Who dun it? Gemayel’s assassination

Great article by Jonathan Cook:

Key allies such as Britain’s Tony Blair are pushing strongly for engagement with Syria, both to further isolate Iran — the possible target of either a US or Israeli strike against its presumed ambitions for nuclear weapons — and to clear the path to negotiations with the Palestinians.

Gemayel’s death, and Syria’s blame for it, strengthens the case of the neoconservatives in Washington — Israel’s allies in the Administration — whose star had begun to wane. They can now argue convincingly that Syria is unreformed and unreformable. Such an outcome helps to avert the danger, from Israel’s point of view, that White House doves might win the argument for befriending Syria.

For all these reasons, we should be wary of assuming that Syria is the party behind Gemayel’s death — or the only regional actor meddling in Lebanon.

COMMENTS FROM THE OLD HC BLOG:

Fringe:

http://blacklistednews.com/view.asp?ID=1392

Bolton Busy Framing Syria for Gemayel Assassination
Published on Saturday, November 25, 2006.

Source: Kurt Nimmo

“John Bolton, the American ambassador to the United Nations, said recent probes into political killings in Lebanon suggested Syrian involvement. He told the BBC that if Syria was deemed to have been involved, the implications were serious.”

It does not matter there is a complete paucity of evidence indicating Syrian involvement. Moreover, it does not matter that Syrian complicity in the murder of Pierre Gemayel makes no sense. Syria figures prominently on the target list. And besides, if not for the meddlesome James Baker, Pierre might still be alive. Baker and crew want Syria involved in talks regarding the future of Iraq—a bleak future, thanks to the United States—an effort the neocons will stop at any cost.

“A few weeks ago the White House took the unprecedented step of saying that Syria and Iran, acting through Hezbollah, were on the verge of staging a coup d’etat against the democratically elected government of Lebanon, and I have to say that this assassination of Pierre Gemayel might well be the first shot in that coup,” thus Syria is “not just a supporter of terrorism but is a state actor in a terrorist fashion,” said Bolton. “I think the United States has to take that into account when it decides whether and to what extent to deal with a country like that.”

Of course, we understand perfectly well the way the neocons want to “deal with” Syria. Last summer, as Israel bogged down in Lebanon, fought to a standstill by Hezbollah, it was reported that Bush wanted the Israelis to attack Syria, but the Israelis “balked at the scheme,” according to Robert Parry of Consortium News. “One Israeli source said Bush’s interest in spreading the war to Syria was considered ‘nuts’ by some senior Israeli officials, although Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has generally shared Bush’s hard-line strategy against Islamic militants.”

Sure it was nuts. After all, it is the job of the United States to attack Israel’s enemies, not the other way around.

“We are continuing with our message that we are not interested in fighting with Syria,” a high-raking IDF officer in the Northern Command told the Jerusalem Post at the time. “The officer said he believed Damascus had been receiving the clear message Israel had been sending its way that it did not want to fight Syria,” even though IDF “officials told the Post … that they were receiving indications from the US that America would be interested in seeing Israel attack Syria.”

In other words, it would be up to the United States to attack Syria.

Neocons “believe that the United States should not be ashamed to use its unrivaled military power to promote its values around the world,” reported the Christian Science Monitor. In other words, the United States should harbor no guilt or moral compunction over slaughtering thousands of innocents, most notably and recently over 600,000 in Iraq alone.

One such neocon is Michael Ledeen, who wrote in July that the “great opportunity” of Israel’s invasion of Lebanon “is to bring down Assad along with destroying Hezbollah,” never mind that Israel was incapable of doing the latter, let alone the former. “There are many Syrians who are ready to act, but the first step toward the removal of Assad is for the president and the secretary of state to call for regime change in Syria.” No doubt Ledeen believes this would be a “cakewalk” similar to the one in Iraq. He envisions Syrians tossing rose petals and corollas of love and appreciation. Of course, instead, the Syrians, even though they dislike the dictator Assad, would fight with the same nationalist determination demonstrated by the Iraqis. Egghead neocons, comfortably ensconced in their think tank offices, seem incapable of understanding such things.

According to the BBC, “the US is in a diplomatic quandary” over the Gemayel assassination. “It seems increasingly likely that a key advisory panel on future strategy in Iraq will suggest bringing in Syria to create a long-term solution to the violence,” even though “the assassination of Mr. Gemayel has made that all the more difficult,” obviously to the delight of the Israelis and neocons who dread any such diplomatic overtures parlayed in the direction of Syria.

“Mr. Bolton says Hezbollah is posing a direct challenge to the successful re-emergence of democracy in Lebanon, and is supported by Syria and Iran,” reports ABC News. Of course, the Bushian version of “democracy” for Lebanon envisions maintenance of the status quo—that is to say the Shi’ites, represented by Hezbollah, are to be locked out of any meaningful participation in the government. “The powerful guerrilla group is threatening to bring down the government with mass protests unless it and its allies get more power,” reports the Chicago Tribune. “Shiites, the largest and poorest of the four groups, are disdained by the elite, and until recently, were virtually disenfranchised by the Lebanese political apparatus,” notes Eric Laursen.

Fouad Siniora demonstrated this contempt for the Shia when he attempted to jerry-rig the political process. “Prime Minister Fouad Siniora has tried to alleviate the crisis [over the international tribunal dealing with the Rafik al-Hariri assassination] by proposing the formation of a 30-member national unity government. The plan was an attempt to strike a balance of power by not awarding the opposition sufficient seats to wield a veto” against the Siniora faction, according to Forbes. In response to this maneuvering, five Shia ministers resigned and Hezbollah expressed its dissatisfaction in the street.

“Hizbullah and its ally, the Free Patriotic Movement have been demanding a bigger say in Prime Minister Fouad Siniora’s Cabinet, dominated by members of the March 14 Forces,” reports the Daily Star. “The anti-Syrian coalition [represented by the March 14 Forces] accuses Syria and its allies in Lebanon, namely Hizbullah, of being behind the series of killings and attacks that have plagued the country since the February 2005 killing of Hariri,” and these events, according to Bolton and the neocons, represent nothing less than a coup d’état, orchestrated by Syria.

Finally, according to the neocon “research” organization, the Middle East Research Institute, famous for mistranslating the speeches of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, citing the anti-Syrian Lebanese daily newspaper al-Nahar, the assassination of Pierre Gemayel was carried out by the “Fighters for the Unity of al-Sham [Greater Syria] and its Liberty.” Sounding oddly like “al-Qaeda in Iraq,” the alleged communiqué made obligatory references to Allah and promised retribution against “those who unceasingly spouted their venom against Syria and against the Resistance,” that is to say Hezbollah. “We crossed out this agent [Pierre Gemayel] from the list of our targets, and sooner or later we will pay the rest of the agents their due.”

Naturally, prior to the assassination of Pierre Gemayel, nobody heard of this shadowy terrorist group, and a Google search returns precisely four results, all connected to the assassination.

Obviously, the Mossad and the Pentagon, the latter through P2OG operations, are as busy in Lebanon as they are in Iraq.

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