June 14, 2007

Assad's Gambit


From FOX News: National Day of Mourning Declared in Lebanon After Anti-Syrian Lawmaker Assassinated.

Tens of thousands of mourners marched in a funeral procession Thursday for a prominent anti-Syrian legislator killed by a car bomb in a new blow to the stability of Lebanon.

Lawmaker Walid Eido was killed Wednesday as the government began putting together a U.N.-ordered international tribunal to try suspects in the killing of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in Beirut two years ago _ a move strongly opposed by Syria and its allies in Lebanon.

Eido was a prominent supporter of the tribunal and a close friend of Hariri. He is the seventh anti-Syrian figure killed in Lebanon in the past two years, starting with the February 2005 death of Hariri in a suicide car bombing less than a mile from Wednesday's attack. Many Lebanese have accused Syria of being behind the slayings, a claim Damascus denies.

Prime Minister Fuad Saniora called for an emergency meeting of Arab foreign ministers and the international community to assist in the investigation of Eido's assassination near a popular waterfront promenade in Beirut.

The slaying was likely to further inflame Lebanon's bitter power struggle between Saniora's Western-backed government and its Syrian-backed opponents, led by the Hezbollah militant group. ...

President Bush _ a major Saniora ally _ condemned the bombing and pledged "the United States will continue to stand up for Lebanon, its people, and its legitimate government as they face these attacks."

Bush noted the victims of the spate of attacks "have always been those who sought an end to Syrian President (Bashar) Assad's interference in Lebanon's internal affairs."

A few weeks back, before this latest assassination, Amir Taheri wrote about the UN's failures regarding the Hariri assassination: Lebanon is on the brink.

Talk to anyone familiar with the UN's investigation into the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri and you will hear the same message: it is an open and shut case! And, yet some are stirring trouble, including the current fighting in northern Lebanon, to put the whole issue on the backburner.

Serge Brammertz, the European judge who heads the investigation, says he has more than enough evidence to initiate prosecution against those he has identified as suspects. ...

And yet, the UN Security Council, which ordered the investigation soon after Hariri's murder in February 2005, is still undecided whether or not to bring the perpetrators to justice.

UPDATE: Ouch! We made a dumb typo in the cartoon, which has now been fixed. We had "You're move" instead of "Your move." I struggled with this idea (not uncommon) and obviously dropped the ball on something simple. Thanks to everyone who caught the error and notified us, including Mark Eagleton, Barbara Hallahan, Payton Quackenbush, Tim, Jon A. Klein, and Aaron.

Posted by Forkum at June 14, 2007 04:16 PM