Hezbollah Forces Collapse Of Lebanon's Government Lebanon's government has collapsed after the resignation of Cabinet members from the militant group Hezbollah. The move was prompted by a dispute over the U.N. probe into the 2005 murder of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Indictments are expected soon, and Hezbollah militants are expected to be named.
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Hezbollah Forces Collapse Of Lebanon's Government

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Hezbollah Forces Collapse Of Lebanon's Government

Hezbollah Forces Collapse Of Lebanon's Government

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MICHELE NORRIS, Host:

NPR's Jackie Northam reports.

JACKIE NORTHAM: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, on a tour of Arab states, called the mass resignation in Beirut irresponsible.

HILLARY CLINTON: We view what happened today as a transparent effort by those forces inside Lebanon, as well as interests outside of Lebanon, to subvert justice and undermine Lebanon's stability and progress. Trying to bring the government down as a way to undermine the special tribunal is an abdication of the responsibility, but it also will not work.

NORTHAM: Clinton said when all the parties, including Hezbollah, formed the unity government, they agreed to support the tribunal. She said the U.N. probe wasn't only about justice for the former prime minister but many others who were killed and injured in the bombing nearly six year ago. Clinton stressed the work of the tribunal must go on, despite the collapse of the government.

CLINTON: We believe that the work of the special tribunal must go forward so justice can be served and impunity ended. We believe that the leaders of Lebanon have an ongoing responsibility to serve the interests of their own people, not outside forces.

NORTHAM: Bilal Saab, a Mideast security researcher at the University of Maryland, says the resignation of the Hezbollah cabinet members has created a dangerous situation in Lebanon.

BILAL SAAB: Nobody can really control the streets, so everybody is really going to be careful about what they do, what they say in public. This is a really very fragile situation.

NORTHAM: Saab says the situation will likely be exacerbated when results of the U.N. investigation are released and indictments are handed down. But Saab says there's really nothing any of Lebanon's factional leaders can do about that, including Prime Minister Hariri.

SAAB: To stop that train right now is absolutely ridiculous. I don't see that happening. And if we believe all the statements that he has issued and all the stories that come out of the tribunal that this is really an independent institution that is operating without any political obstacles whatsoever, he has no control over it. So what comes out of the tribunal, the upcoming indictments, he's going to have to basically deal with them in his political struggle with Hezbollah.

NORTHAM: Jackie Northam, NPR News, Washington.

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