Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Lebanese Cabinet Minister Assassinated

Aren't we glad we pressured Israel into a cease-fire with Hezbollah?

Yesterday, one of Lebanon's Cabinet Ministers was assassinated, reported by the AP yesterday.

WorldNetDaily reported today that at least one Lebanese leader is blaming Syria.

The Syrian government was responsible for the assassination yesterday of Lebanon's Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel and will likely attempt more killings with the goal of destabilizing Lebanon, the country's Druze leader Walid Jumblatt [head of Lebanon's Progressive Socialist Party] told WND in an interview today.

"The Syrian regime through some of its local allies carried out this assassination," said Jumblatt. "They (the Syrians) are capable of anything. They will probably try more killings. We still have a majority in the parliament unless ministers resign or Syria kills more ministers off."

Jumblatt said Syria is "emboldened by the fact that the Americans are searching for an exit strategy from Iraq. This is encouraging all kinds of people to kill and create chaos in the region."

Lebanon today cancelled celebrations that were to mark 63 years of its independence, instead calling for three days of mourning for Gemayel, the son of former Lebanese president Amin Gemayel. Pierre Gemayel was the sixth anti-Syrian politician to be killed in nearly two years.

The Hedgehog Blog's post yesterday on the assassination and its implications has a map (I love maps) that's worth a thousand words.

It seems clear that the Syria-Iran axis is applying a full-court press to achieve its strategic objective--the creation of a solid line of confrontation states ranging from Lebanon on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, through Syria and Iraq, to Iran on the Persian Gulf. This alliance would create a continuous hostile front aimed at America's allies in the region: Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Arab Gulf States. The real target is America's influence in the region.

Finally, Hugh Hewitt weighs in on the story today, including some sharp analysis from his interview yesterday with historian and warfare scholar, Victor Davis Hanson.

VDH: ...I think this should be a wake up call for everybody in the United States who wants to bring in the 1990's realist team, that anybody who thinks that they can have some sort of reconciliation with Syria and Iran are missing the entire problem in the Middle East. The problem is those two countries, and those two governments.

HH: Victor Davis Hanson, if you had a chance to visit with the President tonight, what would you be telling him?

VDH: Don't give up. Don't weaken. Don't hesitate. Don't pause. Do not cut a deal with those two governments. They're killing American soldiers through surrogates in Iraq. They're trying to destabilize Lebanon like they did in the 1980's. They're the source of most of the evil that's now causing us problems from Afghanistan to Iraq. And this idea that you're going to bring James Baker back, and that team back who gave us everything from Iran-Contra to jobs, jobs, jobs as the only reason we're going to go into the Middle East, to flank the Jews. I could go on, but it's a very sensitive point with me. I think a lot of us, Hugh, stood by this administration through thick and thin when the paleocons turned on them, when the liberal hawks turned on them, when the neocons are starting to bail. But my God, if you're going to go into the Middle East, and put 130,000 Americans in harm's way, fighting for democracy, and then you turn around and you appease those two governments who are killing people, I don't think a lot of us are going to stand for that.

HH: Is this an Archduke Ferdinand moment with the assassination of Gemayel?

VDH: I think it may be. I really do. I think that Syria realizes that as soon as they saw that the United States was going to cease pressure on them, it was time to go in and start killing non-Shia politicians, reporters especially. They've killed journalists, they've killed's not just this Gemayel. It's not just a Christian politician. They've been doing this for two years, killing, systematically, any critics. And they sense that they get a green light from us when we pull back. And I think it should be a wake up call for the United States, that when you go to war in Afghanistan and Iraq, you don't go to war in a half measure. You either go to war or you don't go to war. And we're in a war in Iraq, and we're in war with, as the President said, Islamic-facism, and autocracy and dictatorship, and there's no better examples than Iran and Syria.

I hope the President listens. I hope he lets our military take the gloves off instead of putting more gloves on in Iraq. But I'm not holding my breath. The more time that has gone by, the weaker our response has been to the terrorists. The message the terrorists and rogue states receive when we're compassionate, diplomatic, and careful is a message of weakness. And rogues exploit every weakness they see.

We need to fight for real and fight to win, or we might as well hand over the world to the jihadists now.

God help us all.

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