I am dismayed and distraught over the news of the brutal assassination of Pierre Gemayel. I strongly condemn this brutal act and call for a full and thorough investigation of the matter.

Mr. Gemayel was a leading voice against the Syrian regime's influence in Lebanon. As such, he was a natural target of the Syrian regime and his murder fits this rogue nation's pattern of assassination of Lebanese dissidents and political figures, who seek full Lebanese sovereignty and independence from nefarious outside forces as Syria and Iran.

Mr. Gemayel's murder must serve as a catalyst for the United States to pursue further punitive action against Syria, as called for by the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act. Moreover, this dastardly act should move the UN to once and for all hold Syria accountable for the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, for other such acts of violence, and for terrorist attacks committed by Hezbollah, with Syrian and Iranian assistance.

It is my hope that the international community does not fall prey to Syria's manipulation and accordingly, that they wake up to the reality that Syria and Iran are wolves in sheeps' clothing. They kill, attack, destroy, and sow discord in Lebanon, Iraq, and elsewhere, only to then offer themselves as the solution, so that they may gain yet more power and influence in the region.

This must not be allowed to continue.