Thursday, January 13, 2011

Lebanon analysis: Fear of war as Beirut leaps into the unknown

Coalition's collapse is a sharp reminder of the poisonous legacy of prime minister Rafiq Hariri's murder in 2005

Ian Black, Middle East editor, Wednesday 12 January 2011

"....."It has been revealed that the emperor has no clothes - meaning that the Syrian-Saudi initiative will not deliver what the opposition in Lebanon was expecting it to deliver," said Nadim Shehadi of the Chatham House thinktank in London. "This crisis reaches into the foundations of the Lebanese system. It is a leap into the unknown."

Hezbollah had hoped Hariri would be forced to withdraw state funding for the tribunal, pressure its Lebanese judges to resign and declare the agreement with the UN mandating the court null and void. But supporters argued that the government's fall was a better outcome.

"It's good news that Hariri wasn't humiliated by being forced to back down and commit political suicide," said one. "And it's good that Assad didn't get his way. But it does mean that Lebanon is now in crisis."

Hezbollah has sharpened its tone by openly attacking the US for "sabotaging" the deal it had wanted. Nabih Berri, the Shia speaker of parliament, delivered the same message. "The game played by superpowers is greater than Abdullah's and Assad's sincere willpower," he said.

Again, Lebanese have been reminded that foreigners are often the most influential in their complicated country......."

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