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Lebanon: The Assassination's Echo

Categories: Middle East & North Africa, Lebanon, Syria, Breaking News, International Relations, Politics

At 18:30 GMT on September 10th,  Mr Saleh Aridi was about to drive his car when a bomb planted under the driver-seat went off, killing [1] him on the spot. Mr Aridi a well known top adviser to the government minister and pro-Syrian Druze leader Talal Arslan. With his death, the number of assassinated officials in Lebanon mounted to 11 since former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri's assassination on February 14, 2005. It is important to note that this incident marks the very first killing of a pro-Syrian and government opposition personnel on Lebanese soils.  Ten of the 11 assassinated officials were pro-government and anti-Syrian, with the exclusion of Imad Moughniyah [2] who was pro-Syrian and was assassinated on Syrian soils in February this year.

The blast was covered by local and international media and more details on the incident are pending investigation. While the shock of this returning phenomenon of assassinations and the new targeted figures kept bloggers from analyzing much of its background and intentions, they reported the incident by whatever material they could find.

Liminal at Lebanon Heart Blogs posted [3] a list of the assassinated figures in Lebanon and left it without a comment:

Feb 2005: Ex-PM Rafik Hariri
April 2005: MP Bassel Fleihan
June 2005: Anti-Syria journalist Samir Kassir
June 2005: Ex-Communist leader George Hawi
Dec 2005: Anti-Syria MP Gebran Tueni
Nov 2006: Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel
June 2007: Anti-Syria MP Walid Eido
Sep 2007: Anti-Syria MP Antoine Ghanim
Dec 2007: Army Gen Francois al-Hajj
Jan 2008: Police investigator Wissam Eid
Sep 2008: Pro-Syria MP Saleh Aridi

Reflecting back on an older incident, Manuela Paraipan links [4] to an earlier article that represents the Druze's intentions to stick together in such times and circumstances:

In spite of the political differences when threatened Druze stick together. In May they have proven it yet again.  You can read an interesting account of May events here [5].

Eu4hell who blogs at Livejournal writes [6] about this incident, focusing on the highlighted issue of this being the first assassination of a pro-Syrian figure. The post also includes a picture taken from the scene:

Wednesday's attack is the first deadly car bombing since January, when a security official investigating a series of political killings blamed on Syria was killed. Aridi is the first opposition politician to be assassinated since a string of politically motivated attacks against members of the parliamentary majority bloc began in late 2004

More pictures and reporting were posted [7] by the Lebanese Tag:

The state-run National News Agency said the bomb was planted under the driver's seat of Aridi's car and detonated by remote control.
Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat arrived at the victim's residence in Baysour shortly after the blast in a show of Druze solidarity and to pay his condolences.

Supporters of the Democratic Party opened fire from automatic rifles in the air, in the traditional way of expressing wrath, but no clashes were reported.

Security sources in the Aley Province, of which Baysour is part, said the situation is “under control.”

Sasa at Syrian News Wire reports [8] on the incident and the significance of its location:

A main figure in Lebanon's opposition has been killed.
Druze politician Saleh Aridi has died in a bomb blast in Aley. He was an ally of Hezbollah – and his party (led by Talal Arslan) humiliated Junblatt in the fighting in May.
Aley is just outside Beirut, and is considered a stronghold of Walid Junblatt.
The two sides were due to come together on Monday to discuss their differences.

+961‘s blogger Rami posted [9] a picture of the blown up car and wrote:

I don’t know since when Lebanese people started exchanging messages through dead bodies, but they should really stop it. It’s a dangerous habit because 6 other persons were injured yesterday during the message delivery.

Now Lebanon along side reporting the incident since day one,published [10] an article rounding up the reactions of Lebanese officials to the assassination.