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.