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Monday, December 12, 2005 

Jubran Tueni killed one day before the Mehlis verdict

In the biggest and most important assasination since the killing of Rafiq Al-Hariri, Jubran Tueni was killed by a car bomb this morning in East Beirut.

Coming just a day before the UN Security Council discusses Syria, a massively prominent figure in Lebanon's anti-Syria camp has been killed. He was editor of An-Nahar, the right-wing Beirut daily newspaper, as well as being a Beirut MP in Hariri's Future bloc.

It's questionable how much actual harm he did to Syria, acting more as an angry journo than political activist. But his killing is bar far the most prominent since February 14th. So the question is - was Syria responsible?

There are echoes with the attempted murder of May Shidiac days before Mehlis's first report. She is an 'anti-Syrian' talk-show host on LBC.

So why are celebrities being targetted? Why not the henchmen of the political right? The question is - if Syria was responsible, why not target someone with more influence, and more power on the ground, instead of spokesmen and women.

And if you've made embarrasing compromises to placate the UN and the international community - why target these very obvious 'enemies' one day before the UN Security Council is due to discuss your future?

Today's murder raises the very real question that many in Lebanon and Syria have suspected for months - that the new era of political assasinations has nothing to do with Syria (why did Syria suddenly start on Feb 14th 2005?). Rather, it is an event to set the scene for tomorrow's Security Council debate. An event which will all but guarantee sanctions are imposed.

Lebanon has been a pawn in other countries' battles for centuries. And doubtless, that'll be in evidence tomorrow in New York.

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