News / Middle East

Lebanese Government Collapses As Hezbollah Exits

Lebanese Energy Minister Jibran Bassil announces the resignation of Hezbollah ministers and their allies during a press conference in the northern Beirut suburb of Rabieh, 12 Jan 2011
Lebanese Energy Minister Jibran Bassil announces the resignation of Hezbollah ministers and their allies during a press conference in the northern Beirut suburb of Rabieh, 12 Jan 2011
Heather Murdock

Lebanon's unity government collapsed Wednesday after Hezbollah ministers and their allies resigned.

Wednesday's walkout ushers in another political crisis for a country with a long history of  volatility and violence.  The resignations were announced at a news conference by Energy Minister Jibran Bassil, a member of the Free Patriotic Movement - the key Christian ally of Hezbollah.

In order to pave the way for a new government according to the constitution that will be able to take responsibility for the security and interests of the people, he said, and also by securing the real justice, the ministers are submitting their resignations from this government hoping that the president will accelerate the formation of a new government.

Analysts say their departure could also force the resignation of Prime Minister Sa’ad Hariri and end Lebanese involvement in the U.N.-backed court investigating the 2005 assassination of former prime minister, Rafik Hariri, the father of Sa’ad Hariri.

Mr. Hariri's assassination stunned and polarized Lebanon, where Shi'ites, Sunnis and Christians make up  a third of the population.

Mr. Hariri was well liked and backed by many Christians who sympathized with his efforts to try to reduce Syrian influence in the country.

Political analyst Judith Palmer Harik said the ministers resigned in order to force the formation of a new government- one that would end Lebanese support for the international court's investigation into Mr. Hariri's death.

The investigation by the court is likely to name members of Hezbollah in upcoming indictments, which many fear could re-ignite sectarian violence.

But, Prime Minister Sa'ad Hariri  refused to halt the investigation and vowed to continue to cooperate.

A diplomatic push by Syria and Saudi Arabia to ease political tensions in Lebanon failed.

Labor Minister Butros Harb expressed concern:

The situation puts us into administrative crisis, he said, and also in a new political crisis which increases complications in the country and does not contribute towards solving any of the problems.

Prime Minister Hariri formed the current national unity government in November 2009, but it has struggled to function amid deep divisions.

Mr. Hariri met in Washington Wednesday with President Barack Obama to discuss the crisis in Lebanon.

After the meeting, the Mr. Obama reportedly vowed to pursue stability in Lebanon.  Later in the day, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Hezbollah was attempting to "subvert justice" and undermine stability.  She said it "won't work."

Lebanese political analyst Hilal Khashan says Hezbollah is not likely to use its military might to take over Lebanon.  In 2008, Hezbollah took over West Beirut in a matter of days.  A move like that, he says, will not happen again because Syria will not allow it.

For the Lebanese people, Khashan says the collapse of the government will not result in immediate change because the government has done virtually nothing in months.  Government paralysis, he says, is now simply formalized.  


You May Like

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video Survivor Video Testimonies Recount Horrors of Guatemalan Genocide

During a conflict that spanned more than three decades, tens of thousands of indigenous Mayans were killed More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs