A Deadly Message

JAMAL SAIDI / REUTERS

Kassir, targeted by a car bomb, is mourned by his daughters at his funeral in Beirut

When Samir Kassir, a leading Lebanese journalist, met with friends in Beirut for dinner last week, he was in a buoyant mood. Syria had withdrawn its troops from Lebanon, and a series of parliamentary elections that began on May 29 were set to result in a new government led by the anti-Syrian opposition. "Samir was very happy. He was telling us it was a new era for democracy in the region," says Malek Mrowa, a businessman and friend of Kassir's.

The next morning, the 45-year-old Kassir, a university lecturer and columnist for Lebanon's An-Nahar newspaper, was dead, blown...

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