News / Middle East

Lebanese Prime Minister Resigns Over Deadlocked Cabinet

Lebanon's Prime Minister Najib Mikati speaks during a news conference at the Grand Serail, the government headquarters, in Beirut, March 22, 2013.
Lebanon's Prime Minister Najib Mikati speaks during a news conference at the Grand Serail, the government headquarters, in Beirut, March 22, 2013.
Paige Kollock
The prime minister of Lebanon has resigned following a deadlock in his Cabinet about preparations for a parliamentary election and a dispute over extending the term of a senior security official.
 
Najib Mikati, the Sunni prime minister and billionaire, resigned Friday after his Cabinet failed to approve the formation of a supervisory electoral body and opposed extending the tenure of Internal Security Forces chief Ashraf Rifi.  Rifi is a fellow Sunni Muslim who is seen as a critical figure for the Western-backed March 14 coalition.

Imad Salamey, a political science professor at the Lebanese American University in Beirut, says Mikati’s resignation was expected.

"He was fired at from both sides," said Salamey.  "He was fired on from his own Sunni community for feeling that he has betrayed them when he accepted the premiership and shifted rank in alliance with Hezbollah and then kind of covering up politically for Hezbollah’s various activities in Lebanon and in Syria."
 
Salamey says Hezbollah also was dissatisfied with Prime Minister Mikati because the group wanted to replace the security chief, Rifi, whose term is set to expire.

Mikati took office in January 2011 when the Shi’ite political party and militant group Hezbollah brought down the government of Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, who was backed by the United States and other Western nations.
 
Prime Minister Mikati was viewed at first as an ally of Hezbollah, despite being a Sunni, but his government has been criticized by all political parties for its inability to reach consensus.

Salamey says politicians should act quickly to break the deadlock.

"I think it is in the interest of all parties, particularly Hezbollah, and the Shi’ites in Lebanon to have a quick solution to the political impasse," said Salamey.  "They need to achieve some kind of reconciliation and political solution with the Lebanese Sunnis."

The political situation in Lebanon has become more fragile as more than 70,000 Syrian refugees have flooded into the country, almost all of whom are Sunni.  

Two people were killed Friday in the northern Lebanese port city of Tripoli, where fighting between the city’s Sunni majority and Alawites who support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has escalated.

You May Like

Analysis: China Raises Hong Kong Rhetoric to Tiananmen Level

A front-page commentary in The People’s Daily called the current demonstrations 'chaos,' the same word Party officials used 25 years ago to describe the Tiananmen Square protests More

US Airstrikes Anger Syrian Civilians Fleeing Their Homes

Pentagon officials say they have seen no credible evidence of civilian deaths caused by US airstrikes against Islamic State militants More

Child Sexual Exploitation to Worsen in SE Asia

Southeast Asia’s planned economic integration is a key step for boosting the region’s productivity, but carries downsides as well More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid