Gemayel Assassination: Were Syria and Iran Really Involved?

November 23, 2006

The murder of Pierre Gemayel has the United States pointing fingers at Syria, even Iran, for jeopardizing the country’s independence.

Syria’s withdrawal from Lebanon and the elections which took place last year was seen as a positive step in the middle east. It was also hailed as a regional success of US Foreign Policy. The assassination of one of the winners of that election, Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel, has put the country on the brink of a political crisis. Hezbollah, the influential political organization in Lebanon, has been criticizing the government for weeks and the government has now been truly weakened. The question is whether the government can survive this crisis or whether Hezbollah will step in: it is no secret that the organization has aspirations to govern the country due to what it deems as the government’s inability to do so. Hezbollah has a lot of support and influence, which was strengthened this summer after its successful standoff with Israel.

The reason that Syria being accused is because Hezbollah and Syria have been linked, especially financially. However, it is not clear who murdered Gemayel and if Hezbollah or Syria had anything to do with it. In fact, it simply is not in Syria’s interest to contract an assasination, because it does not need this finger-pointing, especially with the recent publication of the results of the probe into the murder of Rafik Hariri.

Iran has been an ally of Syria since the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s and the two countries have found ways to cooperate, despite their differing religious views.

While Hezbollah, Syria or Iran may have been involved in the murder, there is no evidence to say that they were. After all, Lebanon’s domestic scene has been less-than-stable and a rival faction in the Lebanese government could have been involved, without outside influence.

It is not in the interests of Iran or Syria to have an unstable Lebanon. Syria has spent years bringing stability back to the country — its presence there was initially a welcome one both by Lebanon and the US — and after withdrawing its troops last year, it has no interest in going back to avert a civil war. Furthermore, Iran and Syria now have an opportunity to play key regional roles in Iraq. Tony Blair of Britain has talked of bringing in the two states to bring stability back to Iraq, a plan which may be supported by the Iraq Study Group, commissioned by President Bush. Iran has, in fact, already taken the lead in playing a role in Iraq by proposing a three-way summit between Iraq, Syria and Iran.

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2 Responses to “Gemayel Assassination: Were Syria and Iran Really Involved?”

  1. Robert Says:

    I read and report (TheWeekInCongress.com) on these maddening resolutions largely from Rep Ileana Ros Lethinen (R-FL) and Tom Lantos (D-CA) in which Iran is vilified and then came the ‘anlaysis’ of the ‘threat’ written by, of all people, a CIA employee attached to a policy committtee on Capitol Hill (Remember fixing the intelligence around the policy?)

    It is of great concern to me that this administration with largely nothing to lose could attack Iran. Your article here makes sense and is a bit reassuring. Thanks for that.

    Robt McElroy


  2. Thanks Robert. I’ll keep an eye out on theweekincogress.com. I actually wasn’t aware of the website, but it looks like an excellent resource.

    Dmitri


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