Thursday, September 20, 2007

March 14 loses effective majority

Yesterday, Antoine Ghanem was murdered with a car bomb two days after he returned to Lebanon to participate in the upcoming presidential elections from a stay in the UAE. He was an MP belonging to the March 14 camp. Just a few days before the presidential elections on September 25, this leaves the pro-government with one less vote. They now have a 3 person margin to retain 51% majority.

Upon hearing the news, you automatically turn on the television. Michel Aoun’s station OTV was the first on the scene. Sure, people joked that they had inside knowledge, but surely it must be that their offices are just close by. For quite a while, other stations were borrowing their images.

Kuddos to OTV for doing a good job of bringing the news. What was also worth noting, was that they kept on covering the event, long after other opposition stations returned to their regular programming.

Since a few days, we have the English channel of Al Jazeera on the cable and they had good, albeit sometimes hilarious coverage. My favorite Franklin Lamb was interviewed. This guy is amazingly good at blaming literally everything that happens in the Middle East on the USA. Every answer he gave was a repeat of the same refrain, namely that America should stop meddling in the Middle East.

When the reporter pointed out that Antoine Ghanem was an anti-Syrian politician and thus unlikely to have been killed by America, Franklin Lamb simply saw this as an even greater indication that America was behind all of this: to damage the image of Syria!

A few moments later, Robert Fisk came on the air. I have stopped reading his articles long time ago because a. you have to pay for them and b. they always feel like a sermon. He would be an excellent priest for that matter. Anyway, Fisk was live on the scene, but that didn’t really give him an edge. All he could mumble was that this was a professional hit done in a professional way and surely the result of professional preparation by a professional organization. And so he rambled on.

As to who could be behind the attack, he dismissed the accusation towards Syria because there is no proof linking Syria to this and other crimes. But, hey, he’s an open minded guy, so he was willing to entertain the thought that anything’s possible…then again, to blame Syria so directly, no, that was too much. What is it with western journalists who become more Arab apologist than the Arabs themselves?

And finally, just for a sad smile, The Daily Star can’t seem to make up its mind about the number of dead people:

BEIRUT: A car bomb killed a pro-government MP and at least seven others in Beirut on Wednesday, just days before the Lebanese Parliament is due to elect a new president for the country, with many fingering Syria as the culprit.

Alongside one of the busiest roads in Beirut, a booby-trapped car shook the densely populated and mostly Christian neighborhood of Horsh Tabet in Sin al-Fil - killing MP Antoine Ghanem and six others.

Pics from Rampurple and Beirut Spring.

UPDATE: According to a commenter on Beirut Beltway, March 14 has now effectively lost its majority since three pro government MPs will only vote for a president based on the two-third majority principle.


Gerard said...

Let's just hope, that the assassins also read the Beirut Beltway. So that they will switch their calculators off, since no more victims are "needed".

El Periodista said...

thanks Riemer for this media overview!

Lalebanessa said...

You haven't had to pay for Robert Fisk's articles for quite a while now (since last year's summer war I think).I think the independent online saw the error of their ways (or maybe just didn't make enough money to make it worth charging for them).

Blacksmith Jade said...

"My favorite Franklin Lamb was interviewed. This guy is amazingly good at blaming literally everything that happens in the Middle East on the USA."

More precisely, this guy is amazingly good at finding ways to divert the blame away from the Syrians.

frenchy said...

4 d├ęputies not 3

moreover, there are also d├ęputies among for ex christians of the majority that stated they wont attend in case there is not the quorum
(cf harb i think)

Inshallah said...

I'm not sure I discount Franklin Lamb or Robert Fisk, just because they don't sing the blame Syria tune. It is plausible that another group was responsible to make Syria look bad, happens in international affairs all the time. And last time I checked, most of the destruction of Lebanon last year did have a lot to do with US made bombs and pro-Israel policies, not Syrian. Yes, Syria meddles, but so does Israel and the US, Saudi Arabia and Iran.