect is not only to stop the trail of the initial investigation but also to weaken it by distributing its internal resources on a wider and less coherent network. Brammertz's team was not sufficient for the job he was asked to do even after the UN consented to add personnel to the team recently. There was and still acute shortage of personnel to conduct the UN investigation. Another close objective would be to slow the investigation on the initial assassinations in order to gain time.

From the above and within this context of analysis, it is easy to draw conclusions on who the perpetrators of Pierre Gemmayel might be:

-They are probably the same as those who started the recent (since Rafiq Hariri) political assassinations in lebanon;
-They have extensive knowledge of the inner workings of the UN investigation and are close to the evidence Brammertz has been gathering and know probably where it will be leading.

I will let you draw the conclusions but I really fear where this ugly political game might lead.

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Since March 29th 2006