Reasons for killing a politician in Lebanon (and elsewhere)

Theory and applications

There are different reasons why you kill in Lebanon (keeping in mind the fact that assassinations are aimed at dividing):

1- It’s a politically influential official who has many connections and can broker deal you want to stop. In this case the assassination comes at a certain political cost, because you loose someone who could be a middle man and who has power to modify the political dynamics in place.

2- The official has no political influence but his killing could trigger political gains. In this case the assassination has practically no political cost (for the simple reason that you are not loosing someone who could be of any help in case alternative solutions are found.

In the case of Gemayel, obviously, it is the second category that fits. In the case of Rafic Hariri it is the first. In the case of Georges Hawi I would say the first, the aborted attack on May Chidiac the second, Samir Kassir I would say a bit of both but more so the first, and Gebran Tueni clearly the second.

Notice that in the last two or so years, we have moved from category number one to category number two. Assuming the likelihood that these assassinations are not perpetrated by a single agent (I mean even Samir Geagea has conceded to this point), then it is very possible that we have moved from a situation where political elites were settling scores to a situation where we are trying to modify the way popular or social mobilization takes place in the country. The more you reach for someone who has no influence politically but whose assassination would have tremendous effects symbolically (at public opinion level), you precipitate changes as those outlined in the previous post at the popular but also indirectly at the elite level.

Ever since we started moving from one category to the other, the aim was to keep the Christian constituency from reaching some sort of union or compromise. Killing Christian figures that could have a symbolic reverberation is aimed at alienating the constituency of this sect first and foremost.

Notice that several predictions made in the previous posts are already materializing:
1- The international tribunal is taking place
2- Hizbullah and Tayyar have decided to postpone demonstrations
These are part of the indirect effect on the political elite establishment.

But notice something else that is very important:

The only Syrian bashers are non-Christians: Saad Hariri the leader of the Sunni Mustaqbal party, and Walid Jumblatt the Druze warlord. Interestingly enough, Amin Gemayel hasn’t pointed fingers; on the contrary, he knows something is wrong, that something smells fishy. By the way none of the Christian 14 of March figures has spoken against Syria, or against anyone. Amin Gemayel has called for restraint and unity. And by the way, I wonder when will Samir Geagea speak and will he have pointed fingers?

The important test is here and this shows the instrumentality of the latest assassination: Will the Christians pull back (out and more distanced from Tayyar) or move into bigger coalitions (with Hizbullah)? It is up to the leaders to decide because in itself, the assassination was meant to alienate the constituency into more separation thereby weakening any prospect of change from below. And, something the assassins may not have predicted but it seems that Amin Gemayel has understood this point quite clearly.


3 Replies to “Reasons for killing a politician in Lebanon (and elsewhere)”

  1. Good post … I agree, but I think if we have a case of inter-sect violence (by effect, if not cause) here with PG, the Christian leaders will take the family approach (the approach of the mafia, another family of sorts) and keep it in house … Naturally Jumblatt and Hariri Inc face a different political dynamic and can say whatever suits their political purposes …

  2. yes, interesting post. its worth pointing out that ghassan tueni, last december, was looking into alternate causes for gebran (besides the ones vocalizes by march 14); i’m sure amine will be doing the same.

  3. brilliant. from a comment at your link. i am from north america and know of the mossad. was linked to your blog from another site and we have come to very similar conclusions. who has the most to gain by a weakened lebanon? and i’m no rocket scientist!

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