The assassination of Pierre Amine Gemayel, minister of industry in Fouad Siniora’s government was different from all previous killings targeting politicians and journalists in Lebanon.
On November 21, 2006 his civilian yet bulletproof car was blocked by two cars in a crowded street in day broad light, and was shot execution style with an automatic rifle along with his bodyguard; one member of the ISF sitting on the back seat was left unharmed. The whole operation took less than 20 seconds.
The modus operandi was questionable on the group behind the operation. Meticulous skiptrace, sophisticated weapons with silencers, a professional team and a successful escape route. This alluded to a similar team that was responsible for the attempt on Samir Geagea in 2012.
But until this day, no solid information was revealed from the investigation, as most analysis were based on political assumptions relevant at that time; but these are the most circulated scenarios about the perpetrators behind the assassination:
Since 2000, Lebanon became a haven for radical islamists most of which are religious mercenaries, willing to operate in return for large sums of money and a guaranteed place in heaven. These groupuscules were controlled by Arabic intelligence agencies, armed with a specific plan to counter Hezbollah at any cost. That includes targeting key people, who by their death could directly start a public revolt against the party of god and its affiliates in Lebanon.
The plan of the islamist groups was to destabilize Lebanon, and that by creating a Sunni-Shia conflict since 2005. The killing of Pierre Gemayel would have involved the Christians of Lebanon to revolt against Syria’s closest ally in Lebanon, Hezbollah. Following a destructive war with Israel that ended two months earlier, the assassination was planned to get rid of a strong Christian leader who was building bridges with all religious factions in Lebanon, and his death would create more hatred towards Hezbollah, thus creating more chaos on the Lebanese scene.
Syria & Allies
Since the end of the civil war in 1990, Syria had full control over Lebanon’s politics, institutions, army and its entire establishment. It rejected any form of opposition that could jeopardize its interests and tight grip over Lebanon, either by direct threat or assassinations.
Pierre Gemayel was part of March 14 movement and was undeniably opposing Syria and its interference in all internal Lebanese affairs. His public speeches were in that direction, along with drastic reforms which were not tolerated by his Lebanese colleagues affiliated with the Syrian regime.
The other threat in the eyes of the Syrian was his close collaboration with PM Saad Hariri, which some sources state, were both going to declare a major announcement one day before the assassination on November 22, during the Independence day celebration. Which would unveil a new alliance between the two leaders alike the Nasrallah-Aoun duo, which could be a prelude for the future president and prime minister of Lebanon.
But the peculiar detail is the method used that totally differs from the Syrian assassination style, which consists of blowing a car bomb, killing dozens and causing massive destruction to the surroundings. This could allude to the involvement of a more professional team affiliated with the Syrian regime, and that is familiar with the Metn area, the Gemayel stronghold . Could it be SSNP individuals living nearby? Or as stated by former CIA officer Robert Baer that a Hezbollah special ops led by Imad Mughniyeh ventured to the heart of Mount Lebanon and carried out the mission.
F For Frangieh
This theory comes directly from the feudal village of the Frangieh clan in north Lebanon. It resumes to blood and vengeance following the June 13 1978 military attack by the Phalangists on Ehden that led to the death of Tony S.Frangieh, his wife and daughter.
That created a total dissociation of Al-Marada party from the National Front that included all Christian forces of that time. But more importantly, a vendetta was set between the clans of Frangieh-Gemayel that would last for centuries until the 3 versus 3 is accomplished.
Three killed from Frangieh family (Toni, Vera and Jihane) should match three from Gemayel family before this blood debt is settled, no matter who the perpetrators were. It started with Maya, the baby daughter of Bachir Gemayel who was killed in a car bomb in 1980, followed by Bachir himself in 1982 and ended in 2006 with the assassination of Pierre A.Gemayel.
Any connection between the Kataeb and Marada was inexistent since 1978, but the frozen relations thawed in 2009 with the first visit of the newly elected MP Sami A.Gemayel to Sleiman T. Frangieh at his northern residence in Bnash’e. The Frangieh family is most probably not directly involved in his assassination but the death of Pierre Gemayel ended an eternal vendetta between two feudal families.
Following the 2006 war with Hezbollah that uncovered many of its field agents, Israel was morose about their inability to meet their initial objective: Weaken Hezbollah military capabilities before rising Shias and other Lebanese against the party. After 33 days of vast destruction, displacement and political flops, Israel failed to get what she was expecting, that pushed the Jewish state to continue in destabilizing Lebanon and perpetuate an anti-Hezbollah sentiment.
Nevertheless, Israel direct involvement remains the least probable option especially that their uncalculated war on Lebanon created a political and military turmoil inside Israel itself.
Another theory relates the death of Pierre Gemayel to an international scheme that started prior to the US Invasion of Iraq in 2003. Few months earlier, Saddam Hussein was smuggling all his cash and valuables outside Iraq to different regional countries.
Many unverified sources claimed a role for Amine Gemayel, his son and other Lebanese figures in this operation, whereas many suitcases full of cash and gold landed in Beirut Airport coming directly from Baghdad. The former president of Lebanon is said to be highly involved in underground fraternal organizations, which explains immediate condolence calls from world leaders like George Bush, Vladimir Putin and Tony Blair following the assassination of his son Pierre.