Ghanem assassination – update

Naharnet (admittedly not always the most reliable source of information – see a previous post) reports that Antoine Ghanem had been staying in ‘a safe haven’ in Abu Dhabi and only returned to Lebanon two days ago. Naharnet quotes ‘a friend of the victim speaking on condition of anonimity’ to whom he is supposed to have confided that ‘I face the threat of assassination. They want to kill me to open the door for by-elections to choose a candidate from Michel Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement’. Ghanem’s constituency, still according to Naharnet, includes ‘Hizbullah’s stronghold in the southern suburbs of Beirut’. Which, if it is the case, begs the question of how he managed to get elected there in the first place…

Another interesting detail revealed by the same source: Ghanim was accompanied in his car (and to his death) not only by the driver of his ‘black Chevrolet sedan’, but also by an ‘unidentified person sitting next to Ghanem on the back seat’… How about that for a nice vague little statement to open up an entire vista of speculations…

Both Marwan Hamadeh (he of the telecommunications ministry) and Walid Junblatt (he of the everchanging alliances) have by now appeared on tv to accuse the Syrian regime and its Lebanese allies of the assassinations. No surprises there, though I have to admit that after 7 weeks in Lebanon, that I am not as sceptical about that claim as I was before I came here. It’s not like I ever thought the dictatorial regime of al-Assad would be ‘morally above this kind of act’, they’re obviously not, but the string of assassinations just doesn’t seem to be in their interest – it forced their troops out of the country and continues to ‘isolate’ them (from the west anyway) on an international level, whereas other parties, who are certainly not ‘morally above this kind of act’ either, continue to profit. I am still not entirely convinced, as many people here routinely blame virtually everything that goes wrong in the country on either ‘the Palestinians’ or ‘the Syrians’ (and frequently on both in the same breath) but I have by now heard this claim from Lebanese belonging to virtually every faction and ideological side imaginable, from fascist phalangists to communist PFLP-supporters and all the way to disinterested foreign journalists. So, well, I just don’t know – any more than anybody else apart from those who actually do these things and those who commission or order them to…

In fact, the excellent Beirut Spring (which I mentioned in a previous post) has a good assessment on the two opposing theories, linking to anti-Syrian and opposition blogs.


2 thoughts on “Ghanem assassination – update

  1. Non of it makes sense to semi reasonable person. And we won’t ever know who was behind these bombings (the variety of persons that were behind). i tend to agree that it seems that it would have been counterproductive fro the opposition and by extension Syria, especially because the M14 reactions can be predicted like a clock. And so what bothers me most is this implicit assumption that they are utterly unreasonable players. Which is not to say that they were not behind this, but then who doesn’t have dirty hands of those involved in the affairs of this country.

    also very nice post about Becharre.


  2. Bart,

    a titre d’information: the reasons why a Christian can get elected in an area that includes the Dahiye are:

    1) the Dahiye is part of the heavily Christian Mount Lebanon electoral district, not Beirut;
    2) Most of the Shia living in the Dahiye are still registered in their villages in the South, while most of the Christians who used to live there are still registered there even if they haven’t lived their for a generation. E.g. the mayor of Haret Hreik is a Christian.

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