Jan 27 2011

Lebanon’s Political Turmoil Different Than Tunisia & Egypt

Feature Stories | Published 27 Jan 2011, 11:05 am | Comments Off on Lebanon’s Political Turmoil Different Than Tunisia & Egypt -

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lebanonOn Tuesday Najib Miqati, a billionaire and Harvard graduate, was sworn in as Lebanon’s new Prime Minister amid protests around the nation. On Wednesday the sometimes violent protesters turned to daily sit-ins in downtown Beirut, as the nation remained locked in political turmoil. Much of the previous days actions took place in the Northern city of Tripoli by Sunni supporters of ousted Prime Minister Saad Hariri. Lebanon’s government collapsed on January 12th after 11 Ministers from the Hezbollah party withdrew. Tensions had been rising between the Sunni-backed Saad Hariri, and the Shiite-backed Hezbollah, in anticipation of a report on the 2005 assassination of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, Saad’s father. Hezbollah has long opposed the UN-backed tribunal investigating the murder, contending the tribunal was preparing to unfairly accuse them of the crime. Saad Hariri, who has the support of the US and many of its Western allies, refused to block or denounce the investigation and report. The Tribunal’s findings were issued in a sealed indictment on January 17th, but have not been made public. Hariri and his supporters are calling the change in government a coup d’etat. The AP reports that Hezbollah backed Prime Minister Miqati has been accused of being a religious ally of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Miqati has called for calm and a unity government. The US reaction has been measured. At a Press Conference on Wednesday held jointly with the Jordan’s Foreign Minister, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton said the US hoped the new government is formed according to the desires of the Lebanese people and not “outside forces.”

GUEST: Jackson Allers, reporter based in Lebanon, had filed stories for Free Speech Radio News

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