News / Middle East

Collapse of Lebanese Government Creates Worries of Deepening Crisis

This combo shows portraits of Lebanese PM Saad Hariri (R)  at his office in Beirut and Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah  (File)
This combo shows portraits of Lebanese PM Saad Hariri (R) at his office in Beirut and Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah (File)

Many Lebanese are worried Thursday that the fall of their national unity government could result in a new crisis in the historically volatile country.

Regional and international concern over a deepening crisis in Lebanon, following the collapse of its national unity government Wednesday, appears to have been met by a cautious, wait-and-see attitude by many Lebanese.

Lebanese TV stations concentrated on the governmental crisis, adding a tone of urgency to their usual newscasts. Eyewitnesses, however, said that most Lebanese continued to go about their business as usual.

An Nahar newspaper headlined that outgoing Prime Minister Saad Hariri is meeting with French President Nicholas Sarkozy in Paris Thursday, as his March 14 coalition holds firm in backing an international tribunal investigating the 2005 assassination of his father, former Prime Minister Rafik al Hariri.

The pro-Iranian Hezbollah, which provoked the collapse of Mr. Hariri’s cabinet, called for a new government in line with its own anti-Western alliances. Hezbollah Member of Parliament Mohammed Raad said that a new government should oppose the U.S. and other Western allies.

Brief Timeline

  • 1975-1990: a devastating civil war erupts
  • 1982: Israel invades Lebanon
  • 2005: car bombing kills five-times PM Rafik Hariri
  • 2006: Israel wages a devastating war in Lebanon
  • 2008: a brief Sunni-Shiite sectarian fighting flares up

He says that developments are following a political course and that Hezbollah is eager to have a new government headed by someone who will follow [its own] path of so-called resistance and who has the ability to block alleged plots by unspecified ‘arrogant’ nations.

Former acting interior minister and Hariri ally Ahmad Fatfat said Saad Hariri has enough votes to be renamed prime minister. Dory Chamoun, whose National Liberal Party is part of Mr. Hariri’s coalition, tells VOA that the streets are calm and he doesn’t anticipate a worsening crisis.

"Nothing is going on in the streets and I don't think anything will go on in the streets," he said. "I think the government will just continue as a caretaker government and we'll wait for the results of the [international] tribunal which I believe, as they promised us, I don't know how true this is, but everybody is expecting them around the middle of February, [or] at the latest, middle of March."

The Beirut press expects the tribunal to indict several members of Hezbollah over the slaying of former prime minister Rafik al Hariri.

Maronite Patriarch Mar Nasrallah Butros Sfeir urged politicians to reassure the Lebanese people that their country will not become a battleground.

He urges everyone not to make the situation worse, but says there are many problems that need to be ironed out, so that the Lebanese feel that their country is safe and secure.

Paul Haidostian, who is the President of Lebanon’s Haigazian University says though the situation remains calm, ordinary people feel helpless about recent political developments.

"This is another normal or regular day in Beirut," he said. "It's business as usual in many senses. However, the worst issue at this point is that the regular individual feels that almost everything political is beyond the control of the public. People are not sure who calls the shots, who decides what, and that people here are not in control of the local, the regional, or the international politics that goes on."

Haidostian adds that the current crisis turns public attention away from more concrete issues affecting daily life, including the economy, education, and serious ecological problems.

NEW: Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid