Lebanon Without Government and the Syrian Contagion

Lebanese President Michel Suleiman accepted the resignation of Prime Minister  Najib Mikati on Saturday. The outgoing Prime Minister called for a caretaker  government to be appointed to lead the country, as opposing forces threaten to  drag Lebanon into the turmoil and bloodshed of the Syrian civil war.

Prime Minister Mikati was forced to resign due to strong pressure from  Hezbollah. Hezbollah is a Shia militia force with links to both Iran and to President Assad’s government in Syria,  which they have supported throughout the conflict in that country. Hezbollah  fighters have engaged Syrian rebels close to the border between the two  countries, as well as providing non-military support to Assad’s government. The  group wields great power in Lebanon, thanks in part to their leading role  in fighting the Israeli military in previous conflicts. The group opposed  Mikati’s plans to extend the term of senior security official Major General  Ashraf Rifi – a Sunni Muslim from Tripoli – as well as the planned creation of a  new body to oversee elections scheduled for June.

The June election may now be delayed. It could take months of political  wrangling just to form a caretaker government, which must be done before  elections can proceed.

This political vacuum leaves Lebanon at even greater risk of being dragged into  the war in Syria. The same  ethnic fault-lines which are fuelling the war in Syria are also present in  Lebanon, and there had already been several outbreaks of violence between  supporters and opponents of Assad’s government, even before this weeks renewed  tensions….

Read more at http://worldnewscurator.com/2013/03/23/lebanon-without-government-and-the-syrian-contagion/#rgI7cJlq61XlELHZ.99

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