Lebanon's Governing Majority Goes into Hiding

Rick Moran
On the heels of the asssination yesterday of Phalange MP Antoine Ghanem, members of the March 14th parliamentary majority have gone into hiding in order to avoid the same fate.


"There are instructions for us not to move, not to have a fixed agenda, not to use the same vehicles," said lawmaker Marwan Hamadeh, who survived an assassination bid in October 2004, the first in a string of attacks against prominent anti-Syrian figures in Lebanon.

"We stay put, we don't go out, we only receive people, and everything is filtered," he told AFP. A special wing of the high-security luxury Phoenicia Hotel on the Beirut seafront has been reserved for about 40 MPs who began moving in after Wednesday's assassination of MP Antoine Ghanem, a source at the hotel told AFP.

Vehicles have been banned from parking near the hotel wing, now an off-limits bunker subject to close security sweeps, said the source, who did not wish to be identified.
I can't recall anything similar happening at any time recently. But when you have a ruthless gangster like Syrian President Bashar Assad trying to kill you, I don't blame them one bit.
 
Not only have the MP's gone underground, but the government
has called upon the Arab League and the United Nations to protect the presidential election which is supposed to begin next week in Parliament but will be delayed because the factions cannot agree on a consensus candidate.

Meanwhile, Hezb'allah has
condemned the killing and is calling for "unity." While few believe Hezb'allah was privy to the assassination, no one doubts that by killing off a couple of more MP's, the terrorists stand to benefit politically. That's because the March 14th majority in Parliament has shrunk considerably over the last 2 years because Syria has been bumping off MP's with alarming regularity.

Finally, Parliamentary Speaker Nabih Berri of the opposition Amal Party
referred ominously to a "big conspiracy" threatening Lebanon and said it wouldn't deter him from continuing his efforts to bring about a compromise on the presidential race.

Berri has been meeting off and on with March 14th parliamentary leader Saad Hariri to try and reach an agreement that would allow the presidential election to go forward and have all the factions accept the eventual winner. How the asssassination will affect these talks remains unclear - as with everything else in Lebanese politics. It may cause the two sides to dig in their heels or it may bring them closer to a compromise.

At this point, it is anybody's guess.
On the heels of the asssination yesterday of Phalange MP Antoine Ghanem, members of the March 14th parliamentary majority have gone into hiding in order to avoid the same fate.


"There are instructions for us not to move, not to have a fixed agenda, not to use the same vehicles," said lawmaker Marwan Hamadeh, who survived an assassination bid in October 2004, the first in a string of attacks against prominent anti-Syrian figures in Lebanon.

"We stay put, we don't go out, we only receive people, and everything is filtered," he told AFP. A special wing of the high-security luxury Phoenicia Hotel on the Beirut seafront has been reserved for about 40 MPs who began moving in after Wednesday's assassination of MP Antoine Ghanem, a source at the hotel told AFP.

Vehicles have been banned from parking near the hotel wing, now an off-limits bunker subject to close security sweeps, said the source, who did not wish to be identified.
I can't recall anything similar happening at any time recently. But when you have a ruthless gangster like Syrian President Bashar Assad trying to kill you, I don't blame them one bit.
 
Not only have the MP's gone underground, but the government
has called upon the Arab League and the United Nations to protect the presidential election which is supposed to begin next week in Parliament but will be delayed because the factions cannot agree on a consensus candidate.

Meanwhile, Hezb'allah has
condemned the killing and is calling for "unity." While few believe Hezb'allah was privy to the assassination, no one doubts that by killing off a couple of more MP's, the terrorists stand to benefit politically. That's because the March 14th majority in Parliament has shrunk considerably over the last 2 years because Syria has been bumping off MP's with alarming regularity.

Finally, Parliamentary Speaker Nabih Berri of the opposition Amal Party
referred ominously to a "big conspiracy" threatening Lebanon and said it wouldn't deter him from continuing his efforts to bring about a compromise on the presidential race.

Berri has been meeting off and on with March 14th parliamentary leader Saad Hariri to try and reach an agreement that would allow the presidential election to go forward and have all the factions accept the eventual winner. How the asssassination will affect these talks remains unclear - as with everything else in Lebanese politics. It may cause the two sides to dig in their heels or it may bring them closer to a compromise.

At this point, it is anybody's guess.