November 21, 2006

Syrian-Style Politics in Lebanon

While in the U.S. we have Electoral College gerrymandering, Supreme Court stuffing, and pay-to-play fundraising, there are different ways to stuff the ballot box in Lebanon. More direct. More brutal.

The Syrians naturally want to shut down the current Lebanese administration, before the UN-mandated Hariri assasination tribunal gets going (previous investigations implicated Syrian leadership in the killing). But there are only six pro-Syrian ministers who have been willing to resign. Nine must step down in order to break the quorum and force the government out of power.

A classic political problem: how to go from the six they have to the nine they need?

A few days ago, Samir Geaga anticipated the next political maneuver by the Syrians, and it turns out he was right. All the Syrians need is to eliminate three votes. Why bother with backroom lobbying and election year muckraking? That sort of sneakiness is so Western, so imperialist.

In the Middle East, you can be more direct. So today, Pierre Gemayel, Lebanon's Minister of Industry, was killed.

Only two more to go.

Posted by David at November 21, 2006 09:59 AM
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