Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Jaw jaw on war war

The Financial Times notes:

The assassination of a pro-Syrian politician has heightened tension in Lebanon, less than a week before talks begin aimed at reconciling deep divisions between the country's factions.

Saleh Aridi, a senior member of the Lebanese Democratic party, which is allied to the militant Shia group Hizbollah, was killed on Wednesday night by a bomb as he started his car at his house in the mountains east of Beirut, the capital.

Aridi was a close adviser of Talal Arsalan, a Druze leader who is a minister in the new unity government and who recently helped bridge differences among the Muslim sect that comprises about 10 per cent of Lebanon's population.

The attack has significant implications for Lebanon's political stability, coming only a day after [the president] Michel Suleiman announced the resumption on September 16 of a "national dialogue" aimed at forming a defence strategy and defining the roles of the army and militias such as Hizbollah.

But the government has been playing down expectations of immediate progress.

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