BEIRUT – Lebanon’s national unity government collapsed Wednesday after Cabinet members aligned with the Iranian backed militant group Hezbollah resigned. The move came in dramatic fashion as the pro-western Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri was meeting at the White House with President Obama. It was prompted by a simmering dispute over the U.N. probe into the murder of Hariri’s father, who was also prime minister. Investigators are soon expected to issue indictments in the 2005 assassination, and Hezbollah militants are expected to be named. The resignations put the country into a political crisis and could set the stage for more violence.
Among the opposition ministers whom submitted resignations was industry minister Abraham Dedeyan, a member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation “Tashnaq” party who are aligned with Hezbollah and one of two representative of the Lebanese-Armenian community in the now defunct coalition government.
In an interview with Lebanon’s Social Democratic Hunchakian Party vice-chairman Alex Keushkerian the dynamics of the Lebanon’s form of government where discussed. Keushkerian stipulated Lebanon’s President Michel Suleiman must now appoint a Prime Minister from the country’s Sunni population to form a new government, and as a result will most likely be Saad al-Hariri who has the support of the vast majority of Sunnis.
When asked whether street clashes and violence are possible and may erupt between government and opposition forces, Keushkerian stated, “the speaker of the Parliament, Nabih Berri, a member of the opposition has released a statement urging ‘Lebanese to maintain constitutional law do everything to avoid street clashes as a resolution to the government’s crisis is reached’, but we are talking about Lebanon, where political conflicts are not new, so everything is possible.”
As for the stance of Lebanon’s ethnic Armenian population and the traditional Armenian political parties, SDHP vice-chairman responded “As you may already know the Armenian political parties are involved within the government majority and opposition minority. Hunchaks are allied with the pro-western Hariri coalition, as the Tashnaq’s are allied with Hezbollah, but the Armenian community has never been in clashes”. In case of street clashes, the three traditional Armenian political parties; the SDHP, the ARF and the ADL will maintain a stance of positive neutrality established during Lebanon’s civil war, and do their utmost to avoid violence within and towards the Armenian community.
Portions of this report were collaborated with Massis Weekly affiliate Haynews.am.