Following US “outrage” at Hezbollah for withdrawing from the government, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah insisted that the US was responsible for the collapse, as they were the reason why Prime Minister Saad Hariri rejected a compromise deal.
Syrian and Saudi Arabian officials had been discussing a deal relating to Lebanon’s approach to the UN tribunal, and apparently had come to a deal that Lebanon would stop directly funding the tribunal in return for the March 8 faction staying in the coalition.
Nasrallah says that the entire opposition has now agreed that they will not support Hariri’s effort to form a new government with him as prime minister, which assuming it stays in place would effectively bloc a new government from forming without new elections.
Hariri appeared to discount the new elections, saying that forming a new government was the “only” option and that Lebanon’s pride was at stake. Though it is entirely normal for parliamentary systems to have to schedule early elections when a government loses support, there seems to be considerable international opposition for such a move in this case, with US officials insisting that Hezbollah’s withdrawal from the coalition was a slight against the very concept of justice.