Protesters battle army in Lebanon as new PM takes over

Supporters of ousted Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri clashed with army troops in the Sunni strongholds of Tripoli and Sidon Jan. 25, as his replacement Najib Miqati took office. The vanquished Hariri and the man being widely hailed as the kingmaker, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, both made live addresses appealing for calm. But Hariri threatened to boycott the new government. “Me and my allies, we will represent the opposition,” he said. “What has happened is virtually a coup d’etat, a political coup d’etat.” US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said a Hezbollah-run government would “have a clear impact” on ties with the Washington, which had strongly backed Hariri. (The Guardian, Jan. 25)

In Lebanon, the premiership is reserved for Sunnis as part of the country’s sectarian power-sharing agreement, but Miqati is backed by the Shi’ite Hezbollah. It is widely expected that one of his first official acts will be to withdraw Lebanon’s approval from the International Criminal Court tribunal that has just moved to indict Hezbollah and Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khaminei for the 2005 assassination of former prime minister Rafiq Hariri, Saad Hariri’s father. (Hot Air, Jan. 25; Jerusalem Post, Jan. 17)

See our last post on Lebanon.

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  1. Jasmine and Cedar: bogus equivalence
    Whoops. We just noted how neocon idiots were gloating that Tunisia’s “Jasmine Revolution” was a product of the same process of Washington-lubricated “democratic change” that brought about Lebanon’s “Cedar Revolution.” Now, just as the “Tunisian virus” is threatening longtime strategic US ally Egypt, it seems the Cedar Revolution has been reversed in a Hezbollah counter-revolution.

    Now, it is true that the most hubristic neocons wanted to oust Egypt’s Mubarak (along with nearly every other Arab leader), but there is no evidence to suggest a State Department hand in the protests currently rocking Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Yemen, Jordan, etc. On the contrary, things seem to be spinning well out of Washington’s control…