Is the Gap Between Hezbollah, Political Rivals Increasing?

Published December 14th, 2021 - 08:37 GMT
political gap in Lebanon is still increasing despite new cabinet
Members of the Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah movement raise party flags as they mark an annual commemoration of a suicide attack against Israeli forces in the Marjayoun region of southern Lebanon, on November 11, 2021. (Photo by Mahmoud ZAYYAT / AFP)
Prime minister calls for investigation following official protest from Bahrain over ‘hostile’ press conference

Lebanese President Michel Aoun slammed on Monday the “continued failure” of the country’s Cabinet to convene, disrupting government and judicial work amid a expanding gap between Hezbollah and the rest of the political establishment.

Aoun, an ally of Hezbollah, made his remarks after Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al-Rahi attacked “those who obstruct the Cabinet (from) meeting … against the interests of the state and the people,” in a sermon on Sunday.

The continued stalemate over the Cabinet stems from a refusal by Hezbollah to adhere to a stance preventing Lebanon from interfering in the affairs of Arab countries.

The Cabinet initially stopped meeting on Oct. 12, after Hezbollah and the Amal Movement decided to boycott its sessions in a bid to force the removal of Judge Tarek Bitar from the investigation into the explosion at the Port of Beirut last year.

Lebanon is going through stifling economic conditions in light of the collapse of the Lebanese pound against the dollar.

Prime Minister Najib Mikati said on Monday in the presence of the French presidential envoy, Ambassador Pierre Dukan, that “contacts are continuing to find a solution to the government’s situation.”

But he added that “calling for a Cabinet session without securing the appropriate conditions may cause more political tension and complicate solutions more and more.”

The French envoy — who is also coordinator of international aid for Lebanon — stressed “the necessity of laying down general principles to address the Lebanese crisis before reaching an agreement with the International Monetary Fund.”

The ambassador said that the agreement with the IMF should be completed before the next parliamentary elections.

On Sunday night, Mikati strongly condemned “affronting the leadership and the people of Bahrain,” after a complaint was lodged by Bahrain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs over a press conference held in Beirut for “hostile elements classified as supporting and sponsoring terrorism, for broadcasting and promoting abusive and malicious allegations against Bahrain.”

Mikati described what happened as “behavior that does not express the opinion of the largest segment of the Lebanese people,” and asked the Public Prosecutor’s office “to conduct immediate investigations regarding this press conference, which included allegations offensive to Bahrain, and to take appropriate measures in accordance with the laws in force.”

The Lebanese Foreign Ministry stressed that Lebanon “will not be a seat or a corridor of abuse or infringement on brotherly Bahrain and all Arab countries.”

The ministry confirmed Lebanon's “full commitment to the Charter of the Arab League in terms of non-interference in the internal affairs of the Arab brothers.”

This article has been adapted from its original source.

Copyright: Arab News © 2021 All rights reserved.

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