Lebanon News

Geagea blames March 8 for assassination bid

FILE - Leader of Christian Lebanese Forces party. (AFP PHOTO/SAFIN HAMED)

BEIRUT: Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea said Thursday that he blamed “the other camp” in Lebanon, a reference to the March 8 coalition, for being behind an attempt on his life earlier this month.

In an interview with Al-Arabiya television, Geagea said he feared that an investigation into the incident would be compromised because of the presence of “Hezbollah and its allies and the allies of Syria, which control political decision-making, and what they can of the security bodies.”

Geagea said he was targeted by two snipers on April 4 at his residence in Maarab, Kesrouan, and the authorities have opened an probe into the incident.

During the interview, he said “we should see who has an interest in removing me from the political scene – the other camp in Lebanon.”

The LF leader said top leaders such as President Michel Sleiman and Prime Minister Najib Mikati were “serious” about investigating the incident, but added that security bodies had suffered “a number of penetrations” within their ranks, which could obstruct the government’s efforts.

Asked whether he believed Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt, a vocal critic of Damascus, might be targeted for assassination, Geagea said: “Based on my reading of the mind and behavior of the other camp, yes, I’m afraid [for Jumblatt].”

“Unless this group believes that revenge is a dish best served cold,” he continued. “In other words, it might not be a priority now, since an attempt to kill Jumblatt, or not kill him, won’t affect things.”

Geagea said he believed he had been targeted in a “serious attempt, and not a message” for several reasons: his alliance with the Sunni community, his good ties with Gulf states, and his “placing of the Christians in the heart of the Arab Spring.”

Geagea said that after he disclosed the attempt on his life, he ordered the LF’s Central Council to refrain from organizing street protests as a response, “because we all know what might happen [as a response] to a public protest.”

The only exception to the order was a “small, limited” protest in Zahle which he authorized, Geagea added.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on April 13, 2012, on page 1.

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