Watchman Newsletter

Shalom says �Iranian government� in Lebanon possible

YNet News (Link) - Attila Somfalvi (January 22, 2011)

Druze leader Walid Jumblatt�s decision to join forces with Hezbollah against Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri increases the risk that an �Iranian government� will be established in Lebanon, Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom (Likud) said Saturday.

Speaking at a cultural forum in Bat Yam, Shalom said, �This is not just about a terror organization which operates with Iran�s support and inspiration any more, but rather a real sovereign government.

�There is no doubt this is a dangerous development which forces us to follow (Lebanon) closely. We will be prepared for any future development,� he said.

On Friday Jumblatt threw his support behind Hezbollah, a major boost to the Shiite group that brought down the country�s Western-backed government last week.

He refused to say exactly how many lawmakers are with him, but his support is key for any candidate trying to form a government.

Ministers from Hezbollah and its allies walked out of the government, forcing its collapse, last week when Prime Minister Hariri refused to renounce the tribunal investigating the assassination of his father, former PM Rafik Hariri.

The tribunal prosecutor issued a draft indictment on Monday. Its contents were not revealed, but it is expected to accuse members of Hezbollah, which denies any role in the assassination and had accused the tribunal of being an �Israeli tool.�

Once one of the most ardent supporters of the tribunal, Jumblatt launched a scathing attack on the court, saying it poses a �threat to national unity and national security.�

According to reports in Lebanon, the opposition�s candidate to head the next government will likely be Omar Karami, a former PM who was accused of being �Syria�s puppet.� �

Iran ~ Islam