Daily Israel Report

Drama in Lebanon: Hizbullah Leaves Coalition, Topples Government

Hizbullah has left the Lebanese government over the UN tribunal; walkout took place as Hariri met with Obama.
By Maayana Miskin and Dr. Amiel Ungar
First Publish: 1/12/2011, 6:35 PM / Last Update: 1/12/2011, 6:40 PM

Iranian puppet militia Hizbullah and its allies followed through Wednesday on a threat to leave Lebanon's unity government. Their departure may leave Prime Minister Saad Hariri without a coalition.

Coincidentally or not, the Hizbullah walk out came while Hariri was meeting with President Barak Obama in America. Hariri then cut short his visit to the United States and hurried back home with a stopover in Paris to consult with French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Obama promised Hariri his backing although what that means in terms of real muscle remains to be seen. After all, for George Bush, Syria was part of the "Axis of Evil", but the Obama Administration started off with attempts to engage Syria. Similarly, Sarkozy's predecessor, Jacques Chirac, was a personal friend and backer of the Hariri clan. 

Hillary Clinton, in her current visit to the Gulf region, has tried to shore up a coalition to back Hariri. This show of support will be important as militarily Hizbullah has far more disciplined troops and firepower than anything Hariri can muster.

The Shiite terror group's representatives, who left the coalition as Hariri met with U.S. officials, had the support of 11 of the 30 Cabinet members, giving it the power to bring down the government.

Hizbullah had threatened to leave over a United Nations tribunal investigating the assassination of Hariri's father, former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. The tribunal is planning to make indictments soon, and is expected to connect leading Hizbullah members to the murder.

Saudi Arabia and Syria had attempted to prevent the political split, offering initiatives to keep the coalition intact. The details of the proposed deals were not made public.  

Hariri said earlier in the week that he would “seek all means to reach solutions that can guarantee stability, calm, and maintain national unity.”

Lebanese stocks have dropped over the political crisis, losing 3.2% as of Wednesday afternoon.