Resignations Deepen Crisis for Lebanon

January 12, 2011

Resignations Deepen Crisis for Lebanon

By NADA BAKRI

Joseph Eid/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

A poster in Beirut of Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, right; Michel Aoun, center; and Nabih Berri, the Parliament speaker.

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Hezbollah and its political allies withdrew from Lebanon’s cabinet on Wednesday, toppling a national unity government that had brought a measure of calm to the troubled Middle Eastern country since 2009 and deepening an emerging crisis over a United Nations-backed tribunal investigating the assassination of a former prime minister.

In practical terms, however, the turmoil will have little effect, as the government has been paralyzed for months.

The resignations returned Lebanon to familiar terrain. Hezbollah and its foes have wrestled over the direction of the country since the former prime minister, Rafik Hariri, was killed in a bombing along the Beirut seafront in February 2005.

After a lengthy investigation, the tribunal is now expected to indict members of Hezbollah, a Shiite movement that the United States considers a terrorist organization and the single most powerful force in Lebanon. Continue reading