09/11/2008, 00.00
LEBANON
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Aridi attack an attempt to sow discord among the Lebanese

All political groups view the murder as an attack against dialogue. Dead leader was the right-hand man of Arslan, leader of the small, mainly Druze pro-Syrian Lebanese Democratic Party. Car bomb was detonated by remote control, said police.
Beirut (AsiaNews) – For Lebanese political leaders last night’s attack that killed Saleh al-Aridi, right-hand man of Talal Arslan, leader of the small, mainly Druze pro-Syrian Lebanese Democratic Party (LDP), was an attack against dialogue and an attempt to sow discord.  

The latest police reports picked up by the state-run National News Agency said that Aridi had just left his house at about 9:30 pm and was alone in his vehicle when a bomb planted under the driver's seat was detonated by remote control. Other news reports stressed the attack’s professionalism.

“Aridi's assassination was aimed at sowing discord and destroying the Mountain and its unity,” LDP leader Arslan said.

Druze leader Walid Jumblatt arrived at the victim's residence in Baisour shortly after the blast in a show of Druze solidarity and to pay his condolences.

In a statement today Arslan reiterated that the attack was aimed at undermining such solidarity at a time when he, Jumblatt and Hizbollah leader Nasrallah were working for unity on the Mountain.

Lebanese and international political circles were unanimous in condemning the attack. Lebanese President Michel Suleiman spoke to the army commander and the army intelligence chief, urging them to remain “alert to [foil] all conspiracies aimed at reigniting tension.”

In a commentary pro-government daily L’Orient Le Jour noted that every time dialogue is finally being renewed and acts of reconciliation are made there is an attack.

The paper noted for example that the attack comes at a time when national talks are scheduled to start next Tuesday, after Druze leaders buried the hatchet a few weeks ago and a deal was worked out in Tripoli and that parliamentary leader Saad Hariri visited the Bekaa Valley.

For Hizbollah TV network Al-Manar the killing of Arslan Aide was also a blow to reconciliation.

Former Minister Wiam Wahhab, considered a pro-Syrian diehard, told Al-Manar on Thursday that the assassination was a “crime that targets the position of Arslan, who wanted Mount Lebanon to embrace the Resistance (which is how Hizbollah sees itself) and return it to its Arab origin.”

He concluded that this naturally puts the blame for the crime on Israel.

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