The shootings in Beirut and elsewhere in Lebanon in early May 2008, which claimed dozens of lives, drew attention to this small Middle Eastern country. The Lebanese government has declared illegal a telecommunications network established by the Shiite Hezbollah party in the country, and also removed Brigadier General Shoukair, the head of security at Beirut International Airport, on suspicion of supporting a Shiite radical movement.
These two decisions were the reason for the active actions of Hezbollah combat units, which, after brief exchanges of fire, occupied West Beirut and set fire to the building of the pro-government TV company Mustaqbal TV. Despite the relatively rapid ceasefire, the situation in Lebanon remains tense due to the ongoing political confrontation between the pro-government camp, which enjoys Western support, and the opposition, which is backed by Syria and Iran.
The confrontation between these two blocs has characterized the country's political life for several years. Subject to the Constitution, Emil Lahoud left the post of President of the country on November 24, 2007. The Parliament has been trying to elect his successor since September 25, 2007. However, the leading Lebanese parties cannot agree on a compromise candidate and are forced to postpone the meeting dedicated to the presidential vote. The pro-Western camp, represented by the March 14 Movement coalition, controls the government and has a parliamentary majority, but it is not enough to provide the quorum (two-thirds of deputies) necessary for the undisputed election of the president. This circumstance is actively used by the pro-Syrian opposition, led by the radical Hezbollah party and popular Christian politician Michel Aoun.
The absence of the President adds to the political crisis that Lebanon has been in since the February 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, who took an anti-Syrian stance. For more than a year, opposition lawmakers have refused to atten ... Read more