A sign of the times. I arrive home in
And not just “any” victim. The man in the smouldering vehicle is Walid Eido, a
Eido was killed with his son Khaled and I saw their corpses, roasted, covered in cheap plastic bags so that
And what a knife into the body politic of the Hariri camp. Hariri’s majority party is the reason why the government of Fouad Siniora survives, supported – heaven help them – by the Americans, abandoned by the Hizbollah who persuaded six Shia ministers to resign from the cabinet last year. Could there have been a more devastating target for the government’s enemies last night?
Walid Eido represented a constituency in
And what will be the reaction to this latest and most outrageous of murders? In the aftermath of the bombing, amid the ghost-train wreckage and the overturned dodgems and the ash-covered swimming pools, there was only shock. But each crisis is worse than the previous. Each assassination – of a communist politician, of a journalist, of a Christian MP – each outbreak of guerrilla violence – 61 soldiers have now been killed fighting Fatah al-Islam in the north – quick-marches Lebanon faster towards the abyss. Over the past few months, the bombs have gone off close to midnight, an industrial estate here, a Christian or Muslim shopping mall there, always too late to cause mass casualties. And that is the point, of course, to threaten rather than kill. But what if the next bomb goes off at midday rather than midnight? How many casualties then? This is the nightmare with which Lebanese live. If, in working- class Basta tonight, the crowds can be contained (by a largely Shia Muslim army), what of tomorrow?
It is to the enormous esteem of the Lebanese that they have refused to embark on another civil war despite every provocation. But the provocations have not run out. It can get much, much worse. Next to the dodgems last night lay a burned registration: 101437. Lebanese detectives duly made note of the number. But – and I tire of repeating this in my reports – not a single Lebanese assassination has been solved since 1976.