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November 25, 2006

Unbowed: Lebanon Pushes Forward With Tribunal For Hariri Assassination

Oddly enough, the very patriotic guardians of the Lebanese people -- Hezbollah -- strongly opposes any investigation into the murder of a Lebanese PM.

Gee, you'd think that maybe Hezbollah had an allegiance to states which are enemies of Lebanon or something.

Lebanon's political crisis moved toward a new danger point Saturday as the U.S.-backed government approved an international tribunal for suspects in the 2005 assassination of a former prime minister Rafik Hariri despite warnings of mass protests by its opponent Hezbollah.

Last-ditch attempts to reach a compromise between the government and the pro-Syrian camp, led by Hezbollah, appeared to fail Saturday as the Cabinet moved forward with its meeting on the U.N.-created court.

The tribunal is a key bone of contention in the power struggle between allies and opponents of Syria in Lebanon. Anti-Syrian forces -- mainly Christian and Sunni Muslim -- dominate the government, but are facing a campaign by the mainly Shiite pro-Syrian camp to bring the government down.

The political crisis became potentially explosive this week with the assassination of an anti-Syrian politician, raising worries of more violence that could tear apart the country's fragile sectarian seams.

The anti-Syrian bloc brought out some 800,000 people for a mass rally at the funeral of the politician, Pierre Gemayel, on Thursday. Hezbollah has shown it can bring out similar numbers for its protests -- and if it goes ahead with its threatened demonstrations, many fear it could start a spiral of street action.

Earlier Saturday, two key anti-Syrian Lebanese politicians met with Parliament Speaker Nabil Berri, an ally of Hezbollah and a Syria supporter, in an apparent attempt to find a compromise.

U.S.-backed Prime Minister Fouad Siniora offered to put off the contentious Cabinet vote for several days if six pro-Hezbollah ministers who quit the government earlier this month return. Hezbollah demands that the government be changed to give it and its allies more power, or else it will launch mass protests to topple Siniora.

But the reconciliation bid appeared to have failed, and the Cabinet meeting approved a U.N. draft for the tribunal.

Peace is an illusion when the enemy is interested only in war. There is going to be a bloodletting; it cannot be avoided. One side must win and the other must lose.

BARTENDER: Is there going to be a fight?

WYATT EARP: I think there must be.

There is simply no compromise on with the terrorists; the goals are irreconcilable. The terrorists wish to kill anyone who stands in their way of theocratic fascism; the non-terrorists would prefer not to die. You cannot finesse this point; there is no halfway, split-the-baby compromise between "death" and "life."

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posted by Ace at 06:18 PM

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