Mahadine Saifadine cooks traditional Lebanese baked goods at his shop in central Beirut. He said he expects the prices of gas, bread and diesel fuel to rise steadily while Lebanon is without a government.
“Everything is going to go up,” he said. “Nobody cares about the people at all.”
Parliament members were set to debate on who will be the next prime minister on Monday, but the talks were postponed while local and regional leaders try to sort out the mess.
Saudi Arabia and Syria failed in earlier efforts to broker agreement between the two sides, and Lebanese politicians remain completely deadlocked in their support for or rejection of the U.N.'s Special Tribunal for Lebanon.
On Tuesday, diplomats from Turkey and Qatar met with Lebanese officials. Earlier this week, leaders from Qatar, Syria and Turkey met in Damascus and called for a return to the talks led by Saudi Arabia and Syria.
Lebanese journalist and political analyst Hazem Saghieh said regional interests will ultimately decide whom the parliament selects as a candidate for prime minister. Syria will have a large effect on the process because of its influence on the only Lebanese party not associated with the two major political coalitions.
“Each Lebanese event nowadays is a regional event,” said Mr. Saghieh.
Alain Aoun, a member of parliament and of the Free Patriotic Movement, said the formation of a new government promises to be long and painful. “I’m skeptical about reaching in one week what we didn’t reach in months,” he said.
Mr. Aoun said that March 8, the name of the opposition coalition that includes his party and Hezbollah, will not support a new government that continues to cooperate with the international court. He said the court is a political tool of the West that will never render justice.
“This international tribunal is now part of this game of nations and confrontation between the U.S. and Israel on one side, and the international community, and Syria and Iran and Hezbollah,” Mr. Aoun said.
March 14, the name of the Western-backed ruling-party coalition, will only accept a government that supports the tribunal.
“If we topple this institution, it means that we will not have justice,” said Butros Harb, the labor minister under Saad Hariri, the recently ousted prime minister and son of the slain leader. “And it means that we are giving a license to continue killing people when we disagree with them.”
The U.S. has been unwavering in its support for the tribunal, but critics say the U.S. position has more to do with its rivalry with Iran and Syria than a genuine interest in seeking justice for the slain leader.View Entire Story
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