Down in the Republic of Cedars, after a probe looked into the murder of Rafiq Hariri, Hezbollah ministers and their allies quit the Lebanese government, which has now been thrust into political turmoil.
Hezbollah’s exit happened at the exact moment Hariri was in Washington holding talks with US President Barack Obama.
The hard-won unity government of Rafiq’s son, Prime Minister Saad Hariri, finally collapsed Wednesday after months of bitter unrest between the premier and Hezbollah over the UN-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon.
President Michel Suleiman called on his government to continue in a “caretaker” capacity. Among the guidelines for hiring a new premiere must be a Sunni Muslim.
11 ministers resigned after Syria and Saudi Arabia failed in their bid to neutralize tensions over the tribunal and find a compromise between the two rival camps.
For many months, Hezbollah pressured Hariri to disavow the Netherlands-based court, which is set to indict a handful of high-ranking members of the militant party in connection with Hariri’s 2005 assassination. The group also accused the tribunal of being part of a US-Israeli plot and warned of repercussions lest any of its members be implicated by the court.
Meanwhile, the Israeli Defense Forces have been put on high alert – as a result of the Lebanese schism – however, no additional reservists have been called up.
Military officials are concerned that Hezbollah will attempt some kind of a disturbance on its border with the Jewish State, and thereby deflect attention from the political crisis in the Republic of Splintered Cedars.
Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Raouf Sheibani, pointed at “sabotage and obstruction by America and the Zionist regime,” as the single contributing factor to the collapse of the Lebanese government.