Who would want to kill Samir Geagea?
Posted on April 7, 2012
Dr. Samir Geagea is a man with a colorful past. Let’s leave it at that. Any more info on the man can be found on his Wikipedia page (a rather glowing biography).
The Lebanese Christian leader has been taking it easy in recent years, sticking to a narrative he espoused during the civil war and backed up with military action during the 1980s. Given the goings on in Syria, and given Lebanon’s (or at least this government’s) relationship with Damascus, Geagea has been striking a chord of anti-Assad opprobrium that has gone down predictably well with partisans and even generated some unexpected bonhomie with champions of wildly different ideologies who happen to have found, in Geagea, a mutual Bashar basher.
He’s been the March 14 politician most vocally against the Syrian – we can’t really count Hariri, as he’s in Paris, or Riyadh, or somewhere, and Jumblatt…I can’t even remember which side of the parliamentary divide he currently straddles (his bloc helped elect the March 8 favorite Najib Mikati, but he’s kept up anti-Syria rhetoric).
And while one gets the feeling that the LF leader is doing this largely out of simmering antipathy for all things Syrian (Geagea is most consistent in his stances), rather than a genuine concern for personal freedoms within the country, it is a popular drum to be beating.
So it came as something of a shock when a smiling Geagea held a press conference this week and calmly announced he had survived an assassination attempt at is residence in north Lebanon. (For a laugh, Google Samir+Geagea+assassination. Let’s just say that if the man says it was an assassination attempt, it was an assassination attempt. I mean, he should know, right?)
Much has been made of how Geagea himself most benefits from the failed “professional attempt” on his life. Which kind of reminds me of The Interpretor, in which Motobon politician Kuman Kuman suggests his rival will benefit most from a failed attempt on his life at the U.N. (The film actually contains very little interpretation, but a lot of Sean Penn looking earnest).
Both the U.N. and the United States have been quick to condemn the attempt and equally quick to link it to Geagea’s strident anti-Assad stance.
The LF says it expects more assassination attempts. This is perfect for the party, which sees itself as the bastion of Lebanese nationalist sentiment in a country interfered with by virtually anyone. If ever there was a solid platform to leap from, it would surely involve exploiting popular disgust with what Assad is doing in Syria then compounding it with the painting of an attempt on a leader’s life as an indubitably foreign attack on Lebanese soil.
The party is making the attempt an issue of nationalism, of something of universally Lebanese concern, playing equally on distrust of the pro-Assad brigade and Syria’s concurrent power relative to Lebanon.
I don’t know who fired potshots at Geagea’s mansion. You don’t know. If attacks in Lebanon over the past 12 months are anything to go by, the security forces don’t know.
Is it possible that Samir Geagea nearly paid with his life on Wednesday for criticizing Assad, when his voice is just one among many in March 14 and most of the Western Hemisphere? Yes. Is it possible that, given what the LF has done in its relatively short history, given the zaim nature of Lebanon’s constituent sectarianism, – hell, given the amount of groups left over that once fought with Geagea’s party – that someone just quite wanted to shoot and kill or at least scare Geagea for any reason you care to proffer? Yeeesssss.
Geagea has been consistently against the Syrian regime and its view towards Lebanon for 30 plus years. So while it’s possible that some Assad proxy felt or was ordered that he should be killed now, while Syria is in total disarray trying to crush dissent across its lands…it’s not all that logical.
Who would want to kill Samir Geagea? Not just Assad’s foot soldiers.