Yet another crisis in Lebanon?

As Australia and US prepare to increase troopReuters photo of car of Lebanese Industry Minister numbers in Iraq…the Lebanese Industry Minister, Pierre Gemayel, was assassinated this morning (22nd November 2006).

It was the assassination of his uncle (Bashir Gemeyal) in the early 1980’s after the Israeli invasion was used  as a pretext to take over Beirut after the Palestinian  resistance forces had left.

Both Gemayel’s were leaders of the Maronite Christian Phalange whose militia massacred the undefended refugees at Sabra and Chatilla (in Beirut) under Israeli military supervision.

Who is behind today’s assassination is unclear and perhaps will never be revealed.

Security services of many countries (US, Israel, France, Syria, Iran, etc) have extensive networks in Lebanon. It is Lebanese destiny that many of the power plays of the region are played out there.

There are certainly some big powerplays going on in the Middle East:

  • Syria recognising the Iraq government; and,
  • Talks between the goverments of Syria, Iran, and Iraq

This occurs as it becomes clear to all that the US is on the retreat politically (for the time being, at least).

Bush has replied to the assassination with a verbal attack on “Syria, Iran, and allies”. Predictable.

Gemayel’s father has called for calm. Less predictable. Who killed his son must be unclear.

Hezbollah have condemned the assassination.

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