Lebanese cabinet approves international Hariri tribunal in absence of 7 pro-Syrian ministers

Amin Gemayel, father of murdered Lebanese cabinet minister, called for a march on pro-Syrian president Emile Lahoud’s palace.
At the funeral of his son, cabinet minister Pierre Gemayel, aged 34, Thursday, Amin a former president, said the countdown had begun for a new president. He was echoed by majority leader Saad Hariri and other Lebanese figures in an impressive pro-government demonstration against Hizballah, Syria and Iran.
An estimated 800,000 mourners shouted anti-Syrian and anti-Lahoud slogans.
debkafile`s military sources report: PM Siniora divided Beirut by posting the army at key points. The troops formed a security belt in the Christian western districts of Beirut, the Sunni eastern districts and at the presidential palace and government offices. debkafile reports from Beirut that the army will continue to hold these positions after the minister is buried in his family’s home village of Bikfaya. They stand ready to ward off attempts by the Shiites of South Beirut to exploit the high tension to seize centers of government – in keeping with the Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah’s threat to topple the anti-Syrian government by street demonstrations. The anti-Syrian Christians and Sunnis are braced to resist such attempts. This could tip the country into much-feared civil conflict.
The military deployment effectively divides Beirut in two – the anti-Syrian Christian-Sunni sectors and the pro-Syrian Shiite south.
Pierre Gemayel, 40, was shot dead at point-blank range by a gunman Tuesday, Nov. 21, after two cars blocked his vehicle in a Christian district near Beirut. Majority leader, Saad Hariri, directly accused Syria of a hand in the crime. The government was already in crisis after six pro-Syrian ministers, including Hizballah, quit over its approval of a UN tribunal to try suspects in the 2005 murder of former prime minister Rafiq Hariri, including top Syrian officials. Hours after the industry minister was assassinated, the UN Security Council endorsed this tribunal of three judges, one Lebanese. It will also investigate the murders of five anti-Syrian Lebanese figures in two years. The depleted Siniora government must sign the document. Its ministers have been convened under heavy guard.
Pierre Gemayel was the fourth member of his prominent Maronite Catholic clan to be murdered in three decades.

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