Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Update on Lebanon's New Government

The following story by AFP about recent political developments in Lebanon reminds me of Act III, Scene II in Shakespeare's Hamlet. The eponymous character stages a play based on his uncle's murder of his father, in which his mother corroborated. Hamlet asks her opinion of the play:

HAMLET: Madam, how like you this play?

QUEEN: The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

HAMLET: O, but she'll keep her word.

KING: Have you heard the argument? Is there no offence in't?

HAMLET: No, no! They do but jest, poison in jest; no offense in the world.

The insistent affirmations of Phalange party leader Amin Gemayel lead me to think that he must know firsthand of the injustices of which he speaks. In other words, he is accusing Prime Minister Miqati of running a unilateral government because Gemayel knows that this is the same kind of government he participated in under the leadership of March 14: one that often excluded the opposition.

Hariri Ally Quits Talks on New Lebanon Government

By Natacha Yazbeck
Agence France Presse
Tuesday, 8 February 2011

BEIRUT — Christian leader Amin Gemayel on Monday said his pro-West party would not join Lebanon's next cabinet, accusing the Iran-backed Hezbollah of seeking to unilaterally control the new government.

"Since the government crisis began, we have taken it upon ourselves to maintain a policy of openness to all and to grant premier-designate Najib Mikati a chance to form a government of national partnership," the former president and head of the Kataeb (Phalange) Party said at a news conference.

Gemayel, an ally of outgoing premier Saad Hariri, said the rival Hezbollah-led alliance had "exerted massive pressure" in talks on the new cabinet, leaving his party no choice but to bow out of government in multi-confessional Lebanon.

"We have already said and repeat that our participation in the next government... requires guarantees that we will be active partners in decision-making, guarantees we could not secure," he said.

"In the light of that, it is our view that talks with the prime minister-designate have reached a dead end.

"Whoever seeks a unilateral government must bear the consequences," Gemayel added of Lebanon's powerful Hezbollah which last month forced the collapse of the country's unity government. He did not elaborate.

Hezbollah, which is backed by both Tehran and Damascus, last month toppled the Hariri government and succeeded in ushering in Mikati in to replace him, thanks to the key parliament votes of its Christian and Druze allies.

The move prompted a wave of anger among US- and Saudi-backed Hariri allies and supporters, who accuse Hezbollah of a "coup" and have slammed the next cabinet as a "Hezbollah government."

But almost two weeks after the appointment of 55-year-old tycoon Mikati, a political deadlock over the UN-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon shows no sign of breaking.

The Netherlands-based tribunal, which is investigating the 2005 murder of Sunni former prime minister Rafiq Hariri, is reportedly set to implicate Hezbollah in the killing -- a move the armed Shiite group has warned against.

Hezbollah has demanded that Lebanon end cooperation with the UN court while Saad Hariri, son of the slain Rafiq, is seeking a guarantee that his successor will see the tribunal through before agreeing to join Mikati's government.

Mikati has sidestepped making any commitments over the controversial tribunal, which Hezbollah claims is under the control of its foes Israel and the United States.

Hezbollah allies have said Hariri's demands virtually guaranteed that his camp would not be part of the next cabinet.

Lebanon's constitution does not set a deadline for a cabinet formation, and previous governments have sometimes taken months to see the light.

No comments:

Post a Comment