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

Official: S. Sudan President, Rebel Leader to Meet in Tanzania

Talks part of effort to end conflict in country that has left more than 10,000 people dead, displaced more than 1.5 million others More

Dutch Deny Link to Mystery Submarine Off Sweden

Netherlands denies Russian claim that 'foreign vessel' photographed in waters off Sweden could be Dutch More

China Boosts Efforts to Help Afghan, Regional Stability

Observers say China’s increased regional involvement are due to concerns that Afghan instability and the presence of anti-China militants in Pakistani border areas could fuel Xinjiang troubles 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.
China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Lawi
X
William Ide
October 20, 2014 10:23 AM
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 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 Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Nigeria Agrees to Cease-Fire With Boko Haram

Islamist militant group Boko Haram and the Nigerian government have agreed to a cease-fire. The Nigerian government issued an order Friday, telling all military chiefs "to comply with the cease-fire agreement in all theaters of operations. Why now and the significance of the agreement are questions on some people’s minds. VOA's Mariama Diallo reports.
Video

Video Kobani Fighting Sends 400,000 Refugees to Turkey

The offensive by Islamic State militants against the northern Syrian city of Kobani has caused hundreds of thousands of residents to flee to Turkey. They receive help from Turkish authorities and individuals, but say much more is needed. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from the town of Suruc a few kilometers from the border.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Syrian Defector Leaks Shocking Photos of Torture Victims

Shocking photographs purporting to show Syrian torture victims are on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The museum says the graphic images are among thousands of photographs recently smuggled out of Syria by a military policeman-turned-defector. As VOA reporter Julie Taboh reports, the museum says the photos provide further evidence of atrocities committed by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against its own people.
Video

Video Drought-Stricken California Considers Upgrading Water System

A three-year drought in California is causing a water shortage that is being felt on farms and cities throughout the state. As VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports, water experts, consumers and farmers say California needs to make changes to cope with an uncertain future.
Video

Video TechShop Puts High-tech Dreams Within Reach

Square, a business app and card reader, makes it possible to do credit card transactions through cell phones. But what made Square possible? VOA’s Adrianna Zhang and Enming Liu have the answer.

All About America

AppleAndroid