Lebanon’s Parliament has ousted Saad Hariri from his post as Prime Minister. They have chosen Najib Mikati, a candidate backed by Hezbollah. Mikati briefly served as Prime Minister in 2005 during the days of the Cedar Revolution.
This development comes scarcely a fortnight after Hezbollah ministers resigned en masse from Hariri’s cabinet while he was visiting President Obama at the White House. It was widely believed that Hezbollah members were going to be indicted by a UN tribunal for the assassination of Hariri’s father, Rafik, in February 2005. It was, of course, the Hariri assassination which sparked the Cedar Revolution resulting in the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon two months later.
I cannot say that I am surprised by this turn of events especially when Druze leader Walid Jumblatt announced last Friday that he would back Hezbollah.
Following Jumblatt’s endorsement of Hezbollah, Samir Geagea, a leading figure amongst Lebanon’s Maronite Christian community, predicted that a Hezbollah controlled would turn Lebanon “into Gaza.”
So how will the Obama Administration going to respond to this development? Yesterday, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley gave some indication when he said a Hezbollah controlled government would be “more problematic” and supporting it economically “would be a difficult for the United States to do.” Well, stating the Hezbollah would be “more problematic” and “difficult” is a far cry from stating the United States will not recognize a Lebanese government controlled by Hezbollah. I mean it’s not like Hezbollah is building housing in East Jerusalem.