News / Middle East

Hezbollah Chief Calls for New Leadership in Lebanon

People watch the speech of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah on a screen at a cafe in the southern port city of Sidon, Lebanon, Sunday, Jan. 16, 2011.
People watch the speech of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah on a screen at a cafe in the southern port city of Sidon, Lebanon, Sunday, Jan. 16, 2011.
Heather Murdock

(( Title: Lebanon Hezbollah Chief
HEAD: Hezbollah Chief Calls for New Leadership in Lebanon
DATE: 01/16/11 18:24:26.000
BYLINE:  Heather Murdock
DATELINE: Beirut
NUMBER: 463137
TYPE: CR ))

People watch the speech of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah on a screen at a cafe in the southern port city of Sidon, Lebanon, Sunday, Jan. 16, 2011. The leader of Lebanon's Shiite militant group Hezbollah says Saad Hariri should not return as prime minister. Nasrallah made his first public comments Sunday since ministers from his movement and their allies resigned from the Cabinet on Wednesday, toppling Hariri's Western-backed government. (AP Photo/Mohammed Zaatari)


For the first time since the Lebanese government collapsed on Wednesday, Hezbollah’s leader spoke today, accusing the U.S., Israel, and the international tribunal investigating the 2005 murder of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri of trying to destabilize Lebanon.  

Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, which is allied with nearly half of the Lebanese parliament, did not say who he wants as the country’s new prime minister. But he was clear about who he does not want:  Sa’ad Hariri, the son of the slain prime minister, who was unseated as prime minister last week.

Nasrallah said he will not support any government that cooperates with The Special Tribunal for Lebanon, a UN-backed court set up to investigate the 2005 assassination of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.  In the coming days, the tribunal prosecutor is expected to hand indictments of Hezbollah members to judges for review.  Hezbollah maintains these indictments are political attacks on the organization, based on lying witnesses.

This comes as the Lebanese parliament prepares for what is expected to be a bitter fight over who will be the next prime minister.  Sa’ad Hariri’s government fell Wednesday when 11 ministers, most from Hezbollah, resigned.  Parties are expected to announce their preferred candidates Monday.  

Lebanon’s two major political coalitions, March 8 and March 14, are deadlocked over the issue of The Special Tribunal for Lebanon, which sparked Wednesday’s walk-out.

March 14, which is the ruling party of Sa’ad Hariri, supports the court.  

March 8, the opposition coalition that includes Hezbollah, does not.  Hezbollah, a Shi’ite political party and militia backed by Iran and Syria, says the court’s goal is to discredit the organization, not to find the killers.

Both sides say they will only accept a new government that agrees with them on this issue.  March 14 says Sa’ad Hariri is the only man for prime minister.  March 8 says he is not.  

March 14’s General Secretary Fares Souaid says his coalition does not intend to compromise. "We support three main points.  First, we support the international tribunal.  Second, we support Sa’ad al-Hariri as prime minister.  Third, we support stability and peaceful democracy in Lebanon," he said.

But peace and stability in Lebanon is becoming harder to maintain.  Lebanese journalist and political analyst Hazem Saghieh says even though Hezbollah has called for peaceful change that falls within legal boundaries, it may not be able to contain growing sectarian tensions. "A spontaneous clash might take place in any of Beirut’s streets and might lead to a bigger conflict which is unpredictable now," he said.

Political leaders from all political parties have called for peace on the streets.  Saghieh says that if the parliament decides on Sa’ad Hariri, and government continues to recognize the court, Hezbollah might be forced into a corner.  In 2008, Hezbollah took over West Beirut in a matter of days.  

Volatility in Lebanon has also worried leaders in the region and all over the world.  Leaders from Qatar, Syria and Turkey are expected to meet in Damascus on Monday.  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also expressed concern about the increasing chaos in the region, saying that any new peace treaty with Palestine would have to include stronger security measures.

You May Like

In China, Mixed Signals on Ebola Controls

How authorities are monitoring at-risk individuals remains unclear, including whether there are quarantines for Chinese health workers returning from West Africa More

Video Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Elections

Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Electionsi
X
October 31, 2014 4:10 AM
Public opinion polls show American voters are deeply dissatisfied with their government and anxious about threats from abroad. This is especially true for a key voting group both Republicans and Democrats are trying hard to win over: women. Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats, with majority control of the Senate at stake. VOA’s Cindy Saine looks at the crucial role women voters will play in deciding the elections.
Video

Video Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Elections

Public opinion polls show American voters are deeply dissatisfied with their government and anxious about threats from abroad. This is especially true for a key voting group both Republicans and Democrats are trying hard to win over: women. Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats, with majority control of the Senate at stake. VOA’s Cindy Saine looks at the crucial role women voters will play in deciding the elections.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid