Lebanon's Government by Murder

[Los Angeles Times] David Schenker - Forty Lebanese members of parliament belonging to the pro-Western, anti-Syria March 14th majority bloc currently reside at Beirut's Phoenicia Intercontinental Hotel. But the lawmakers aren't guests; they're prisoners. Armed escorts from Lebanon's Internal Security Forces accompany guests to their rooms. Inside, curtains are permanently drawn to discourage snipers from targeting the MPs. Since 2005, four members of parliament affiliated with this bloc have been assassinated in Beirut. A government that once had 72 out of 128 legislators now rules by a razor-thin margin of 68 of 127 seats. The Bashar Assad regime in Syria is widely assumed to be behind the assassination campaign. Should the trend of assassinations continue unchallenged, the pro-Syrian opposition, led by Iranian-sponsored Hizbullah, waits in the wings. The writer is a senior fellow in Arab politics at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

2007-10-18 01:00:00

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