21.9.07

Political Assassinations In Lebanon: Elementary my dear Watson ?

I was thinking about the latest assassination in Lebanon. What continues to puzzle me, as much as this assassination and the previous ones, is the reaction of March 14th movement, the movement that is the target of the assassinations after the death of Rafiq Hariri.
The reaction has the following scheme:
- Fingers publicly pointed at Syria;
- Appeal for help from the international community.
Generally, the immediate after murder condemnation comes from the US, president or department of state, never lower than that.
This pattern has been going crescendo at each assassination.
I don't consider this as an approach to finding the truth which should be the normal approach in such situations. I call this a gross instrumentalisation of the assassinations.

I am not including in these reactions the actual huge street protests in Beirut that led to the ousting of the Syrian army from Lebanon after the assassination of Rafiq Hariri that took place before the famous March 14th, 2005 protests, and which included protesters who followed a divergent path since, like general Michel Aoun's supporters.

The protests before March 14th, 2005 against the Syrian presence in Lebanon were mostly genuine, joined by people across the multiple sectarian divides which exist in Lebanon. It is only on March 14th that we saw the emergence of hi-tech politically planned street protests in Lebanon meant to influence, not only Lebanese and international public opinions, but also the course of the political process in Lebanon. And I think the name for March 14th is very adequate in this regard because it is on March 14th, 2005 that some people felt that political assassinations and the following protests are something that can pay off beyond their immediate impact.

What became different also from March 14, 2005 and on is the profile of the Politicians targeted. From high profile like Rafiq Hariri, assassinations started to target either low profile politicians or politicians who are not in the core of the March 14th movement. I will call them March 14th periphery politicians. Of course the Gemayels, a prominent Christian family and militia, were hit by the assassinations. But here again, the Gemayels still are periphery because they have a very low impact within the movement itself. The core of March 14th are Saad Hariri, Walid Jumblatt, and Samir Gea'gea.

Moreover, the fact that March 14th's core leaders were never interested in alternative explanations, serious investigations on the assassinations that followed Hariri's (even though they asked that later assassinations should be included in the UN commission mandate on the assassination of Hariri), national dialogue or reconciliation, makes their claims, after each assassination, less credible. We are told that Syria is doing the assassinations and we are not told what actions the Lebanese government and March 14th are making to investigate or stop the assassinations other than their constant appeal to the international community. The Lebanese government is showing how much powerless and incompetent it is in stopping a string of assassinations targeting its own majority and want us at the same time to trust it.

I challenge March 14th to come up with a logical explanation for the assassinations other than Syria attempting to reduce the majority of March 14th. But if that's the case why not assassinate this majority at once and in a short time since nobody seems to be able or willing to identify the perpetrators or to stop them ? If nothing can stop them why not do the job in a short time and more efficient way, instead of following the 'Little Thumb' scenario leaving a trail of evidence ? A trail bizzarrely no one from March 14th seems to be willing to uncover or prove to strenghten their accusations ? Why is it taking Syrians so long, more than two years and going on now, to get rid of this 'anti-Syrian' (Pro-US I would say is more accurate) Lebanese 'majority' ?

Saad Hariri, as smart as he is, came up with this explanation of the latest assassination: Syria killed Ghanem in retaliation to the recent Israeli bombing of Syria ! Recognising hereby that March 14th are Israel's implicit allies while at the same time launching a not so implicit appeal to Israel to retaliate for Ghanem by striking Syrian territory. Lebanese Politicians were always good at one thing, not dialogue, not politics, not serving the people, not even war; they were always good at asking for foreign help. And the help comes now right away in the form of foreign interference from the US calling on opposition MPs who were going to boycott the presidential elections to reverse their decision.

The press release of the US embassy in Beirut reads:
"We hope that the shock of MP Ghanem's murder will persuade those Members of Parliament who were threatening to use a boycott of the presidential elections to honor the memory of their slain colleague by showing up for presidential elections as scheduled."

In all this we are left only with Holmesian logical deductions to untangle the mystery behind these assassinations if we reject the Syria hypothesis, at least for the assassinations that took place after Hariri died. But the Lebanese government and March 14th don't want us to resort to logic, they want us to swallow whatever they say as absolute truth without even attemting to shed a single light on this 'truth'. A Holmesian deduction one can make of the assassination pattern after the assassination of Rafiq Hariri in 2005 is that, even though we still aren't sure who killed Rafiq Hariri, it is clear that subsequent killings are different (I wrote about this when Pierre Gemayel was assassinated) and they have some of these goals or all of them at once:

Maintaining the outrage against Syria alive;
Preventing any internal dialogue in Lebanon and preventing any reasonable alternative to confrontation;
'Cleaning' the peripehry of the March 14th movement from potential challengers to its core or potential shifters. This is on the internal level where we are witnessing something bearing some resemblance to the Ten Little Indians scenario.
On the external level, regional and international, the pattern, as glanced at from Saad Hariri's remark, is nothing else than a build-up to more wars in the region and more divides. To Which March 14th are applauding, as if Lebanon and Lebanese did not already suffer from this dirty game before.

"...it is clear that the Arab region is undergoing yet another round of internationally-sponsored violence and perhaps even partition, redrawing the regional map along the line fantasized by some neocons. The objective of such policy is to establish a string of "pro-US" (and neoliberal) regimes across the region and punish the "bad guys," those state (e.g., Iran, Syria) or non-state (e.g., Hizbullah, Hamas) actors who reject Pax Americana and Israeli regional hegemony."

Elementary, my dear Watson.

4 comments:

Dany said...

Watson has a question:
All the goals that the core decision makers of March 14th want to achieve seem to me better to achieve through the assassination of Michel Aoun. Would they care for a rise of his popularity? where? in Syria? in the USA? Is he beyond reach? in Rabie? Perhaps!

Sophia said...

Dany,

I am not accusing anyone. I am drawing some conclusions. According to my conclusions, Aoun's assassination wouldn't serve the external goals. They cannot accuse Syria of assassinating Aoun because they already labelled him as pro-Syrian.

Ibn Bint Jbeil said...

ten little indians..

wow..

i see it clearly; i wonder what saad, walid and samir think of each other in private, and what each of them would like to happen to the other to, politically or otherwise, and when and under what circumstances.

Sophia said...

Ibn Bint Jbeil,
Soemtimes, litterature describes reality better than anything else.

 
Since March 29th 2006