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Lebanon: two governments soon?

25. January 2007

Interview with Samah Idriss

Was the general strike called by the opposition a success?

The opposition succeeded in paralyzing the country. Areas under the control of Hizbullah and Amal were closed. However the same cannot be said about those under Jumblatt, and those divided between Ja’ja’, Aoun and Franjieh.

So will the Siniora government withdraw?

No, the government, under US and French pressure, is not willing to accept the kind of participation the opposition wants, the “guaranteeing third”.

What will happen next?

The President of the Republic, Emile Lahoud, could declare the government “resigned”, after which a new cabinet will be formed, but the “original” one will not accept. We might have two governments in that case. Members of the Parliament from the opposition may resign too.

Is there a danger of civil war?

I fear yes. What we are about to witness is the beginning of an incipient civil war. Sectarian and especially Sunni-Shiite tension is mounting. Some wantt to provoke the Islamic Resistance and to force them into street wars.