News

Lebanon Reacts to Yet Another Political Assassination

Multimedia

Audio

Stores, banks and some government offices were closed in many parts of Beirut to mourn the slaying of Christian member of parliament Antoine Ghanem in a car bomb explosion, Wednesday. Edward Yeranian reports from Beirut

Anger, frustration and fear are gripping many Lebanese, after Wednesday's powerful car bomb explosion that ripped through rush-hour traffic and killed Christian Lebanese Member of Parliament Antoine Ghanem.

Many stores, banks and offices across Beirut chose not open. Traffic remains light, as supporters of the embattled anti-Syrian governing coaliton observed a general strike to protest his killing.

Beirut's An Nahar newspaper, whose editor, Jibrane Tueni, was killed in a similar explosion, two years ago, writes that Ghanem's slaying sends what it calls "a bloody message" to the government and its supporters.

The newspaper says the explosion was intended to reduce the number of pro-government members of parliament and to scuttle presidential elections set for September 25.

Lebanon's parliament meets in five days to elect a successor to pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud.

The pro-Syrian Hezbollah group and its allies, which withdrew from the government last year, have been threatening to boycott parliament, which elects the president, making a required two-thirds quorum impossible to reach.

Political leaders close to the ruling anti-Syrian majority have been vocal in condemning the killing of Mr. Ghanem. Many of them are accusing Syria in his death, as well as in the death's of eight other politicians and journalists in the past two years.

The head of Lebanon's National Liberal Party and the son of former president Camille Chamoun, Dory Chamoun, insists Syria was involved in the latest slaying and that Damascus is trying to manipulate the upcoming presidential election to impose its own candidate.

"It was naturally a bad surprise, since I had just had a coffee the day before with him and he was a friend and so it is a very sad thing, but we never discounted such action on behalf of the Syrians," said Chamoun. "We have always thought that they would try and do their maximum to diminish the majority, so that the major[ity] will not be able to elect a President and so that they can impose a president that is their man, and they can step back into Lebanon they way they were before, so this is all part of the Syrian plan."

George Jabbour, a leading member of the Syria's Ba'ath Party, denies Damascus played a role in Ghanem's slaying.

Former Lebanese president Amine Gemayel, who's son, Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel, was ambushed and killed by gunmen last November, expressed determination and persistence to move on with presidential elections.

"So it is a real tragedy for me and, in the meantime, for our party, the Kataeb Party, because he was a member of the parliament representing the party at the eve of the presidential elections. It is a real loss and we are determined to go all the way and to resist this barbarian behavior - those assassinations - and we will not surrender," he said. "We will pursue our struggle to strengthen our sovereignty and to keep Lebanon in the free world, endorsing the democratic values."

Lebanon Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, of the pro-Syrian opposition, is to meet with Sa'ad Hariri, the leader of the pro-government coalition and with Maronite Christian Patriarch Nasrallah Butros Sfeir, in the next couple of days. That meeting could determine the fate of next week's scheduled presidential electiom.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs