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On assassinations and interrupted independence in Lebanon

On November 5, 1989, Rene Moawad was elected president of the Lebanese republic...On November 22, he was assassinated

Nayla Tueni

Published: Updated:

On November 5, 1989, Rene Moawad was elected president of the Lebanese republic. He was elected after the Taif Accord, which ended the civil war, was approved. On November 22, he was assassinated after attending Independence Day celebrations. Moawad did not have the chance to implement his aspirations but he certainly wanted to implement the Taif Accord without any obstructions or modifications. This cost him his life because the tutelage power wanted to obstruct the implementation of the agreement, just as it made the Arab Deterrent Force deviate from its path to be composed of entirely Syrian forces and resemble an occupying force. The Taif Accord resolved issues relating to the relationship with Syria in order to pave way to the redeployment of its army before the complete withdrawal in September 1992. The Syrian command, which was supposed to ensure the security of the new president who didn’t even make it to the Baabda presidential palace, did not like this. It is rumored that Syrian intelligence officer Jamea Jamea was always at the forefront of the elected president’s motorcade and that his car was about 200 meters ahead. It’s also rumored that when the explosion went off near Raml al-Zarif high school, Jamea had arrived near then-Prime Minister Salim al-Hoss’ residence and simply went on his way as if nothing happened.

My aim is not to dig up the past or to carry out public trials although all case files of political assassinations have not been finalized by the Justice Council and no progress has been marked in any investigation. Perhaps no one dares to look into these case files lest they suffer the same fate if they attain any evidence as to who the murderer is. This is why the Special Tribunal for Lebanon was established after former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri was assassinated. When Hariri was killed, we had all had enough of crimes being committed without the perpetrators coming to light.

In 1989, a foreign power assassinated the president to prevent the realization of civil peace

Nayla Tueni

My aim of bringing up this subject today is to firstly remember the martyr, Moawad, who paid for his patriotism with his life. Remembering him may be a lesson to the nominees who sacrifice the country to attain a political seat or who don’t hesitate to obstruct the political and democratic path and continue to obstruct the country’s development and subject it to foreign interferences. Lebanon has been emptied of all value and has thus become controlled by majorities and by the power of arms and money.

Independence Day is near – and we confront issues that are more difficult than the assassination of Moawad. This is because the state celebrates a suspended and an incomplete independence. The state is without a president and assassination threatens the state’s structure regardless of the government’s actions and regardless of the legislations the parliament approves. In 1989, a foreign power assassinated the president to prevent the realization of civil peace. Today, the entire country is being targeted by a domestic power that works in accordance with the aims of foreign powers.

This article was first published in al-Nahar on November 14, 2014.

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Nayla Tueni is one of the few elected female politicians in Lebanon and of the two youngest. She became a member of parliament in 2009 and following the assassination of her father, Gebran, she is currently a member of the board and Deputy General Manager of Lebanon’s leading daily, Annahar. Prior to her political career, Nayla had trained, written in and managed various sections of Annahar, where she currently has a regular column. She can be followed on Twitter @NaylaTueni

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