This Isn't a Coincedence,.....
BAGHDAD, Iraq — After nearly a quarter-century of severed ties, Iraq on Tuesday resumed diplomatic relations with neighboring Syria — a move seen as a possible step toward stemming some of the unrelenting violence, which claimed another 100 lives.
The Iraqi and Syrian presidents also received invitations from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to a weekend summit in Tehran to tackle the chaos in Iraq, Iraqi lawmakers said. Iraqi President Jalal Talabani's spokesman said his boss would attend but that Syrian President Bashar Assad would not. The invitation was thought to be an attempt by Iran to upstage expected U.S. moves to include Syria and Iran in a wider regional effort to clamp off violence in Iraq.
The announcement of restored Iraqi-Syrian ties came during a groundbreaking visit to Baghdad by Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem.
"The latest talks between the Syrian and Iraqi side have been crowned by declaring a new era with the participation of the Syrian brothers in working on the security and stability with Iraq and restoring full diplomatic relations," said Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh.
BEIRUT, Lebanon — Prominent anti-Syrian Christian politician Pierre Gemayel was assassinated in a suburb of Beirut on Tuesday, his party's radio station reported.
His fatal shooting will certainly heighten the political tension in Lebanon, where the leading Muslim Shiite party Hezbollah has threatened to topple the government if he does not get a bigger say in Cabinet decision making.
Gemayel was rushed to a nearby hospital seriously wounded, the Lebanese Broadcasting Corp. and Voice of Lebanon, the Phalange Party mouthpiece reported.
The party later announced that he was dead.
Gemayel, the minister of industry and son of former President Amin Gemayel, is a member of the Phalange party and supporter of the anti-Syrian parliamentary majority, which is locked in a power struggle with pro-Syrian factions led by Hezbollah.