Lebanon Government Collapses After Ministers’ Pullout


BEIRUT (Combined Sources)—Lebanon’s coalition government collapsed Wednesday after 11 ministers affiliated with the opposition pulled out of the cabinet amid political tensions over a US-led tribunal probing the 2005 assassination of Lebanese leader Rafik al-Hariri.

The move disintegrates the year-old government led by Hariri’s son, Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who was in Washington meeting with President Obama when the walk out resulted in the collapse, which ultimately might force his resignation.

Among the ministers that submitted resignations was industry minister Apraham Dedeyan, who was the representative of the Lebanese-Armenian community.

Tensions have mounted during the past several months as Lebanon awaited the results of the UN-led and US-backed tribunal’s investigation into the Rafik Hariri assassination. In recent weeks, Saudi Arabia and Syria have been attempting to broker a deal that would essentially force Saad Hariri to withdraw his government’s support for the tribunal in order to maintain Lebanese and regional stability.

A delegation representing Lebanon’s opposition Tuesday met with Lebanese President Michel Suleiman urging him to convene an extraordinary government session to adopt, with the participation of all political forces, measures that would ensure stability in the country. The president agreed to forge ahead by promising to contact the prime minister and bring him to the negotiating table.

On Wednesday, the presidential office reported that Saad Hariri had refused the opposition’s proposal, saying that he would not be pressured to take part in a government meeting at the 11th-hour and rejected to impede the international tribunal.

Opposition forces gathered Tuesday night at a meeting, which was attended by Reform and Progress party chairman Gen. Michel Aoun, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Central Committee chairman Hovig Mkhitarian, “Marada” movement leader and parliament member Sleyman Frenzhieh, opposition advisor Ali Hassan-Khalil and political adviser to Hezbollah’s secretary general, Hussein Khalil.

“Following our last bid to resolve matters through our call for an immediate Cabinet session and after our call was turned down by the other bloc and in order to pave the way for the formation of a new government that would be able to assume its duties in the upcoming stage, we announce our resignation from the government,” said Lebanon’s Energy Minister Gebran Bassil, who read the opposition statement Wednesday.

“The prime minister is faced with choosing either Beirut and Washington or Beirut and any other capital,” he said, adding that the decision to leave the government conforms to Lebanese law.

The White House issued a statement on the Hariri meeting, saying Obama “stressed the importance of the work of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon as a means to help end the era of political assassinations with impunity in Lebanon.”

Opposition lawmakers called on Lebanese President Michel Suleiman to act quickly on forming a new Cabinet.

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23 Comments

  1. Nikos Retsos said:

    Obviously the upcoming indictments of Hezbollah for the assassination of Fafik Hariri are pushed by the U.S. and Israel. Israel has killed thousands on its 78 days bombing campaign in Lebanon in 2006, and thousands more in Gaza in 2009, plus 10 Turks in the Food for Gaza Flotilla. A United Nations investigation has confirmed that Israel has committed war crimes, but the International Criminal Court (ICC) has never indicted the Israeli leaders. Why, then, the ICC indicted the Sudanese president Omar Bashir for doing the same in Darfur? Because most of the funding of the U.N. and its agencies is provided by the U.S., and the U.S. has virtual control on the appointment of prosecutors, as well as over who is prosecuted and who isn’t.

    The upcoming indictments of Hezbollah, therefore, will be just another opportunity for the U.S. and Israel to blather the word “terrorists” at Hezbollah. But both the U.S. and Israel have been blathering that word for almost 20 years, and -if anything- the status and respectability of Hezbollah has skyrocketed in the Arab and Muslim world. Would the upcoming indictment discredit Hezbollah? Not at all, because the world knows already who are behind the indicting panel. If anything, the rest of the world will see that the indictments are tailored by the U.S. to discredit those who oppose the U.S. and Israeli hegemony in Middle East. And given the current anti-U.S. global view for its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the anti-Israeli global view for its killing of the Food For Gaza Flotilla civilians, and for its continuing demolishing and expropriating of the the Palestinian land in Jerusalem,
    the indictment of Hezbollah may turn out to be a boomerang!

    Surely, the U.S. will ask its European allies to unleash a litany of anti-Hezbollah rhetoric to help make the accusation look as a global anti-Hezbollah wave! But as the explosion of the global outrage against Israel -when its navy killed the 10 Turkish civilians in the Food for Gaza Flotilla proved, the global public opinion already knows “who-is-who in Middle East. Nikos Retsos, retired professor

    • Varoujan said:

      Everything mr Nestos says sounds fine, except the fact that there’s absolutety nothing in common between the story up there and the repetitve mention of some Turks who defied the sovereignty of another nation for some manufactured reason and political purpose aimed to fool the naive and win the favor of the east that we are well aware of .
      History will always repeat itself, why? because very few people remember and tend to learn from it.

    • daron megerdichian said:

      I m lebanese citizen & I know very well that hizbolla has killed more lebanese civilians than he has killed israelies,

  2. rita hosepian said:

    everyone knew the indictment was an effort to divide lebanon! The state must reject the tribunal or the pm must resign!

  3. daron megerdichian said:

    Israel must be responsible for any lebanese politition murdered or killed,by hisbolla or syria ,this is the lebanese oppositions logo

    • tashnag1 said:

      What you are 14 march? hnchag or ramgavar?

      Yes, opposition, including tashnag, hizbollah, tayyar, marada, ssnp, believes the truth of who is behind the assasination.

      • Jay said:

        Tashnag1,

        For the record, having Bourj Hammoud ARF ally with HezbAllah, did not bode well with the US administration. A GRAVE MISTAKE .Chances are this may have been one of the reasons for the administrations’ hesitance to recognize the AG. The ARF, should’ve stayed neutral as they did during the Lebanese civil war. BTW, I’m an ‘old school’ Tashnag. Hunchags and Ramgavars are my blood BROTHERS and SISTERS.

        • mariam said:

          For the record, learn a thing or 2 about lebanon. It did not bode well with the US administration? Why would I care about the US administration? did they recognize the genocide? No, they didnt. But guess who did- Lebanon. And the shiites supported us. When ardogan came to visit last month in lebanon, only the shiites refused to meet with him. what do i owe to the usa? nothing. but i owe my respect to lebanese shiites for supporting my people.

          neutral during the war? so the phalangist could attack us! we learned a good lesson from then! i support 100% the ARF decision because it is good for our position in lebanon and support those who mutually support us, and also because we armenians understand and believe in resistance also! and you must understand hizbollah is created to liberate lebanon from the zionist occupation!

          • Jay said:

            mariam Habibti,

            I was born in Lebanon, Airy bi Kataeb ou Akhrar. ou Hizballah.

  4. Pahakazor Hayrenyats said:

    Question — why do we always have to side with political forces in the Middle East that have an outright anti-U.S. posture like Hezbollah? Is it wise? What repercussions does it have for the Armenian-American community? What repercussions does it have for the Republics of Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh? Where does our strategic national interest lies? Is it in the leading democracies of the world like the United States, France and the likes or is it in the backward dictatorships like Syria and such? Playing “Arab” games might be a pleasant thing to do as it gives momentary yet marginal and self-deceptive access to politics in the Middle East but it definitely hurts our long-term national interests.

    Oh yeah and please stop blaming the Jews for every problem in the world including our own problems that we create with our own short-sightedness, carelessness and lack of vision.

    • tashnag1 said:

      First, I don’t care about the “repercussions” it has on the Armenian-American community because the Armenian-American community never cares about what repercussions their actions may have on us. Armenian-Americans live in their cozy little homes in their bubble called America and most likely never seen or lived through a war in their life and do not know what it is like to live under the circumstances that Armenians in the Middle East do.

      Second, you call the USA and France “leading democracies” and you call Syria a “backwards country”. A leading democracy that has thousands of military bases over the world, is the major force behind the worlds wars, behind the massacre of millions of Iraqis and Afghanis, and behind supporting dictator regimes in Saudi Arabia and Egypt is not anything to be proud of. And you seem to have a problem with Syria, have you ever been there? Syria is a wonderful place with wonderful people.

      Third, we put blame where blame is due. That’s all. You will call us “anti semitic” though. Every Lebanese knows who is behind the assassination and who is behind the tribunal.

      Fourth, keep your self righteous crap to yourself. What are you doing for the Armenian nation? What are you doing for Artsakh or RA? What are you doing to retain the Armenian language and culture? Who are you to judge us?

      Fifth, you seem to be quite the anti-Arab. I can call you anti-Semite, since Arabs are Semites too. True Armenians who have decent parents who taught them the values of honor and respect support the Arabs because they are the ones who supported and helped us in our time of need.

      And Last, LEBANON RECOGNIZED THE GENOCIDE. Your idol America however, did not.

      • sepastasi mourad said:

        Thanks Tashnag1….you took the words right ot of my mouth….God Bless you man

  5. tashnag1 said:

    The Armenian diaspora must speak up and use more diplomacy. Turkey is supporting Hariri and the Tribunal. Armenians must speak against this, and support the Lebanese opposition. It is clear who is behind the Tribunal and what their intentions are.

    • mariam said:

      the armenians in america are busy bowing down to the western imperialist leaders!

  6. mariam said:

    Hariri out! Revolutions taking place all over the region, time to retake these countries from the Western puppets

  7. ARN.Sweden. said:

    Well –

    as according to my Opinion –

    surely Ithe Axis -Iran-Syria-and Hizbollah is behind the Harriri Murder.

    And as accorfing to my own oppinion –

    It is sad to se How many Wievs of Usefull Idiocy is vritten here,
    just because the US has made an Fool and Usefull Idiot of itself,
    regarding Armenian matters when siding with the Turks.

    One can not perceive the Truth by Hate,
    it clouds ones Mind.

    Arn.Sweden.

  8. Pahakazor Hayrenyats said:

    You can be as radical as you want, but, unfortunately, it’s all emotional and emotions have no place in international politics. International politics is politics of strength and competing national interest. National interest which we, as Armenians, have not been able to figure out for ourselves. It is obvious that it was Hezbollah that killed Hariri because he was getting in the way. The orders came from Syria since strong Lebanon is a threat to Syria. It was really shameful how much money was spend on shipping Armenian citizens of Lebanon from the United States to Lebanon to vote for the Hezbollah coalition during the elections. Where did the money come from? Let me guess… Hezbollah? All that money could have been spent on Artsakh bringing much needed humanitarian infrastructure development and making sure that piece of land has a viable future. Azeries don’t mince words threatening to unleash another war and wipe Artsakh and Armenian off the map on daily basis. And what do we do about it? We gather votes for Hezbollah getting into Middle East politics with no obvious benefit to our national interest. I guarantee you that if all Lebanon Armenians had financial and legal means to move to the United States, they would do so in a heart beat. Look at the Armenian communities in the Middle East and in Iran. They steadily disappear. And they eventually will.

    The whole issue as to why the United States does not recognize the Armenian Genocide is because we as a community have not been able to convince Washington that it is in the U.S. national interest. We as a community have not been able to influence the opinion of the general American public on the Armenian Genocide. It has remained an issue that interests only a small ethnic community of about 700,000 Armenians who don’t even vote! How many Armenian journalists do we have in the American mainstream newspapers to shape American public opinion? How many Armenians join the U.S. public service? How many Armenian go to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces? How many “Schindler’s List” movies about Armenian Genocide have we produced in Hollywood? How much have we, as an Armenian-American community invested in influencing the American public opinion on the Genocide? We only line the pockets of local politicians to make sure they make speeches about the Genocide at Armenian events. But when Pelosi had a real chance to put it to vote and this time we DID HAVE THE VOTES, she didn’t. Why? Because she knows that there will be no consequences for her political future… She doesn’t rely on our votes because Armenians don’t vote and only care about enriching themselves and their immediate families…

    It’s time for us to wake up and smell the coffee. To see the abyss that lies ahead and towards which we are speeding at 200 miles per hour…

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