Lebanon government set to collapse over Hariri tribunal
Hezbollah was expected to pull out of Lebanon's government today over the country's involvement in the Hariri tribunal, which is expected to indict Hezbollah members in the prime minister's 2005 assassination.
• A daily summary of global reports on security issues.Skip to next paragraph
Israeli general hints at another Gaza campaign
Unclaimed attack on Islamic school raises tension in Nigeria
See no evil? Activists doubt credibility of Arab League mission to Syria.
Arab League observers head to Syria's war-ravaged Homs
Christmas church bombings put global spotlight on 'Nigerian Taliban' (VIDEO)
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Hezbollah and its political allies in Lebanon were set to announce the resignation of eleven ministers from the government's unity coalition Wednesday, which would topple the government and raise concerns of new protests and paralysis in Lebanon.
The Daily Star of Lebanon reports that the resignations, which were to be announced this afternoon local time, were due to Hezbollah and its allies being rebuffed in their demands for an emergency cabinet meeting Tuesday to discuss Lebanese cooperation in the United Nation's Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL). The STL is investigating the 2005 assassination of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, father of current Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who has refused to end Lebanese participation in the US-backed tribunal. Several Hezbollah members are expected to be indicted by the tribunal for involvement in the assassination.
A source told the Daily Star that Hezbollah and its allies sought the emergency cabinet meeting "to stop payment of Lebanon’s share toward the financing of the S.T.L., withdraw the Lebanese judges from the tribunal, end Lebanon’s cooperation with the S.T.L., and prosecute the 'false witnesses' linked to the U.N. probe into Rafik Hariri’s killing..." They warned that failure to hold the meeting would result in the mass resignations of its cabinet members, bringing down the government.
Hilal Khashan, professor of political science at the American University in Beirut, says that it is unlikely that Hezbollah will respond to the political crisis by sending gunmen into the streets of Beirut as it did in May 2008, Reuters reports. But Mr. Khashan says that street protests are a possibility. "The phenomenon of food riots is spreading in the Arab world, so the opposition may shield itself behind popular demands for combating inflation," he said.