Lebanese coalition collapses in turmoil over probe
Move sparks fear of civil war
8:36 p.m., Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Lebanon‘s year-old coalition government collapsed Wednesday amid fears that a United Nations report into the 2005 assassination of the country’s prime minister will trigger a new civil war and plunge the Middle East into another conflict.
The government in Beirut fell after 11 of 30 Cabinet ministers, all supporters of the Hezbollah-backed March 8 bloc, resigned – the culmination of a long tussle with other elements of the coalition over how to respond to a U.N. special tribunal investigating the killing. Hezbollah, a Shiite extremist group backed by Iran and Syria that the United States has designated a terrorist organization, is a legal political party with a large parliamentary caucus in Lebanon. Following inconclusive elections in 2009 and months of haggling, Hezbollah and its allies joined a unity government in Beirut. Continue reading