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A Voice of Reason Silenced In Beirut


Omar Chatah, son of former Lebanese minister Mohamad Chatah, who was killed in a bomb blast on Friday, stands next to his father's coffin during his funeral at al-Amin mosque in Martyrs' Square in downtown Beirut, Dec. 29, 2013.

Hundreds of mourners in Beirut attended the funeral of prominent Lebanese political figure Mohamad Chatah, who was assassinated in a car bomb attack on December 27th.

Hundreds of mourners in Beirut attended the funeral of prominent Lebanese political figure Mohamad Chatah, who was assassinated in a car bomb attack on December 27th. Six other people were also killed and scores wounded after the bomb exploded in central Beirut. No group has yet claimed responsibility.


Mr. Chatah was a former Lebanese finance minister, as well as ambassador to the United States. At the time of his death, he was a senior advisor to former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, and was a vocal critic of Syrian President Bashar al Assad and of the destructive role played in Lebanon by Assad’s ally, Hezbollah.

Mr. Chatah was buried near the resting place of Mr. Hariri’s father, Rafik Hariri, who was himself assassinated by a car bomb in 2005. Mr. Chatah was assassinated just weeks before the long-delayed start of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, which will try in The Hague several Hezbollah members who are accused of involvement in the Hariri assassination.

In a statement, U.S. Secretary Of State John Kerry condemned “in the strongest possible terms” the terrorist attack that killed Mr. Chatah, whom he called “a voice of reason, responsibility and moderation.” Mr. Kerry described his assassination as “a terrible loss for Lebanon, the Lebanese people and for the United States.”

“His presence will be missed,” said Secretary Kerry, “but his vision for a united Lebanon, free from sectarian violence and destabilizing interference, will continue to guide our efforts.”

Mr. Kerry also said that terrorist attacks like the one that killed Mr. Chatah “cannot be allowed to take place with impunity. The Obama Administration,” he said, “supports Lebanon as its leaders work to bring those responsible for this heinous and cowardly attack to justice under the rule of law. This is why we fully support the work of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and its efforts to find and hold accountable those responsible for these reprehensible and destabilizing acts.”

Secretary of State Kerry reiterated the commitment of the United States “to support legitimate, unifying security forces in Lebanon, such as the Lebanese Armed Forces,” and he underscored “the importance of all parties adhering to the Taif and Baabda agreements and U.N. Security Council Resolutions 1559 and 1710, and fulfilling their commitments to all of those principles, so that Lebanon maintains its sovereignty and stability.”

“We stand with the Lebanese people at this time,” Mr. Kerry said, “and will continue to do so.”
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